Friday, June 19, 2015

Tips for teaching Gifted students

Hello Friends! It's Erin from The Elementary Darling

Today is Keep it Fresh Friday and today I am here to talk with you about my favorite ways to keep my gifted and advanced content students challenged. 

In my county, Advanced Content is a class where the gifted and advanced students are placed. I teach a little differently and sometimes on a faster pace, depending on the students and the year. Every year is different and after teaching all "kinds" of kids, I finally feel that I am teaching exactly what I need to be teaching. I have never loved teaching more! 

 Last week, I taught an all day professional development for my county on differentiating for Gifted and Advanced students and I want to share some of my tips for those of you who may have one or two students in your class. You know those students who finish everything in ten minutes and then play while the rest are working :) Those are my FAVORITE kids! haha 
Here are a few tips for you to keep those kids learning and busy!

1. Creativity- You have to step out of your box and release control. You can do it, I promise!
Creativity is a big motivator for many students. When they can make something their own, it means more to them. Creating anything, squiggles, projects, pictures, writing pieces, and making things out of trash or leftovers are all fun ways for kids to create. This also brings me to tip number two, Technology!

2. Technology- My kids are OBSESSED with i-Pads. We don't just use them for the apps, we create things. This year they created popplets, books (on book creator), pictures, pic collages, and anything else they can get their hands on. I have used it for every subject. If you aren't blessed with i-Pads, Donors Choose is a great way to get any technology or you can use the good old computer. My students still love the computer even with their i-Pads. I love technology because it gives students a choice, which leads me to tip number 3!

3. CHOICE- Yes, I am asking you to release control again. My best teacher friends say that my classroom is controlled chaos, I just call it a hot mess, but whatever it is, it works. Obviously you have to do what works for you, but I 100% believe in giving students a choice. It is the best mind trick out there and the kids perform better when you give them choices. I let me kids choose what math center they go to, ELA center, how they publish a technology project or finish an assignment. One way is a tic tac toe board where they can choose three activities or a choice board where they can choose one. By using Bloom's Taxonomy and the Multiple Intelligences, creating a choice board is a fun way for students to finish a unit that you have taught them. It is also FUN!

4. Literature Groups- My students LOVE literature groups and it is a great way to differentiate. I had so many cute Christmas books I wanted to read this last year and not enough time to read them all. I looked up each Lexile for the students and the books and grouped the students with the books. They all chose a way to present the information I asked for (story elements) and then presented in their groups of three. One group created a book, one created a poster, and another wrote a play. They were cute and all of the students got to hear about the different Christmas books. Win - Win!

5. Project Based Learning/ Genius Hour-  I love Genius hour! I just tried it for the first time this past year with my students. It was fun and the kids loved it. We took about 20 minutes of each day to learn about something the student was passionate about. You should definitely look it up and try it! 

Project based learning is also a great way to push gifted and advanced students. There are so many ways to incorporate project based learning. This activity we compared a fruit, vegetable, and flower seed.  I wrote about this project here if you wanted to read about it! It was fun and the students learned all about plants. 

I hope that you are enjoying your summer off! It is flying by for me. Leave us a comment if you have any other great ideas for gifted or advanced students or visit me on instagram @theelementarydarling. I have met so many gifted teachers on there and I love seeing what they are coming up with! Have a wonderful weekend, friends!