As I continue this series, I realized that in some districts like mine gifted children are in the regular classroom more often than they are in the gifted classroom. So, where ever they may be, gifted children need to be challenged. This is the area that I want to explore today.
We all have children in our classrooms that want a challenge and need to be challenged. As I talked about in my last post, gifted children learn differently, and they have a huge apatite for knowledge. That goes for in the regular classroom as well as in the gifted education classroom. So, how do we challenge gifted students in any classroom?
1. Give students a choice: I belive that if you can give gifted children a choice in how they want to learn and to study a given topic they will take that challenge and give you some quality products.
2. Give students products that interest them. If they have an end goal in mind, then they will definitely take that challenge. Be creative with these students. If your gifted student is into technology allow him/her to use technology to report back to you.
3. If you are in a resource room like I am, you can have students choose what topics to even study and how to report. Make sure you give them some guidance to make it challenging. You don’t want to allow them to slack off and do something that won’t be difficult.
4. If you are in the regular classroom, make sure you differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of the gifted child. You can still cover the same material but with different activities and assignments.
What not to do to challenge your gifted children is much easier to cover. I thought that I should cover this. I think this sometimes happens in the classroom.
1. Don’t give a gifted child the same assignment you would give the average student. They will be bored, and possibly not do it.
2. Don’t blanket instruction to all or just teach to the bottom of your class, and have your gifted child work with those who don’t get the material. Gifted children shouldn’t be in the role of a teacher. That puts too much stress on their shoulders, and doesn’t really challenge the gifted student.
3. If you are a regular classroom teacher and your gifted students go to their pull out program don’t make them make that work up. That minimizes the work of the gifted intervention specialist. They plan a lot to challenge students. If gifted children need to take a test or participate in a lab that is different. But, if the material is review, don’t hold that against them. I have students who will get loaded down with homework that is meaningless which was done in class as a whole. I don’t believe that is right.
4. Don’t think that doing a worksheet is a hands-on project. Gifted children like to be challenged, with complex projects. They want to and need to use their brain. That’s how they are wired. They can’t really do that with a fill-in-the-blank worksheet.
To conclude, I have found that when challenging a gifted student, you need to be flexible with how you want something done. Let them take the assignment and make it their own. They will need some guidance, which you will provide. Be creative and allow them to be creative as well. You will be surprised with the outcome, and how much they loved the challenge you gave them.
Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom By Susan Winebrenner
Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites By Marcial Tate