Blog Archives

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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Accelerating GT Students

 

Academic acceleration is a cost-effective way to meet many of the needs of gifted students across the spectrum which is hampered only by myths debunked long ago. It is, however, only as good as its implementation. A well-researched educational plan that is responsive to individual student needs can make all the difference in success or failure for the student.

With all the research in existence, why do some educators/admins still balk at acceleration? It only takes one poorly executed attempt at acceleration for a single student to influence school administrations for decades thereafter in a school district. Unfortunately, too often decision makers do not take the time to review the research involving academic acceleration. Outdated information propagated at the undergraduate level is rarely challenged.

Pertinent information that should be included in consideration of acceleration is test scores, psychological evaluations, and teacher and parent observations. An often forgotten part of acceleration is taking into consideration how the student feels about acceleration and the possible effects on the family. If a child does not want to be accelerated, it probably won’t work.

Every school district should have a policy on acceleration. This will ensure that the process is equally applied to all students; everyone is aware of the option to accelerate; and provides guidelines for the process. Administrators should take a deep dive into all the avenues of acceleration and make the information available to their faculty and parents to aid in the decision-making process and to provide adequate resources.

For most GT students, the earlier the acceleration; the easier it is to minimize knowledge gaps. Most students being considered for acceleration are generally identified as to having above-grade level abilities. For older GT students, knowledge gaps can be addressed by such avenues as summer school, tutoring, online classes, the use of mentors, or independent study.

Parents who want to support the acceleration process need to keep open lines of communication with school administrators and those teachers who will be directly involved with their child’s program. They should take the time to talk to their GT child about all the facets of acceleration as well as other family members who may be affected by the child’s acceleration. It’s always better to work through the issues beforehand. 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:

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject (pdf)

Dual Enrollment: Participation and Characteristics (pdf 2019)

Understanding Acceleration Implementing Research-Based Practices for GATE (pdf)

Life in the Fast Lane: Effects of Early Grade Acceleration on High School and College Outcomes

Subject Acceleration: Who, What, How?

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject

Mathematically Gifted Accelerated Students Participating in an Ability Group: A Qualitative Interview Study

Acceleration or Enrichment? Which one is better for gifted kids?

A Nation Empowered Vols. 1 & 2 (Free Download)

What One Hundred Years of Research Says About Ability Grouping and Acceleration for Students K-12

Why is Academic Acceleration (Still) So Controversial?

Why Am I an Advocate for Academic Acceleration?

Possible Economic Benefits of Full-Grade Acceleration

Academic Acceleration: Is It Right for My Child?

NAGC TIP Sheet: Acceleration (pdf)

LesLinks: Acceleration (LiveBinders)

Cybraryman’s Acceleration Page

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

Sprite’s Site: Belonging – A Place of Sanctuary

Acceleration Institute

Hoagies: Academic Acceleration

Duke TIP: Academic Acceleration and Ability Grouping Work

Davidson Young Scholars – How We Can Help

College Versus Kindergarten and Radical Acceleration

Image courtesy of Flickr   CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The G Word Film

 

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Director/Producer Marc Smolowitz, Producer Ron Turiello and Danielle Holke to discuss their new film The G Word which seeks to answer the question, “Who gets to be ‘Gifted’ in America and why?”

The factors used to decide who is ‘gifted’ in America today are much the same as they have been for decades; factors shrouded in myths and prejudices that need to be exposed and corrected. In recent years, new research on neurodiversity and intelligence are expanding our perceptions on what giftedness entails. This information needs to inform policy decisions.

Where are some of the unlikely places ‘gifted’ people can be found? As our friends at the National Association for Gifted Children have said – there are no boundaries to giftedness. It crosses all economic, cultural, & gender identity sectors of our society. Gifted people are found at Ivy League schools as well as in prisons. They can be the superintendent or janitor at your child’s school.

“Failure for gifted people to thrive can come from a life of feeling out of sync, feeling like a misfit, and knowing one is an outlier. When one’s giftedness, quirks and all, are embraced and nurtured, giftedness thrives.” ~ Celi Trepanier, M.Ed.

Some ‘gifted’ people thrive while others don’t. Lack of early identification and misdiagnosis can place a child on the wrong path at the very beginning of their school careers. Perhaps surprising to some, where they live can affect availability of services. Rural schools with few identified GT students do not see gifted education as a priority when resources are limited.

“GT students often are singled out, ostracized, endure bullying because they learn, speak, focus, etc. differently than the norm in the general ed classroom. That may originate from peers, but it also may originate from teachers. It’s a painful experience kids can’t escape.” ~ Margaret Thomas

Many special education programs are unequipped to teach twice-exceptional students. In the past, too many decision/policy makers saw the disability before ability and the child as someone who needed to be fixed rather than support abilities. Lack of professional development in the area of twice-exceptionality has allowed myths to flourish that hinder the exceptional.

“I truly believe that twice-exceptional is the savior of gifted in the 2020s. Our nation is so focused on deficits this has allowed gifted to have a seat of the table again in ways it hasn’t in many years” ~ Marc Smolowitz

What are the risks of maintaining the status quo in gifted education for our society? If society continues to settle for the status quo, we fail our brightest children … their ability to succeed in life. Status quo is just that … stagnation … and society as a whole also loses the opportunity to progress. GT kids aren’t obligated to help society at large, but their contributions can make a difference.

There are many challenges which face gifted education in the next decade. Only 6 states in the U.S. actively support gifted education. Advocacy must be at the forefront. Including coursework in gifted education at the undergraduate level is imperative to cultivating new leadership, high quality research, and maintaining funding. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

We at #gtchat offer our congratulations to The G Word film, Marc Smolowitz, Ron Turiello and their entire crew for the completion of a successful Kickstarter in support of production of the film!

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:

Mind Matters Podcast: The G Word Film with guest, Marc Smolowitz (39:04)

Meet the Experts | Who Gets to be Gifted in America and Why? (Vimeo 12:13)

EXCEPTIONAL MINDS | A Story from the Forthcoming Documentary THE G WORD (Vimeo 8:31)

THE G WORD | 1st Promo (Vimeo 6:01)

Colin Seale On Being An Exception To The Rule (Vimeo 1:14)

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Discusses The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Vimeo 1:00)

Producer Ron Turiello Explains What’s So Important About THE G WORD (Vimeo 2:04)

Thoughtleaders and Experts Featured in THE G WORD (Vimeo :59)

ZIP CODE 85349 (San Luis, Arizona) (Vimeo 8:00)

My Family Still Calls Me Gabby (Vimeo 6:49)

Gifted Support Group: Hidden Challenges for Gifted and 2E Students (YouTube 26:22)

What is the Excellence Gap?

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students

Black Intelligence (Vimeo 8:36)

Filmmaker Explores Giftedness at FDL Ojibwe School

NAGC: Giftedness Knows No Boundaries

An Independent Filmmaker Highlights Gifted Students of San Luis

Bill to End Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners Gains Traction

Rural Communities Test Ways to Hook Gifted Students

Why Egalitarian Societies Need Gifted Education (YouTube 59:17)

The G Word Highlights NSD HiCap Program

Gifted Children and Adults: Neglected Areas of Practice (pdf)

Image courtesy of The G Word film

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Eroding Excellence in Education

How did we get here? Why the attack on gifted education funding at both the federal and state(s) level simultaneously? The focus on excellence always seems to sharpen when state and federal budget proposals are released, but this year has seemed daunting with cuts proposed at all levels; affecting research and education initiatives. The framing of the discussion to fund gifted education inevitably turns on informing the public about current funding or the lack thereof. Gifted education has strong public support and their voice needs to be heard.

‘Anti-intellectualism’ may play a role in eroding excellence in education. It seems counter-intuitive that anyone would oppose excellence in education; but, here we are. Confusing equality with equity muddies the waters. Eliminating programs to level the playing field doesn’t make sense. Equating intellectualism with elitism is a false equivalence. Providing all children with what they need to succeed should be the goal of education.

Standardized testing brought with it ‘standards’ … and a race to mediocrity. As a majority of resources are focused on ensuring all students reach proficiency; the potential of advanced students remains stagnant or is slipping away. The amount of time devoted to test prep in the school year directly affects instructional time and reduces the quality of education across the board.

How do we extend the search for excellence in minority and low income populations? Identification that is sensitive to cultural and linguistic needs of specific populations and applied school-wide is a first step to providing appropriate educational opportunities for GT students. Cultural sensitivity in the search, availability of programs, professional development to counter bias, and community engagement are all ways to extend equitable solutions in gifted education.

‘Educational excellence’ can have a profound effect on our economy. The advantages of having a well-educated work force go without question. Employers who do not have to provide additional training or even remedial training will have lower costs and be able to devote resources to research and development. Countries who place importance on striving for excellence in the education of their children are our competitors of the future. Well educated citizens spark innovation and technological advances which drive our economy.

Where do we go from here? Is there a path forward for bridging the excellence gap in education? Academic and tech competitions are good at identifying and motivating talented youth. We must find a way to institutionalize the effects of these efforts; to incorporate them in our educational systems. Federal funding of research dedicated to gifted and talented education potentially creates educational environments that nurture creativity, encourage academic excellence, and prepare students to meet the challenges of the future. 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 1PM 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 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:

What I’m Reading: ‘A Nation at Risk’

Addressing Excellence Gaps in K-12 Education

Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and America’s Persistent Talent Underclass

Trends in Education Excellence Gaps: A 12-Year International Perspective via the Multilevel Model for Change (Abstract Only)

Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (And What We Can Do to Fight Back) (Amazon)

Failing Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students (Educational Innovations Series) (Amazon)

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Bridging the Excellence Gap

Closing the Excellence Gap

Are high-IQ students more at risk of school failure?

National Security and Educational Excellence (2005)

AU: How education system is failing our smartest children

FR: Are French schools failing their brightest children?

29 Ways American Schools Fail Students

Is Boston Failing Its Brightest Students: The Valedictorians Project

Stop Politicizing Our Schools

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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