By: Caroline Igo, Kendall Hunt
“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."
-George S. Patton
How does one balance a classroom accordingly with students that are over succeeding and those that are struggling, needing extra help? Give extra attention to those who need it most, but don’t let your gifted students fade away! Students with exceptional gifts that aren’t challenged early in life will not learn the right academic endurance it takes to succeed later on. So, how do you keep gifted students on their toes?
1. Spark Interests
This might be the most important. When students are interacting with areas of interest, they are more likely to succeed and learn. Offer projects that lean toward their passions and fascinations. Then, allow them to choose their own topics. This encourages creativity and originality.
2. Group Gifted Students Together
Small groups emphasize collaborative learning. By surrounding them with other like-minded students, they can bounce ideas and motivate one another. This safe space will further develop their cooperation, communication, and listening skills. Also, this is the most logically way to communicate with all of your gifted students at once.
3. Know Areas of Strength
It is important to know your students’ strengths. Don’t always assign activities in which they are strong, gifted students will get bored and unmotivated. They won’t excel. Know their strengths but also be aware of their weaknesses. Challenges those skills, instead.
Never assume that gifted students are growing, just because they are gifted. Use tests to prove it. Also, it is important to make sure that gifted students aren’t sitting through lessons that they already know, don’t discourage or bore them. Utilize pre-assessments to confirm their knowledge.
5. Connect to the Real-World
Have your students think about how they can apply their knowledge to the real-world. How does this project connect to current events? Bring in a newspaper. What jobs require these skills they are learning? Encourage students to think about their own futures. It is important to keep your gifted students interested with the outside world.
6. Set Goals
In order to meet goals, they must first be set. Having students sit down and write what they hope to achieve is very important. This teaches them self-motivation and personal perseverance. The best way to look at a challenge is to see it as an achievable goal. Set goals in order to achieve them.
7. Levels of Difficulty in Lesson Plans
While, yes, challenging students is very important, you don’t want to discourage them. They shouldn’t be faced with tasks that seem impossible or too out of reach. Instead, vary the levels of difficulty: easy, intermediate, hard. This will keep gifted students on their toes.
8. Use Technology
Especially in today’s modern world, technology is a catalyst to learning in the classroom. Teachers can use programs such as Duolingo, YouTube, Smart Boards, various video, and virtual reality. Kendall Hunt is a proud provider of Victory VR, an educational virtual reality program. With this product, students can take virtual field trips and learn about topics in chemistry, physics, biology, earth & space, and engineering & technology.
9. Inspire Creativeness
Within lesson plans offer projects that require innovative solutions. For example, give out an assignment that involves art as the final product. This will inspire students to think outside the box or their own comfort zone. When students are creative, they are more engaged with materials. Teach your students that everything isn’t black or white. After all, creative thinking encourages creative solutions.
The most effective classrooms start with the right curriculum. Therefore, gifted programs are specifically designed for gifted classrooms. They are geared toward challenging those students that excel at ordinary lesson plans. The right curriculum needs to match the classroom and students. In an effort to do just that, Kendall Hunt provides gifted curricula from William & Mary, Project M2, Project M3, and Math Innovations. These topics include math, science, language arts, and social studies.
These important approaches are not only beneficial for gifted students. These ten methods can be applied to any classroom. All students can be inspired from lesson plans, work in small groups, and use technology in daily assignments. Although every kind of student gains from challenges in the classroom, it is very important to push your gifted students a little further. Make certain they are actively using their gifts. If they don’t learn how to tackle challenges early on in life, they might never effectively do so.