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Does Differentiation Work for Gifted Students?

gtchat 10172017 Differentiation

While differentiation may meet the needs of many students, there’s a unique pedagogy of differentiation appropriate for gifted students. (Kettler) Differentiation for gifted students may include pre-assessment, curriculum compacting, and modifying curriculum/instruction.

Is differentiation for high-ability students as effective as for other students? All learning should be individualized to some extent,  but not all gifted students will respond the same. The quality and type of differentiation can affect outcomes. Educators should be open to change when necessary.

There may be better ways to accommodate the needs of some gifted students. Differentiated  instruction is only one way to meet their needs. Gifted students may respond better with peer-grouping.  For highly or profoundly gifted students, it may not be possible to differentiate age-based curriculum enough to challenge them.

There are some common barriers to effective differentiation. They include believing how to differentiate and to assess are set in stone; the teacher is unable to deviate from the program. Looking at differentiation as an ‘add-on’ rather than integrating it can also be a barrier.

In order to implement differentiated instruction, teachers need to start slow –anchor activities to deepen students’ understanding of a concept; enrich skills you want them to acquire. Continue by offering more choice more often; reflect on progress;  and involve parents when implementing it.

What should be considered when using differentiated instruction?  Product (student choice) and content delivery must be taken into consideration when differentiating instruction. Consider the process: tiered activities, curriculum ladders, higher-level questioning and open-ended activities. Consider assessment as well as pace and depth which also contribute to high quality differentiated instruction. A transcript is available on our Storify page.

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 1 PM NZST/11 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 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:

Links:

The Pedagogy of Differentiation Moving from Strategies to Learning Design (pdf) (Kettler)

Why Differentiation Misses the Mark for Gifted Students

Using Differentiated Instruction for Gifted Learners

Defensible Differentiation: Why, What & How (pdf)

How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms, 3rd Edition (Amazon)

Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment & Grading in the Differentiated Classroom (Amazon)

Understanding Differentiated Instruction: Building a Foundation for Leadership (Book Chapter)

Teaching a Class with Big Ability Differences

18 Teacher-Tested Strategies for Differentiated Instruction

Compacting Contract (pdf)

A Starter Kit for Differentiated Instruction

Differentiation for Gifted

Leading Differentiation

Helping Gifted Kids Soar (pdf)

Sprite’s Site – De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes 9: One Size Shoe Cover System

Cybraryman’s Differentiated Instruction

Culturally Responsive Classrooms: Affirming Culturally Different Gifted Students (pdf)

Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs

Racial Bias in Gifted and Talented Placement, and What to Do about It

Pic courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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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

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.

Point/Counterpoint: Challenges to Gifted Programs

gtchat 09042015 Point Counterpoint

This week’s #gtchat used a different format to accommodate our topic of how to answer challenges to gifted programs within a school district. The points to be considered were:

Point #1: Gifted students will do fine on their own; they don’t need any extra help.

Counterpoint: “Students should be given reins of learning but should have a teacher to help facilitate their studies.” ~ Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman

Counterpoint: “Not all students learn the same way and that includes GT students. They have their own set of needs that need to be addressed.” ~ Andrea, GiftedandTalented.com

Counterpoint: “Gifted learners are still learners. Everyone needs guidance and support.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Working at the class level so far beneath their possible level all the time is not ‘doing fine’.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “High achievers may do well on their own, but not all gifted students are high achievers.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Gallagher argued gifted students require competent educational services for their special needs to be met (Gallagher, 2004).” ~ Chelsey Mintz, graduate student through USC at Oxford

Counterpoint: “Many GT Students need additional support and encouragement. ‘One size fits all’ never works!” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT  educator

Point #2: Gifted students serve as role models and need to stay in the regular classroom.

Counterpoint: “Expecting a child to be a role model for age-peers usually is an invitation for bullying. No child needs that.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “No. That is unfair to gt kids. If they want to help classmates, fine, but *expecting* them to be role models? No.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at About.com

Counterpoint: “Some gifted students fill that role naturally. Others will not. Students should not be expected to be anything other than their best selves.” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT educator

Counterpoint: “Gifted students can be role models, but they’re in school to get an education like all kids. Teaching is adults’ responsibility.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “All students have strengths and can serve as role models in different capabilities. Gifted don’t need to be singled for this role.” ~ Katie McClarty, Pearson Research and Innovation Network

Point #3: Gifted students need to learn how to socialize with all kinds of people.

Counterpoint: “Good to be able to socialize with all but main need is to be able to socialize and have deeper relationships with true peers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “‘All kinds of people’ can’t mean a lot of time without like peers. Otherwise, claiming they need socializing is just an excuse.” Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “We should address students social & emotional needs as they present themselves. Address issues today to avoid future challenges.” ~ Katie McClartyPearson Research and Innovation Network

Counterpoint: “I think we are really bad at interpreting what students want or need as social interaction. Some kids actually enjoy their own company.” ~ Justin Vaughan, teacher in Australia

Point #4: There isn’t enough money to go around. Gifted programs are too expensive.

Counterpoint: “Many gifted programs are low cost or no cost at all; consider online options or ability grouping.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Not all programs are expensive. We think any student should have access to an engaging learning environment despite costs.Many programs offer scholarships and financial aid (we do!)” ~ Andrea, GiftedandTalented.com

Counterpoint: “Expensive GT programs will never replace a quality GT teacher. I’d go with the awesome Teacher every time.” Aaron Peña,  Texas principal

Point #5: Differentiated instruction is sufficient for gifted students.

Counterpoint: “Teachers today are overwhelmed by expectations that they can adequately meet a myriad of ability levels.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Teachers that plan for voice and choice, menus, passion projects, etc; don’t need to do the differentiating – It happens naturally.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Differentiation only works for gifted if done to the necessary level, breadth, depth and pace. Can be a big ask for teachers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “I do believe differentiation is one of the most important teacher skills. I don’t want to dismiss it. But nothing works alone.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Point #6: Gifted programs are elitist.

Counterpoint: “I don’t think they’re elitist, but think they may be too narrow in scope to catch different kinds of giftedness.” ~ Dr. Toby Brown, technology teacher in OK

Counterpoint: “If all students were given access to learning based on interests, abilities & choices, elitism wouldn’t be an issue.” ~ BrendanCatalyst Learning

Counterpoint: “Elitism implies “better.” Gifted students aren’t. They have different needs. I don’t think they’re more or less important needs.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “It is seen as elitist mainly because gt services aren’t provided in most schools in poor areas – where they’re needed most.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at About.com

Counterpoint: “Gifted programs depend on a fair and equitable identification process. It’s a well-known fact that this issue needs to improve. Flawed identification practices and funding formulas which favor wealthier school districts are contributing factors.” ~ Moderator

A full transcript may be found at Storify.

Thank you to our presenting partner GiftedandTalented.com @giftedandtalentededu for supporting #gtchat and this week’s Giveaway! Texas teacher, Brooke Horn, was the winner of a 3 month subscription to: K-7 Independent Study Math & Language Arts Combo Course.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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:

The Obstacles Deterring Gifted Education

The Unkindest Cut: Seven Stupid Arguments against Programs for the Gifted

Assessing the Arguments against Gifted Education (AUS)

Planning and Implementing Programs for the Gifted (Amazon)

Hey America, Let’s Not Leave Our Gifted Kids Behind

America Hates Its Gifted Kids

Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?

Achievement & Success We’ve Got This All Wrong

Casting Stones at Cacti Our Intolerance of Gifted People

The Workplace Mobbing of Highly Gifted Adults: An Unremarked Barbarism (pdf)

Gifted Adults in the Workplace: Nerds or Heroes or Misfits

At Work: Are You Too Smart for the Job?

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education

Top Ten Myths in Gifted Education (YouTube 8:10)

Cybraryman’s Student Centered Page

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Underachievers

The Culture of Bullying 

Easy Ways to Provide New Learning Opportunities

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Mythbuster – Myth 9

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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