Meeting the Need of Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom
What sets gifted children apart from other students in a classroom? It is primarily the ability to absorb abstract concepts, organize them more effectively, and apply them more appropriately. The following suggestions will help you develop a classroom environment that will challenge and nurture gifted learners.
Create an Independent Project activity. You will find that many gifted and talented students tend to have a lot of extra time on their hands in your classroom because they finish their work rather quickly. Use this time to help them develop their creativity by allowing them to explore a special area of interest related to the topic being studied.
Involve gifted and high achieving students in an academic competition. These highly motivating events can be held right at your school and have relatively inexpensive registration fees. They are computer driven and test students' knowledge in a variety of academic disciplines. Not only do they challenge students academically, they provide an opportunity to develop skills in leadership and group dynamics. Here are two organizations that can provide competitions and more information.
Plan "vertical enrichment" activities with gifted students. Design assignments or projects that go above and beyond what is covered in the regular classroom. Don't just give gifted students "more of the same." There are a number of educational products designed for gifted and talented students that can be easily adapted into regular classroom activities. Here is a list of vendors offering affordable materials that can be used to challenge students in a range of academic disciplines while developing their higher level thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.
Don't turn your gifted student into a tutor or teacher's aide! Instead, find a mentor who is willing to work with him/her in an area of interest. Start with the parents of students at your school. Ask other teachers. Contact local organizations. The bottom line is that you want to help the gifted student reach his/her potential and tapping outside expertise is sometimes necessary. Gifted children need "tutors," too!
Let Bloom's Taxonomy become your guide in working with gifted students. This web site explains clearly and simply each level of Bloom's Taxonomy - a model of critical thinking that progresses from the most basic level to the most complex. Examples of appropriate questions are given as well as illustrations for use in the classroom. Gifted students should be asked to utilize the upper three levels - analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Below are some examples of lesson planning "actions" that should be incorporated when planning activities for gifted students.
Incorporate Multiple Intelligences into your lessons! Developed by Harvard Professor of Education Howard Gardner, this Theory of Multiple Intelligences states that all people possess at least seven different kinds of intelligences - linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, body-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. These intelligences exist in varying degrees within each individual. Applying this theory to your classroom activities ensures that every student will be individually challenged in one or more specific area. The multiple intelligences web site provides many practical ideas for using Multiple Intelligences across the curriculum.
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