Title : The GATE Program at Napa Street Elementary
The document “The GATE Program”, which was created by me, is a project-based framework for the Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) of the fourth and fifth grade students, at Napa Street Elementary School in Northridge, California. In this program, students are encouraged to choose a project from the list or use them as guidelines to develop their own. The projects are intended to be done in teams of two, but could be done individually as well. Students are expected to investigate, design, build, and test their product, while following the step by step guidelines that are part of this document. The teacher’s role is to follow each group in its project development, identify the need for “benchmark lessons” and assist students whenever help is required. The final product is presented in front of faculty, staff, parents, students, and other guests. Evaluations, which start by students’ self-assessment, are followed by the same population that comes to watch the show.
In their pursuit to accomplish their project goals, students are utilizing Discovery Learning by developing a new set of investigative and information building techniques that improve their existing skills. As students develop their computer-based products, they assume the role of young practitioners following their own interests, taking responsibility for their work and making sure that the project will “work” as conceived. Testing allows students to critique their efforts and serves as a tool for self-evaluation. This process, in which students create their own products while assuming responsibility for acquiring their own knowledge, is the essence of Seymour Papert’s Constructionist philosophy.