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Dec 8, 2014

15 Tips for Gifted Learners

I recently blogged about differentiated learning regarding students with ADHD.
Today I wanted to focus on the needs of gifted learners. I feel like these students are often left in the classroom without much consideration.
 I mean, why should we worry about them, aren't they already ahead of the game?  
Please DO NOT have this perspective on gifted students! If teachers did, these students would become bored, unchallenged, unmotivated, frustrated, and most likely have a negative attitude towards school in general.

Differentiation is something most teachers integrate into their classroom. It's not an easy task, considering there are many types of learners. Most classrooms have a unique blend of students with all different needs to consider.

Here are my 15 simple tips on how to differentiate learning for gifted learners.

1. Differentiated learning IS NOT just giving students more work to complete after they are finished with an assignment. Giving them more of the same assignment or "busy work" is not differentiated learning.

2. Don't just send the student to go around helping others when they are finished. This is their time to learn too.

3. Journal writing is a great way to reflect on an activity the student has just completed. Have them go back and consider what they learned. Use KWL charts and other graphic organizers too!

4. Try different grouping strategies. Allow gifted learners to work on a more advanced side-project or use more mixed-level grouping with different assigned tasks for each group member.

5. Offer more resources in the classroom. Be sure to have higher level reading books on the bookshelf.

6. Teach to multiple intelligences - look up Howard Gardner's theory.

7. Let them show you what they know! - Use more open-ended questions on written assignments or during in class discussions.

8. Incorporate community building activities. Sometimes GATE students have more difficulty communicating and relating with their peers.

9. Be an active listener for them. Sometimes they will go a mile a minute while communicating but make sure you are actually listening and not just giving a quick dismissal.

10. Let it go. Gifted students can be critical and hyper aware of their surroundings. They may point out unwanted details and it will drive you MAD! Don't let it. Take a deep breath and refocus them. Keep them on track. 

11. Have them set specific goals for the week. If they are on a different track, what do they want to accomplish? Make sure the goals they set are realistic. Make sure they are focused on the actual learning process, not the grade.

12. Get feedback. How are they feeling about school? What is working for them? What would they change if they could?

13. Keep in close communication with parents. Ask them what their goals are for their child.

14. Incorporate student-based learning into your teaching. Let them decide how to approach learning tasks.

15. Ignore that dreaded, I'm done, what do I do now?! If students ask you that question, you can kindly direct them to the "I'm Done Now What Do I Do Bored Busters" activity prompts!
These creative writing prompts will keep your gifted students busy!


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