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Challenging Gifted Students in the Classroom

Challenging Gifted Students in the Classroom

How do you challenge gifted students in your classroom? Gifted students will often become bored and/or frustrated if they're not challenged in their school work. It's important that you take the time to figure out ways you can challenge the gifted students in your class. The following list of ideas can help you get started:

  • Provide tiered assignments for children. Tiered assignments are a great way to meet all of students' needs. You start with the basic standard objective and design an assignment on that standard. This is your middle tier. Then you scaffold that assignment to add support for at-risk students. For gifted students, you add challenge. This can be more complicated numbers in a math assignment, a more difficult text in reading, or a second component for any assignment. Adding challenge can also be asking students to write an explanation of their thinking, or you can add an application component so that students apply the skill from the standard to a real-world situation.
  • Have a classroom library with a variety of levels. Many teachers encourage students to bring reading materials from home, but if that is not possible or if a student does not bring challenging materials on their own, make sure you have a variety of texts in your library that support the interests and reading ability of gifted students.
  • Tap into gifted students' talents. Many times gifted students can utilize their talents as a way of challenging themselves. Allow students to write, draw, and act out solutions to problems or projects. Instead of utilizing their talents and interests to dig deeper into a skill, gifted students are many times just asked to do more work.
  • Bring in real-world application. Gifted students can usually understand a math algorithm or a concept in science very quickly. What can inspire them to move beyond that knowledge is exploring how that concept works in a real-world application. How does an architect design with area and perimeter in mind? How does animal classification help scientists understand animal life and how it functions?
  • Utilize outside resources. Bring in speakers or experts in fields of study to do breakout sessions.
  • Understand how gifted students think. Being gifted is an exceptionality—just the same as having a learning disability. Gifted students have special needs, requirements, and trends in behavior that are important to understand to better reach their needs.

Be sure to check out the educational materials in our Elementary section for a variety of tools and resources you can utilize in coming up with a differentiation strategy for your classroom.

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