Category Archives: Differentiation

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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Strengths-Based Learning for 2E Students

 

Strengths-based learning curriculum takes into consideration how best a student learns and relies on the student’s individual profile. It focuses on the student’s interests; is modified through ongoing assessment; and recognizes a student’s advanced abilities. Strengths-based learning does not focus on areas of weakness and therefore is not predicated on remediation.

To encourage growth: twice-exceptional (2e) learners need a psychologically safe environment, tolerance for asynchronous behaviors, time, positive relationships; and a strength-based, talent-focused environment. (Baum, Schader, and Owen 2017) Neurodiversity-inspired educators create positive ecosystems within which students with learning differences can learn according to their strengths rather than their weaknesses. (“First Discover Their Strengths” Tomas Armstrong. Educational Leadership October 2012)

Emphasizing 2E students’ strengths provides opportunities for student choice, links new content to previous knowledge, and provides appropriate support from both gifted and learning support teachers and staff. Strengths-based learning includes support for social emotional needs of 2E students through provision of extra time to complete assignments, developing self-advocacy skills, and the teaching of stress management skills.

How does one discover student’ strengths? Students can engage in self-reflection: “What am I already good at?” “What will help me get to my goals?” “How can I use my strengths to achieve my goals?” Profiles can be created based on past performance, current interests, and teacher and parent observations.

Engaging students in strengths-based learning starts by offering an entry point related to an area in which they’ve already shown talent; perhaps in performance arts rather than writing. Students may respond positively to strengths-based learning through using novel introduction of new concepts such as involving guest speakers, experts demonstrating concepts, or field trips.

How can teachers incorporate dual-differentiation effectively in the classroom? Dual-differentiation requires that teachers and staff coordinate efforts and engage in extensive planning before introducing differentiated curriculum. Whenever possible, consider highly personalized curriculum to meet student needs. Ability grouping and flexible grouping can improve the effectiveness of strengths-based learning. Grouping can be predicated on ability, interests, and desired outcomes. 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:

Strengths-Based Learning: The Key Piece to the Puzzle of Twice-Exceptional (2e) Students (pdf)

To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: Strength-Based Strategies for Helping Twice-Exceptional Students with LD, ADHD, ASD and More (Prufrock)

Strengths-Based Resources

The Principles of Strengths-Based Education (pdf)

Strength-Based Practice with Children in Trouble (pdf)

Using a Strengths Based Approach to Support Twice-Exceptional Learners in the Classroom (pdf)

Giftedness and ADHD: A Strengths-based Perspective and Approach

What It Means to Teach Gifted Learners Well

Off the Charts! Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (pdf)

Using Strength-Based Pedagogy to Engage and Challenge 2E Students Development (pdf)

Leaving Behind Normalcy: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child

Twice Exceptional: Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities Considerations Packet (pdf)

Start with Student Strengths to Promote Learning

Effective Teaching Strategies for Gifted/Learning-Disabled Students with Spatial Strengths (pdf)

Gifted and Dyslexic: How the Talent-centered Model Works

Strategies for Supporting Students Who Are Twice-Exceptional (pdf)

An Operational Definition of Twice Exceptional Learners: Implications and Applications (pdf)

Twice-Exceptionality: Parents’ Perspectives on 2e Identification

Twice-Exceptional Learners The Journey Toward a Shared Vision (pdf)

Twice-Exceptional: Students with Both Gifts and Challenges or Disabilities (pdf)

Academic Self-Concept in Twice-Exceptional Students: An Exploratory Investigation (pdf)

AUS: Strength-based Approach A guide to Writing Transition Learning and Development Statements (pdf)

The 2e Center Suite of Tools™ with My LearningPrint™

Cybraryman’s Twice-Exceptional Children Page

Cybraryman’s Resolutions and Reflection Page

Cybraryman’s Goals Page

Cybraryman’s Self-Determined Learning Page

Cybraryman’s Know Your Students Page

Identifying and Supporting Gifted ELLs

Sprite’s Site: New Shoes

Sprite’s Site: 2E Is

Sprite’s Site: What Makes Them 2E?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Resources for GT Kids

gtchat 08302018 Kids Resources

Many websites, blog posts and conference presentations offer resources for parents or educators, but this week at #gtchat we focused on resources for the gifted child. When discussing books, it was noted that often books for parents are accompanied by books for children as well. This presents parents with the opportunity of talking with and interacting with their child on a particular subject.

Many gifted organizations (national and state) include information specifically for kids. It’s a good place to start. Other resources include Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Mensa for Kids (last week’s guest), Byrdseed, and Hoagies Gifted.

Classroom resources which are uniquely suited for GT kids can be used in a standalone class or used in conjunction with a differentiated curriculum. It’s important to have a certified GT teacher who can help select appropriate classroom resources.

There are so many excellent available competitions. Most involve teamwork, but there are also those who have an individual opportunity for kids. It is important to match a kid’s interests to the competition. This isn’t always possible, but should be considered.

Online classes may be used to complete specific required coursework and should be taught by certified teachers. However, many GT kids like to take classes for fun where a certified teacher is not needed. MOOC’s are also a good way to provide acceleration opportunities for GT kids. Many now include credit granting options.

When planning for college, GT students may have unique challenges regarding situations involving acceleration, early (early) entrance, college credits earned in high school, and financing their education. College may not be the first option for all GT students; many may opt for a gap year or may not need college to utilize their talents. Career planning is important at this point. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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:

100 Resources for Gifted Kids

Byrdseed’s Puzzlements (weekly email)

Mensa for Kids

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth – A CTY Reading List: Good Books for Bright Kids

Guide to Scholarships & Competitions for Gifted Youth

Gifted Study: Resources for Students

Academic Programs and Competitions

Enrichment Program Listing

NSGT: Educational Resources for Gifted and Talented Children

Exquisite Minds: Best Sites for Kids

Youth Code Jam (SATX): Online Resources – Learn to Code

GHF Online

QuestBridge

Gifted and Talented Students in Australia – Resources and Services

Davidson Institute

Nothing You Can’t Do (Prufrock Press)

The Gifted Kids Workbook: Mindfulness Skills to Help Children Reduce Stress, Balance Emotions, and Build Confidence (bn)

VA Association for the Gifted: Resources

Tom Clynes: Resources for the Gifted

Wonderopolis

Hoagies Gifted: Reading Lists for Your Gifted Child

Peter Reynolds: Creatrilogy (bn)

Royal Fireworks Press: Novels about Gifted and Talented Children

The Little Prince

Desmos (math site)

GeoGebra Math Apps

Wolfram Alpha Computational Intelligence

Kenken Puzzles

Code.org

The Kid Should See This

National Archives

Scratch

3Doodler

LEGO Education

TED Talks

Cybraryman’s Educators Page

Stories with Holes

Mathcounts

Destination Imagination

Science Olympiad

Future Problem Solving Program International

The Stock Market Game

First LEGO League

Odyssey of the Mind

Speak Up! Speak Out!

AUS: Aussie Educator Student Competitions

Solar Car Challenge

MaPP Challenge

Explore UT (TX)

Photo and graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Ability Grouping and Self-Esteem of Gifted Students

gtchat 02082018 Ability

Ability grouping is often a topic of discussion in the gifted community, but this week at #gtchat we expanded the discussion to include whether ability grouping can affect a gifted student’s self-esteem. Ability grouping can be a boost to a gifted student’s self-esteem by reducing exposure to bullying, name calling, and feeling like they are loners. It aids in placing highly-abled students together where cooperative and collaborative work result in mutual respect in pride in results. A shared workload with peers improves  a student’s belief in their contribution.

We group athletes and musicians without charges of elitism; why not high-ability students? It is sometimes beyond belief that society is so accepting of the benefits of ability grouping in sports and the arts; yet expresses such anathema towards academic grouping. We can be born to be anything except intellectually gifted. In the court of public opinion, the gifted community must take the high road – look for ways to improve identification, define what being gifted is and isn’t; then, focus on self-care for our kids.

Grouping can take many different forms and look very different in elementary school than it does at the secondary level. Grouping strategies should be tested and adapted to specific situations when necessary. It may be strictly tracking (secondary) in some instances when student choice dictates a specific career path. Grouping can consist of cluster grouping in inclusive classrooms and flexible grouping when called for. Small group rotations in the elementary classroom can allow teachers to differentiate the curriculum and spend time with groups who need the most intervention while allowing others more independence.

Teachers should be flexible in their approach to grouping; willing to change and tweak what might not be working. They should consider that needs of all students to see what works best. Effective grouping can ensure success across the intellectual spectrum; presenting challenge at the appropriate level. Teaching how to work in a group should be the first step when introducing grouping. Assessment of a student’s work should reflect each individual’s contribution; traditional grading methods may not work.

Can ability grouping be used to promote equity in high-ability tracks? States with a larger percentage of 8th grade students tracked in math had a larger percentage of high-scoring AP students four years later. Heightened AP performance held across racial subgroups—white, black & Hispanic. Equity has a better chance to occur when the ‘human’ factor is reduced within the identification process; reliance on universal screening is better.

It’s important that grouping not be used to replace gifted programming. It should be considered simply another tool in the classroom teacher’s toolbox; a different strategy to be used to meet students’ needs. Grouping should be considered in addition to other strategies as part of the student’s total educational plan. Students have different strengths and often challenges which need to be met with a variety of options. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

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 2 PM NZST/Noon 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 Storify. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

How “Tracking” Can Actually Help Disadvantaged Students

Education for Upward Mobility – Tracking in Middle School: A Surprising Ally in the Pursuit of Equity? (pdf)

Gifted Students Are Unnecessarily Sacrificed (2017)

Ability Grouping Is Not Just Tracking Anymore (pdf 2003)

UK: What are the effects of ability grouping on GCSE attainment? (pdf 2005)

AUS: Effects of Socioeconomic Status, Class Size and Ability Grouping on Science Achievement (2013)

Ability Grouping Effects on Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem: Who Performs in the Long Run as Expected (pdf)

Effects of Ability Grouping on Math Achievement of Third Grade Students (pdf)

Raising Standards: Is Ability Grouping the Answer?

Ability Grouping Presentation Notes (pdf 2012)

NZ: Raising the Bar with Flexible Grouping (2017)

Ability Grouping (Slide Player)

Tracking and Ability Grouping (SlideShare)

Flexible Groupings

Grouping without Fear: Effective Use of Groups in Classrooms (SlideShare)

Grouping Gifted Children

Ability Grouping – Has its Time Returned?

Effective Grouping of Gifted Students 

2016 Brown Center Report on American Education Part 2: Tracking and Advanced Placement

The Resurgence of Ability Grouping and Persistence of Tracking

Should Schools Rethink Reluctance to Track Students by Ability?

In Search of Reality: Unraveling Myths about Tracking, Ability Grouping & the Gifted (pdf)

Grouping the Gifted: Myths and Realities (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Sprite’s Site: Belonging – A Place of Sanctuary

Sprite’s Site: Brown Brogues

Clipart courtesy of Clipart Library

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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