Category Archives: Differentiation

Beyond Self: Engaging in Community Service

 

Community-service learning is the first step in service learning which is followed by community exploration and action. It is the phase where students begin to be involved; generally by volunteering. When students engage in community-service learning, they begin by perceiving issues and then taking the first steps to become involved in mitigating these issues. It is generally tied to the overall school curriculum and produces a high level of service. Increased learning comes as students further explore the issues and take action.

Community service is an excellent fit for GT students who often question the validity and importance of what they are being taught. It can increase personal responsibility, self-awareness, and empathy. It is authentic learning based on real-life experiences that students care about. It can provide a challenging curriculum to reinvigorate students who felt they weren’t learning anything new in school. Community service provides GT students the opportunity to engage in independent work, work at a much faster rate than regular classroom activities, and be exposed to more in-depth content. It exposes students to professionals in the field, research practice, and application of strategies to solve real world problems; often for the first time.

When should community-service learning be introduced to students? Even very young GT students can become involved in and benefit from community-service learning. They need opportunity to investigate interests and act creativity in response to those interests. Community-service learning is a way to introduce basic academic skills to students as early as kindergarten and to develop higher-level thinking as well as working in cooperation with other students. It is a vehicle to develop and exercise leadership skills and self-management skills involving social, moral, and ethical issues for K-12 GT students.

What strategies can be used to incorporate community-service learning in the curriculum? All aspects of community-service learning should include the student – from initial brainstorming of topics, to planning projects, and finally implementing eventual activities. It is a good idea to require some form of community service; either through curriculum modifications or in gifted student’s IEPs. Be cognizant of the need that experiences be authentic and grant credit. Interdisciplinary courses involving community service as well as unique service courses involving student government, leadership, and conflict management are all ways to incorporate this type of learning.

How should community service be assessed? Students should demonstrate how they utilized their time and produce evidence of learning when being assessed for community-service learning. They can present problems addressed, research conducted, and solutions found while participating in community-service learning. Students may also be required to show how they participated through engagement vehicles (contacts made, speeches, videos, etc.), journals, awards received, or mentor evaluations.

Parents can have a profound effect on a child’s willingness or even eagerness to participate in community-service learning as role models and by providing opportunities to explore special interests. They can support programs that encourage community service in their child’s school. Parents can serve as partners in participation by supporting their child’s efforts to engage in community service and as facilitators for class-wide projects.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Community Activism as Curriculum: How to Meet Gifted Students’ Needs While Creating Change

Serving Others Hooks Gifted Students on Learning

Service Learning and Gifted Students

Service Learning: A Win-Win for Your Students and the Local Community (pdf)

Student Voices, Global Echoes: Service-Learning and the Gifted (pdf)

“That’s Empowering!”: The Influence of Community Activism Curriculum on Gifted Adolescents’ Self-Concepts (pdf)

Vision With Action: Developing Sensitivity to Societal Concerns in Gifted Youth

Learning In Deed: The Power of Service-Learning for American Schools (Full Report)

A Case Study of Community Action Service Learning on Young, Gifted Adolescents and Their Community (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Community-Based Service Learning Page

Tips for Combining Project-Based and Service Learning

Service Learning: A Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Assessing Student Projects (book)

The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, & Social Action (book)

The Good Character Service Learning Primer

Learning to Give (website)

Anchor Collaboratives: Building Bridges With Place-Based Partnerships and Anchor Institutions

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (website)

Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters (book)

Cybraryman’s School Business Partnerships Page

The Teacher’s Guide to Service Learning

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Tech Addiction – Regulating Screen Time

Tech addiction or digital addiction actually covers three broad areas involving social media addiction, video game addiction, and Internet addiction. According to Shaw & Black at the University of Iowa, tech or digital addiction is distinguished by impairment or distress resulting from “urges or behaviors regarding computer use and Internet access.” Children addicted to tech often express feeling profound loneliness, lack social skills, display executive functioning disorder, and have trouble regulating their emotions.

Should GT students excelling in tech have their screen time limited at all? Students who excel at tech may actually be even more at risk of addiction than other students. It becomes a matter of balance; balancing necessary time using tech and avoiding addiction. GT students may be tech savvy at younger ages than their age-peers. Screen time can intrude on much need social interactions and ultimately affect social growth.

How does unlimited screen time affect twice-exceptional and are there potential benefits to screen time? It depends on the nature of their twice-exceptionality. Some twice-exceptional kids are highly susceptible to types of tech that are repetitive in nature. They may not understand why adults are limiting access. Tech affords opportunities for GT and #2ekids to express their creativity and to explore their passions. It gives them access to more challenging content and coursework.

Moderating access to tech almost has to have different approaches at school and at home. So much of differentiation for gifted students involves technology; both in the classroom and for homework assignments. At home use of tech may deal with different forms of tech use; such as, social media and video gaming. As such, it may require criteria that differ significantly from using tech for school work and interaction with peers.

The upside to tech addiction involves consideration of quality time online versus quantity of time. Availability of tech can be motivating. Limiting access to tech can also motivate students to use their time more wisely. Teachers can structure tech time to involve time offline supporting activities initiated online. Students can interact online to discuss assignments, but do the majority of work offline.

In recent years, gifted education in many school districts has come to rely heavily on tech as both a way to differentiate instruction as well as give students time to interact with intellectual peers at off campus locations. Parents need to be diligent in monitoring and regulating screen time. They should give forethought to their discussions about boundaries regarding the use of tech. GT kids will be well prepared with counter arguments. A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Resources:

Giftedness and Technology

Gifted and Addicted: Perils of the Cyber World

Technology and the Unseen World of Gifted Students

MRIs Show Screen Time Linked to Lower Brain Development in Preschoolers

Associations between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children

Media and Young Minds

Create Your Family Media Plan (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Change in the Brain’s White Matter: The role of the brain’s white matter in active learning and memory may be underestimated

What to Do If Your Kid becomes Addicted to Tech

Screen Time and the Gifted Student: Balance and Quality Are Key

What Educators Need to Know about Technology Addiction

Dealing with Digital Distraction in the Classroom

Technology Addiction

Are Gifted Children More Prone to Digital Addictions?

Screen Time = Scream Time

Autism and Screen Time: Special Brains, Special Risks

Balancing Technology and School: Is Technology Addiction a Problem?

Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents

Effects of Technology on Gifted Children

Cybraryman’s Screen Time Page

Is Too Much Screen Time Bad?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Role of Technology in Gifted Education

Last week during chat, we discussed cluster grouping of gifted students. Although a strategy to be considered, technology can be a better option for GT students to explore passions and work at their own pace. It is a natural fit for GT students working in STEM areas who are conducting research or working with mentors at an early age. Emerging technologies such as VR, Augmented Reality, and AI are all appealing to GT students and they are capable of utilizing the tech to their advantage.

Tech can be used to connect GT students on social networks such as Twitter to give and receive authentic feedback to their work. It expands their audience to a global level in many cases. GT students can use online resources for independent, self-directed learning; research; and access to highered online courses.

Special populations within the gifted community often struggle to form and maintain relationships with age-peers. Online opportunities can put them in contact with intellectual peers. Technology resources, especially for low-SES and rural students, need to be available not only during school hours; but, also after-school and during school breaks as well.

Asynchronous development can be a factor for younger GT students who may be drawn into groups of older students who may be intellectual peers, but much more mature. Parental and teacher guidance should be utilized. Memory construction (and recall) and sustaining attentive focus is a concern for some twice-exceptional students. Adult supervision may be required by parents, teachers or support staff to ensure optimal learning occurs. In recent years, online bullying of GT students has steadily increased. Before beginning networking, students should understand the importance of reporting of any incidences to an adult.

Accommodating a wide range of abilities in a single classroom can be nearly impossible for any teacher. Technology can be a great asset in differentiating curriculum, tiering assignments, and scaffolding learning. It can enhance learning experiences by providing educators with high quality, ongoing professional development; something that was nonexistent just a few years ago. It’s important to remember that technology is a tool and not be considered a learning outcome. It should raise awareness; provide answers to questions; and avenues to finding new questions to ask.

Is online learning a viable alternative to traditional classrooms for GT students? Yes and no. There are certainly excellent online learning experiences available. Many resources have been the result of meeting the demands of gifted homeschoolers and GT students isolated in rural school districts. Although many GT students excel in online environments, others report preferring to interact with peers and teachers face-to-face in the classroom whenever possible.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Challenging Gifted Students in the General Education Classroom (pdf)

How to Put the Six Blended Learning Models into Action

Differentiating Technology for Gifted Learners

Technology in Gifted Education: A Review of Best Practices and Empirical Research (pdf)

Using Technology in Gifted and Talented Education Classrooms: The Teachers’ Perspective (pdf)

Computer Technology for the Gifted and Talented Child! (pdf)

Technology in Gifted Education: Annotated Bibliography

The Role of Technology in Gifted and Talented Education

6 Must Have Apps, Tools, and Resources for Gifted Children (2017)

Effects of Technology on Gifted Children

Using Technology with Gifted Students

3 Ways Technology Can Help You Support Gifted Students

How to Identify, Understand and Teach Gifted Children

Teaching Strategies for Gifted Students

Students that Are Gifted Need to Be Challenged

For Frustrated Gifted Students, Distance Learning Offers a World of Opportunities

5 Activities to Try in Your Gifted and Talented Classroom

The Neglected Readers: Differentiating Instruction for Academically Gifted and Talented Learners (pdf)

Factors That Promote/Inhibit Teaching Gifted Students in a Regular Class: Results from a Professional Development Program for Chemistry Teachers

Simple Truth: Technology Changes. The Skills We Believe in Don’t.

In Celebration of Teaching Geeks!

Cybraryman’s Technology Page

Cybraryman’s Technology Integration Page

The Impact of Student-Created Apps

Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, and Create Compassionate Classrooms (Book)

Skype in the Classroom

ePals

Cybraryman’s Connected Educators/Students Page

Technology and the Gifted Child

Storybird

Assistive Technology for the 2e Learner

Meeting the Needs of Gifted and Talented Students through Technology Supported Distance Teaching

2e Students: Who They Are and What They Need

Medieval Helpdesk (with English subtitles) (YouTube 2:44)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Cluster Grouping: Finding the Right Fit for GT Students

 

Cluster Grouping is used in mixed-ability classrooms. GT students are ‘clustered’ together. This facilitates differentiated instruction enabling teachers to better meet the needs of ALL students.

Isn’t Cluster Grouping the same as tracking? ‘Tracking’ is an approach historically fraught with negative connotations. Students placed on a track remained there throughout their education K-12. Cluster Grouping is not ‘tracking’. It is flexible, addresses specific needs, and can be realigned when necessary. It avoids putting ALL students into permanent tracks while allowing all students to explore their personal academic potential.

Teachers using Cluster Grouping reported increased identification, awareness, and understanding of students’ needs. They felt instructional strategies were more effective. GT students are more at ease learning with intellectual peers and able to explore content more deeply. Inappropriate behaviors are curtailed. Cluster Grouping provides GT students with gifted education opportunities that are cost-effective for school districts experiencing budgetary constraints.

It’s essential that Cluster Teachers have specialized training in teaching GT students. They should know how to recognize and nurture GT, and allow them to demonstrate mastery. Cluster Teachers should be able to provide accelerated pacing, allow for independent study, and facilitate sophisticated research opportunities. (Winebrenner)

Won’t the presence of GT Cluster Groups inhibit the performance of other students? Over 30 years of research (Feldhusen ’89, Rogers ’93, Gentry ’99, Brulles ’05, Plucker ’10, Pierce ’11) says otherwise. GT Cluster Groups don’t inhibit other students. Size matters. Keeping groups to a manageable size has shown to improve achievement for all students (Winebrenner).

Schools need to be realistic about their access to and ability to provide necessary resources required to implement Cluster Grouping. Professional development in GT must be required for all teachers, admins, and staff involved in developing and instituting Cluster Grouping, AND be ongoing. Expectations and well-established norms must precede establishment of Cluster Grouping in a school district to ensure the success of students and the program. Successful Cluster Grouping involves embedded PD, advisors and mentors for teachers, expertise in advance scheduling, and parent and community involvement. A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Cluster Grouping: Finding the Fit (pdf)

A Menu of Options for Grouping Gifted Students

Emphasize Flexibility and Adaptability When Grouping Students

The Cluster Grouping Handbook (pdf preview)

Cluster Grouping of Gifted Students FAQs (pdf)

NZ: Cluster Grouping for the Gifted and Talented: It Works! (pdf)

Fort Bend ISD: Gifted and Talented Services 2018 – 2019 Handbook (P. 12) (pdf)

The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (pdf)

Teaching in the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (pdf)

Advanced Learner: Multi-Tiered System of Support Guide (pdf)

Gifted Resources for School Teachers, Counselors and Administrators

Cluster Grouping Fact Sheet: How to Provide Full-Time Services for Gifted Students on Existing Budgets

Grouping

Why Cluster Grouping Benefits Gifted Children

What is Cluster Grouping? (pdf)

CTD Hosts Conference on Cluster Grouping ( October 2018)

Todd Talks – Cluster Grouping (YouTube 13:14)

Improving Performance for Gifted Students in a Cluster Grouping Model

Grouping Gifted Students

Cybraryman’s Learning Page

AUS: Revisiting Gifted Education

What do gifted students need? (pdf)

Meta-analytic Findings on Grouping Programs (Abstract Only)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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