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Teacher Tip of the Week

12/04/2017 - 12/08/2017

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

and Gifted Education

* The CCSS incorporate more rigorous content and the development of higher level thinking than was consistently present in many individual states' standards. They include evidence-based practices and content specifically designed to increase student success beyond K-12, in the workplace, and in the global community.

* The CCSS are not, however, sufficient on their own for gifted learners, and if adhered to without differentiation, may limit learning of gifted students. Specifically, the following statements come directly from the CCSS developers: (http://www.corestandards.org/ELALiteracy/introduction/key-design-consideration)

     * "While the Standards focus on what is most essential,
                   they do not describe all that can or should be taught."

     * "The Standards do not define the nature of advanced
                    work for students who meet the 
                    Standards prior to the end of high school."

     * "The Standards set grade-specific standards but do not
                   define the intervention methods or materials necessary 
                   to support students who are well below or well above  
                   grade-level expectations."

Curriculum for gifted students should align to the CCSS, but not be limited to the CCSS. Gifted curriculum should also include advanced content, acceleration in depth and pace, complexity,
enrichment, and differentiated instruction and assessment.

(http://www.nagc.org/CommonCoreStateStandards.aspx)

 

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/GT%20and%20Common%20Core.pdf

 

 

 

 

11/27/2017 - 12/01/2017

Teacher Accountability

Professional evaluations call for objective measures related to student growth as well as additional evidence of effective teaching and professional practice.

*  Pre-tests for specific goals, for units, or for a year provide an accurate measure of a student's knowledge of upcoming content and skills. These pretests establish the baseline for growth and the instructional level needed. They are locally developed if state accountability measures do not contain adequate ceilings.

*  Post-tests aligned with the pre-tests provide evidence that the change in student performance can be attributed to instruction.

*  Professional practice includes the use of student data to plan instruction. Data provide evidence of the need for and planning of differentiation.

*  Professional practice includes participation in professional development for meeting the needs of students with high abilities.

*  Classroom observation of gifted student instruction includes assessment of specific elements of instruction that are effective for these learners. Assessing Classroom Differentiation is an observation tool that can be found at http://www.nagc.org/administratortoolbox.aspx.

*  Personnel knowledgeable about gifted learners are included at all levels of curriculum, instruction, and assessment decision-making.

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Accountability%20for%20GT%20students.pdf

 

 

 

 

11/13/2017 - 11/17/2017

Gifted Student Growth Cannot Be Measured on Many Assessments

* Current measures are commonly criterion referenced to grade-level standards, resulting in an inability for gifted learners to demonstrate knowledge above grade level for the baseline or later measurements. Measures constructed using a vertical scale of continuous progress over multiple grade levels are needed to assess growth for individual students.

* Elementary gifted students were shown to know 40-50% of the grade-level curriculum on the first day of school. (http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/reports/rm93106/rm93106.pdf)

Computer adaptive accountability systems may be able to address a greater range of student performance. Above grade or off-level testing can be effective in demonstrating higher level performance or the appropriateness of above-grade placement for instruction.

Achievement assessments that are standardized, norm referenced, and have high enough ceilings can give good information about what gifted students already know and have learned since previous testing. These are useful for instructional planning as well as accountability.

Items that assess critical thinking and not just knowledge and comprehension are needed.

A position paper co-authored by NAGC and CEC-TAG may be helpful http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=6296.

 

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Accountability%20for%20GT%20students.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

11/06/2017 - 11/10/2017 

Accountability Depends on Appropriate Measurement

* States, districts, buildings, and classrooms are accountable for the learning growth for all students.

* The most meaningful measure is not the percentage of students demonstrating a minimal level of proficiency, but rather the number of students who demonstrate an agreed upon amount of growth, over a specified period of time, as a result of their educational placement.

* Gifted learners have been found to experience 18 - 21 months of academic growth in 12 months when provided appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction. (http://nagc.org/index.aspx?id=4450)

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Accountability%20for%20GT%20students.pdf

 

 

 

 

10/30/2017 - 11/03/2017

Differentiated Learning for High Ability

The environment that nurtures the development of advanced potential is differentiated in at least 5 ways

Learner - learner needs and characteristics influence all areas of learning

*  The pace is appropriate for those who rapidly assimilate content, but also allows for reflective responses

*  Opportunities exist for the student to pursue areas of in-depth interest

*  Consideration is made for student level of intensity and sensitivity

Environment

*  The teacher - licensed or in-depth training in how to alter the learning experience specifically for gifted learners

*  The classmates - achievement gains are the greatest when gifted learners are grouped with ability peers and provided differentiated curriculum and instruction.

Curriculum (Content)

*  What is taught - best determined at the district level in a Scope and Sequence or using curriculum mapping

*  This includes the subjects and topics to be taught

*  This will be above grade level and/or in greater depth - accelerated and enriched

*  The materials used will be at a more advanced reading level and level of complexity

*  Interdisciplinary when possible

*  Whole-to-part approach for a conceptual focus

Instruction (Process)

*  This is how the content is presented

*  This includes differentiation based upon different levels of previous knowledge; it also may be further differentiated by student interests, or learning styles

*  This includes activities primarily directed at the highest cognitive levels of thinking

*  This emphasizes problem solving and extending learning in creative ways

*  The pace of instruction is faster than for average learners

*  Students use information to construct their own knowledge and to make connections across disciplines

*  Student develop the approaches and habits of experts in the field of study

Assessment (Product)

*  Pre-assessment for prior knowledge is included so that instruction can be planned accordingly

*  Products will demonstrate the student's ability to communicate effectively in oral, written, and visual formats

*  Assessments are authentic and for real audiences when possible

*  The level of understanding should demonstrate the highest levels of thinking

*  Products will demonstrate problem solving and extension of content

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/differentiated%20learning%20-%20diagram.pdf

 

 

 

10/23/2017 - 10/27/2017

Learners with Advanced Potential

Students with advanced potential (high ability students, gifted): those who perform at, or show the potential to perform at an outstanding level of achievement when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment. This definition refers to several different types of students including those who have:

Demonstrated High Achievement: Any student with advanced potential who has demonstrated high achievement in a given domain

* Prodigy: Any exceptionally gifted or talented child in a particular domain whose performance may mirror that of an accomplished adult

* Creative Producer

* Above Grade Achiever: Any students whose achievement is one or more grade levels above what would be expected given his or her chronological age.

Underdeveloped Achievement: Any student with advanced potential whose achievement may be lower than would be expected given his or her potential. Possible reasons for this underdeveloped achievement may include:

* Twice Exceptional: Student with advanced potential who has an additional exceptionality, including students with learning disabilities, emotional or behavior disorders, or physical disabilities.

* Low Socioeconomic Status: Student with advanced potential who has not had opportunities to learn due to poverty

* Culturally/Linguistically Diverse: Student with advanced potential who is from a minority race or ethnicity, and/or whose primary spoken language is not English

* Underachiever: Student with advanced potential who is not achieving commensurate with ability due to affective issues such as lack of motivation, family dynamics, peer influence, or depression.

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/learners%20w%20advanced%20potential%20-%20diagram.pdf

 

 

10/16/2017 - 10/20/2017

Responsibilities for educating gifted children: Building Administrator

* Aligning the implementation of student services with the district design

* Facilitating delivery of services for students, such as scheduling classes to facilitate differentiation of student instruction through
grouping and collaboration

* Providing leadership in analysis of student achievement data

* Providing in-depth training opportunities in gifted education to maximize both teacher and student performance.

* Addressing parental concerns for the appropriate academic challenge for individual students.

 

Classroom Teacher

* Using the developed curriculum and differentiating instruction with students with advanced potential

* Monitoring the achievement of students with advanced potential

* Educating oneself on the unique social, emotional, and cognitive needs of gifted students

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Shared%20Respons%20for%20Diff%20for%20GT%20Learners.pdf

 

 

 

10/09/2017 - 10/13/2017

District Administrator Responsibilities For Gifted Students Include:

* Aligning the philosophy, goals, and commitment for the development of students with advanced potential with district goals for the development of all students.

Creating flexible policies regarding student placement to meet the needs of individual students

Requiring specified training for teachers who have responsibility for students with advanced potential.

Ensuring that curriculum for gifted students is mapped and articulated K-12 for systematic development of their academic potential

Organizing services, programs, classes, personnel, and student placements to facilitate the delivery of advanced and differentiated

curriculum.

Designing and implementing a multifaceted identification plan that includes measures that are valid and reliable and that will find those

students with outstanding performance and those with potential for outstanding performance from all cultural groups.

Involving the stakeholders in the planning of services, in communicating about the program, and designing the evaluation of

effectiveness of those services.

 

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Shared%20Respons%20for%20Diff%20for%20GT%20Learners.pdf

 

 

 

 

09/25/2017-09/29/2017

Advanced Performance and Program Effectiveness

*Statewide and district assessments allow for above-grade achievement and individual growth.

*Some gifted students need additional opportunities for above-level work, such as taking high school

courses in middle school; college level work while in high school.

*Evidence of advanced performance is collected and used for decision making across each domain included in a talent development framework.

*Evaluating program effectiveness analyzes outcomes, solicits feedback, looks for program coherence, and provides direction for future improvements based upon data.

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Critical%20Content%20of%20GT.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

09/18/2017-09/22/2017

Provide Appropriately Differentiated Learning Experiences

* Gifted students show greater achievement gains when they have opportunities to learn together. bility grouping for the gifted is an evidence-based practice.

* Grouping must be accompanied by more in-depth curriculum and more rigorous instructional methods for gains to occur.

* Greater learning gains occur when challenge is provided daily in the talent area.

* Gifted students benefit from opportunities to pursue individual interests in depth.

* Acceleration combined with enrichment (tied to content) is needed for optimal growth.

* Gifted learners respond well to a faster pace of instruction with more complex and in-depth content.

* An acceleration policy establishes procedures for learners capable of more rapid progression.

* Quality instruction develops critical and creative thinking.

* Further differentiation of gifted services, curriculum, pacing, and instruction is necessary to meet individual needs. This is true even within programs such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.

* Some gifted students will need additional and ongoing supports in order to be successful.

* Teachers of gifted students need ongoing specialized professional development led by qualified individuals with deep content knowledge and experience in gifted education.

* Learning experiences should be developed and articulated across K-12 for systematic talent development.

* Gifted students benefit from differentiated guidance and counseling services and deliberate cultivation of intrapersonal skills that support a commitment to high achievement.

 

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Critical%20Content%20of%20GT.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

09/11/2017-09/15/2017

Gifted Student Considerations

     Multifaceted systems are necessary for identification to find all students with advanced potential from all income, racial, and cultural groups to be certain we are accountable to developing their potential.

     It is unrealistic to expect high school students with advanced potential to perform at high levels if they have not had previous and continuous opportunity to work at an advanced level. (http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/ForgottenMiddleSummary.pdf )

     Identifying students with advanced potential and providing services beginning in Kindergarten is needed or high performance from many is lost. (www.jkcf.org/assets/files/0000/0084/Achievement_Trap.pdf )

     Curriculum, instruction, and assessment must be modified to meet the needs of gifted learners.

     Assessment systems need to be designed to measure growth for all students, including those capable of above-grade level achievement.

     The performance of advanced students needs to be monitored to ensure continued learning gains. (www nagc.org/administratortoolbox.aspx)

Implications: The responsibility is shared

     States: expect and monitor annual growth of all student groups, including the gifted, and report that growth by the disaggregated group.

     Districts: design appropriate policies, services, and professional development for teachers of the gifted.

     Buildings: implement services and assess teacher effectiveness in developing potential of gifted students.

     Teachers: provide appropriately differentiated learning experiences for gifted students.

     Parents: become educated about how to develop talents and good work habits in gifted children.

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Rationale%20for%20Gifted%20Ed.pdf

 

 

 

 

09/04/2017-09/08/2017

Definition and Rationale for Gifted Education

What is "gifted"? The term is specifically defined in some state codes, but may be called "high ability," "talented," or other designation. The field of study devoted to understanding these children and how to provide for their development is called "gifted education."

NAGC definition: “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains." (http://www.nagc.org/WhatisGiftedness.aspx )

NOTE: In schools, the term gifted recognizes exceptionality in aptitude or achievement that requires appropriately differentiated services in order for the student(s) to develop to their potential.

Rationale: Regardless of the state and the varying code and rule requirements
*Developing and nurturing high performance supports the future prosperity of our nation, state, community, and of individuals.

*Most gifted students are not developing to the level their potential would indicate is possible. (http://edexcellencemedia.net/publications/2011/20110920_HighFlyers/Do_High_Flyers_Maintain_Their_Altitude_FINAL.pdf )

*In the normal distribution of ability and/or of achievement, 68% score near the mean; students far from the mean require different educational experiences to develop optimally or at all.

*All children deserve the opportunity to learn something new each day.

*Schools have a responsibility to meet the learning needs of all students. Gifted children are found in all income, cultural, and racial groups; gifted children may also have one or more disabilities.

*Most teachers say their brightest students are bored and under challenged. (http://www.edexcellence.net/publications/high-achieving-students-in.html )

*Most teachers have no training in working with gifted learners. (http://www.edexcellencemedia.net/publications/2008/200806_highachievingstudentsintheeraofnochildleftbehind/20080625-farkas-pp.pdf )

*In classroom observations, most learning activities are not differentiated for gifted learners. (http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=538)

 

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Rationale%20for%20Gifted%20Ed.pdf

 

 

 

 

08/28/2017 - 09/01/2017

Inappropriate Instruction for Gifted Learners

  1. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do things they already know how to do, and then to wait for others to learn how. Many advanced learners regularly complete assignments calling on materials, ideas and skills they have already mastered. Then they wait for peers to catch up, rather than being pre-assessed and assigned more advanced materials, ideas and skills when they demonstrate competency.
  2. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do "more of the same stuff faster." Reading more books that are too easy and doing more math problems that have ceased being a challenge are killers of motivation and interest.
  3.  Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it cuts them loose from peers and the teacher for long periods of time. Asking a highly able student to sit at a desk in the back of the room and move through the math book alone ignores a child's need for affiliation, and overlooks the fact that a teacher should be a crucial factor in all children's learning. It also violates the importance of meaningful peer interaction in the learning process, as well as in the process of social and emotional development.
  4. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is structured around "filling time." Highly able students are often asked to go write a play, complete a puzzle, or do classroom chores because they have completed required tasks that take others longer. It would be difficult to defend such practices as a high-quality use of educational time.
  5. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when they spend substantial time in the role of tutor or "junior teacher." All students need to be colleagues for one another, giving a hand or clarifying procedures  when needed. That's quite different from when advanced learners spend chunks of time on a regular basis teaching what they already know to students who are having difficulty. Some educators suggest that doesn't harm highly able learners because their test scores remain high. That begs the question of the extended learning these students might have garnered had the same amount of time been spent in pursuit of well-planned new ideas and skills.
  6. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is rooted in novel, "enriching" or piecemeal learning experiences. If a child were a very talented pianist, we would question the quality of her music teacher if the child regularly made toy pianos, read stories about peculiar happenings in the music world, and did word-search puzzles on the names of musicians. Rather, we would expect the student to work directly with the theory and performance of music in a variety of forms and at consistently escalating levels of complexity. We would expect the young pianist to be learning how a musician thinks and works, and to be developing a clear sense  of her own movement toward expert-level performance in piano. Completing word-search puzzles, building musical instruments and reading about oddities in the lives of composers may be novel, may be "enriching,"(and certainly seems lacking in coherent scope and sequence, and therefore sounds piecemeal). But those things will not foster high-level talent development in music. The same hold true for math, history, science, and so on.
     

It's Actually Simple—In Theory

What it takes to teach gifted learners well is actually a little common sense. It begins with the premise that each child should come to school to stretch and grow daily. It includes the expectation that the measure of progress and growth is competition with oneself rather than competition against others. It resides in the notion that educators understand key concepts, principles and skills of subject domains, and present those in ways that cause highly able students to wonder and grasp, and extend their reach. And it envisions schooling as an escalator on which students continually progress, rather than a series of stairs, with landings on which advanced learners consistently wait.
It's not so hard to articulate. It's fiendishly difficult to achieve in schools where standardization is the norm, and where teachers are supported in being recipe followers, rather than flexible and reflective artisans. In schools where responsive instruction is a carefully supported indicator of professional growth, the capacity to extend even the most capable mind is a benchmark of success.

https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/what-it-means-teach-gifted-learners-well

 

 

 

08/21/2017 - 08/25/2017

Good Instruction for Gifted Learners

  1. Good curriculum and instruction for gifted learners begins with good curriculum and instruction. It's difficult, if not impossible, to develop the talent of a highly able student with insipid curriculum and instruction. Like all students, gifted learners need learning experiences that are rich. That is, they need learning experiences that are organized by key concepts and principles of a discipline rather than by facts. They need content that is relevant to their lives, activities that cause them to process important ideas at a high level, and products that cause them to grapple with meaningful problems and pose defensible solutions. They need classrooms that are respectful to them, provide both structure and choice, and help them achieve more than they thought they could. These are needs shared by all learners, not just those who are gifted. But good instruction for gifted learners must begin there.
     
  2. Good teaching for gifted learners is paced in response to the student's individual needs. Often, highly able students learn more quickly than others their age. As a result, they typically need a more rapid instructional pace than do many of their peers. Educators sometimes call that "acceleration," which makes the pace sound risky. For many gifted learners, however, it's the comfortable pace-like walking "quickly" suits someone with very long legs. It's only "fast" for someone with shorter legs. On the other hand, it's often the case that advanced learners need a slower pace of instruction than many other students their age, so they can achieve a depth or breadth of understanding needed to satisfy a big appetite for knowing.
     
  3. Good teaching for gifted learners happens at a higher "degree of difficulty" than for many students their age. In the Olympics, the most accomplished divers perform dives that have a higher "degree of difficulty" than those performed by divers whose talents are not as advanced. A greater degree of difficulty calls on more skills-more refined skills-applied at a higher plane of sophistication. A high "degree of difficulty" for gifted learners in their talent areas implies that their content, processes and products should be more complex, more abstract, more open-ended, more multifaceted than would be appropriate for many peers. They should work with fuzzier problems, will often need less teacher-imposed structure, and (in comparison to the norm) should have to make greater leaps of insight and transfer than would be appropriate for many their age. Gifted learners may also (but not always) be able to function with a greater degree of independence than their peers.
     
  4. Good teaching for gifted learners requires an understanding of "supported risk." Highly able learners often make very good grades with relative ease for a long time in school. They see themselves (and often rightly so) as expected to make "As," get right answers, and lead the way. In other words, they succeed without "normal" encounters with failure. Then, when a teacher presents a high-challenge task, the student feels threatened. Not only has he or she likely not learned to study hard, take risks and strive, but the student's image is threatened as well. A good teacher of gifted students understands that dynamic, and thus invites, cajoles and insists on risk-but in a way that supports success. When a good gymnastics coach asks a talented young gymnast to learn a risky new move, the coach ensures that the young person has the requisite skills, then practices the move in harness for a time.   Then the coach "spots" for the young athlete. Effective teachers of gifted learners do likewise.
     

https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/what-it-means-teach-gifted-learners-well

 

 

 

08/14/2017 - 08/18/2017

Gifted children exhibit a high ability to make meaning out of complex concepts or problems, while high achieving students show exemplary ability to utilize and apply the skills and procedures they have learned. The chart below provides distinguishing characteristics (I have highlighted some of the more challenging identifying characteristics) :

A Bright Child… A Gifted Learner…
Knows the answers Asks the questions
Is interested Is highly curious
Is attentive Is mentally and physically involved
Has good ideas Has wild, silly ideas
Works hard Plays around, yet tests well
Answers the questions Discusses in detail, elaborates
Top group Beyond the group
Listens with interest Shows strong feelings and opinions
Learns with ease Already knows
6-8 repetitions for mastery 1-2 repetitions for mastery
Understands ideas Constructs abstractions
Enjoys peers Prefers adults
Grasps the meaning Draws inferences
Completes assignments Initiates projects
Is receptive Is intense
Copies accurately Creates a new design
Enjoys school Enjoys learning
Absorbs information Manipulates information
Technician Inventor
Good memorizer Good guesser
Enjoys straightforward sequential presentation Thrives on complexity
Is alert Is keenly observant
Is pleased with own learning Is highly self-critical

 

Bright Child Gifted Learner by Janice Szabos, Challenge Magazine, 1989, Issue 34, Page 4
First Chart Source: Seattle Public Schools

 

http://www.dublinschools.net/Downloads/brightchild.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/6/2017-2/10/2017

After reviewing the Gifted Student Progress Reports it appears that several teachers are having difficulty in their classrooms with gifted underacheivement. In Nurturing Our Future, A Publication of the State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education, Kentucky Department of Education, there is an article that adresses the concern of underachievement. I have posted this article here for your reference.

 

Remember that a gifted child’s strengths are part of the child, but do not entirely define the child. Giftedness is asynchronous development and the child may appear average or even “below average” in some settings on some types of activities. For a child with extremely high ability in one or more areas, age-appropriate responses may be characterized as “immature.” A “childish” response — frustration with injustices, nonconformity, perfectionism, inappropriate comments — may result from cognitive skills and awareness beyond the child’s ability to act. Be aware of student strengths and needs and help to build coping strategies and skills — social, time-management, affective, and academic — that will be needed to allow the child’s experiences to keep pace with the strengths.

 

What is underachievement and how Does it affect gifted students?

Underachievement

Underachievement is the significant gap between a student’s potential ability and demonstrated achievement to a degree that there is an overall diminished ability to achieve at the expected level of ability. Unfortunately, many current educational settings foster underachievement because students sit unchallenged and are expected to wait to learn new skills or content. As students associate success with school tasks that come easily (or that represent skills/content already known), they face a diminished ability and willingness to attempt tasks that may represent an appropriate level of challenge.

Students who underachieve are often recognizable as the students who don’t seem to be working up to their potential. These may be students who demonstrated significant potential earlier in their school career, yet that high potential is not recognized in their current work. Underachieving students may do well on tests, but fail to complete or turn in daily assignments. Underachieving students may withdraw from the class by daydreaming, sleeping, or doodling; or they may begin to misbehave and become behavior problems. Another group of underachieving students gets fairly good grades (maybe even A’s and B’s), but do so with no effort and are not given opportunities to show what they truly have the potential to do.

A consistent pattern of underachievement creates students who may lack cognitive skills, study skills, and task persistence that will allow them to succeed when faced by work at an appropriate level of challenge. It is important that steps be taken to improve underachievement whenever the pattern emerges in order to keep underachievement habits from becoming too deeply entrenched in student work habits.

Underachievement Interventions

Always pretest to find what students have mastered, then use results of pretesting to design instruction. The pretest can be helpful to underachieving students by showing areas of mastery and by identifying needs. Validating what students know by excusing them from tasks that pretests show they have mastered has been shown to be a strong motivational tool.

Good diagnostic data on strengths and needs of underachieving students, as well as a profile of interests and passions is invaluable. Once this information is available, the preferences of underachievers can be used to design tasks just as diagnostic data can be used to provide instruction to eliminate skill gaps that interfere with the underachiever’s willingness to attempt tasks.

Compacting, acceleration, and contracting are all valuable strategies to use to reverse underachievement. Each of these strategies validates student mastery, provides opportunities for student choice, and provides practice with study skills, time management skills, and research skills so that underachievers feel more empowered and feel greater ownership in their own education.

Keys to Reversing Underachievement:

• Provide specific, diagnostic feedback.

• Identify and recognize small improvements in underachiever’s work habits.

• Make tasks meaningful and be able to justify what students are asked to do.

• Provide opportunity for student choice.

• Establish and communicate clear criteria for success.

• Be patient. Underachievement patterns took time to become habits. It takes time to break habits.

 

http://education.ky.gov/specialed/GT/Documents/Nurturing%20Our%20Future%20A%20Parents%20Guide%20to%20meeting%20the%20Needs%20of%20Kentuckys%20Gifted%20and%20Talented%20Youth.pdf

 

 

 

1/30/2017-2/03/2017

I came across this and thought it may be helpful to teachers for understanding their students. If you have any questions about a certin students IQ score you can contact me and I will get that information to you.
 

 

The Secret Weapon:
An IQ-to-Grade Conversion Chart

 

by Valerie Bock

 

This table was originally published on the GT-Families mailing list as the Secret Weapon. It got that name because it is guarded closely by the special education folks in the poster's district, not because the information it provides is anything resembling groundbreaking.

 

This chart is nothing more than the result of calculating a range of values from the definition of IQ which calculates IQ as the ratio of mental age (MA) to chronological age (CA) For this reason, the original source of the chart (which has been lost to the ages) is not relevant.

 

When the simplicity of the calculation is considered, several weaknesses of this chart as diagnostic instrument for the purpose of determining appropriate placement are revealed. The chart takes no account of individual differences.

 

Learning Expectancy Level

 

Estimated Ages and Grade Level Expectations For Increasing Chronological Ages And Intelligence Quotient Scores
 
  CA 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0 15.0 16.0
IQ Mental Age =IQ/100*CA
Grade Level=Mental Age-5
30   1.4 1.6 1.9 2.1 2.4 2.7 3.0 3.3 3.6 3.9      
                           
35   1.4 1.8 2.1 2.5 2.8 3.2 3.5 3.9 4.2 4.6 4.9 5.3 5.6
                           
40   1.6 2.0 2.4 2.8 3.2 3.6 4.0 4.4 4.8 5.2 5.6 6.0 6.4
                    K K 1.0 1.4
45   1.8 2.3 2.7 3.2 3.6 4.1 4.5 5.0 5.4 5.9 6.3 6.8 7.2
                K K.4 0.9 1.3 1.8 2.2
50   2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0
              K K 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
55   2.2 2.8 3.3 3.9 4.4 5.0 5.5 6.1 6.6 7.2 7.7 8.3 8.8
            K K.5 1.1 1.6 2.2 2.7 3.3 3.8
60   2.4 3.0 3.6 4.2 4.8 5.4 6.0 6.6 7.2 7.8 8.4 9.0 9.6
            K.4 1.0 1.6 2.2 2.8 3.4 4.0 4.6
65   2.6 3.3 3.9 4.6 5.2 5.9 6.5 7.2 7.8 8.5 9.1 9.8 10.4
          K.2 K.9 1.5 2.2 2.8 3.5 4.1 4.8 5.4
70   2.8 3.5 4.2 4.9 5.6 6.3 7.0 7.7 8.4 9.1 9.8 10.5 11.2
          K.6 1.3 2.0 2.7 3.4 4.1 4.8 5.5 6.2
75   3.0 3.8 4.5 5.3 6.0 6.8 7.5 8.3 9.0 9.8 10.5 11.3 12.0
        K.3 1.0 1.8 2.5 3.3 4.0 4.8 5.5 6.3 7.0
80   3.2 4.0 4.8 5.6 6.4 7.2 8.0 8.8 9.6 10.4 11.2 12.0 12.8
        K.6 1.4 2.2 3.0 3.8 4.6 5.4 6.2 7.0 7.8
85   3.4 4.3 5.1 6.0 6.8 7.7 8.5 9.4 10.2 11.1 11.9 12.8 13.6
      K.1 1.0 1.8 2.7 3.5 4.4 5.2 6.1 6.9 7.8 8.6
90   3.6 4.5 5.4 6.3 7.2 8.1 9.0 9.9 10.8 11.7 12.6 13.5 14.4
      K.4 1.3 2.2 3.1 4.0 4.9 5.8 6.7 7.6 8.5 9.4
95   3.8 4.8 5.7 6.7 7.6 8.6 9.5 10.5 11.4 12.4 13.3 14.3 15.2
      K.7 1.7 2.6 3.6 4.5 5.5 6.4 7.4 8.3 9.3 10.2
100   4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0 15.0 16.0
    K 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0
105   4.2 5.3 6.3 7.4 8.4 9.5 10.5 11.6 12.6 13.7 14.7 15.8 16.8
    K.3 1.3 2.4 3.4 4.5 5.5 6.6 7.6 8.7 9.7 10.8 11.8
110   4.4 5.5 6.6 7.7 8.8 9.9 11.0 12.1 13.2 14.3 15.4 16.5 17.6
    K.5 1.6 2.7 3.8 4.9 6.0 7.1 8.2 9.3 10.4 11.5 12.6
115   4.6 5.8 6.9 8.1 9.2 10.4 11.5 12.7 13.8 15.0 16.1 17.3 18.4
    K.8 1.9 3.1 4.2 5.4 6.5 7.7 8.8 10.0 11.1 12.3 13.4
120   4.8 6.0 7.2 8.4 9.6 10.8 12.0 13.2 14.4 15.6 16.8 18.0 19.2
    1.0 2.2 3.4 4.6 5.8 7.0 8.2 9.4 10.6 11.8 13.0 14.2
125   5.0 6.3 7.5 8.8 10.0 11.3 12.5 13.8 15.0 16.3 17.5 18.8 20.0
  K 1.3 2.5 3.8 5.0 6.3 7.5 8.8 10.0 11.3 12.5 13.8 15.0
130   5.2 6.5 7.8 9.1 10.4 11.7 13.0 14.3 15.6 16.9 18.2 19.5 20.8
  K.2 1.5 2.8 4.1 5.4 6.7 8.0 9.3 10.6 11.9 13.2 14.5 15.8
135   5.4 6.8 8.1 9.5 10.8 12.2 13.5 14.9 16.2 17.6 18.9 20.3 21.6
  K.4 1.8 3.1 4.5 5.8 7.2 8.5 9.9 11.2 12.6 13.9 15.3 16.6
140   5.6 7.0 8.4 9.8 11.2 12.6 14.0 15.4 16.8 18.2 19.6 21.0 22.4
  K.6 2.0 3.4 4.8 6.2 7.6 9.0 10.4 11.8 13.2 14.6 16.0 17.4
145   5.8 7.3 8.7 10.2 11.6 13.1 14.5 16.0 17.4 18.9 20.3 21.8 23.2
  K.8 2.3 3.7 5.2 6.6 8.1 9.5 11.0 12.4 13.9 15.3 16.8 18.2
150   6.0 7.5 9.0 10.5 12.0 13.5 15.0 16.5 18.0 19.5 21.0 22.5 24.0
  1.0 2.5 4.0 5.5 7.0 8.5 10.0 11.5 13.0 14.5 16.0 17.5 19.0
155   6.2 7.8 9.3 10.9 12.4 14.0 15.5 17.1 18.6 20.2 21.7 23.3 24.8
  1.2 2.8 4.3 5.9 7.4 9.0 10.5 12.1 13.6 15.2 16.7 18.3 19.8
160   6.4 8.0 9.6 11.2 12.8 14.4 16.0 17.6 19.2 20.8 22.4 24.0 25.6
  1.4 3.0 4.6 6.2 7.8 9.4 11.0 12.6 14.2 15.8 17.4 19.0 20.6
165   6.6 8.3 9.9 11.6 13.2 14.9 16.5 18.2 19.8 21.5 23.1 24.8 26.4
  1.6 3.3 4.9 6.6 8.2 9.9 11.5 13.2 14.8 16.5 18.1 19.8 21.4
170   6.8 8.5 10.2 11.9 13.6 15.3 17.0 18.7 20.4 22.1 23.8 25.5 27.2
  1.8 3.5 5.2 6.9 8.6 10.3 12.0 13.7 15.4 17.1 18.8 20.5 22.2
175   7.0 8.8 10.5 12.3 14.0 15.8 17.5 19.3 21.0 22.8 24.5 26.3 28.0
  2.0 3.8 5.5 7.3 9.0 10.8 12.5 14.3 16.0 17.8 19.5 21.3 23.0
180   7.2 9.0 10.8 12.6 14.4 16.2 18.0 19.8 21.6 23.4 25.2 27.0 28.8
  2.2 4.0 5.8 7.6 9.4 11.2 13.0 14.8 16.6 18.4 20.2 22.0 23.8
185   7.4 9.3 11.1 13.0 14.8 16.7 18.5 20.4 22.2 24.1 25.9 27.8 29.6
  2.4 4.3 6.1 8.0 9.8 11.7 13.5 15.4 17.2 19.1 20.9 22.8 24.6
190   7.6 9.5 11.4 13.3 15.2 17.1 19.0 20.9 22.8 24.7 26.6 28.5 30.4
  2.6 4.5 6.4 8.3 10.2 12.1 14.0 15.9 17.8 19.7 21.6 23.5 25.4
195   7.8 9.8 11.7 13.7 15.6 17.6 19.5 21.5 23.4 25.4 27.3 29.3 31.2
  2.8 4.8 6.7 8.7 10.6 12.6 14.5 16.5 18.4 20.4 22.3 24.3 26.2
200   8.0 10.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 18.0 20.0 22.0 24.0 26.0 28.0 30.0 32.0
  3.0 5.0 7.0 9.0 11.0 13.0 15.0 17.0 19.0 21.0 23.0 25.0 27.0

http://gtworld.org/  

 

 

 

1/23/2017-1/27/2017

Pull-Out Programs/Specialized Classes

Gifted programming can be provided in a combination of ways, including pull-out programs; special classes in a subject or interest area; special state schools (e.g., Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities) or local magnet schools; afterschool, Saturday, or summer programs; Advanced Placement, International Baccaleaureate, or other dual-enrollment courses; distance learning; and other similar services.
  • In a study of four provisions for teaching mathematically talented students, one researcher found positive effects for using pull-out grouping to include good interaction between teachers and students, significant progress in level of skills, and increases in motivation. In a mathematics pull-out group with same-age peers, where the students were pulled from different classes other than their regular mathematics instruction, the teacher reported that the group met the needs of her students who showed more ability in mathematics, increased their motivation, and evidenced students’ learning new knowledge. The students in the group shared positive attitudes toward the group and the chance to work with similar ability peers. In a second group, which included peers of different ages and abilities within their regular math class, all of the children progressed to the highest level of attainment on the math assessment by the end of the term. These children also reported positive feelings toward the group, and the teacher felt confident their needs had been met at the close of the service. [1]
  • Additionally, the students in a pull-out program in grades 3-6 in South Korea said thy felt their pull-out classes had significantly higher levels of interest, challenge, and enjoyment in their pull-out classes than their regular classes. After a review of literature on pull-out programs, the researchers for this study noted that teachers knowledgeable about gifted education in combination with more advanced curricula resulted in students’ satisfaction pull-out programs. [2]
  • A longitudinal study of identified gifted students reported that, at age 33, 70% of the students who had taken one or more AP courses or exams in high school had advanced degrees, compared to 43% of those who had not taken such courses. The students who took AP courses also appeared more satisfied with the intellectual caliber of their high school experience than their peers. [3] However, schools should note that AP and IB courses should not be considered the sole components of a gifted program. NAGC advises that the limitations of AP coursework mean that districts must offer additional curriculum options to be considered as having gifted and talented services. [4]
  • Students may also receive services in a specialized state or local magnet school. In one study of specialized math and science high schools, 99% of the students went on to earn a bachelor's degree or higher, with over 50% of the students continuing in challenging science or math fields. [5] Students who attend magnet schools are more likely to commit to succeeding in school, leading them to experience greater satisfaction and improved achievement. Magnet school programs also often work hard to keep their course offerings innovative and challenging to remain competitive among other offerings for advanced students.  [6]
  • Out-of-school options for programming may include specialized courses or programs like the Catalyst Program, a special science course for adolescents with deep interests chemistry. The students in the course felt they improved their ability to present their scientific ideas more effectively and developed a better understanding of the creative process in science research. When surveyed, 18 of the 23 students in the course said it impacted their decision to study the sciences, particularly science research. Additionally 10 of the 23 students suggested the program increased their interest in pursuing research opportunities in general in college. The students also felt they benefited from the intense immersion in science research and the chance to receive mentorships and work with science professionals. [7] Other researchers have also found that students out-of-school enrichment programs such as Saturday programs have reported high levels of interest, challenge, choice, and enjoyment in these course offerings. [8]
  • Another out-of-school option may include enrolling gifted students in specialized distance learning courses (often provided through talent search programs). In a study of the distance learning programs offered through Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, outcomes of the program for gifted students ages 5-17 were examined by looking at both student and parent evaluations and final grades for the courses. Overall, the students and their parents found the course an effective learning experience, suggesting that such programs can be an effective approach for enriching or accelerating in-school opportunities. [9]

 

[1] Dimitriadis, C. (2012b). Provision for mathematically gifted children in primary schools: An investigation of four different methods of organizational provision. Educational Review, 64, 241–260.
[2] Yang, Y., Gentry, M., & Choi, Y. O. (2012). Gifted students’ perceptions of the regular classes and pull-out programs in South Korea. Journal of Advanced Academics, 23, 270–287.
[3] Bleske-Rechek, A., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. (2004). Meeting the educational needs of special populations: Advanced Placement’s role in developing exceptional human capital. Psychological Science, 15, 217–224.
[4] National Association for Gifted Children. (2008). Common gifted education myths. Retrieved from http://www.nagc.org/commonmyths.aspx
?[5] Thomas, J. (2000). First year findings: NCSSSMST longitudinal study. NCSSSMST Journal, 5(2), 4–5. Retrieved from http://ncsssmst.org/conf/100033/JournalS00.pdf??
[6] Thompson, L. (2011). Magnet schools: Offering distinctive learning opportunities. Duke TIP Digest of Gifted Research. Retrieved from https://tip.duke.edu/node/790
[7] Subotnik, R. F., Edmiston, A. M., Cook, L., & Ross, M. D. (2010). Mentoring for talent development, creativity, social skills, and insider knowledge: The APA Catalyst Program. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21, 714–739.
[8] Pereira, N., Peters, S., & Gentry, M. (2010). The My Class Activities instrument as used in Saturday enrichment program evaluation. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21, 568–593.
[9] Wallace, P. (2009). Distance learning for gifted students: Outcomes for elementary, middle, and high school students. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32, 295–320. Retrieved from http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articlesid10610.aspx

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/pull-out-programsspecialized-classes

 

 

 

1/9/2017-1/13/2017

Ten Tips for Teaching Students how to Research and Filter Information

Teaching students research skills is becoming increasingly important. Some refer to the filtering and critical evaluation of information as ‘web literacy’.

Unfortunately, many teachers don’t feel confident with their own skills to be able to assist their students with this. Often this is due to the fact that teachers aren’t actively searching and using material from the internet themselves.

I’m no expert in this area but I have compiled a list of ten tips that I try to give my students to help them with internet research and filtering. I’d love you to add your tips in a comment!

Search: Start with some general key words. If your results aren’t what you want, alter the keywords to make a more specific search. I often encourage my students to put the word “kids” in to find child friendly websites and articles. The  Google Search Education website provides detailed lesson plans on teaching search skills. This cheat sheet also summarises some of Google’s advanced search features.

Delve: Look beyond the first few results. Flick through a few pages if need be. Let students know that many websites use Search Engine Optimisation to improve the visibility of their pages in search results. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the most useful or relevant sites.

Source: Look at the actual URL address to see where you’re going before you click on a search engine result. Use some intuition to decide whether it seems reliable. Is it from a well known site? An educational or government institution? Is it a forum or opinion site?

Validity: Ensure students understand that you cannot believe everything you read. Encourage them to make their own judgement by checking more than one source if they’re not sure.

Purpose: Be wary of websites that are cluttered with advertisements or might be trying to sell you something.

Background: When reading articles, try to look for the author’s name and when the article was written. Is it recent or outdated?

Teach: Integrate the teaching of these skills into everything you do. Model your searches explicitly and talk out loud as you look things up. Researching skills don’t need to be covered in stand alone lessons.

Justify: When you’re modelling your research, go to some weak websites and ask students to justify whether they think the site would be useful and reliable.

Path: Students might like to start their search with some sites they know or have used before rather than randomly googling.

Cite: Give students lots of practice of writing information in their own words, and show them how to use quotation marks and cite sources. Remind students about the seriousness of plagiarism and copyright infringement. These are terms even my grade two students used. It’s never to early to learn about web literacy.

There are also some great links on the Education World website.

http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2012/05/29/tentips-for-teaching-students-how-to-research-and-filter-information/

 

 

 

 

1/2/2017-1/6/2017

What should be done to differentiate curriculum, instruction and assessment for the mathematically gifted in the regular classroom?

Historically there has been debate about the role of acceleration versus enrichment as the differentiation mode for mathematics. Most experts recommend a combination. The following are suggestions for differentiating for the mathematically gifted by using (1) assessment, (2) curriculum materials, (2) instructional techniques, and (4) grouping models. These opportunities should be made broadly available to any student with interest in taking advantage of them.

 

  • Give pre-assessments so that students who already know the material do not have to repeat it but may be provided with instruction and activities that are meaningful. In the elementary grades, gifted learners still need to know their basic facts. If they do not, don't hold them back from other more complex tasks, but continue to work concurrently on the basics.
  • Create assessments that allow for differences in understanding, creativity, and accomplishment; give students a chance to show what they have learned. Ask students to explain their reasoning both orally and in writing.
  • Choose textbooks that provide more enriched opportunities. Unfortunately, curriculum in this country is mainly driven by textbooks, which are used about 80% of the time (Lockwood, 1992). Math textbooks often repeat topics from year to year in the grades prior to algebra. Since most textbooks are written for the general population, they are not always appropriate for the gifted. Several series that hold promise for gifted learners have been developed recently under grants from the National Science Foundation; they emphasize constructivist learning and include concepts beyond the basics.
  • Use multiple resources. No single text will adequately meet the needs of these learners.
  • Be flexible in your expectations about pacing for different students. While some may be mastering basic skills, others may work on more advanced problems.
  • Use inquiry-based, discovery learning approaches that emphasize open-ended problems with multiple solutions or multiple paths to solutions. Allow students to design their own ways to find the answers to complex questions. Gifted students may discover more than you thought was possible.
  • Use lots of higher-level questions in justification and discussion of problems. Ask "why" and "what if" questions.
  • Provide units, activities, or problems that extend beyond the normal curriculum. Offer challenging mathematical recreations such as puzzles and games.
  • Provide AP level courses in calculus, statistics, and computer science or encourage prepared students to take classes at local colleges if the supply of courses at the high school has been exhausted.
  • Differentiate assignments. It is not appropriate to give more problems of the same type to gifted students. You might give students a choice of a regular assignment; a different, more challenging one; or a task that is tailored to interests.
  • Expect high level products (e.g., writing, proofs, projects, solutions to challenging problems).
  • Provide opportunities to participate in contests such as Mathematical Olympiads for the Elementary School (grades 4-6), Math Counts (grades 7-8), and the American Junior High School Mathematics Exam (grades 7-8) or the American High School Mathematics Exam (grades 9-12). Give feedback to students on their solutions. After the contests, use some of the problems as the basis for classroom discussions.
  • Provide access to male and female mentors who represent diverse linguistic and cultural groups. They may be within the school system, volunteers from the community, or experts who agree to respond to questions by e-mail. Bring speakers into the classroom to explain how math has opened doors in their professions and careers.
  • Provide some activities that can be done independently or in groups based on student choice. Be aware that if gifted students always work independently, they are gaining no more than they could do at home. They also need appropriate instruction, interaction with other gifted students, and regular feedback from the teacher.
  • Provide useful concrete experiences. Even though gifted learners may be capable of abstraction and may move from concrete to abstract more rapidly, they still benefit from the use of manipulatives and "hands-on" activities.

https://www.teachervision.com/gifted-education/teaching-mathematics-gifted-students-mixed-ability-classroom

 

 

12/05/2016 - 12/09/2016

10 Strategies to Enhance Student Memory

1. Give directions in multiple formats

Students benefit from being given directions in both visual and verbal formats. In addition, their understanding and memorizing of instructions could be checked by encouraging them to repeat the directions given and explain the meaning of these directions. Examples of what needs to be done are also often helpful for enhancing memory of directions.

2. Teach students to over-learn material

Students should be taught the necessity of "over-learning" new information. Often they practice only until they are able to perform one error-free repetition of the material. However, several error-free repetitions are needed to solidify the information.

3. Teach students to use visual images and other memory strategies

Another memory strategy that makes use of a cue is one called word substitution. The substitute word system can be used for information that is hard to visualize, for example, for the word occipital or parietal. These words can be converted into words that sound familiar that can be visualized. The word occipital can be converted to exhibit hall (because it sounds like exhibit hall). The student can then make a visual image of walking into an art museum and seeing a big painting of a brain with big bulging eyes (occipital is the region of the brain that controls vision). With this system, the vocabulary word the student is trying to remember actually becomes the cue for the visual image that then cues the definition of the word.

4. Give teacher-prepared handouts prior to class lectures

Class lectures and series of oral directions should be reinforced by teacher-prepared handouts. The handouts for class lectures could consist of a brief outline or a partially completed graphic organizer that the student would complete during the lecture. Having this information both enables students to identify the salient information that is given during the lectures and to correctly organize the information in their notes. Both of these activities enhance memory of the information as well. The use of Post-Its to jot information down on is helpful for remembering directions.

5. Teach students to be active readers

To enhance short-term memory registration and/or working memory when reading, students should underline, highlight, or jot key words down in the margin when reading chapters. They can then go back and read what is underlined, highlighted, or written in the margins. To consolidate this information in long-term memory, they can make outlines or use graphic organizers. Research has shown that the use of graphic organizers increases academic achievement for all students.

6. Write down steps in math problems

Students who have a weakness in working memory should not rely on mental computations when solving math problems. For example, if they are performing long division problems, they should write down every step including carrying numbers. When solving word problems, they should always have a scratch piece of paper handy and write down the steps in their calculations. This will help prevent them from losing their place and forgetting what they are doing.

7. Provide retrieval practice for students

Research has shown that long-term memory is enhanced when students engage in retrieval practice. Taking a test is a retrieval practice, i.e., the act of recalling information that has been studied from long-term memory. Thus, it can be very helpful for students to take practice tests. When teachers are reviewing information prior to tests and exams, they could ask the students questions or have the students make up questions for everyone to answer rather than just retelling students the to-be-learned information. Also, if students are required or encouraged to make up their own tests and take them, it will give their parents and/or teachers information about whether they know the most important information or are instead focused on details that are less important.

8. Help students develop cues when storing information

According to the memory research, information is easier retrieved when it is stored using a cue and that cue should be present at the time the information is being retrieved. For example, the acronym HOMES can be used to represent the names of the Great Lakes — Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. The acronym is a cue that is used when the information is being learned, and recalling the cue when taking a test will help the student recall the information.

9. Prime the memory prior to teaching/learning

Cues that prepare students for the task to be presented are helpful. This is often referred to as priming the memory. For instance, when a reading comprehension task is given, students will get an idea of what is expected by discussing the vocabulary and the overall topic beforehand. This will allow them to focus on the salient information and engage in more effective depth of processing. Advance organizers also serve this purpose. For older students, Clif Notes for pieces of literature are often helpful aids for priming the memory.

10. Review material before going to sleep

It should be helpful for students to review material right before going to sleep at night. Research has shown that information studied this way is better remembered. Any other task that is performed after reviewing and prior to sleeping (such as getting a snack, brushing teeth, listening to music) interferes with consolidation of information in memory.

 

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/10-strategies-enhance-students-memory

 

 

11/282016 - 12/02/2016

Science Talent in the Young Expressed Within Ecologies of Achievement
Paul F. Brandwein
 

Recommendations

  1. The widest net ought to be flung to open opportunity for all young in an idea-enactive, inquiry oriented learning curriculum and instruction. This generous cast offers access to equal opportunity for self-identification, along with, but not exclusively through, ability and achievement testing as composite factors for entry into the science talent pool.
  2. The structure of curriculum and the mode of instruction in classroom and laboratory serve to identify science proneness, an understanding that suggests a significant way to increase the science talent pool.
  3. Science proneness begins in a base of a general giftedness and develops its component skills in verbal, mathematical, and in time, the nonentrenched tasks of problem seeking, finding, and solving in specialized science fields. Eventually given favorable ecologies, science proneness can shift to an expression in a work showing science talent.
  4. Science talent calls for identification through in-context evaluation in long-term inquiry without reference to IQ or standardized tests of achievement. It provides for testing of science talent through a criterion sample of work of the young as predictive of their future accomplishments.
  5. When the young enter into the climate of science, they should benefit from at least two resources as gifts of schooling. First, they deserve access to the substance of science, a rich even massive, conceptual structure of cumulative knowledge. Second they deserve opportunities to participate in problem finding and concept seeking and forming—that is, to experience the style of science—its particular modes of inquiry and explanation.
  6. The experience of originative research in high school may motivate a decision to pursue a career in science and thus qualify students for continued research in their undergraduate years. Originative inquiry can lead to early expression of science talent in the young; it therefore is a worthy practice in the quest of the young scientist-to-be

 

http://nrcgt.uconn.edu/research-based_resources/brandwei/

 

 

 

11/14/2016 - 11/18/2016

Teaching Note Taking Skills

Like most other skills, note-taking can start with theoretical knowledge, but it takes practice to become an efficient and skillful note-taker. there’s lots of small ways teachers can demonstrate the value of having good notes and work with students on developing better note-taking skills. Here’s a list to start your thinking.

  • Identify key concepts in the day’s lesson: “Now here’s something you need to have in your notes. Listen carefully.”
  • Challenge students to retrieve things from their notes: “Look at your notes from November 5. What have you got about X? Nothing? That’s not good.”
  • Provide a definition, pause, and give students one minute to rewrite it in their own words. Ask students why it might be important to do so.
  • At the beginning of the period, give students three minutes to review their notes and summarize them in a sentence. Have several students share their summary, which the class then compares, revises, etc.
  • At the end of class have students trade notes with somebody sitting near them and use their partner’s notes to review the class session. Ask them to identify what was the same and different about their notes and those of their partner?
  • For frequently missed exam questions, have everyone find the date when that content was covered and see what they have in their notes that relates to the question. Ask someone who got the question correct to read what they have in their notes.
  • Tell students that any notes they take in class today can be used when they take the quiz tomorrow. Follow-up at the end of class by asking how that changed listening and note-taking.

Reference: Cohen, D., Kim, E., Tan, J., and Winkelmes, M. (2013). A note-restructuring intervention increases students’ exam scores. College Teaching, 61 (Summer), 95-99.

 

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/tips-for-developing-students-note-taking-skills/

 

 

10/24/2016 - 10/28/2016

Is enrichment the same thing as acceleration?

No. Enrichment and acceleration are not the same thing. Enrichment typically means adding something to the curriculum that offers more depth or complexity, while acceleration typically means moving more quickly through the curriculum. When done well, acceleration includes enriching opportunities offered at an appropriate level and pace for the student. Therefore, we shouldn’t think about acceleration OR enrichment, we should think about acceleration AND enrichment

 

http://accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/QA/

 

 

10/24/2016 - 10/28/2016

Research on Instructional Delivery: Projects, Independent Study, Hands On

Gifted students demonstrate the following at a statistically significant level when compared to normal students:

  • Preference for self-structured tasks and self-imposed deadlines
  • Preference for working on projects alone or with one like ability peer
  • Preference for self-instructional tasks (programmed instruction), games or simulations
  • Greatest preference for independent study projects that are reading/content acquisition-based
  • Greater interest in learning "something new and different, " rather than doing hands on things.

 

http://www.austega.com/gifted/16-gifted/articles/41-research-synthesis-on-gifted-provisions.html

 

 

 

10/17/2016 - 10/21/2016

Vertical Unitized Timetabling

ONE OF THE common responses to requests for flexible progression in secondary or high schools is "the timetable won't permit it". Subject acceleration can become extremely disruptive when the subject in question is not timetabled in the same time-slots for the two years in question. One option is for the accelerant to undertake an independent learning approach to the course, but this may not suit all accelerants, all courses, and involves additional supervision workloads by teachers.

Requiring such special arrangements it is not surprising that students, parents, and teachers may be wary of proceeding with what may well be the most appropriate educational provision. Additionally there is also the "cost" to the student of being seen to be differently treated, especially if there have been few precedents.

One option that has emerged in some high schools is a shift to a vertical unitised curriculum, which overcomes many of these problems of timetabling and of accelerated students being made unnecessarily conspicuous.

Vertical class grouping relaxes the expectation that students learn in a lock-step progression of classes of the same chronological age. Instead, students of different ages can be grouped together on other more appropriate factors (such as learning styles, learning rates, previous knowledge or interests).

Unitised timetabling involves splitting the normal curriculum subject areas into smaller units that can be taken separately. Such a dissection could be on the basis of work components within the curriculum description of a subject for the year, or more creatively into subject core components and peripheral extension units, including into interdisciplinary areas (such as, for example, the mathematics of music) joining two of more curriculum areas together.

These two strategies are being combined in many high schools to avoid many of the timetabling constraints which normally obstruct flexible student-based learning and progression (Sanderson High School 1993). This vertical unitised timetabling involves:

  • unitising the curriculum into term or semester length units with some (say 50%) being core units that form a continuing course sequence in the curriculum area
  • the development of optional extension and interdisciplinary units based on teacher and student interest and community resource availability
  • the use of unit prerequisite (rather than age) requirements to ensure skills needed prior to a unit are held
  • the use of pretesting to give prerequiste credits where sufficient competence is shown (including with newly enrolled students)
  • the students choosing units they wish to enrol in subject to any "coherent course of study" requirement
  • the facilitation of independent learning options when units do not have sufficient enrolments to justify a full-time teacher (including mentoring, part teacher/part independent learning combinations, etc)

Such strategies clearly facilitate student-paced learning and progression, in part by eliminating the conspicuous nature of individual acceleration or special treatment in a conventional timetable-constrained school.

To facilitate effective transition to such a structure the following factors have also been found to be important:

  • allowing at the initial stages for a significant workload in preparation of unit materials and in achieving school community acceptance of the changes
  • a vertical pastoral care system with regular meetings between a staff member and a small group of students from across all ages at the school, providing the immediate point of staff/student/parent contact and guidance
  • an appropriate staff and school community participatory decision-making process to complement the more student directed and flexible curriculum strategies.

One school, Sanderson High School, in Darwin, Australia, describes the process in this way (Gifted, Dec 1993, p20):

Students are allocated to units on the basis of choice and the meeting of prerequisites. This selection takes place once a quarter with the certainty that the opportunity for a student to pick up a unit they may have missed or which they have only recently found an interest in exists. Thus students from all three year groups can be found in any unit. They study units appropriate to their ability and background rather than on a age group basis. They progress according to ability rather than in a lockstep age structure. The unitising of the curriculum allows for individual progression and the introduction of new units (for example Philosophy) on a trial basis. It also enables classes and units to run which would otherwise lapse for lack of demand in any single age group.

While not aimed solely at enhancing flexible progression for gifted and talented students, it certainly seems to do so. Vertical grouping of students in classes and in associated pastoral care groupings largely eliminates the "unusualness" of subject and whole-year acceleration, defusing much of the staff and student peer body resistance to flexible progression.

Moreover to enhance its benefits vertical unitised timetabling can be relatively easily combined with independent or small group pursuit of a specialised or higher level unit with only limited face-to-face teacher involvement (for example a teacher facilitates two or three such groups in lieu of teaching a full class). Community resources and mentors can also be more easily incorporated into facilitating small-scale specialised units within the school's broad timetable, thus extending the probability of the students' particular educational needs being met and enhancing student motivation and sense of responsibility for their own education.

References

© David Farmer 16 January 1996 - This piece was adapted from text I wrote for an educational video/booklet package Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom

 

http://www.austega.com/gifted/16-gifted/articles/40-vertical-unitized-timetabling.html

 

 

10/10/2016 - 10/14/2016

Mentoring

MENTORING ALLOWS the educational needs of talented students to be met even when these fall outside the school curriculum and outside the expertise of the students' teachers. This is achieved by linking the student with an experienced person from the appropriate field of endeavour. Relating to experts outside the school environment also requires the students to become more responsible for their own learning, with students establishing goals with their mentor, and generally learning by doing.

Selecting students for mentoring

Mentoring best suits students who have already shown some dedication and commitment to the area of interest, such as in already working independently on "real problems or projects" in the area. Self-motivation (at least in the subject area) and organisation are also key attributes if the student is to gain from the less structured mentor arrangement.

Selection can, particularly in high schools, lean heavily on self-selection with confirmation sought from parents and teaching staff. One school's selection process is as follows:

  • a general invitation is made at assembly for expressions of interest;
  • interviews are held with students coming forward, outlining the process and the self-motivation and organisation required;
  • comments and confirmations are sought from the student's teachers and parents;
  • endeavours are made to find a suitable mentor in the student's area of interest; and
  • the first mentor/student meeting discusses and refines the student's goals, with both parties able to terminate the relationship should either wish.

Mentors - characteristics

Mentors are not tutors or substitute teachers but rather are professionals interacting with "junior colleagues". Mentors act as advisers, consultants, and role models, and sometimes as critics where this facilitates the student's achievement of their own goals and objectives. Mentors ideally should have:

  • an enthusiasm for the subject area;
  • considerable experience and overall perspective in the subject area;
  • an interest in assisting young persons in developing their skills and awareness;
  • some ready communications skills to foster interaction in an informal setting; and
  • an awareness of any moral issues that pertain to the field of endeavour.

Finding Mentors

Although not normally paid, mentors can benefit from being involved in a mentoring relationship in terms of freshness and perspective. Mentors can be found from a wide range of sources, including:

  • from a school's parent body;
  • from other teaching staff;
  • from older students (including from secondary or tertiary institutions);
  • from local businesses and community arts bodies;
  • via professional bodies and associations in the area of interest; and
  • from ex-students of the school.

Some schools rely extensively on ex-students. This means that most of the mentors are well-known to members of the teaching staff. In some school districts there are centralised mentor schemes that schools can use (eg Mentor Links in the Sydney metropolitan regions).

Risk management

Clearly there are risks involved in linking students with mentors, especially when mentors may not be personally known to members of the teaching staff and the meetings take place other than at school premises. On the other hand it would be a pity if these risks preclude appropriate learning experiences for students.

These risks can be managed by:

  • seeking, where possible, mentors that are known to members of staff;
  • advising students and parents of the nature of the mentor program including that it may take place away from school;
  • asking parents to complete a release and indemnity document in regard to the mentor program;
  • asking parents to attend the first meeting between student and mentor and then to agree to the program proceeding;
  • providing mentors with simple guideline notes;
  • asking both the student and mentor to complete evaluations at the conclusion of the arrangement; and
  • allowing either the student or mentor to withdraw from the arrangement at any time.

Apart from common sense the essential principles are to ensure that all parties are fully informed and to ask that the parents or guardians make the decision to proceed and thereby take on the risk. From a parental viewpoint this is hardly unusual - parents frequently take risks in regard to activities as part of their children's broader education.

 

http://www.austega.com/gifted/16-gifted/articles/39-mentoring.html

 

 

9/26/2016 - 9/30/2016

Independent Learning Strategies

An overview of the way independent learning strategies can be introduced into a school's educational strategies

INDEPENDENT LEARNING STRATEGIES facilitate parts of a differentiated curriculum.. Emphasis is placed on student negotiation and modification of tasks, and on students pursuing these tasks with greater independence.

This can be achieved by

  • preparing in advance options for the students to select as part of a unit's work (with options set at variable levels, involving different skills and appealing to different learning styles),
  • encouraging students to choose the option they felt was most relevant - with this involving teacher input to facilitate student awareness of the match between the options and the student's talents and needs,
  • encouraging students to suggest and pursue variations to the suggested options if they can present them as viable options to the teacher,
  • encouraging students to work in groups if appropriate to the task (and, where this is done, encouraging cooperative group skills),
  • encouraging students to seek out appropriate resources independently, and
  • encouraging students to seek out and utilise working environments conducive to the task (for example, the "recital performance" based task involved moving outside and the analytic discussion based option involved moving to another room or an "independent learning centre" - see below).

Independent learning strategies can be utilised with appropriate students in primaryor elementary schools as well as those in high schools.

Fostering students' independence in shaping their learning empowers them and increases the motivation and enthusiasm they bring to the process and to individual tasks. They become engaged in and responsible for their own education and this flows through to the way they view life as a whole.

Independent Learning Centres

An "independent learning centre" is a flexible space with appropriate resources where students can pursue independent projects or learning. Key elements of an "independent learning centre" (ILC) are:

  • a space for one or more groups or individuals to work in relative harmony (at higher discussion/noise levels than a library),
  • suitable furnishings and resources (tables, computers, sound equipment, lock-away spaces, etc) to encourage flexible and relatively spontaneous use,
  • a coordinator to handle ILC "bookings" and overall management,
  • a teacher roster (perhaps at half teacher loading, supplemented by appropriate parent volunteers) to allow for necessary supervision and, where appropriate, assistance - the coordinator may try to link students using the ILC with ILC rostered teachers and parents with appropriate skills (particularly with interdisciplinary projects), and
  • an understanding amongst the teaching staff that the ILC is there as a resource area for individuals or groups to flow into - this may develop over time.

Independent Learning Centres and other independent learning strategies can be utilised in primary as well as high schools.

 

http://www.austega.com/gifted/16-gifted/articles/38-independent-learning-strategies.html

 

 

9/19/2016 - 9/23/2016
Curriculum Differentiation

CURRICULUM DIFFERENTIATION is a broad term referring to the need to tailor teaching environments and practices to create appropriately different learning experiences for different students. Keirouz (1993) suggests typical procedures in the case of gifted and talented students include:

  • deleting already mastered material from existing curriculum,
  • adding new content, process, or product expectations to existing curriculum,
  • extending existing curriculum to provide enrichment activities,
  • providing course work for able students at an earlier age than usual, and
  • writing new units or courses that meet the needs of gifted students.

Maker's model of differentiated curriculum (Maker 1982a, 1982b, 1986) suggests that curriculum needs to be differentiated in terms of:

1. Learning environment: The aim is to create a learning environment which encourages students to engage their abilities to the greatest extent possible, including taking risks and building knowledge and skills in what they perceive as a safe, flexible environment. It should be:

  • student-centred - focusing on the student's interests, input and ideas rather than those of the teacher,
  • encouraging independence - tolerating and encouraging student initiative,
  • open - permitting new people, materials, ideas and things to enter and non-academic and interdisciplinary connections to be made,
  • accepting - encouraging acceptance of others' ideas and opinions before evaluating them,
  • complex - including a rich variety of resources, media, ideas, methods and tasks, and
  • highly mobile - encouraging movement in and out of groups, desk settings, classrooms, and schools.

2. Content modification: The aim is to remove the ceiling on what is learned, and use the student's abilities to build a richer, more diverse and efficiently organised knowledge base. This building can be facilitated by encouraging:

  • abstractness - with content shifting from facts, definitions and descriptions to concepts, relationships to key concepts, and generalisations,
  • complexity - with content shifting to inter-relationships rather than considering factors separately,
  • variety - with content expanding beyond material presented in the normal program,
  • study of people - including the study of individuals or peoples, and how they have reacted to various opportunities and problems, and
  • study of methods of inquiry - including procedures used by experts working in their fields.

3. Process modification: The aim is to promote creativity and higher level cognitive skills, and to encourage productive use and management of the knowledge the students have mastered. This can be facilitated by encouraging:

  • higher levels of thinking - involving cognitive challenge using Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Processes (1984 - see Appendix A for brief details), logical problems, critical thinking and problem solving,
  • creative thinking - involving imagination, intuitive approaches and brainstorming techniques,
  • open-endedness - encouraging risk-taking and the response that is right for the student by stressing there is no one right answer,
  • group interaction - with highly able and motivated students sparking each other in the task, with this sometimes being on a competitive and sometimes on a cooperative basis (depending on the task and its objectives),
  • variable pacing - allowing students to move through lower order thinking more rapidly but allowing more time for students to respond fully on higher order thinking tasks,
  • variety of learning processes - accommodating different students' learning styles,
  • debriefing - encouraging students to be aware of and able to articulate their reasoning or conclusion to a problem or question, and
  • freedom of choice - involving students in evaluation of choices of topics, methods, products and environments.

4. Product modification: The aim is to facilitate opportunities for talented students to produce a product that reflects their potential. This can be encouraged by incorporating:

  • real problems - real and relevant to the student and the activity,
  • real audiences - utilising an "audience" that is appropriate for the product, which could include another student or group of students, a teacher (not necessarily the class teacher), an assembly, a mentor, a community or specific interest group,
  • real deadlines - encouraging time management skills and realistic planning,
  • transformations - involving original manipulation of information rather than regurgitation, and
  • appropriate evaluation - with the product and the process of its development being both self-evaluated and evaluated by the product's audience using previously established "real world" criteria that are appropriate for such products.

A number of management strategies that are often useful in implementing curriculum differentiation strategies include:

  • the use of contracts - allowing individualised and student negotiated programs and promoting the student's time-management skills and autonomy,
  • conferencing - allowing dedicated student negotiation and review, and
  • grouping strategies - facilitating children to work with "like minds" and encouraging group interaction (see separate notes on ability grouping).

http://www.austega.com/gifted/16-gifted/articles/37-curriculum-differentiation.html

 

9/12/2016 - 9/16/2016

Curriculum Compacting

An overview of the research into curriculum compacting as a educational strategy for schools

CURRICULUM COMPACTING "is the process of identifying learning objectives, pretesting students for prior mastery of these objectives, and eliminating needless teaching or practice if mastery can be documented" (Reis et al. 1992, p.10).

Curriculum compacting is increasingly being used in classrooms as part of teaching that is more precisely focused on student needs. The aim is to avoid wasting time and risking loss of motivation in teaching material that students have already mastered. The technique simultaneously generates the time needed for extension activities, independent projects, mentoring and similar educational strategies that are more appropriate for the students.

Research from the US suggests [1] that the difficulty level of textbooks has declined (Farr & Tulley 1985) with "new work" in mathematics texts only accounting for about half of the texts' content (Flanders 1987), [2] that most average late primary students can pass pretests on basal comprehension tests before the material is presented (Taylor & Frye 1988), [3] that eliminating up to 50% of the grade level curriculum for gifted students made no difference in achievement test results (Reis et al. 1992), and [4] that with minimal training teachers can effectively identify and eliminate already mastered material (Reis et al. 1992).

Curriculum compacting involves the following steps (Gibson 1993, Reis et al. 1992, Winebrenner 1992):

  • identifying the relevant learning objectives
  • finding or developing some means of assessing students' achievement of these objectives prior to instruction - important for teaching focus and accountability, pretests can often be found in textbooks
  • determining if all or only selected students should be pretested for possible curriculum compacting - any selection could be based on a wide range of factors covering general indications of both giftedness and subject-specific talent, it could also be voluntary with the purpose made clear to students
  • pretesting - the assessment should be detailed enough to indicate particular sub-areas of mastery and non-mastery, the concept of mastery relates to the defined learning objectives, and may be at a similar level to what would be considered "mastery" after instruction
  • eliminating practice and instruction in areas where students have achieved the learning objectives - generating time for these students to participate in or pursue enrichment or acceleration options
  • streamlining instruction of those sub-areas where students have indicated achievement of some of the learning objectives
  • offering acceleration and enrichment options - this challenging step involves teacher preparation and planning and can include: students working their way through the curriculum with teacher oversight, individual or small group research or hands-on projects, mentoring, etc.
  • keeping records - for both professional accountability and teacher ease of management, records can include both specially designed forms and student products and self-evaluation reports.

 

http://www.austega.com/gifted/16-gifted/articles/36-curriculum-compacting.html

 

 

9/05/2016 - 9/09/2016

Ability Grouping Strategies

An overview of the research on the ability grouping educational strategy

GROUPING STRATEGIES based on ability are used in various forms in schools and classrooms world-wide, and are certain to arouse discussion, though this is less so in sports and musical areas. The tragic extremes of the debate are probably epitomized on the one hand by students "labeled" at enrolment to the point that their educational paths are fully determined, and on the other by students clearly in need of a particular educational program but denied it on the basis that all students, no matter how different they and their needs may be, should be provided with the "same education".

Beneath this often heated debate, the research provides strong support for ability grouping. Grouping on the basis of ability "with appropriate differentiated instruction" is clearly beneficial, not only to high ability students but also to average and low ability students (Allan 1991).

Grouping strategies can be usefully divided into categories.

1. Within-class ability grouping

Such groupings within mixed-ability classrooms clearly benefit students (Slavin 1986, Karweit 1984). Kulik and Kulik (1989) consider both those within-class ability grouping strategies designed for all students and those targeting only academically talented students. They find the former benefits all students to a small extent whilst the latter shows particularly strong advantage for academically talented students.

The problems of self-fulfilling "labelling" of students in terms of ability level can be minimised by:

  • avoiding conspicuous labelling altogether, allowing groups just to be groups with non-judgemental identifiers if identifiers are required,
  • adopting a student-centred approach to learning where expectations are student-initiated rather than teacher-imposed,
  • not setting group compositions in concrete, but allowing different students to enter and exit as appropriate, including a degree of self-selection and other broad identification procedures, and
  • facilitating different groups for different curriculum areas or units.

There are a multitude of different ways of devising and using ability groups depending on the teacher, class and subject area. They can range from teacher-nominated to those with large degrees of self-selection based on predetermined tasks with clearly different levels of ability and motivation required.

2. "Streaming" classes

Kulik (1985) found that students permanently streamed in classes based on ability slightly outperformed students in non-streamed classes, with the effect strongest in high ability classes, weaker (but still positive) in middle level classes and making no difference in low ability classes. Slavin (1986) found no significant positive or negative effects for such permanent streaming.

Looking solely at gifted and talented programs Kulik (1989) found these students performed significantly better than comparable students in mixed-ability classes.

The research is more uniformly supportive of ability class grouping for specific subject areas. This selective streaming is often applied in mathematics and/or language arts. Slavin (1986) suggests this can be particularly effective:

  • when it is done for only one or two subject areas,
  • when it reduces the range of subject skill levels in each group,
  • when the group composition is frequently reviewed, and
  • when teachers vary the teaching pace accordingly.

Kulik (1989) found selective streaming advantageous even without these constraints.

http://www.austega.com/gifted/16-gifted/articles/33-ability-grouping-strategies.html

 

8/29/2016 - 9/02/2016

Explination of Gifted Categories

General intellectual ability or talent. Laypersons and educators alike usually define this in terms of a high intelligence test score--usually two
standard deviations above the mean--on individual or group measures. Parents and teachers often recognize students with general intellectual talent by their wide-ranging fund of general information and high levels of vocabulary, memory, abstract word knowledge, and abstract reasoning.

Specific academic aptitude or talent. Students with specific academic aptitudes are identified by their outstanding performance on an achievement or aptitude test in one area such as mathematics or language arts.

Creative and productive thinking. This is the ability to produce new ideas by bringing together elements usually thought of as independent or dissimilar and the aptitude for developing new meanings that have social value. Characteristics of creative and productive students include openness to experience, setting personal standards for evaluation, ability to play with ideas, willingness to take risks, preference for complexity, tolerance for ambiguity, positive self-image, and the ability to become submerged in a task.

Leadership ability. Leadership can be defined as the ability to direct individuals or groups to a common decision or action. Students who demonstrate giftedness in leadership ability use group skills and negotiate in difficult situations. Many teachers recognize leadership through a student's keen interest and skill in problem solving. Leadership characteristics include self-confidence, responsibility, cooperation, a tendency to dominate, and the ability to adapt readily to new situations.

Visual and performing arts. Gifted students with talent in the arts demonstrate special talents in visual art, music, dance, drama, or other related studies.

Psychomotor ability. This involves kinesthetic motor abilities such as practical, spatial, mechanical, and physical skills. It is seldom used as a criterion in gifted program.

http://education.ky.gov/specialed/GT/Documents/GT%20Handbook.pdf

 

8/08/2016 - 8/12/2016

HOW CAN ADULTS ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY?

* Provide an environment that allows the child to explore and play without undue restraints.
* Adapt to children's ideas rather than trying to structure the child's ideas to fit the adult's.
* Accept unusual ideas from children by suspending judgement of children's divergent problem-solving.
* Use creative problem-solving in all parts of the curriculum. Use the problems that naturally occur in everyday life.
* Allow time for the child to explore all possibilities, moving from popular to more original ideas.
* Emphasize process rather than product.

Adults can encourage creativity by emphasizing the generation and expression of ideas in a non-evaluative
framework and by concentrating on both divergent and convergent thinking. Adults can also try to ensure that
children have the opportunity and confidence to take risks, challenge assumptions, and see things in a new way.

 

http://education.ky.gov/specialed/GT/Documents/GT%20Handbook.pdf

 

 

 

8/08/2016 - 8/12/2016

Teaching Gifted Children: Ideas, Tips & Lesson Plans

Whether it is the beginning of a new school year or close to the end of the final semester, educators are always searching for information on new activities, lesson plans and projects for advanced learners. This guide is chock-full of information dedicated to advanced learners.

Identifying Advanced Learners

How do educators or parents identify advanced learners? Parents are usually the first to identify a learner of this nature. Children who can read at an early age, for instance, are more likely to be placed in classes for the gifted students. Within the public school system, there is a set procedure for assessing the ability of students. This guide to gifted and talented teaching resources begins with several articles that look at the various aspects of this question.

Supporting Advanced Learners

Unfortunately, in many states and school systems, the lack of funding has limited the access to classes for students termed, "gifted and talented." What happens when these students do not receive the support they need and deserve? Are there specific things teachers and parents can do to help students, even when gifted and talented programs are lacking or unavailable? What does the world gain when advanced learners are nurtured and supported?

Lessons Specifically for Advanced Learners

Educators, regardless of grade level, find it helpful to have lesson plans specifically created for students with exceptional abilities. This is especially true if the school system does not have programming for gifted and talented students. Lessons that capture advanced learners' imaginations, inspiring them to step out of their comfort zones to investigate, research, create, develop and produce assignments that are evidence of their best work are imperative. Here are some engaging lessons for the advanced learner.

Enrichment and Other Programs

Even if schools have classes specifically for advanced learners, parents and teachers might want to encourage participation in extracurricular enrichment programs, summer school/camp or other activities that will nurture the gifts and talents of their child or student. Check out these ideas for enriching the gifts and talents of advanced learners.

Issues and Problems

Advanced learners often have problems that other students do not have, simply because they are so bright. Both parents and teachers find it difficult to deal with the advanced learner's restlessness in the classroom when they become bored as well as their feelings of inadequacy because their peers tease them. The following articles offer information on these issues.

Assessing Advanced Learners

Assessing a student with exceptional talents can sometimes be difficult, simply because they score off the rubric. Developing various means of assessing, other than standardized testing, helps give both the student and the teacher a clear idea of progress gained.

Other Tips and Ideas

Methods and strategies for teaching vary across the curriculum, within the school district and around the world. No one way is best. Therefore, learning various ways to teach and prepare lessons is extremely helpful to educators, especially when teaching advanced learners. Here are a variety of different tips and ideas to add to your "bag of tricks."

http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-gifted-students/124536-resources-and-ideas-for-teaching-gifted-learners/

 

5/16/16 - 5/20/16

Five Tips for Spring Cleaning the Classroom

Just as your house needs a little dusting and sprucing up when the warm weather hits, so does your classroom. Sure, I wipe things down and dust when it becomes noticeable, but the big, deep, classroom cleaning usually happens for me in the spring. Once spring break comes and goes, there isn’t much time until summer vacation. I’m one of those people who likes to draw out my summer vacation for as long as possible and don't want to spend any of it in my classroom. So, that means that I start preparing for the next school year in the spring, and what better way to do that than to Spring Clean. Here are my five favorite tips for spring cleaning the classroom.

Getting the Kids to Help

Little kids love to help. Give them a few baby wipes to wipe down shelves and watch that dust disappear. A feather duster does wonders for the computer area, especially the keyboard. Don’t forget the little brooms and dustpans; these are great for kids to use around the classroom. My students make it a competition to see who can sweep up the most dirt. Our classroom also has a small vacuum, and the kids all want a turn to use it. If only their desire to vacuum carried over to their teenage years. . . .

Use shaving cream to clean the tabletops and have some fun at the same time. Just squirt a bit onto each table and let the kids smear it around, then have them practice writing letters, numbers, or sight words in it with their fingers. When most of it has dissolved, let the kids wash up while you use some paper towels to wipe off the remaining residue. 

Reorganize Those Cupboards

It doesn’t take long to sift through your teacher resource materials and purge what you haven’t used in years or has become outdated. If your cupboard shelves aren’t already organized by subject matter, now is the time. To do this, grab a few empty plastic bins and start sorting your resource books by subject matter: math, writing, reading comprehension, and so forth. I have made labels in my cupboards to define the areas the books are in. This is helpful for when colleagues want to borrow a book; they can look in the correct area and find it quickly. Take those leftover, unwanted materials to the freebie table at your school, offer them to student teachers, or drop them off at the local thrift shop. If you are keeping a book because you really like the three pages in the middle, make a copy of those pages and dump the book. 

I took organizing my teacher read-aloud collection in a different direction. I have these books organized by the months of the year. In September I read a large number of books that have school as the main theme. For some months I have quite a few books for a particular category; I have placed these books inside a magazine file box.

File Cabinets

I remember the days when my file cabinets were beautifully organized — they were even color-coded. As time went on and I moved grade levels a few times, my files seemed to get the best of me. 

Clean out those files, reorganize, and downsize. Go through your files and purge what is outdated and irrelevant. Consider sprucing up your file cabinet with some colored files to designate specific subject areas. If you don’t think you have enough time during the school day to rummage through the file drawers, grab an empty paper box. They are the perfect size to hold files and take your files home. You can sift and sort at home while you are catching up on the latest television re-runs or while you’re at your kid's little league practice.

If you really feel as though your files need a change, you might consider the system I am currently using. I never seemed to have time to re-file all of my paper and had a terrible time sifting through the file drawers. I now store the majority of my most used masters in three-ring binders with sheet protectors. Now when I need to photocopy something, I take the entire binder with me to the copy room. I make my copies and put the binder back on the shelf. No more baskets of files waiting to be put away.

Organize Those Drawers

Drawers tend to be the catchall for unwanted items that were once strewn across a counter. My classroom is limited on drawer space. I have to make the most of what little space I have. In my drawers you will find a vast amount of diverse items, from rubber bands and paper clips to ballpoint pens, stickers, and hole punches. To help keep everything neat, tidy, and in its designated space, I use small plastic baskets. Although it took a few attempts, I managed to get all the baskets into the drawers with very little wiggle room. When I first started this task, I emptied out all of my drawers and put like things together. I found that I had multiples of the same item. How many staple removers does a person really need? I had six.

Disinfect and Deodorize

Have you ever wondered just how many germs there might be on that computer mouse, water fountain, or door handle? Now that cold and flu season is behind us, it’s time to get rid of those germs once and for all. Using disinfectant wipes, swipe across the areas in your classroom that are touched by multiple people multiple times per day. Let’s face it: kindergartners and kids in general don’t have fabulous hygiene habits. Who knows where those little fingers have been? 

With some help from the kids and some quick reorganizing, your classroom will sparkle through the remainder of the school year.

By Tiffani Mugurussa on March 26, 2013

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2013/03/five-tips-spring-cleaning-classroom

 

 

5/09/16 - 5/13/16

16 Things You Can Do While Actively Monitoring During Standardized Testing:

1. First of all, wear a pedometer. Set up a contest with other teachers to see who can get the highest step count during the day.  Whoever wins gets, I don’t know, a bottle of 100 year-old single malt scotch. Hahaha. Just kidding (or am I?) But make it something good.

2. Do a few laps around the room pretending to be an Olympic speed skater during a slow-motion replay.
 
3. Walk down the rows imagining you’re:
  • walking down the aisle to marry your favorite celebrity and all the students are wedding guests
  • on the red carpet in the most awesome dress/tux of your LIFE and all the students are paparazzi
  • walking the plank on a ship and all of the students are pirates
  • walking in a cemetery and all the students are ghosts
  • scuba-walking on the bottom of the ocean floor and all your students are sea creatures
  • a flight attendant and the students are passengers on the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" Twilight Zone episode
4. The Active Monitoring Workout
  • Abs: I read somewhere that one of the most effective ab workouts is simply exhaling all of your air, then tensing up your ab muscles as hard as you can.
  • Legs: Put ankle weights on during a break of at the beginning of the day, and do calf-raises when you get to the back of the room (students might get distracted and/or you might earn the nickname Twinkle Toes if they see you doing them)
  • Arms: Flex your bicep as hard as you can for various increments of time 
5. Imagine what animal each student would be. Not personality-wise, but strictly based on facial appearance.  For example, the Mythbusters guy looks like a walrus.
 
6. Imagine who you would be friends with if you were that age in school right now.
 
7. If your group of students somehow got stranded on a desert island, which job would each student have? (Ex: firewood collector, hunter, shelter builder, resident artist, town fool, etc.)
 
8. Dream up your Best Day Ever.  Best Day Ever means that you have 24 hours do whatever you want, whenever you want, and with whomever you want.  Try to plan out every detail. What would you eat for meals? You would stay in one place the whole day or jump around to different places in a teleport? Who all would you see—friends and family, celebrities, or a combination? Your imagination is the limit!*
 
9. Think about what kind of unrealistic things would make the world a better place.  For example:
  • If streetlamps were also bubble machines
  • If hallways were trampolines
  • If instead of receipts we were handed chocolate chip cookies
  • If we got paychecks for laughing instead of working
 

 10. Think about your answers to these compelling “Would you rather…?” questions:

 Would you rather get pooped on by a bird every time you go outside, or never get pooped on but be allowed outside for 5 hours on Saturdays only? Would you rather change gender every time you sneezed, or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby? Would you rather have to smell a fart all the time or have super bad breath?

11. Think about how happy it would make you if a parade of your favorite animals and/or people just randomly burst into the room. Also think about what song would be playing during the parade.
 
12. Look at the items in the room and think about how you would use them for survival if there was a zombie apocalypse
 
13. Think about where on your campus you would hide if there was a school-wide Hide-and-Seek with a $1,000,0000 prize
 
14. Use some Crest White Strips or other teeth whitening agent
 
15. Buy three different kinds of gum and time all three of them to see which one loses flavor the fastest
 
16. Take your pulse before and after thinking about the most annoying person you know and see if it changes.

 

http://www.loveteachblog.com/2014/03/16-things-you-can-do-while-actively.html

 

 

5/02/16 - 5/06/16

Success Isn’t A Straight Line

I’ve noticed that students I speak to have a powerful fear of ruining their lives if they don’t get the right grades in the right classes while keeping up with the right extracurriculars.

Life, as they see it, looks like this:

  1. Get good grades
  2. Go to a good college
  3. Get a good job

These students think they’re not allowed to make mistakes or change their plans.

The Reality

As adults, how many of us still even do what we studied in college? Has your path been a straight line, or have you switched majors, changed careers, rethought goals, ended relationships, or been laid off?

Success is, in no way, a straight line.

A Series Of Short Stories

Life isn’t a novel, but a series of short stories.
James Altucher, Author of Choose Yourself

The average career length is 4.4 years, and for younger employees it’s even less than that. The plan to graduate from college, work a 40-year career, and then retire on a pension is pretty rare now.

Our high-achieving, but stressed-out students need to hear this. There is no three-step plan. We don’t live lives with one long plot line. Our journeys stop, restart, and change directions.

An 18 year old’s future career probably doesn’t even exist yet! Kids will need to be adaptable, quick at recovering from failures, and good at recognizing new opportunities.

They need to stand out, not fit in.

There Is A Long Life After College

Let’s stop threatening kids that they “won’t get into a good college.” This creates a fearful future.

They need to hear that college is a life goal, but not the life goal. The real goal is to navigate that crazy, curvy line and pursue success.

I tell parents of these stressed-out kids that, rather than investing more in tutors and SAT classes, put those resources towards helping kids pursue what they’re interested in and (potentially) skilled at.

Get kids, even at an elementary age, hooked up with mentors. Let them see experts in action. Give them opportunities to experience what adults in their field of interest actually do every day. They should have chances to see how work differs from school.

Let’s focus students on the larger goal of pursuing a happy and successful life rather than the short term goal of “the right college.” Help them discover, and dive into, their unique intersection of interests and skills.

Action Steps

  1. Ask students “what are you interested in lately?” rather than “what do you want to be?” Ask them what the next step is to pursue their interest farther? How can you help?
  2. Have career days, but ask your guest speakers to discuss their journey, not just their destination.
  3. Promote curiosity in your classroom, and carve out time for independent studies.

 

http://www.byrdseed.com/success-isnt-a-straight-line/?icn=best

 

 

4/25/16 - 4/29/16

Asking Better Questions: Wait Time

Why Don’t We Wait?

Why is wait-time difficult? Because it’s super awkward to sit in silence while no one answers your question. A teacher might be thinking:

  • Didn’t they understand?
  • Was anyone listening?
  • Are they all watching to see what I’ll do?

And it’s so easy to end that awkwardness by blurting out your own answer, giving hints, or otherwise filling the space.

But in students’ minds, they’re simply trying to come up with an answer. And the bigger (and better!) the question, the longer the wait-time should be.

The Reality

So how long do teachers typically wait after asking a question? From an article by Kathleen Cotton:

The average wait-time teachers allow after posing a question is one second or less.

We’re giving students one second to process a question, think about it, formulate a response, and then verbalize it!? There’s no way you can come up with a good answer in that time.

Recommended Time

But get this: studies find positive results if wait time increases to just three seconds:

To attain these benefits, teachers were urged to “wait” in silence for 3 or more seconds after their questions, and after students completed their responses. From Robert Stahl

Three seconds is an easy starting point to increase student responses. Just mentally count to three after you ask a question and you can expect these positive benefits:

  • responses grow longer
  • responses are more correct
  • more students respond
  • you’ll get a wider variety of responses
  • you ask fewer (but better) questions

For me, I find that intentionally waiting calms me down. I breathe better. I relax a bit.

But beware, three seconds feels a lot longer than it sounds, especially when your classroom is silent and you’re waiting for a response.

But Wait… There’s More

What we’re talking about is called Wait Time I – the time you wait between the question and the answer. But there’s also Wait Time II – the time you wait after a student speaks before moving on.

Increasing Wait Time II naturally opens the floor for more answers from more students.

Try thanking a student for their answer (trying to avoid my weird tick of always rewording), ask for more responses, and then silently and slowly count to three. And it helps to gently smile, so your class doesn’t think you’re angry.

Combining Wait Time With Powerful Prompts

If you wait three to five seconds, but run out of student responses, you can assume that there are at least a couple kids with ideas, but they’re teetering on the edge of sharing. You can gently push them over that edge by saying:

  • Anyone have an idea they think is kinda right?
  • Any ideas that you think might be a little weird?
  • Anyone on the edge of sharing? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s a sample conversation:

  • T: What do you think made George Washington a great president? (counts slowly to three)
  • S1: Well… he, like, did everything first
  • T: Thanks S1 (smiles). Other ideas? You can just shout ’em out. (counts slowly to three)
  • S2: He chose to step down instead of ruling until he died.
  • T: Thank you S2 (smiles). What else? (counts to three)
  • T: Anyone have an idea they’re not quite sure of? (counts to three)
  • S3: Wasn’t he, um, also a general during the Revolutionary War?
  • T: Yes, thank you S3…

Writing Down Responses

I love capturing student responses on chart paper, a white board, or into a Google Doc. It serves three great purposes:

  1. You keep these ideas to play with later.
  2. You validate everyone’s responses – they’re so important, we’re writing them down!
  3. They naturally add wait time. You have to pause to write down each idea.

The Bigger The Question, The Longer The Wait

Of course, three seconds is a starting point. Five seconds might work even better in certain situations. If you’re asking higher level questions like evaluative and divergent, that wait time will need to grow.

And, when purposefully altering your classroom behavior, I always think it’s a good idea to tell your class up front. Otherwise you know they’re going to notice and wonder what the heck’s going on – Why is Mr. Byrd just staring and smiling at us today?

Guys, I’ve noticed that I don’t always give you enough time to think after I’ve asked a question. I’m trying to wait three to five seconds before I say anything from now on. I think this will make our class better. I’d love your help. If you notice that I’m moving on too quickly, please let me know.

http://www.byrdseed.com/questions-05/

 

4/11/16 - 4/15/16

Teahing Gifted Kids to Explain Their Thinking

When speaking with parents, I consistently hear concerns like this:

My child was the top math student in the class until 3rd grade, and now, because she doesn’t write her work out, she’s failing! The teacher says she knows the math, but just doesn’t explain herself.

Other variations:

  • he loves to tell stories, but doesn’t write enough down in class.
  • she can explain the idea out loud, but refuses to write the steps out on paper.

The easy answer is that the student’s being defiant, difficult, or lazy. You might even hear someone say “if you’re so smart, how come you can’t do this?”

But wait.

The Real Problem

The real problem is that this student doesn’t know how to explain her thinking. Why? Because no one ever taught her this skill!

Many gifted kids breezed through the first few years of school without needing to explain their thinking. They “just knew it.” The need to justify thinking only appears once the work becomes complex enough to need justification. Bright kids still “just know it,” but suddenly there’s a new hoop to jump through.

Now, it’s not that unreasonable for someone to be good at something, yet not know how to explain it. You and I complete tasks every day that we’d struggle to explain. I could not, off the top of my head:

  • explain the steps to tie my shoes
  • give precise directions to get from home to my office
  • write out the steps to throw a baseball

These are things I can do well, but I do them intuitively. And that intuition hides the details.

Baking Pies

Every Thanksgiving, my aunt bakes incredible pies. My wife and I asked how she makes these desserts. She couldn’t explain it. No recipe. No measurements. She bakes “by feel.” She works using her instincts.

So we went through the process with her one day. At every step, she told us what she was doing. Sometimes her explanation was unclear, and we stopped her to ask for clarification. It took a long time. But in the end, we had a set of directions that we could follow at home.

Of course, her pies are delicious whether or not she can explain the steps. No one says “if you’re such a good baker, why can’t you explain it?”

Work Through It With Them

It’s a weird trap: because a child is “so smart”, everyone thinks any gaps in their skills are a result of laziness or defiance.

But as a “smart kid” goes through school, more and more gaps appear. They simply can’t already know everything like they did in kindergarten. And the earliest gaps are often related to explaining intuitive processes. Putting those automatic thoughts onto paper – which is a very tricky skill to learn.

Like my aunt, many talented students need someone to sit with them and literally go step by step, asking (nicely):

  • “Wait, what did you do there?”
  • “Hold on. Why did you do that?”
  • “What do you mean by…?”

If you’re dealing with a student who is failing tests because they don’t show work (but do know the answers), realize that showing work is a separate skill that needs its own instruction and practice. And sometimes the brightest kid needs small group instruction for a skill the rest of the class already gets.

http://www.byrdseed.com/teaching-gifted-kids-to-explain-their-thinking/

 

3/28/16 - 4/01/16

Understanding High Energy Gifted Kids

Gifted kids who have enormous amounts of physical energy are often misunderstood and misidentified. Let’s try to understand how the same energy that makes them disruptive in class fuels intense concentration when they’re engaged in an activity they love.

The Five Overexcitabilities

I wrote earlier about Dabrowski’s five overexcitabilities, traits that are common in the gifted population. A quick recap:

  • intellectual – a deep passion to learn about specific topics
  • imaginational – possessing a rich imaginational world
  • sensory – having one or more heightened senses
  • emotional – an unusually large range of emotions
  • psychomotor – an excess of physical energy

If you want to dig in deeper to overexcitabilities, I recommend Living With Intensity (quoted below).

Psychomotor?

As I first learned about the overexcitabilities, psychomotor seemed the most suprising. A wild gifted kid? Running around? Falling out of chairs? That doesn’t sound right. They should be well–behaved, model students!

But here’s Susan Daniels and Elizabeth Meckstroth:

Psychomotor overexcitability is significantly correlated with high intelligence (Ackerman, 1993). Gifted children characteristically exhibit a high energy level. Susan Daniels, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Meckstroth M.Ed, M.S.W, Living With Intensity

A high level of physical energy isn’t rare, it’s to be expected in children with high intelligence. In fact, Dr. Linda Silverman writes:

…several studies [show] that psychomotor OE is an important means of differentiating gifted children from other students Linda Kreger Silverman Ph.D., The Theory of Positive Disintegration in the Field of Gifted Education

Why This Energy Is Awesome

To understand how giftedness and physical energy are connected, stop picturing a fidgety kid interrupting the class. Instead imagine him deeply engrossed in his favorite activity.

The very energy that makes him disruptive during a dull lesson empowers him to:

  • create a detailed Lego replica of an actual castle
  • design a video game within Minecraft
  • become a self-taught iPhone programmer over spring break

When he’s engaged in something he loves, the high-energy student enters a level of focus that few can understand. His energy keeps him going long after peers become bored, fatigued, or distracted.

He becomes a mini-Michelangelo working tirelessly on his own Sistine Chapel.

Beware Misidentification

But, since abundant physical energy is so opposite from the typical image of a gifted learner, it’s shamefully easy to overlook this child’s intelligence and focus only on his behavior.

Many behavior issues can be solved with a simple pre-assessment. The physical movement cranks up with boredom. If he already knows something, move him onto something interesting that he doesn’t already know!

Or, if a kid is brimming with physical energy, don’t ask him to contain it (which is impossible). Give him a chance to burn it off. Quick “movement breaks” are great, and not just for your high-energy kids.

These kids might need a few easy adaptations:

  • an exercise ball to bounce on in place of a chair
  • the option to stand in the back of the class rather than sit during a lesson
  • a squeeze toy to release energy during a test

Make Them Part of the Team

Talk to students directly about their needs. You can bet they’ve heard the same thing, year after year: “you need to settle down!”

What a relief to be told that their energy is actually a super power for learning and creating:

You know, Tiffany, that energy that makes it hard to sit still can actually be an amazing advantage when you’re doing something you love.

Make them part of the team, rather than a problem to be fixed. Help them to adapt and get through challenges:

If you feel that energy building, I want you to give me a little signal. It’ll be great for you to recognize when you’re feeling that way.

You Can’t “Fix” It

Kids aren’t going to “grow out of” their overexcitabilities. High-energy kids become high-energy adults. This is why self-understanding is so vital. Learning to work with their intensities is a life-long skill that push them closer to their amazing potentials.

http://www.byrdseed.com/understanding-high-energy-gifted-kids/

 

3/21/16 - 3/25/16

Long Term Success: Giving Better Feedback to Bright Stuudents

It’s vital to give students good feedback, especially your brightest kids. It’s so easy to give them another A, tell them “great job,” and send them on their way. But these kids need to learn how to talk about their work and receive actual feedback – or we’re setting them up to see feedback as inherently bad, and giving them a lifelong fear of feedback.

But… The Work IS Great.

The problem is: what the heck do you say? It really was a “great job.” It exceeded standards. There’s nothing to really correct.

In that case, use affective questions (questions about feelings) to talk about the work rather than just the product:

  • What part did you enjoy the most?
  • What was the hardest part for you?
  • What part are you most proud of?
  • What did you spend the longest on?
  • What part were you most worried about?

With affective questions, there’s no right or wrong answers. And these set up some nice probing questions to pull more from students:

  • Oh really? Why do you say that?
  • I see. What do you think caused that?
  • Is that true for you a lot of the time?
  • Do you think most people agree with that or disagree?
  • When did you start thinking that?

And you can gently pop your opinion in:

  • Oh, that makes sense now. I see that you were trying to explain that, but the wording wasn’t quite right. Thanks.
  • I could tell that was probably your favorite part – your excitement came through in your writing.
  • I really liked that part also. I had never seen someone do it like that.

De-Stress Them First

Some students will squirm when they have to sit down and chat about their work. They’re probably thinking: “OMG. What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t she get to the point? What’s my grade?” Tackle it head on:

Hey [stressed out perfect student]! We’re going to talk a bit about your paper, but don’t worry… nothing’s wrong! I haven’t even graded it yet. I want to know your thoughts first.

Will this take some time? Yes, but do it while the others are working on something. Make the time. The information you’ll gather will be so worth it, plus you’re helping these kids get used to chatting with authority.

 

http://www.byrdseed.com/feedback/

 

3/14/16 - 3/18/16

How Gifted Children Feel About Waiting In Class

According to a study by Marie E.Peine and Laurence J. Coleman, the complaint that many gifted children spend a good portion of their time in school waiting is a valid one. There aren't many studies done on the phenomenon of waiting, and this one does have some limits. For example, the demographics of the one school system where the study took place is not typical of schools across the country.

The classrooms of the participating students did not use educational practices, such as differentiation, designed to meet the needs of gifted children either. That doesn't detract from the findings of the study that gifted children spend time waiting in class. In fact, it supports the claim that gifted children need more than what is offered in regular classrooms.

While nearly all of the students felt the waiting was boring, their opinions of the waiting were not always completely negative. The researchers came up with three propositions to explain what gifted children feel about having to wait in school and how they cope with the waiting.

Proposition One: "Students enter any classroom at different levels of achievement and at different levels of readiness for learning the lessons."

Many of the gifted children in this study said that they had to spend a good deal of time waiting because they already knew the material being covered. Teachers seemed to want all the children to move forward at the same rate so gifted kids had to wait until the other students caught up. Individual differences among students were ignored and teachers had different strategies to keep students from working ahead. One teacher reprimanded children for working ahead. Another told students to put their pencils down when they were done. Still another asked students to put their hands up when they were done and waited until all hands had gone up. Children got used to the waiting or they found ways to cope when possible. For instance, some students would work ahead and not ask questions on material that hadn't been discussed yet. Other students would look for patterns in the teacher's behavior and if they saw a pattern, they would note when they should pay attention.

Proposition Two: "Waiting is boring, so students develop strategies for working through times in class when they have nothing to do in the assigned work."

Children who have to spend time waiting in class have said that it's boring and so they try to find things to do. They will read a book if it's allowed - and they remember to bring a book. If they can't read or do homework for other classes, they will sit and look at the teacher, but they will be thinking about other things. Other strategies that students reported include looking around to see what their friends are doing, drawing, doodling, asking to go to the bathroom, walking the long way around the room to the pencil sharpener. Interestingly, if the children were doing something they enjoyed, like drawing, they didn't consider the time spent drawing to be waiting.

Proposition Three: "Waiting has value."

While most of the students said that waiting is boring, some of them saw it as fair. These students understood that they were able to learn the material more quickly than the others and saw the waiting as a way for the other students to catch up so that the class could be "even." One seventh-grade student thought that if the class was even, then everyone would have "equal opportunities and things like that." Another student noted that waiting made her feel proud. Other students liked the wait time because it gave them a chance to read a book. What is interesting is that even though many of the students did understand that there was an issue of fairness in the waiting, they also wanted to be able to move on to new material.

Source: Peine, M.E., & Coleman, Laurence J. The Phenomenon of Waiting in Class. Journal for the Education of the Gifted. 34(2): 220-244.

 

http://giftedkids.about.com/od/schoolissues/fl/How-Gifted-Children-Feel-About-Waiting-in-Class.htm

 

3/07/16 - 3/11/16

If acceleration is a recommended practice, why don't more schools do it?

Schools avoid acceleration for many reasons.

  • School administrators, teachers, and others are often unaware of the benefits of acceleration and incorrectly believe that it is harmful to students.
  • Many teachers do not know that acceleration is a viable option for gifted students or have only limited knowledge of acceleration. Although there is a large body of research about acceleration, it has not been widely disseminated to the education community or the public.
  • Many of the nation’s Colleges of Education do not teach about giftedness or acceleration to future teachers, school psychologists, guidance counselors, and administrators. This is due, in part, to the belief that curriculum adaptations for gifted students are inconsistent with the democratic ideals of education. This philosophy confuses educational equity with educational sameness.
  • Some education professionals argue that gifted students should be left with age peers for the benefit of those age peers. The belief is that through instructional approaches such as cooperative learning and group projects, gifted students will model thinking and problem solving to the less able students. If gifted students are removed from the classroom, the argument goes, the low achieving students will not have an intellectual role model. This belief puts unfair pressure on gifted students to “teach” their peers and minimizes their opportunities to learn something new every school day. All students, including those who are high-ability, deserve to be students first and focus on their own learning.
  • Concerns about the social-emotional development of gifted children often override the intellectual needs of these children. However, gifted children tend to be socially and emotionally more mature than their age-mates. For many bright students, acceleration provides a better personal maturity match with classmates.
  • Because most school districts do not have policies in place to facilitate acceleration, the process may be unfamiliar. Without a policy or precedent, some administrators are unwilling to try acceleration. Change can be intimidating, and there can be bureaucratic and personal belief obstacles to acceleration.
  • Daycare providers and preschool teachers typically are not taught about giftedness in their early childhood education training. Educators who do not recognize the needs of young gifted learners often overlook children who would benefit from early entrance to kindergarten or first grade. Parents of young gifted children often have no source for information on how to assist their children or how to advocate for them.
  • Because our educational system is designed to meet the needs of the typical student, policy makers may come to expect that all students in a classroom will be at the same intellectual level. Studies show much greater variability in student achievement within grades than between grades. In other words, each classroom encompasses an extremely wide range of achievement and ability, and one curriculum is unlikely to work for all of the students in that classroom.
 

http://accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/QA/

 

2/29/16 - 3/04/16

Knowledge and Skill Standards in Gifted Education for All Teachers

It is critical that all teachers are able to recognize a high-ability student who may need more depth and complexity in instruction or be referred for further assessment and services.

NAGC has developed the standards for use in general educator preparation programs as well as for training all teachers already in the classroom.  These knowledge and skill standards present the primary understanding of the issues, learning differences, and strategies that all teachers should possess. The standards were drawn from the larger set of 2013 NAGC-CEC Gifted Education Teacher Preparation Standards.

All teachers should be able to:

  1. recognize the learning differences, developmental milestones, and cognitive/affective characteristics of gifted and talented students, including those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and identify their related academic and social-emotional needs;
  2. design appropriate learning and performance modifications for individuals with gifts and talents that enhance creativity, acceleration, depth and complexity in academic subject matter and specialized domains; and
  3. select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance the learning of gifted and talented students.

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/national-standards-gifted-and-talented-education/knowledge-and

 

2/22/16 - 2/26/16

Pull-Out Programs/Specialized Classes

Gifted programming can be provided in a combination of ways, including pull-out programs; special classes in a subject or interest area; special state schools (e.g., Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities) or local magnet schools; afterschool, Saturday, or summer programs; Advanced Placement, International Baccaleaureate, or other dual-enrollment courses; distance learning; and other similar services.

  • In a study of four provisions for teaching mathematically talented students, one researcher found positive effects for using pull-out grouping to include good interaction between teachers and students, significant progress in level of skills, and increases in motivation. In a mathematics pull-out group with same-age peers, where the students were pulled from different classes other than their regular mathematics instruction, the teacher reported that the group met the needs of her students who showed more ability in mathematics, increased their motivation, and evidenced students’ learning new knowledge. The students in the group shared positive attitudes toward the group and the chance to work with similar ability peers. In a second group, which included peers of different ages and abilities within their regular math class, all of the children progressed to the highest level of attainment on the math assessment by the end of the term. These children also reported positive feelings toward the group, and the teacher felt confident their needs had been met at the close of the service. [1]
  • Additionally, the students in a pull-out program in grades 3-6 in South Korea said thy felt their pull-out classes had significantly higher levels of interest, challenge, and enjoyment in their pull-out classes than their regular classes. After a review of literature on pull-out programs, the researchers for this study noted that teachers knowledgeable about gifted education in combination with more advanced curricula resulted in students’ satisfaction pull-out programs. [2]
  • A longitudinal study of identified gifted students reported that, at age 33, 70% of the students who had taken one or more AP courses or exams in high school had advanced degrees, compared to 43% of those who had not taken such courses. The students who took AP courses also appeared more satisfied with the intellectual caliber of their high school experience than their peers. [3] However, schools should note that AP and IB courses should not be considered the sole components of a gifted program. NAGC advises that the limitations of AP coursework mean that districts must offer additional curriculum options to be considered as having gifted and talented services. [4]
  • Students may also receive services in a specialized state or local magnet school. In one study of specialized math and science high schools, 99% of the students went on to earn a bachelor's degree or higher, with over 50% of the students continuing in challenging science or math fields. [5] Students who attend magnet schools are more likely to commit to succeeding in school, leading them to experience greater satisfaction and improved achievement. Magnet school programs also often work hard to keep their course offerings innovative and challenging to remain competitive among other offerings for advanced students.  [6]
  • Out-of-school options for programming may include specialized courses or programs like the Catalyst Program, a special science course for adolescents with deep interests chemistry. The students in the course felt they improved their ability to present their scientific ideas more effectively and developed a better understanding of the creative process in science research. When surveyed, 18 of the 23 students in the course said it impacted their decision to study the sciences, particularly science research. Additionally 10 of the 23 students suggested the program increased their interest in pursuing research opportunities in general in college. The students also felt they benefited from the intense immersion in science research and the chance to receive mentorships and work with science professionals. [7] Other researchers have also found that students out-of-school enrichment programs such as Saturday programs have reported high levels of interest, challenge, choice, and enjoyment in these course offerings. [8]
  • Another out-of-school option may include enrolling gifted students in specialized distance learning courses (often provided through talent search programs). In a study of the distance learning programs offered through Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, outcomes of the program for gifted students ages 5-17 were examined by looking at both student and parent evaluations and final grades for the courses. Overall, the students and their parents found the course an effective learning experience, suggesting that such programs can be an effective approach for enriching or accelerating in-school opportunities. [9]

 

[1] Dimitriadis, C. (2012b). Provision for mathematically gifted children in primary schools: An investigation of four different methods of organizational provision. Educational Review, 64, 241–260.
[2] Yang, Y., Gentry, M., & Choi, Y. O. (2012). Gifted students’ perceptions of the regular classes and pull-out programs in South Korea. Journal of Advanced Academics, 23, 270–287.
[3] Bleske-Rechek, A., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. (2004). Meeting the educational needs of special populations: Advanced Placement’s role in developing exceptional human capital. Psychological Science, 15, 217–224.
[4] National Association for Gifted Children. (2008). Common gifted education myths. Retrieved from http://www.nagc.org/commonmyths.aspx
?[5] Thomas, J. (2000). First year findings: NCSSSMST longitudinal study. NCSSSMST Journal, 5(2), 4–5. Retrieved from http://ncsssmst.org/conf/100033/JournalS00.pdf??
[6] Thompson, L. (2011). Magnet schools: Offering distinctive learning opportunities. Duke TIP Digest of Gifted Research. Retrieved from https://tip.duke.edu/node/790
[7] Subotnik, R. F., Edmiston, A. M., Cook, L., & Ross, M. D. (2010). Mentoring for talent development, creativity, social skills, and insider knowledge: The APA Catalyst Program. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21, 714–739.
[8] Pereira, N., Peters, S., & Gentry, M. (2010). The My Class Activities instrument as used in Saturday enrichment program evaluation. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21, 568–593.
[9] Wallace, P. (2009). Distance learning for gifted students: Outcomes for elementary, middle, and high school students. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32, 295–320. Retrieved from http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articlesid10610.aspx

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/pull-out-programsspecialized-classes

 

2/15/16 - 2/19/16

What are the Professional Development Implications for Implementing the Common Core State Standards? 

Professional development is essential for all educators, who ideally are engaged in learning communities to identify specific knowledge and skills needed to serve different groups of learners.  As schools and school districts adopt and begin using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), all educators should be involved in ongoing learning to address the needs of gifted and high-potential students. Specifically, all educators need a repertoire of research-supported strategies to deliberately adapt and modify curriculum, instruction, and assessment within the framework of the CCSS, based on the needs of gifted and talented students as well as those with high potential. 

While the CCSS provide the framework for the learning experiences for all students, gifted educators need focused training that is content-specific for differentiating the standards. Systematic professional development will support all educators to adapt, modify, or replace the CCSS based on the needs of the learner. To differentiate effectively for gifted and high-potential learners, all educators need to develop expertise at designing learning experiences and assessments that are conceptually advanced, challenging, and complex.

Professional development for implementing the CCSS for gifted and high-potential learners should focus on evidence-based differentiation practices as they relate to specific core content.  The training should demonstrate how to apply acceleration strategies, how to add depth and complexity elements, such as critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, and inquiry, and how to develop and encourage creativity, all within the CCSS.  In addition to the curriculum adaptation and modification, the professional development experiences should also demonstrate content-specific ways to design and implement differentiated product-based assessments as well as pre- and post-assessments appropriate for advanced students.

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/common-core-state-standards-national-science-0

 

2/08/16 - 2/12/16

How Do We Differentiate Assessments Based on the Common Core State Assessments?

Though end-of-grade performance expectations are identified in the CCSS, teachers must also consider how differentiation of classroom assessments can be tailored to support the ongoing development of each student’s literacy and numeracy), in order to meet gifted students' unique academic and social-emotional needs.

For example, in ELA, curriculum may be modified with more advanced content (more difficult material, greater depth of exploration), more challenging readings (increased in alignment with students' reading levels), and projects that challenge students to stretch beyond their current level of performance through assessments that appropriately gauge the growth of the advanced learner. With the ELA standards' inclusion of literacy development across subject areas, ample opportunities for interdisciplinary and interest-driven learning are possible but require careful instructional design so that gifted students are afforded learning geared to their continued development as assessed regularly by the classroom teacher.  Thus product-based assessment is a crucial approach in this process.

Similarly, students with potential in Mathematics should experience rigorous Mathematics courses through a carefully constructed, compacted and telescoped curriculum.  This requires the use of preassessments and ongoing assessments to ensure that the knowledge and skills are matched to the student’s current level of achievement and that above grade-level curriculum is provided for acceleration. Information about possible accelerated pathways for advanced high school students can be found in Appendix A of the CCSS for Mathematics.

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/common-core-state-standards-national-science-0

 

2/01/16 - 2/05/16

What are the Approaches to Use in Differentiating the Mathematics Standards? 

The CCSS in Mathematics have significant implications for the teaching of Mathematics in grades K–12.  Our collective future lies in the individual development of students with mathematical promise, students who will fulfill their own potential and also provide leadership for others.  This individualized developmental approach includes students who traditionally have been identified as gifted, talented, advanced, or precocious in Mathematics as well as those students with potential who may have been excluded from the rich opportunities that might accompany this recognition.  As with all students, these students with special needs deserve a least restrictive learning environment that lifts the ceiling, fuels their creativity and passions, pushes them to make continuous progress throughout their academic careers, and supports them in the fulfillment of their personal potential.

When considering the implications of the CCSS for the development of mathematical talent, it is important to take into account the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice that educators should seek to develop in their students as well as the individual Mathematics content standards. For example, the Standards for Practice expect proficient students to reason abstractly and quantitatively, persevere in solving difficult problems, and construct and critique viable arguments to support their reasoning. Students need a chance to experience the joy of investigating rich concepts in depth and applying innovative mathematical reasoning and justification to a variety of scientific, engineering, and other problems.

The instructional pace is also a critical consideration in the education of gifted students in mathematics.  Advanced learners may demonstrate rapid or early mastery of some of the mathematics standards, especially those involving skill at computation and mastery of algorithms, requiring accelerative opportunities at key stages of development.  Appropriate pacing for these students, including in accelerated courses, means that students have the time and opportunity to delve deeply and creatively into topics, projects, and problems of interest.  It’s important therefore that advanced learners receive their instruction from well-prepared teachers who are knowledgeable regarding mathematics and strategies to use with advanced learners.

Teachers of the gifted also should be mindful of the importance of providing problem finding and problem-solving skills and strategies to stimulate mathematical reasoning, spatial reasoning, and work with number theory.  As applied skills to conducting meaningful research, early exposure of gifted learners of probability, statistics, and logic are viable approaches to be used.

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/common-core-state-standards-national-science-0

 

1/18/16 - 1/22/16

What are the Approaches to Use in Differentiating the English Language Arts Standards? 

Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) identify K-12 grade-level literacy performance expectations in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, with specific benchmarks by grade for developmental progress. The ELA standards were designed to prepare students to become critical consumers of literature and informational texts across disciplines and are primarily framed as developmental processes that these students would be able to demonstrate by the end of a given grade level of instruction. As is noted in the ELA standards’ preamble, the curriculum, instruction, and scope of learning is not prescribed; educators are given great latitude in how to obtain these achievement goals and in which learning goals to infuse into the curriculum or instruction.

Guided by assessment data, the ELA standards suggest that teachers are responsible for tailoring learning experiences for gifted students to foster the continued development of advanced skills, knowledge, and conceptual understanding. Instructional approaches in reading, for example, could include matching gifted readers with texts that are commensurate or slightly above their documented reading level. Gifted and high-potential readers may also benefit from other instructional approaches recognized as beneficial for advanced readers, such as Socratic Seminars and literature circles. In line with the ELA standards’ recommendations, to promote students' continued development of research skills, teachers of the gifted may also infuse opportunities for research in students’ areas of interests as well as creative production. Teachers of gifted writers may encourage the development of advanced writing skills through writing competitions, production in public venues, or staging of a student's original writing through drama, poetry readings, mentorships with local writers or other writing experts, or in-class response groups comprised of classmates with similar advanced writing abilities.  Teachers of gifted and high-potential students also should be mindful of the importance of providing conceptual units of study that foster interdisciplinary thinking, examination of complex issues, problem finding, and problem solving to stimulate discussion, debate, reasoning, and related skills of persuasion, which are progressively targeted as learners move from K-6 through secondary education.

Instructional pace is also a critical consideration in the education of gifted students.  As noted in the Common Core State Standards materials, advanced learners may demonstrate rapid or early mastery of the standards. Depending on an individual student's rate of learning, which might differ depending on the ELA areas in which a student excels, curriculum should be made more advanced and challenging in that area.  For example, a student who enters kindergarten reading at the second-grade level should receive instruction pitched at third-grade books and materials with matching comprehension questions and writing assignments. Teachers are responsible for monitoring the pace at which a gifted learner responds and adjusting pacing appropriately.

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/common-core-state-standards-national-science-0

 

1/11/16 - 1/15/16

What is the Research Support for Differentiating the Common

Core State Standards for Gifted Learners?

Evidence-based practices that inform the teacher preparation and programming standards in gifted education relate to assessment, curriculum, instruction, and grouping issues, all of which are embedded within the CCSS.  The most salient examples of these practices are:

  • Preassessment and ongoing assessment can help educators adjust instruction for a positive educational experience since the pace of instructional delivery should be consistent with the individual student’s progress.
  • Assessments should be used to document academic growth and may include performance, products, and other tasks that are authentic to the domain.
  • In the classroom, curricular modifications for gifted students include acceleration, enrichment, grouping, cluster grouping, problem-based learning, curriculum compacting, tiered lessons, independent study, and the use of specific curriculum models.
  • By engaging gifted individuals from diverse backgrounds in challenging curricula, educators are more likely to recognize their abilities and potential, understand differing points of view and cultures, and reduce underachievement. Working in groups with other gifted students can yield academic benefits as well as enhance self-confidence and communication skills.

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/common-core-state-standards-national-science-0

 

1/4/16 - 1/8/16

In What Ways Does the Common Core State Standards

Implementation Relate to Program Models in Gifted

Education? 

As gifted program service models vary, so do the implementation implications for the CCSS.  Gifted students receive services within heterogeneous settings, cluster-grouped classrooms, pull-out models, and self-contained classrooms.

For teachers of gifted and high-potential learners served in the heterogeneous, general education classroom with flexible grouping, the CCSS can serve as benchmarks for what all students should know, though educators should be careful not to limit curriculum for high-ability students based on the foundational expectations that would be provided to general education learners.  In fact, those who are advanced, as is noted in the introduction to the CCSS, may show mastery of content standards much sooner than other learners. As the CCSS authors acknowledge the limited nature of the standards in addressing the needs of the gifted, teachers must then modify learning experiences for these students.

To address the curricular needs of gifted and high-potential students, teachers can differentiate curriculum through posing progressively more complex issues, adjustment of texts according to each student's reading level and interest, modification of mathematical processes according to those previously mastered, and pace of instruction.  While the CCSS provide indicators of general levels of performance for all students, teachers will need to modify learning so that gifted learners are provided appropriately challenging, stimulating experiences throughout the instructional day for continued progress.

In cluster-grouped classrooms, teachers can use the CCSS as a basis for preassessment of where students are performing, and adjust grouping according to students' abilities, interests, and strengths with respect to literacy or Mathematics. Teachers can group high-ability students flexibly throughout the school day to allow students the opportunity to regularly engage with peers of similar abilities and interests according to individual literacy or mathematical skills addressed in the CCSS (such as speaking or reading and writing) or by a combination of skills.

Teachers who serve gifted students in pull-out models, where gifted students spend a portion of their school day (or week) in a setting other than their general education classroom, are encouraged to consider how their infusion of literacy and numeracy address the CCSS and how the experiences offered in the pull-out setting offer advanced learning experiences beyond those that would be provided in the general education classroom.  Teachers of the gifted in pull-out classrooms are encouraged to remain informed of the content and scope of literacy experiences afforded students in the regular classroom setting so that gifted program experiences provide opportunities for greater depth, complexity, critical-thinking opportunities, creative production, and research based on the individual needs of gifted students as reflected in the use of ongoing assessment information.

Gifted students who are served throughout the school day with gifted peers in self-contained classrooms engage in a range of literacy experiences as different content areas are addressed. Teachers of the gifted in these classrooms use the CCSS as developmental guidelines for grade-level expectations for all students, though gifted learners with advanced skills in literacy and numeracy often evidence proficiency early in the school year or acquire these foundational skills at a pace that is faster than general education peers or even their gifted education peers. Thus, appropriate grouping within the self-contained classroom is recommended according to literacy and numeracy abilities.  The curriculum should be qualitatively different from the curriculum offered to general education students according to the needs of students in terms of rate of learning, depth of content, difficulty of products, and complexity of thinking processes.

The models of delivery are largely not addressed in the CCSS, allowing teachers and schools to implement services based on the needs of gifted students with the CCSS as a basis.  Though gifted program design and delivery will be informed by these Standards, programs and services for the gifted should be largely guided by assessment data on the ability levels of students as well as best practices for serving gifted students in each of the core subject areas.

 

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/common-core-state-standards-national-science-0

 

 

12/14/15 - 12/18/15

How Do We Align the Common Core State Standards to Gifted Education Programming Standards? 

All differentiation is based on an understanding of the characteristics of gifted and high-potential students and the content standards within a domain. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) require the field of gifted education to examine its practices and align them more fully to the NAGC Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards for curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  Since the gifted programming standards in curriculum require us to engage in two major tasks in curriculum planning—alignment to standards in the content areas and the development of a scope and sequence—using the CCSS is a natural point of departure. The effort must occur in vertical planning teams within districts and states in order to ensure consistency and coherence in the process. There are three major strategies that may be employed to accomplish the task for gifted education:

1.  Provide pathways to accelerate the CCSS for gifted learners.

Some of the CCSS address higher-level skills and concepts that should receive focus throughout the years of schooling, such as a major emphasis on the skills of argument in English Language Arts and the skills of patterning and problem-solving in Mathematics.  However, there are also more discrete skills that may be clustered across grade levels and compressed around higher-level skills and concepts for more efficient mastery by gifted students.

2. Provide examples of differentiated task demands to address specific standards.

Standards like the research standard in English Language Arts and the data interpretation standard in Mathematics lend themselves to differentiated interpretation through demonstrating what a typical learner on grade level might be able to do at a given stage of development versus what a gifted learner might be able to do. The differentiated examples should show greater complexity and creativity, using a more advanced curriculum base. While typical learners might interpret a grade-level graph to satisfy the data interpretation standard in Mathematics, the gifted learners might use real world and multiple data sets to interpret and show trends in data over time. In English Language Arts, while typical learners might learn the parts of speech and practice their application across grades K-8, gifted learners might instead explore the relationship of these parts of speech and their function in different sentence patterns at an earlier stage of development. Other degrees of differentiation may take place by adding complexity to the task and using enrichment techniques that address student needs and district demographics.

3. Create interdisciplinary product demands to elevate  learning for gifted students and to efficiently address multiple standards at once. 

Since English Language Arts and Mathematics standards can be grouped together in application, much of the project work that gifted educators might already use could be revised to connect to the CCSS and show how multiple standards could be addressed across content areas.  For example, research projects could be designed that address the research standard in English Language Arts and the data representation standard in Mathematics by delineating a product demand for research on an issue, asking researchable questions, using multiple sources to answer them, and then representing findings in tables, graphs, and other visual displays that are explained in text and presented to an audience with implications for a plan of action.  Such a project might be possible for the gifted learner at an earlier grade than for a typical learner.

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/common-core-state-standards-national-science-0

 

 

12/07/15 - 12/11/15

Good Instruction for Gifted Learners

  1. Good curriculum and instruction for gifted learners begins with good curriculum and instruction. It's difficult, if not impossible, to develop the talent of a highly able student with insipid curriculum and instruction. Like all students, gifted learners need learning experiences that are rich. That is, they need learning experiences that are organized by key concepts and principles of a discipline rather than by facts. They need content that is relevant to their lives, activities that cause them to process important ideas at a high level, and products that cause them to grapple with meaningful problems and pose defensible solutions. They need classrooms that are respectful to them, provide both structure and choice, and help them achieve more than they thought they could. These are needs shared by all learners, not just those who are gifted. But good instruction for gifted learners must begin there
  2. Good teaching for gifted learners is paced in response to the student's individual needs. Often, highly able students learn more quickly than others their age. As a result, they typically need a more rapid instructional pace than do many of their peers. Educators sometimes call that "acceleration," which makes the pace sound risky. For many gifted learners, however, it's the comfortable pace-like walking "quickly" suits someone with very long legs. It's only "fast" for someone with shorter legs. On the other hand, it's often the case that advanced learners need a slower pace of instruction than many other students their age, so they can achieve a depth or breadth of understanding needed to satisfy a big appetite for knowing.
  3. Good teaching for gifted learners happens at a higher "degree of difficulty" than for many students their age. In the Olympics, the most accomplished divers perform dives that have a higher "degree of difficulty" than those performed by divers whose talents are not as advanced. A greater degree of difficulty calls on more skills-more refined skills-applied at a higher plane of sophistication. A high "degree of difficulty" for gifted learners in their talent areas implies that their content, processes and products should be more complex, more abstract, more open-ended, more multifaceted than would be appropriate for many peers. They should work with fuzzier problems, will often need less teacher-imposed structure, and (in comparison to the norm) should have to make greater leaps of insight and transfer than would be appropriate for many their age. Gifted learners may also (but not always) be able to function with a greater degree of independence than their peers.
  4. Good teaching for gifted learners requires an understanding of "supported risk." Highly able learners often make very good grades with relative ease for along time in school. They see themselves (and often rightly so) as expected to make "As," get right answers, and lead the way. In other words, they succeed without "normal" encounters with failure. Then, when a teacher presents a high-challenge task, the student feels threatened. Not only has he or she likely not learned to study hard, take risks and strive, but the student's image is threatened as well. A good teacher of gifted students understands that dynamic, and thus invites, cajoles and insists on risk-but in a way that supports success. When a good gymnastics coach asks a talented young gymnast to learn a risky new move, the coach ensures that the young person has the requisite skills, then practices the move in harness for a time.   Then the coach "spots" for the young athlete. Effective teachers of gifted learners do likewise.

 

      http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/what-it-means-teach-gifted-learners-well

 

11/30/15 - 12/04/15

Inappropriate Instruction for Gifted Learners

  1. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do things they already know how to do, and then to wait for others to learn how. Many advanced learners regularly complete assignments calling on materials, ideas and skills they have already mastered. Then they wait for peers to catch up, rather than being pre-assessed and assigned more advanced materials, ideas and skills when they demonstrate competency
  2. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do "more of the same stuff faster." Reading more books that are too easy and doing more math problems that have ceased being a challenge are killers of motivation and interest.
  3.  Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it cuts them loose from peers and the teacher for long periods of time. Asking a highly able student to sit at a desk in the back of the room and move through the math book alone ignores a child's need for affiliation, and overlooks the fact that a teacher should be a crucial factor in all children's learning. It also violates the importance of meaningful peer interaction in the learning process, as well as in the process of social and emotional development.
  4. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is structured around "filling time." Highly able students are often asked to go write a play, complete a puzzle, or do classroom chores because they have completed required tasks that take others longer. It would be difficult to defend such practices as a high-quality use of educational time.
  5. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when they spend substantial time in the role of tutor or "junior teacher." All students need to be colleagues for one another, giving a hand or clarifying procedures  when needed. That's quite different from when advanced learners spend chunks of time on a regular basis teaching what they already know to students who are having difficulty. Some educators suggest that doesn't harm highly able learners because their test scores remain high. That begs the question of the extended learning these students might have garnered had the same amount of time been spent in pursuit of well-planned new ideas and skills.
  6. Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is rooted in novel, "enriching" or piecemeal learning experiences. If a child were a very talented pianist, we would question the quality of her music teacher if the child regularly made toy pianos, read stories about peculiar happenings in the music world, and did word-search puzzles on the names of musicians. Rather, we would expect the student to work directly with the theory and performance of music in a variety of forms and at consistently escalating levels of complexity. We would expect the young pianist to be learning how a musician thinks and works, and to be developing a clear sense  of her own movement toward expert-level performance in piano. Completing word-search puzzles, building musical instruments and reading about oddities in the lives of composers may be novel, may be "enriching,"(and certainly seems lacking in coherent scope and sequence, and therefore sounds piecemeal). But those things will not foster high-level talent development in music. The same hold true for math, history, science, and so on.

      http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/what-it-means-teach-gifted-learners-well

 

 

11/16/15 - 11/20/15

 

Learning from the Experiences of Others
Many well-meaning teachers innocently commit the following blunders when they encounter gifted students. Don-t feel bad if you have committed them. I know I have and I wish someone would have pointed them out to me before I had to learn about them the hard way.

Blunder Number One: Asking Your Gifted Students To Serve As Tutors For Students Who Are Struggling. Gifted children think and learn differently than other students. Asking them to serve as tutors can be a frustrating experience for all parties involved. This should also be remembered when putting together learning teams or group projects. Putting your strongest student with your students who are struggling is likely to be a painful experience for everyone. Imagine developing a cycling team with someone like Lance Armstrong as one member and then selecting other members who have either just learned to ride their bikes or are still relying on training wheels to help them gain their balance. It is unlikely that anyone in this group is going to have a positive experience.

Blunder Number Two: Giving Your Gifted Students More Work When They Finish Early. It is common practice to give students more work if they complete their assignments early. This is counterintuitive if you consider that if the student is completing his/her work in an efficient manner, it is likely that the work is too easy. Let's once again consider our cyclist. Would you have the cyclist who finished the race first continue to ride, on a stationary bike no less, until all of the other cyclists finished the race? I hope not! What if that cyclist was given an opportunity to participate in more challenging races or had the opportunity to develop his/her talents in related areas -- wouldn't that be a better use of his/her time?

Blunder Number Three: Only Allowing Gifted Students To Move Ahead When They Complete The Grade/Age Designed Work Assignments With 100% Accuracy. It is important to remember that gifted students think and learn differently and can be extremely rebellious. No one -- not adults, not children and especially not gifted children -- likes to be bored! Gifted students, thanks to their ability to reason, will purposely choose not do something merely because they "must" do it, particularly if it seems pointless to them. They would rather spend their time thinking or reading than completing worksheets that are too easy. If you are truly interested in doing what's best for your students, it is imperative that you focus on their strengths, not their shortcomings. Offer them opportunities that are consistent with their abilities -- lead them from where they are. Depending how long they have been in the system, it may take them a while to trust you. So, don't be surprised if there isn't a miraculous overnight change. Be consistent and positive and remember, you may be the first teacher who has offered them an opportunity to actually learn, rather than regurgitate and they may not know how to handle your responsiveness. Don't fall in to the trap of saying, "See, I told you he wasn't gifted, I gave him one tough assignment and he failed." Gifted students generally haven't had to work to succeed. Give them time to build their, often atrophied, wings in a safe environment.

 

 

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

 

 

11/09/15 - 11/13/15

 

Explore Acceleration ~ It's Free and It Works!
Another option is to allow students to attend classes with other students who are at the same developmental level, rather than with their age peers. If a 9 year old can demonstrate that he is ready to learn algebra, why should he be forced to take fourth-grade math just because he is 9 years old? Same goes for language arts, or science, or social studies or any other area of the curriculum. Many well-meaning teachers worry that a student will run out of things to learn if they are given access to curriculum designated for older students. Whenever I hear this question I can't help but ask -- can a person ever truly run out of things to learn? Indeed, if we let Susie, a third grader, learn fifth grade math this year, then fifth grade math isn't going to be appropriate for Susie when she gets to fifth grade. So, during fifth grade, Susie should have access to seventh grade (or higher!) math -- depending upon her needs. What's wrong with that? Susie is learning at a rate appropriate to her abilities and will continue to do so whether or not we "make" her do third grade worksheets. Why not accommodate her unique learning needs with a bit of flexibility. Susie may just be the one who discovers the cure for cancer or comes up with an alternative fuel source that is more planet-friendly. Besides, and I can only speak for myself, I don't believe ANY student should have their opportunities limited because of their age, their race or any other factor that is beyond their control. I believe education should be about creating true learning opportunities for ALL students -- including gifted students. If you have a student who is ready for fifth grade work, collaborate with the fifth grade teachers. There are great tools, such as the Iowa Acceleration Scale, that can help you to determine whether the student should be moved ahead for just a subject or two or should be grade accelerated.

Another reason that many teachers are afraid to try acceleration is that they are concerned about the student's level of social maturity. Research has demonstrated time and time again that acceleration is effective for many reasons and that social maturity is rarely an issue. Several studies have shown that social age is correlated with mental age -- not chronological age. So, not only is it generally in the student's best interest academically to accelerate, it is in his/her best social interest as well! The same goes for students in high school. If a student is ready for college work, encourage them to take college courses or to consider an early college entrance program. Indeed the student might need a bit of tutoring to get up to speed and/or may need some extra support initially, particularly with writing and/or organization, however, gifted students learn very quickly and my experience has been that these supports can generally be removed after a reasonable adjustment period.

 

 

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

 

11/04/15 - 11/06/15

 

Learn About Distance Learning Opportunities

The choices available to teachers and parents in this area have exploded in the past several years. Distance learning opportunities have dramatically increased options for meeting the needs of gifted students. Programs such as EPGY math and the Johns Hopkins Writing Tutorials as well as online high school and college courses, including online AP classes, are a great way to substitute more challenging curriculum for students who demonstrate proficiency with grade level material. Of course, these classes generally aren't free, but they are an option. And, in my experience, they are an option that many parents are willing to fund.

 

 

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

 

 

10/26/15 - 10/30/15

 

Involve Parents as Resource Locators


Parents of gifted children are often active advocates for their children. If you are not prepared for this, it can be a bit unnerving. The good news is that, at least in my experience, what they want most is to be heard and to encounter someone who is willing to think differently. Generally, I found that if I offered to collaborate with them, rather than resist them, we were able to work together to see that their child's needs were met. For example, if they wanted their child to have more challenging experiences in math, I would then enlist their help in finding better curriculum options. I generally conducted an informal assessment to help them determine the best place to start and then encouraged them to explore other options that could be adapted to the classroom. Most parents understood when I explained that I didn't have the luxury of creating a customized curriculum for every student, but that I would be willing to make accommodations if they would do the research. Flexibility and a willingness to think differently helped me create many win-win situations.

 

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

 

10/19/15 - 10/24/15

Re-Familiarize Yourself with Piaget & Bloom

There are many developmental theorists and it is likely that you encountered many of them during your teacher preparation course work. When it comes to teaching gifted children, I recommend taking a few moments to review the work of Jean Piaget and Benjamin Bloom. Jean Piaget offers a helpful description of developmental stages as they relate to learning. Gifted students are often in his "formal operations" stage when their peers are still in his "pre-operational" or "concrete operations" stages. When a child is developmentally advanced he/she has different learning abilities and needs. This is where Bloom's Taxonomy can be a particularly useful. Students in the "formal operations" developmental stage need learning experiences at the upper end of Bloom's Taxonomy. Essentially all assignments should offer the student the opportunity to utilize higher level thinking skills like analysis, synthesis and evaluation, as defined by Bloom. I recommend using the Internet to learn more about these two important theorists.

 

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

 

10/12/15 - 10/16/15

Conduct Informal Assessments


Meeting the needs of gifted students does not need to be an all consuming task. One of the easiest ways to better understand how to provide challenging material is to conduct informal whole class assessments on a regular basis. For example, before beginning any unit, administer the end of the unit test. Students who score above 80% should not be forced to "relearn" information they already know. Rather, these students should be given parallel opportunities that are challenging. I generally offered these students the option to complete an independent project on the topic or to substitute another experience that would meet the objectives of the assignment, i.e. taking a college/distance course.

With areas of the curriculum that are sequential, such as mathematics and spelling, I recommend giving the end of the year test during the first week of school. If you have students who can demonstrate competency at 80% or higher, you will save them an entire year of frustration and boredom if you can determine exactly what their ability level is and then offer them curriculum that allows them to move forward. Formal assessments can be extremely helpful, however, they are expensive and there is generally a back log of students waiting to be tested. Conducting informal assessments is a useful and inexpensive tool that will offer you a lot of information.

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

 

09/28/15 - 10/03/15

Let Go of "Normal"

In order to be an effective teacher, whether it's your first year or your 30th, the best thing you can do for yourself is to let go of the idea of "normal." I can't encourage you enough to offer all students the opportunity to grow from where they are, not from where your teacher training courses say they should be. You will not harm a student by offering him/her opportunities to complete work that is more advanced. Research consistently shows that curriculum based on development and ability is far more effective than curriculum based on age. And, research indicates that giftedness occurs along a continuum. As a teacher, you will likely encounter students who are moderately gifted, highly gifted and, perhaps if you're lucky, even a few who are profoundly gifted. Strategies that work for one group of gifted students won't necessarily work for all gifted students. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. You're in the business of helping students to develop their abilities. Just as athletes are good at athletics, gifted students are good at thinking. We would never dream of holding back a promising athlete, so don't be afraid to encourage your "thinketes" by providing them with opportunities to soar.

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

09/21/15 - 09/25/15

Familiarize Yourself with the Characteristics of Intellectually Gifted Students

Not all gifted students in your classroom will be identified and even those who are may not always appear to be gifted. As such, it is important that you don't allow yourself to be distracted by false stereotypes. Gifted students come from all ethnic groups, they are both boys and girls, they live in both rural and urban areas and they aren't always straight A students. Students who are intellectually gifted demonstrate many characteristics, including: a precocious ability to think abstractly, an extreme need for constant mental stimulation; an ability to learn and process complex information very rapidly; and a need to explore subjects in depth. Students who demonstrate these characteristics learn differently. Thus, they have unique academic needs. Imagine what your behavior and presentation would be like if, as a high school junior, you were told by the school district that you had to go back to third grade. Or, from a more historical perspective, what if you were Mozart and you were told you had to take beginning music classes because of your age. This is often the experience of the gifted child. Some choose to be successful given the constructs of public school and others choose to rebel. Either way, a few simple changes to their academic experience can dramatically improve the quality of their lives -- and, mostly likely, yours!

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10075.aspx

09/14/15 - 09/18/15

Undesirable Traits of Gifted Children 

(These are typical factors stressed by educational authorities as being indicative of giftedness.)


1. gets bored easily, resists drill, disturbs others

2. neglects resposibilities

3. shows off, evokes peer resentment

4. monopolizes discussion

5. resists class routine, dislikes interruptions

6. goes on tangents, shows no follow-through

7. refuses to work with others

8. impolitely corrects adults

9. plays cruel jokes or tricks on others

10. interferes in the affairs of others

11. brags, egotistical, impatient with others

12. leads others into negative behaviors

13. stubborn in beliefs

14. is overly aggresive, challenges authority, appears bully-ish