Gifted Services

Resource Teacher for Gifted Services

Jacqueline Firster

Jacqueline Firster

email:   twitter: @STEM_K12

Congratulations to Jacqueline Firster – The Lead Digital Innovator in the State of Virginia

Congratulations to Abingdon Gifted Resources Teacher, Jackie Firster – She will represent Virginia as a Lead Digital Innovator!
The PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program recognizes educators nationwide who are incorporating digital media in classrooms and serving as leaders in educational technology. Over the course of the 2016/2017 school year, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators participate in a robust professional learning community that fosters new ways of thinking, while leading the way in using technology to drive student achievement.  54 applicants, one from each US state and territory, have been designated as Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators – and Ms. Firster was selected!  She also received an all-expense paid trip to Denver, CO to participate in the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Summit and the prestigious ISTE Conference 2016.  A television crew came to Abingdon to capture Ms. Firster and her students in action.

See them in action here…Abingdon’s Design Challenge Featured on #DigitalAPS


Abingdon’s Innovative use of technology integration is trickling out to the rest of the county through Professional Development and Educational sharing opportunities. This summer I helped integrate instructionally sound, meaningful use of technology into the concept-based curriculum at Summer Laureate, one of the APS summer school enrichment programs. #DigitalAPS created a short video highlighting how this transition happened for students in every classroom at every grade level K-5th. This work was taken directly from the innovative work being done at Abingdon Elementary.  Watch the video at the hyperlink below.

#DigitalAPS Explores New Tech Integration Piece @LaureateAPS


The Gifted Services Program fully supports Abingdon’s unique instructional plan, helping to emphasize the focus on personalizing instruction for the individual student. Students are encouraged to use their creativity and expand their body of knowledge using many different styles of learning.

The goals of Gifted Services include the following:

  • Identify students in grades K-12 in Specific Academic Aptitude(s) and Visual/Performing Arts Aptitude
  • Provide appropriate differentiated services based on information provided in the identification process to meet the identified student’s unique learning needs
  • Train teachers and other professional educators who instruct gifted students in learning characteristics and behaviors of gifted children and differentiation of content, skills, activities, and product development
  • Encourage involvement of parents and the community-at-large in the educational program of gifted students

The Office of Gifted Services complies with Virginia Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students based on the following concepts:

  • Giftedness is developmental; it is potential which must be nourished
  • Giftedness is a collection of behaviors which are interactive and dynamic
  • Gifted students share some characteristics with all other children
  • There is variability among the gifted

As the full-time Resource Teacher of the Gifted (RTG) at Abingdon, Ms. Firster provides support for classroom teachers in differentiating the curriculum. Sometimes lessons are planned so that she is able to work with the whole group by co-teaching in the classroom or by modeling strategies for differentiated instruction, and sometimes she works with small groups of gifted and highly able students during pull-out sessions.

Ms. Firster works with the students to develop stronger critical and abstract thinking skills. Some activities the students are engaged in include:

  • S.C.A.M.P.E.R.: The acronym S.C.A.M.P.E.R stands for:
    • Substitute- replace with something else
    • Combine-two or more objects
    • Adapt-change to fit the situation
    • Modify/Minify/Magnify-change size, color, shape
    • Put to other uses-use in another way
    • Eliminate-remove or omit one or more parts
    • Reverse/Rearrange-put in a different order
  • Plus-Minus-Interesting (PMI)
  • Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, Elaboration (FFOE)
  • Mind Mapping
  • Creative Problem Solving Process
  • Higher-Level Questioning
  • Advanced Novel Studies and Author Studies
  • deBono’s Hats
    • Red Hat: Intuition and feelings
    • Yellow Hat: Benefits
    • Purple Hat: Caution, problems and assessment
    • Green Hat: Creativity and different ideas
    • White Hat: Information and questions
    • Blue Hat: Organization of thinking

Some past fun projects:

  • Content through the use of Robotics (Sphero, Ozobots, Lego, and Drones)
  • Programming with block coding and JavaScript, and Python
  • Coding basics with all grade levels
  • Genius Hour – 20% Time in the classroom
  • Integration of Virtual Reality Headsets into the curriculum
  • Digital storytelling with Scratch and Scratch Jr.
  • Stop motion and green screen filming projects
  • Stories in Picture: uses digital photography to tell stories using PhotoStory
  • Building Architecture through History
  • Reflections Poetry Contest
  • Hands-On Equations: a visual, kinesthetic and pictorial math program for introducing algebraic concepts to elementary school students
  • Several Field Trips: including the Smithsonian Museums, the Cathedral, Imax Movies, Musicals and Plays
  • Liberty Kids: students quizzed Congressmen and Staffers on the constitution in DC
  • Continental Math League Competition
  • Student-run Podcast Channel
  • Artist Studies
  • Webquests and Research Projects
  • PowerPoint Presentations and Speech Writing
  • Bubble Geometry
  • Greek Myth Claymation Stories

Ms. Firster employs many different digital tools, robotics, and strategies to model differentiation for teachers and students.

Check out this Symbaloo webmix to see some helpful online resources.

You can scroll up and down, left and right to see the entire webmix.


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Jacqueline Firster✨

RT @LaureateAPS: We are so excited to meet our Summer Laureate Session B students on Monday morning for 2 weeks of fun #STEM learning! @APS
Published July 21, 19 5:30AM

Jacqueline Firster✨

RT @alexa99: Modern smartphones have enough computing power to guide 120 million Apollo spacecraft to the moon at once #Apollo50th https://…
Published July 20, 19 1:21PM