Early Childhood

Combined Concurrent

Sparking High Potential: Illuminating Young Students' Thinking

Saturday, November 11
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: 211 A

Instruction can act as an invitation for students to show and grow their potential! Infusing content-based lessons with strategies to promote critical and creative thinking serves multiple purposes, including building students’ skills and inviting them to demonstrate their potential. In this session, we share examples of primary-grade lessons designed to encourage higher-level thinking behaviors and various student responses that we have found in implementing these lessons in K-2 classrooms, particularly with diverse populations of learners. We share guidelines and resources for incorporating critical and creative thinking strategies into classroom lessons to shine a light on young students’ potential.

Kelly L. Kearney

Research Associate
University of Connecticut

Kelly L. Kearney is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on Project SPARK at the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Connecticut. She recently completed a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Gifted Education and Talent Development. She is particularly interested in extracurricular and summer programming options for talented students.

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Rebecca O'Brien

Graduate Assistant
University of Connecticut

Rebecca O'Brien is a third year doctoral student and graduate research assistant at the University of Connecticut. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development. Rebecca calls south Louisiana home and taught middle school gifted students in Baton Rouge for six years. She is highly qualified in the teaching of math, science, and robotics. Rebecca is an experienced Science Olympiad coach, Science Fair coordinator, and School-Community Activity volunteer facilitator. She was selected as the 2011 East Baton Rouge Gifted Teacher of the Year and the 2014 Volunteers in Public Schools Golden Apple Award winner. Her professional interests include infusing creative opportunities into curricula, designing engaging and challenging learning experiences, effective and appropriate assessment, encouraging high potential in the early grades, and researching effective curricula for high ability populations.

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Anne Roberts

Graduate Assistant
University of Connecticut

Anne Roberts, M.Ed., is currently in the Educational Psychology doctoral program at the University of Connecticut, focusing on Giftedness, Creativity and Talent Development. She is also in the Program Evaluation graduate certificate program. She currently works as a research assistant to Project SPARK with Dr. Catherine Little. Anne worked as a gifted education specialist, Advanced English teacher, and a Destination Imagination STEM Coordinator in Virginia. While teaching, she received two grants to start a Makerspace in her school, and taught multiple summer enrichment programs in Robotics and Programming.
She has also presented at local, regional, and national conferences on STEM, gifted, and literacy topics. Her research interests include achievement, motivation, and twice-exceptional learners.

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