Sometimes, there is no better option available for gifted students than to learn how to complete what is asked of them. There is value in that lesson, as well as in developing the patience and perseverance it teaches. However, it is not a lesson that your gifted kids should have to re-learn every single day. Here are some tech tools and tips to help you meet the unique educational needs of your gifted students.
Provide opportunities to work with other gifted students. Research has repeatedly shown that while gifted students do benefit from learning how to positively interact with peers of various intellectual levels, they benefit even more from working closely with other gifted students. You can foster networking with tools like Empatico, the Global Monster Project, or even programs like Skype a Scientist.
Administering assignments through a Learning Management System such as Google Classroom is a great way to get different materials to the students that need it.
Many times you can provide rigor by having your gifted students complete the same tasks as the rest of your class, but using a more complicated software. If your class is doing a presentation project in Slides, consider having your gifted student craft theirs on Emaze, Prezi, Story Spheres or Pictogon. If you’re working on a graphic design in Canva, your gifted students might want to try working with Pixlr E or Adobe Spark and challenge them not to use a premade template.
If you are looking for early finisher activities or extra project ideas that will provide appropriate challenge, here are some great options:
- Gamestar Mechanic
- Gimkit Legend – Video Intro Maker
- Night Zookeeper
- Nautilus Live
- Minecraft Education Edition
- 7 Speed Reading
Enriching Students is scheduling software that can help your school set up a flex block. This is a flexible time period set aside in the school day that gives students time for extra help or enrichment opportunities, allowing them to pursue topics and activities that interest them.
Check out this list of Distance Learning Programs. Free online courses for gifted students are available too:
Follow a local gifted and talented organization on social media. They can connect you with other teachers of gifted kids, and you’ll probably find they also post articles and lists of resources, like this collection of 100 Online Resources for Gifted Kids.
Each of these websites also offer a variety of resources, as well as readings to help you understand and foster giftedness.
- National Association for Gifted Children
- Find out what your State Gifted Association offers.
- The Association for the Gifted
- World Council for Gifted and Talented Children
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
Now that you have a great list of tech tools, you can combine them with some of these proven strategies for working with gifted students:
- Less grade-level work. There are a couple of easy ways for teachers to ensure their students haven’t skipped needed information before allowing them to move on:
- Most Difficult First. Rather than completing 20 questions for homework, let your gifted students try completing the 5 most difficult questions first. If they are able to do those correctly, they can receive full credit without completing the other problems. When using this system for class work, students can then independently complete an extension activity.
- Pre-Test. After introducing a concept, teachers can offer students the option of taking the end-of-chapter test. If a student scores 90% or higher they may move on or receive different work to do.
- Faster-paced lessons. The standard teaching model of “I do, we do, you do” is so prevalent because it works, but a gifted child might not need all those steps. Try letting them complete tasks independently after skipping either the “I do” or the “we do”.
- Deeper and more advanced content. Look at the same standard the class is working on for a grade level or two above to provide material that may challenge your gifted student. Moving to a higher level of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy for assignments allows gifted children to show what they know in a way that doesn’t feel as mundane.
- Incorporate choice in school. Gifted kids tend to respond very well to the freedom and respect that offering choices gives them. The choices don’t necessarily have to be offering more advanced content, just allowing the student to have some agency in their education. Choice boards and menus are easy ways to offer choices, and are usually designed to be reused on multiple assignments within the same subject.
- GT extension projects. Independent projects, short extension activities paired with each unit and educational games are all good choices for early finishers. Project-based learning is a great option to both occupy and enrich gifted students’ learning. As a bonus, since it puts a great deal of ownership on the student to design and create, it doesn’t create a ton of extra prep work for the teacher.
- Gifted kids love relevancy. Connect what students are learning about to how it is used in the real world, and let them try to apply it in that arena. For example, when learning about percentages, set up a pretend store that’s throwing a sale with them as the cashier. Have regular check-ins with them to go over how what they are learning in school is used in the real world as well as in various career paths they might one day choose.
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