Category Archives: Differentiation

Acceleration for Gifted Students

gtchat 06202017 Acceleration

Many people mistakenly think of acceleration as only skipping a grade; but it’s so much more. Acceleration can take place at all levels of education from early primary to college. Parents can check to see if their child’s school allows for early admission to kindergarten/1st grade/high school or college. Other types of acceleration include mastery-based learning, independent study, and single-subject acceleration. Classroom modifications can include curriculum compacting, curriculum telescoping, and multi-age classrooms. Honors classes, AP, IB and dual-enrollment are also considered types of acceleration.

There are some considerations to take into account when deciding on acceleration. Parents should evaluate school policy to determine if there’s sufficient support for acceleration K-12. All stakeholders should determine the ‘end-game’ before accelerating a student and what benefits will accrue for the student. Consideration must be given to whether or not the child wants to be accelerated; without ‘buy-in’, it will fail. Risks of not accelerating an academically advanced student are increased dropout rates, underachievement, and disengagement.

So, why are so many school administrators and teachers resistant to acceleration? Ignorance of the benefits of acceleration for academically gifted students is the primary reason. A simple solution is to educate them! Most of them receive little to no professional development concerning the many potential types of acceleration available. Few have experience with acceleration or have access to current research concerning its benefits. Finally, personal prejudice against advanced students can cloud judgement when considering acceleration.

Here are some tips to make an accelerated transition go more smoothly. Parents should provide strong evidence that their child is ready for acceleration – testing, grades, student desire. Prepare everyone on what to expect – the student, parents, classmates and teachers; informed transitions are more successful! Early admission and acceleration in the primary years can mitigate age differences and increase time spent with intellectual peers.

What options exist if acceleration does not work out? This is a rare occurrence and one which is better avoided by good preparation rather than correcting later. Consideration should be given to fixing what isn’t working rather than exiting the program. If the student decides to suspend acceleration, it’s easier done at the secondary level where multi-grade classes are generally more available.

Parents are usually the initial advocates for acceleration. Many school administrators feign opposition to acceleration out of ‘concern’ for student. Be sure to point out the financial benefits to the school district. Advocating for any school policy begins at the state level; know your state’s laws concerning acceleration. Parents should find or start a Parent Advocacy Group; strength in numbers!

It is important to keep in mind why you are considering acceleration and reasons it will benefit a particular student. No plan will work if the child is not a willing participant. Acceleration is a cost effective means to providing an excellent educational opportunity for an academically gifted students. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays 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 Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

Acceleration Institute

Iowa Acceleration Scale 3rd Edition, Complete Kit

Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy

Slay the Stay-Put Beast: Thoughts on Acceleration

Why Am I an Advocate for Academic Acceleration?

What Is Curriculum Compacting?

Why is Academic Acceleration (Still) So Controversial?

Academic Acceleration (YouTube 5:35)

What is so threatening about academic acceleration?

Acceleration Considerations

Should My Gifted Child Skip a Grade? 

A Time to Accelerate, A Time to Brake

Accelerating to What?

Good Things about Grade Acceleration

Successfully Advocating for Your Child’s Grade Skip

Academic Acceleration

Acceleration Options in the FBISD: Preparing the Gifted Child for Their Future (pdf)

Keller ISD Advanced Academics – Parent Resource Portal

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Advocacy Page

#gtchat Blog: How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School

Types of Acceleration and their Effectiveness

UT Austin High School: Early Graduation

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

Texas Statutory Authority on Acceleration

Photo courtesy of Hein Waschefort (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons  CC BY-SA 3.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Online Programs for Gifted Students

gtchat 06062017 Online Programs

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT is excited to begin its annual Summer Series; this year covering educational options for gifted students. Our first chat discussed Online Options and we were happy to welcome representatives from some of the premier providers in gifted education.

First, we discussed how online programs benefit gifted students  in terms of time, financial considerations, and enrichment possibilities. Online learning can greatly benefit gifted students because it can cater to a student’s ability rather than age. These programs provide the enrichment and challenge of a private school without the necessity of moving or high tuition costs. Students who go unchallenged in the regular classroom for years can suffer intellectual decline as a result and online programming has also been successfully used to supplement their education.

Recently, schools addressing the needs of twice-exceptional students have come into existence to meet this all too often neglected population. We’ve been excited to see the development of schools like FlexSchool in Connecticut and New Jersey which is expanding their brick ‘n mortar schools to offer a cloud solution for students wherever they reside. Expanding gifted programming to the cloud can ameliorate many social-emotional issues 2E kids have in regular classrooms.

Many public schools have begun to use online programs to enhance blended learning for gifted students. Online programs help students by offering more challenging, accelerated coursework while still being able to socialize in their local schools. Integrating online classes can supplement, though not entirely replace, gifted programs at traditional schools. They can provide advanced courses unavailable at many schools allowing students to hone skills and avoid gaps in learning.

Online programs and classes are also a good choice for homeschoolers. They can ease the burden on parents looking for a challenging curriculum as well as provide opportunity for students to collaborate with intellectual peers.

How can students’ social-emotional needs be met who participate in online programs?Many online programs provide opportunities for students to meet and socialize in real life on campuses or with local groups. Social-emotional needs can also be met in out-of-school opportunities at the local level.

Parents can learn more about online schools at the links provided below. Many gifted organizations provide information on their websites for parents concerning online programs and classes. Parents can also go to university websites to search for information on online classes for gifted students. With so much excellent information shared, we urge you to check out the transcript of this chat at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays 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 Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

FlexSchool Cloud Classroom (Vimeo 1:18)

FlexSchool (website)

For Frustrated Gifted Kids, A World of Online Opportunities

Stanford Online High School

GiftedandTalented.com (formerly EPGY Stanford)

SIG Online Learning

Johns Hopkins CTY Online Programs

Northwestern CTD Gifted Learning Links Online 

Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) Online School

Davidson Academy Online High School

Online Learning for Gifted Students: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Duke TIP Courses for Summer Studies

Online G3

Educational Options: Online High Schools

Mr Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Online Class Schedule Fall 2017

Classes from the folks who run Beyond IQ

Cybraryman’s Blended Learning Page

MIT Open Courseware

10 Ways World-schooling has Ruined My Childhood

SENG’s 34th Annual Conference 

Prepare for the Future with UT High School (YouTube 1:00)

Online Language Arts Program Comparison

Online Math Program Comparison

Virtual Worlds for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study in Second Life 

Using Playlists to Differentiate Instruction

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay    CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Boredom Busters for Gifted Students

gtchat 04112017 Boredom

Why should teachers be concerned that gifted students are bored at all? At the very heart of teaching – of becoming a teacher – is the belief that all students in their care are learning. Boredom for any student often leads to classroom management issues and gifted students can pose significant disruptions to learning. It is in everyone’s best interest to keep students engaged.

“All kids need to be engaged at their zone of proximal development. Gifted kids needs freedom to explore.” ~ Barry Gelston, Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

Boredom can create many undesirable consequences in the classroom and can affect gifted students exponentially as they progress through the educational system. The results of boredom in school are felt far beyond the classroom walls; misbehavior doesn’t stop at end of school day.

There are things that shouldn’t be done in response to a gifted student who is truly bored at school. Gifted students shouldn’t be given busy work, ignored, or condescended to when they finish early. They shouldn’t be expected to serve as teacher’s helper simply because it’s a convenient way to occupy their time.  Down time in the classroom should be used to provide meaningful work for gifted students that addresses their specific needs.

No more worksheet packets! End the madness! Appropriate, purposeful instruction based on data driven decisions. ~ Sarah Kessel, Supervisor of Advanced Learning Programs

There are strategies which can be used to alleviate boredom in the regular education classroom. Pre-assessment is the first step to heading off boredom. Realistic expectations of ability are needed. Rigorous, relevant and appropriate differentiation takes time and effort when planning curricular interventions for GT. (See resources below.)

“I also like to have students “choose their own adventure” by finding ways to show concepts with their voice- how can you show this?” ~ Heather Vaughn, M.Ed, UT Austin – Coordinator of Advanced Academics

What should teachers look for to determine if the student is bored or it is something else (perfectionism, 2E, ability)? Teachers need to look for signs of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis. Then, refer the student to the appropriate staff members for evaluation. Teachers should have any and all relevant evaluations of student’s past performance and possible issues.

Engaging kids in solving authentic problems is 1 of the BEST ways to make their education REAL! ~ Tracy Fisher, School Board Member, Coppell, TX

Parents can do numerous things to combat summertime and holiday boredom when kids aren’t in school. Parenting GT kids is hard work. Adequate planning is essential to head off boredom. They can consult with GT teachers, gifted organizations, and websites about summer opportunities.

It’s also important for parents to recognize need for ‘down’ time as well. Not every minute away from school needs to be planned. Summer and school breaks are a wonderful time for gifted kids to explore their passions – think family vacations; camps; and internships.

Boredom does not need to be a subject to be avoided, but rather seen as an invitation to see how to best meet the needs of the gifted student.  A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays 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 Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

Bored Out of Their Minds

15 Tips on How to Differentiate Learning for Gifted Learners

Boredom Busters: Breaking the Bonds of Boredom (PPT)

Gifted and Bored? Maybe Not

Early Finishers: Ideas for Teachers

Early Finishers: 9 Ideas for Students

Smart and Bored

Smart Kids and the Curse of the Kidney Table

Primarily Speaking: Word Work Fun!

I’m Done, Now What?

Daily Practice for the New SAT

TED Connections from MENSA for Kids

Book Review Writing: A Guide for Young Reviewers

Cybraryman’s Geocaching Page

Cybraryman’s Programming – Coding Literacy Page

Cybraryman’s Robotics Page

Genius Hour with Guest, Andi McNair

Steve Spangler: The Science of Connecting People

Coppell Gifted Association: Summer MOSAIC 2017

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Genius Hour with Guest, Andi McNair

gtchat 07122016 Genius Hour

 

 

This week, #gtchat welcomed Texas educator, Andi McNair, to chat about Genius Hour. Andi was named one of the Top People in Education to Watch in 2016 by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.  She is currently in the process of writing her first book about Genius Hour which will be released in the Spring of 2017. You can read more about her here.

The idea of ‘genius hour’ originated at Google as a business model that sparked innovation where engineers are allotted 20% of their work week to work on personal projects about which they are passionate. It is directly credited with the creation of Gmail and Google News. The potential benefits for education were soon realized and today it is being rolled out in classrooms across the country.

To get started with Genius Hour, Andi explained, “Help students understand what passion is and find out what they are interested in learning more about.” It’s important that teachers have done their homework before starting a new program. A willingness to forge new paths in education can contribute to the success of Genius Hour. Teachers can explore the many resources available for Genius Hour online at the links provided below.

The 6 Ps of Genius Hour are Passion, Pitch, Plan, Project, Product, Presentation. The emphasis on passion affirms the need for students to be inspired to follow their passions.

6 Ps of Genius Hour via Andi McNair

6 Ps of Genius Hour (Photo courtesy of Andi McNair)

There are occasionally some challenges faced by teachers trying to implement Genius Hour in their schools. Andi told us, “One challenge is convincing your administration that Genius Hour is meaningful and relevant in the classroom. Also, teachers need to be okay with the chaos and failure that happens during [the initial phase of] Genius Hour; realizing that this is often when the best learning happens.” We hear a lot about mindsets today. Genius Hour requires a willingness to set aside the worksheets and embark on a new mission. However, teachers must be cognizant of budget constraints when planning any new program; this includes Genius Hour.

Can teachers meet standards using Genius Hour and still have time for content instruction? According to Andi, “Definitely.  Weaving the standards into student projects gives students an opportunity to apply standards in real life situations. The standards are so much more meaningful when they are applied and Genius Hour is the perfect opportunity to allow students to do so.” Online resources are plentiful which acknowledge the need to integrate standards into any new instruction method. Delivery of content must be viewed through a new prism; many gifted students need guidance rather than direct instruction.

What outcomes should teachers expect from using Genius Hour? Andi answered by saying, “Teachers can expect their students to become thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators. They will see many students that have not been successful suddenly become interested and motivated to learn by doing.” One of the best outcomes for their students in a higher level of self-awareness and subsequently self-confidence. When students follow their dreams/passions, they ultimately have the potential to achieve at higher levels. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:

Andi McNair’s Blog: A Meaningful Mess

What is Genius Hour? – Introduction to Genius Hour in the Classroom (YouTube 3:09)

Genius Hour Website

The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder & Inquiry in the Classroom (Amazon)

Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation & Taking 20% Time to the Next Level (Amazon)

Genius Hour 6 Ps (pdf)

6 Ps of Passion Projects

Learning from Experts – Five Ways to Connect Your Students with Outside Experts

Genius Hour…Just Keeps Getting Better

12 Most Genius Questions in the World

The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New

20% Class Time in Two Minutes (YouTube 2:00)

Introducing 20% Time in Your Classroom (YouTube 1:39)

Genius Hour (YouTube 3:58)

Kicking Off Genius Hour – A Guide

#GeniusHour : What Students Think

Genius Hour Mini-Documentary (YouTube 12:27)

The 4 Essentials of a Successful Genius Hour

Cybraryman’s Genius Hour Page

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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