Gifted children, those highly intelligent, curious, sophisticated children that embrace the world with open arms. Gifted students are incredible individuals. Teaching gifted children is so empowering and gives us tremendous hope for the achievements in their future, but how do you work with gifted children in a mainstream classroom? It is a question that many educators struggle with. Oftentimes, educators have to differentiate for struggling learners, but when you have a gifted child in your class, we must make opportunities appropriate and accessible to their abilities and interests too! Read on for some ideas on how to work with gifted students in the classroom!
How to Work With Gifted Students in The Classroom
Creating a challenge is one of the ways that you can provide our gifted students with the topics and lessons they truly need, but understanding how to challenge our gifted learners isn’t always that easy. Using some of these ideas to help provide our gifted learners with exactly what they need.
Let them test out.
Give the gifted children the end of unit assessment and if they get 90% or higher, let them test out of that topic. If they test out, give them an independent research topic, or allow students to use a technology program to help increase their knowledge of a math topic. Lots of programs spiral learning for students to go beyond their grade level. Gifted students may be learning calculus in elementary school and may need the time to explore that. Khan Academy is a great website for independent learning. Have your gifted students teach you what they learned!
Remember Social Emotional Needs!
Oftentimes our gifted students are struggling with some social emotional problems related to the fact that they are gifted. Don’t forget that our gifted children need to work through some problems too and this could be a great way to include them in group challenges or have them use some intervention time to work with a counselor or read some empowering texts to grow emotionally. Gifted students sometimes struggle with perfectionism, self-esteem issues, and even sometimes struggle making friends. These can all be easily identifiable and topics to explore for gifted students.
More Strategies for Gifted Students in The Classroom
Gifted students have a great deal to bring to the table, but working in groups is so important for all children. Socializing and working together are essential for social maturity and learning how to work together in the future. Building and making friendships may be a difficulty for some gifted students making this a great opportunity for students to build those connections.
Choice menus are a great way to challenge students. Remember gifted students are often highly interested in different topics. Try to build your choice boards around topics that you know your students will love. Lean on technology here too for assessment purposes so gifted students can share what they learned with you in an exciting way.
Gifted children are often looking for a challenge. Enter some writing contests, math contests, or STEM contests within your school or within the bigger communities. Scholastic often has writing contests to enter and this could be a huge moment for a gifted student. Even better, include this on your choice board!
Even More Strategies For Gifted Students in The Classroom
Don’t Make Them the Teacher (all the time).
Sometimes gifted students can help out their classmates, but remember they are not there to help their peers only. Just keep in mind, there are always new things to learn and if they spend too much time teaching peers, they may not engage in growing their own brains!
Why not set up some book clubs for gifted students? Make it a club, make a group with other students from other classes, or do it within your own classroom. You can use book clubs to have conversations around books, learn different perspectives, and engage in appropriate discussion protocols. This is great for everyone involved!
Making tiered assignments can show growth of mastery for a gifted student. Let them spiral upwards so they can continually learn something new!
Ask for Help.
If all else fails, ask for help from some of your fellow teachers. We have all been there before and they may have resources ready for you to use! Remember teaching is a work of art, but working together definitely makes it more beautiful!
Now bookmark this blog so the next time you have a gifted child enter your classroom, you are prepared to give them a year of learning, growing socially and academically, and be the best year ever. Let me know how you use these ideas for working with gifted students in the classroom!