Gifted and talented students enjoyed Thinking Camp, because it was an opportunity to journey for two weeks through Southeast Asia, and not leave their classroom staffed by Austin College guides.
The program is now in its 14th year. Austin College graduate students in education guide gifted and talented second through fifth graders in the Sherman Independent School District for two weeks. This year the students explored a different country each day. Vietnam and Thailand and others were on the map for introducing children to science and social studies related to the region.
“The take-aways are a much better appreciation for people in other parts of the world, and they see people are more alike than different,” said Julia Shahid, professor of education at Austin College.
Each year, the theme changes as previous Austin College classes design the curriculum. The graduate students form the curriculum and design hands on learning experiences. The goal is to empower the graduate students in running a classroom, and show them how to integrate studies in a way that is meaningful to the children.
“Our students teach these elementary kids for the entire morning,” Shahid said. “The students in Sherman ISD have access to our kids in a wonderful, enriched learning environment, so these kids are learning and my students are learning how to teach.”