Differentiated Instruction: Gifted Students

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TEACHING GIFTED STUDENTS
EFFECTIVELY
A. Sutphen
INTRODUCTION
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In the past, gifted students were described as children who
had above average IQs, high test scores, and good grades.
Cognitive science and developmental psychology have
changed the way giftedness is understood.
Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory holds that
people can be “intelligent” in many ways.
Teachers often encounter problems keeping gifted
students challenged and motivated in a heterogeneous
classroom.
Consequently, some gifted students perform poorly on
tests and have low grades.
If implemented properly, differentiated instruction is a
good methodology that should keep students engaged and
learning, whether they are gifted, average, or weaker
students.
MYTHS ABOUT GIFTED STUDENTS
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Gifted children are smart, so they can get by on their own.
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Gifted students excel in all school subjects.
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Some gifted students can excel in all subjects, but many others
do not, and some have learning disabilities.
Gifted students are a homogeneous group.
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Students who aren’t challenged can lose interest and motivation.
Just as with any group of students, gifted students differ in
interests, abilities, temperaments, etc. Differentiated
instruction is recommended even in gifted classes.
All children are gifted.
While all children can learn and have areas of strength, some
learners are able to learn more quickly and are able to do higher
level work than others.
(Stepanek, 1999)
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TIPS AND SUGGESTED INSTRUCTIONAL
STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING GIFTED STUDENTS
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Establish high standards.
Pose questions and design projects that encourage high-order
thinking.
Offer individual investigations, tasks, and projects that allow
student choice.
Let students express their learning in a variety of ways that
capitalizes on their creativity.
Introduce learning centers.
Consider well-designed academic competitions.
Find mentors and other people in the “real world” to inspire
them.
Incorporate flexible student grouping.
Don’t push gifted students to be tutors.
Note: All but the last of these suggestions are applicable in any
classroom and for any student.
TEACHING GIFTED STUDENTS IN MY
CLASSROOM
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For all of my students, I incorporate tasks that require
higher-order thinking skills. This benefits all students,
including advanced students.
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I have high expectations of all students, including
advanced students and encourage students to adopt
similar expectations of themselves and their peers.
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I allow students to have choices in projects.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Siegle, D. & McCoach, D. B. (2005). Making a difference:
motivating gifted students who are not achieving. The H.W.
Wilson Company.
Stepanek, J. (1999). Meeting the needs of gifted students:
differentiating mathematics and science instruction. Portland:
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
Winebrenner, S. (2001). Teaching gifted kids in the regular
classroom. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing.
Creative Strategies for Teaching Language Arts to Gifted
Students (K-8)
http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CON
TENTID=4225&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CAT=none
Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom
http://legacy.teachersfirst.com/gifted/strategies.html
Teaching Strategies: Gifted
http://www.glencoe.com/sec/careers/teacher/strategies.shtml

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