Tips to Capturing the Interest of Your Gifted Students
Figure It Out
In a traditional classroom, you might be used to teaching a concept to students and then having them practice it. For example, you might explain to students how to add fractions, and then have them complete several problems. In an English class, you might show students how to diagram the subject and predicate of a sentence and then have them diagram several simple sentences accordingly. In gifted education, however, you have the leeway to challenge them even more than that by letting them figure it out themselves.
For example, you might have students break into groups and make their own manipulatives to help them figure out the answer to the problem “½ + ¼ = ?” Once they figure that out, you can ask them to generalize what they’ve learned to adding all fractions. In the English class, you can show them several diagrammed sentences and encourage them to figure out a pattern that can help them diagram other sentences. These ideas will help get students to use their inferential skills and creativity to solve a problem.
Connect to Reality
Gifted students often feel the need to connect what they’ve learned to “real life.” If you’re teaching a science class about the nervous system, you can have your gifted students figure out which part of our nervous system helps us do each of several actions. If you’re teaching a history class about the civil war, don’t forget to connect what you’re teaching to current events that your students may have heard about.
Research as an Extension
Gifted students often love to “know more than the teacher” about a subject. They also may be so hungry for knowledge that you find yourself wishing you knew more. To account for this tendency, give gifted students research assignments about topics that interest them. They might do research in the school library, in a chapter of their textbook that won’t be covered, or on the Internet. This addition to your lesson plan can help challenge them to go beyond what they’ve learned in your classroom. Let gifted students be creative.
Try some of these ideas for gifted students. Your students will thank you!