Activities and Strategies for the Academically Gifted
Academically gifted students set themselves apart from the other students because of their ability to grasp concepts, organize them effectively and apply the concepts appropriately. Therefore teachers should master ways to have activities that challenge gifted students.
One of the characteristics of gifted students is they tend to have extra time in class because they finish their work fast. An activity a teacher can try is to allow the gifted students to develop something creative by having the students explore the topic being studied.
A gifted student educator can involve the students in an academic competition. These kind of competitions can develop the students skills in leadership and group work. Gifted students should be challenged and not given the same material to work on. There are a number of products designed for gifted students that can be obtained affordably. These products can challenge gifted students in a range of academic disciplines while allowing the students to have a higher level of thinking and problem solving skills.
Mentor as Facilitator
Some educators are guilty of turning gifted students into tutors because they lack material that is challenging for gifted students. This practice does not allow the student to reach their full potential, it is better to find a mentor willing to work with the gifted student because the misconception is the gifted student already knows it all, which is not true. They have more to learn and tapping outside expertise may be helpful.
Studies show that gifted students work better with an educator when the educator becomes a facilitator of the information rather than the expert. The educator's job should be to help the gifted students discover the information.
Bloom's Taxonomy and the Gifted Student
Blooms taxonomy should be the main guide in teaching gifted students. Blooms taxonomy allows for critical thinking that progresses from the most basic to the most complex. Blooms taxonomy is mainly used when the educator is writing the objectives and goals that should be achieved by the students. Gifted students objectives and goals should include more complicated concepts like analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
An academically gifted student should be asked to analyze information and usually what is expected of the student is for them to compare or contrast, solve some information, investigate, examine, classify and inspect information. The end result should be a report, a conclusion, a plan, a survey, a solution to a mystery or mock crime scene and questionnaire.
A gifted student should be encouraged to synthesize information, in this case the student should create, develop, design, compose and invent information and the end result should be an original story, a game, a musical composition, a poem, an invention, a piece of artwork, a hypothesis, an experiment or a script.
A gifted student should also be asked to evaluate information, in this case the student should choose, rank, assess, grade, critique and judge information. The end result should be a book review, a self-assessment, a current events debate, a court trial or an editorial.
Gifted student's educators should be aware of the concept of multiple intellligences that was developed by a Harvard professor Howard Gardner. The theory basically states that all people possess at least seven different kinds of intelligence namely -- logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, linguistic, body-kinesthetic, interpersonal, musical and intrapersonal. Mr. Gardner states that these intelligences exist in varying degrees within an individual. Educators should strive to use these intelligences in their classroom to ensure that each student is challenged.
Setting up learning centers for gifted students can allow these students to learn at their own speed. Leveling class assignments and learning outcomes enables an educator to explore the same material, but then gifted students should be required to produce a different or more advanced outcome. This strategy should also be applied to testing and referring to the Blooms taxonomy for test question ideas is advisable.
Gifted students, just like any other special education student, need an education that is individualized and goal oriented to ensure a successful experience in school and most importantly ensure the student reaches their maximum capacity.