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Advice For Teachers to Integrate Gifted Students into the Reg. Classroom

So You Have Gifted Students in Your Regular Classroom?

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Supporting gifted students in the regular classroom. It's our role as teachers to teach ALL students. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the teaching of content which is often referred to as filling up the vessel. However, you really want to ensure that all students are learning - it's our key role. Delivering content in creative ways to maximize student learning and determining how they know is the main ingredient of teaching.

Gifted students present an additional challenge in that they already know most of the content and will be able to learn what they don't know in much less time than the rest of the students in your class. Believe it or not, if you don't plan well for the gifted students, they will be the ones who will probably learn the least.

The challenge you face will be: What Am I going to do with these students who already know what my others don't? How will I keep them busy? If you don't make adjustments for these students, you'll soon find that they'll become bored and disruptive in your classroom. Put yourself in the mind of the gifted student:
I already know this stuff, I don't want to do these activities.
I'm bored, I wish I could do something different.

To make sure you reach all students, it's important to plan for the needs of all students.

Choice is key. When you have certain activities you want your students to do, plan for the weakest and the strongest students. Provide choice. For instance, if you're asking the class to summarize key points in the topic, consider the following. Weaker students may begin with point form. Gifted students may create a poster or write a commercial selling others on the key points in a persuasive manner. You'll want to have three or four options available for students to demonstrate their understanding. Something else you'll want to plan for is - what do students do with leftover time? Be ready, have a challenge box (extra activities related to the topic with challenging options). It's quite acceptable for these students to move onto something else that interests them. Make sure you have the following rule in place: Don't bother others.

Often in inclusional classrooms, a strategy that works well is called Compacting the Curriculum. To compact the curriculum means, if they already know the content, let them move into an area that they don't know. Gifted students with strength in math, might use additional time in language areas, thus you're compacting the math. You already know they take less time to learn, let them take the lesser time and make sure they have procedures they can follow to move on to something else. Capitalize on their interests. One of my gifted students used to love analyzing data (5th grade). He was a sports enthusiast, therefore I made sure he had copies of the sports section of the newspapers and I had him analyze data of scores and make predicitions based on the data. He was provided with a sharing time each week and soon, many of the students would participate either by agreeing or disagreeing with his predictions. This worked well all year with the various sports being played at different times throughout the year.

Provide ownership to capable students. Let them keep a chart of what they'll be working on each time they finish what you've assigned them. If they don't come up with their ideas, keep a challenge box full of activities that promote problem solving. NEVER have the child work on remediation or drill type activities. These chilren need to enjoy extension type activities within their areas of strength.

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