Gifted students present an additional challenge in that they already know most of the content and will be able to learn what they don’t know in much less time than the rest of the students in your class. Believe it or not, if you don’t plan well for the gifted students, they will be the ones who will probably learn the least.
The characteristics of the gifted child are:
- The Gifted Child exhibits intensity and curiosity sooner than the average child. They respond to events with stronger emotion, sensitivity and passion than the average child.
- When they are interested in something, they pursue it with passion! They seek out information to discover as much about it as possible.
- The gifted child has an excellent memory, which may account for their ability to remember details, spelling words, or math problems with ease.
- These children need to be challenged. They have a thirst for information, and general education classes frustrate them, as they don’t like repeating or practicing things they already know.
- They can be sensitive to sound, clothes tags, or wrinkles in socks. They are perceptive to facial expressions, body language, and often have a good sense or humor.
- They are voracious in their search for answers, including reading and internet research, and tend to ask a lot of questions.
Advise for Teachers:
Choice is key. When you have certain activities you want your students to do, plan for the weakest and the strongest students. Provide choice. For instance, if you’re asking the class to summarize key points in the topic, consider the following. Weaker students may begin with point form. Gifted students may create a poster or write a commercial selling others on the key points in a persuasive manner. Make sure you have the following rule in place: Don’t bother others.Often in classrooms, a strategy that works well is called Compacting the Curriculum. To compact the curriculum means, if they already know the content, let them move into an area that they don’t know. Gifted students with strength in math, might use additional time in language areas, thus you’re compacting the math. You already know they take less time to learn, let them take the lesser time and make sure they have procedures they can follow to move on to something else. Capitalize on their interests.Provide ownership to capable students. Let them keep a chart of what they’ll be working on each time they finish what you’ve assigned them. If they don’t come up with their ideas, keep a challenge box full of activities that promote problem solving. Never have the child work on remediation or drill type activities. These children need to enjoy extension type activities within their areas of strength.