Gifted Enrichment

According to the United States Curriculum Council of the National Leadership Training Institute on the Gifted Talented (1986) and Kaplan (1986), the underlying principles guiding curriculum for gifted students are:

  • Present content that is related to broad-based issues, themes or problems.
  • Integrate basic skills and higher level thinking skills into the curriculum.
  • Develop research skills and methods.
  • Integrate multiple disciplines into the area of study.
  • Present comprehensive, related and mutually reinforcing experiences within an area of study.
  • Allow for the in-depth learning of a self-selected topic within the area of study.
  • Develop independent or self-directed study skills.
  • Develop productive, complex, abstract and/or higher level thinking skills.
  • Focus on open-ended tasks.
  • Encourage the development of products that challenge existing ideas and produce "new" ideas.
  • Encourage the development of products that use techniques, materials and forms.
  • Encourage the development of self-understanding. For example, recognizing and using one's abilities, becoming self-directed, appreciating likenesses and differences between oneself and others.
  • Evaluate student outcomes by using appropriate and specific criteria through self-appraisal, criterion-referenced and/or standardized instruments.

In Enrichment:

---We will continue working on higher-level thinking stations alternating between real-world, authentic problem based learning units (PBL).

---Students will utilize their creative thinking skills to construct higher-level strategies, approaches, solutions, and explanations to PBL methodology and processes (higher level questioning strategies and Socratic method of problem solving)

---Students will relate what they are learning in their creative thinking practice to their own life.  How can what you are doing in your creative thinking skills right now help you throughout your life?  How can it improve current and future societies?

---Students will identify the state standard they will to use to guide learning and create their own objective—stating their problem solving product, activities, and creative thinking tools

---In their work stations, students will (1) build on previous knowledge to organize projects and generate ideas (2) utilize creative thinking tools (fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration) as they (3) work to complete and publish projects, presentations, and portfolios in math, science, writing, art, geography, library, and technology work stations.

---Students will engage in community-service PBL  task projects, working on affecting positive change in our school, community, and world.

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In Math:

Through a spiraled curriculum, the students will incorporate Algebraic concepts into accelerated work (1-2 grade levels above).

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In English Language Arts (ELA):

Students will work cooperatively in advanced literature circles, focusing on novels from the gifted curriculum, developing their own meaningful vocabulary words, and incorporating literary skills into each round-table, Socratic discussion. Students will integrate their creative thinking skills by presenting culminating original creative work/research (projects, portfolios, presentations) linking real-world issues to their novels at mastery level each grading period.

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Why We Offer A Blended Model of Acceleration AND Enrichment:

A good program for gifted and talented students should be comprehensive, taking into account their cognitive, social, cultural, and emotional needs. In designing appropriate curricula, many curricula models may serve as an ideal framework. Taking a more eclectic approach in adapting several models that suit students' needs is most important.

Enrichment refers to "learning activities providing depth and breadth to regular teaching according to the child's abilities and needs" (Townsend, 1996). Enrichment activities are normally in addition to and different from the regular classroom activities by way of offering challenge.

Academic acceleration is generally regarded as proceeding through the stages of schooling at a pace faster than usual. It is instruction that aligns gifted students' abilities and learning needs more closely to the curriculum. "In practice, acceleration occurs when children are exposed to new content at an earlier age than other children or when they cover the same content in less time." (Townsend, 1996). Thus, accceleration differentiates the timing of introduction of content and/or the rate of coverage. The pace and depth of their learning can be better matched to their individual needs.

Acceleration has been described as vertical extension/development, as opposed to horizontal extension/lateral development, which is commonly called enrichment. A COMBINATION OF THE TWO APPROACHES BENEFITS GIFTED STUDENTS. It is said that any acceleration includes some enrichment and good enrichment should include some acceleration. The degree of each is dependent on the individual needs of the student. (Ministry of Education, 2012)

These two approaches are not mutually exclusive, and they BEST meet the needs of gifted students when used TOGETHER. Internationally, the preferred gifted curriculum is enrichment with an academic blend for meeting the needs of gifted students.

Specialized academic enrichment classes for gifted students offer broader depth and complexity, usually at a faster pace than would be typical. Sometimes telescoping complements these classes.

Enrichment cluster groups are good for gifted students as they allow students to pursue their passions and work with like-minded students. They can provide challenge and enrichment as well as help teach team building, leadership skills, and social/emotional development.

The internet is changing the way teachers all over the world teach. With each student having his/her own iPad, it is easier to personalize programs for gifted students and to have students working on activities that are at their curriculum level rather than age level. For gifted learners, it is an exciting resource that can help provide authentic learning experiences in the classroom, for example by enabling direct contact with experts in various fields, promoting social action, or creating products such as websites. For gifted students, e-learning can easily provide access to resources at the student’s advanced level. It can allow students to adapt the pace and direction of their work to suit their learning needs.

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Gifted Learning Environment:

*   Learner centered

* Teacher indepedent rather than teacher dependent for most tasks, including classroom management

* Open to new people, new materials, and new things

* Complex and filled with resources

* Open to acceptance rather than judgement, and therefore "psychologically safe" for risk taking, creativity, and individuality

* Open to varied groupings

* Flexible in all aspects of management, especially scheduling

* Tolerant of high mobility of movement, both inside and outside of the classroom.

(Adapted from Maker and Neilson, 1995)

*TKI Ministry of Education. (2012). New Zealand.