Tag Archives: Regular Education

Don’t Give More Work…Give more challenge

rise-to-the-challengeI have made this statement several times in the past to gifted teachers and regular education teachers: Don’t give gifted children more work since they have the assigned work done earlier than others–give them more of a challenge.

A few years ago I wrote a post entitled Enrichment vs. Extension in the Regular Classroom. That post came from an conversation with a few educators wanting to have clarification on the differences between extension and enrichment activities. Listening to my students this week several have told me that they don’t get much out of a few classes they are taking. They finish their work in record time, and they get piled on more work to keep them busy. This isn’t what education should be. This type of mindset doesn’t help the gifted child.

Instead of giving more work to keep gifted students occupied, give students more of a challenge, and add depth and extension to the subject they are expected to know. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes to see if your gifted students have a handle on the material you are presenting. Instead giving more work or making the assignment longer, give them some kind of extension activity from a choice board. As I wrote in the post mentioned above:

An extension activity is an activity that extends the learning of the lesson. Extension activities can be done in small groups or by a single student. These extension activities are leveled to fit the student. For gifted students these are challenging. For struggling students these activities can be a reinforcing skill activities. Students don’t choose their extension activity like the enrichment project.

If you are at a loss of what to do with your gifted students many textbooks offer extension and enrichment ideas to help with challenging your students. The idea isn’t to bombard them with extra work. If you can see from informal observations, or pre-test scores that your gifted student can do the required work, then let them move on to an activity that will challenge them based on the skills and knowledge the rest of the class is working on. Its just a substitution of work not in addition to work. Don’t have them do both. Your gifted student can get bored, and can begin to show unwanted behaviors in class.

Gifted children love challenges, and many have a drive that needs to be challenged. What can you do to help provide gifted children challenges in the regular classroom? How can gifted intervention specialists assist in helping regular education teachers create opportunities to challenge students?

I would love to hear from you. All of us can learn from your expertise.

Helping Students Fall in Love with Learning

I love my career path. I love being a Gifted Intervention Specialist (GIS) just for the fact that I structure my class so much differently now than when I was a Regular Education teacher. One of the biggest differences is that I do more projects that are based on the things that my students are interested.

Most of the time, I give my students a list of about 5-8 different projects to choose from. Each project is based on State Standards, but they also vary in topic and discipline. Some of the projects focus on one subject, while others focus on multiple subjects. My students choose which project they would like to do and who they want to work with. Sometimes students work in groups and sometimes a few work by themselves.

Sometimes, I let them decide what they want to learn. We do some interests inventories, and try to narrow down what they want to cover. We then try to match up the State Standards they will cover. Then they are on their way. Most of the time, the project they do is something that have an interest in, or passionate about. Sometimes what they choose is something that affects them like a social or moral issue. When we do these type of projects, I encourage them do something they want to do. I want them to love what they are doing. I also want them to be more passionate about what they studied after the project is over.

I read an article by E. Paul Torrance, and help said that if he could give young people some advice he would say this:

Don’t be afraid to fall in love with something and pursue it with intensity and depth.

Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, use, exploit, and enjoy your greatest

Teachers need to create classroom environments, and lessons and activities, to help students fall in love with something they are interested in and passionate about. We need to show our students their strengths, and how to develop those strengths. When we do that our students will be more engaged in the learning process. They will be more critical of own learning, and not bow down to pressures from others to follow paths that may not excite them.

What are doing in your classroom to help students fall in love with learning? Are you fostering their passions?