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T IPS

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E NRICHMENT

E VALUATION 

S TRATEGIES


 

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HISTORICAL

HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS

Historical events at the foundation of today's increased interest in gifted education were most strongly influenced by the work of about six people, a Russian satellite, and a few national reports.

A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform -- Go ahead, read or just browse this famous document and discover why it relates to gifted education.
National Excellence: A Case for Developing America's Talent -- This 1993 report will allow you to explore  more about why educating highly able students continues to be important today.

Sputnik-- Read a little about the history of Sputnik directly from NASA.

Click the pic for more! 

 
 

DEFINITION OF GIFTED

WHY DO WE NEED TO DEFINE GIFTEDNESS?

As complicated as it may seem, definining gifted and/or talented is a very necessary and important matter.  To be able to identify and serve highly able students, it is necessary to decide upon a definition that will guide a school or district in its efforts to identify and meet the needs of these students equitably, given individual constraints and specific circumstances.  The particular abilities included in a definition should then determine the identification procedures and services to be provided for gifted children.

What is giftedness? -- An article by Linda Silverman which discusses giftedness and the reasons for some of the differences in individual's definitions.
Giftedness as Asynchronous Development -- I believe you will find it to be a very  interesting but valid way to look at defining giftedness.
Who are the gifted? -- This summary tells about the elements underlying all definitions of  giftedness, and also describes the needs with which they are associated and why they should be supported.
Giftedness and the Gifted: What's It All About -- Nice little summary of various viewpoints  of giftedness and gifted as well as a discussion of the terms themselves.
The Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness -- Here you can explore more about Joseph Renzulli's ideological model of giftedness
A Glossary of Gifted Education -- Find the definition to almost every general term used in the field of gifted education. Try it, you'll like it!
Is it a cheetah? -- Great sight that with an analogy to help you understand what giftedness.
 
 
 
 

CHARACTERISTICS

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GIFTEDNESS?

Gifted Characteristics are based on a psychological construct.  A construct is a set of hypothesized traits abilities or characteristics abstracted from a variety of behaviors presumed to have educational or psychological meaning (Sax, 1980).  Giftedness is not a sole observable characteristic of an individual.  To make accurate inferences about giftedness depends on the choices of characteristics and behaviors that are observed and appraised.

Recognizing Gifted Characteristics -- A short article that provides some scenarios as well as a few tips for parents and teachers about how to nurture these characteristics.
Recognizing Giftedness in Young Children -- Provides an overview of a study which compares early developmental characteristics of gifted and average young children.
Characteristics of Gifted Children  -- A great list of some gifted characteristics categorized according to the National definition.
Characteristics of Giftedness -- A review of the literature with a list of descriptors and tables  comparing gifted and average students.
Joy and Loss: The Emotional Lives of Gifted Children -- A look at some of the myths  surrounding gifted children.  Also includes a summary and one suggested solution.

WHAT ARE TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS?

These are students with an outstanding talent or gift, that have the potential for high performance.  Some of these students are recognized and provided services.  Most are not.  Many of these students remain unrecognized because the disability camoflauges the giftedness, or the giftedness in one area hides the disability in another.  This population of students is receiving more and more attention as educators strive to help ALL students meet their potential.

Dual Exceptionalities -- Gifted children with a disabling condition remain a group of underserved and understimulated youth.  The site also includes a checklist of characteristics.
Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox --  Characteristics are given for gifted  and learning disabled students.
Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities -- Offers a full review of the research and issues surrounding this complex kind of student.
Giftedness and Learning Disabilities -- Tips for recognizing these students and the  educational implications they suggest
ADHD and Children Who Are Gifted -- Distinguishing giftedness and ADHD

 
 
 

IDENTIFICATION

WHAT IS IDENTIFICATION?

In order to serve high ability learners it is necessary to first determine their needs and skills.  A multiple criteria of characteristics are recommended for identification so that students from traditionally underserved populations are not overlooked when assessing for gifted programs.  Identification serves three main purposes:
  1. Discovery -- Discovery is finding out the child's individuality.  It prompts us to do something for the child.
  2. Planning -- Planning is determining which programs, resources,  strategies, and/or models will best assist the child.  Then setting up a way to utilize these aspects.
  3. Service -- Service is actually doing what needs to be done in order to appropriately challenge and educate the child.

Identification of Gifted Students -- Source for exploring principles of identification among  other things related to properly identifying high achieving students
Identification-- List of resources about identification related to many of the definition and characteristic links included above
Identification of Gifted and Talented Students -- List seven guidelines that should be  adhered to in any plan to identify gifted students
Identifying Students with Cultural Variances  --  How can we appropriately identify children from various cultural backgrounds and decrease testing bias?
Identifying Gifted and Talented American Indian Students-- Are we properly  identifying students to include those American natives with various cultural training?
Identifying and Serving Recent Immigrant Children who are Gifted --  Characteristics to be aware of that are commonly missed in identification of gifted students.
Strategies for Identifying the Talents of Diverse Students-- The identification of students from underrepresented populations is discussed in conjunction with the Javits Act.

 
 
 

STRATEGIES

WHAT IS DIFFERENTIATION?

Modifying the content, process, product expectation and/or student response, and the environment are all options to be found in a differentiated classroom.  At the roots of this ideology is a belief in the necessity of best meeting the needs of ALL learners.  To do so requires identifying important principles and then providing a range of methods and activities that lead to an acceptable level of understanding to one degree or another.  All of the following approaches, are strategies which can be used to accomplish the monumental task of allowing all students opportunities to meet their potential by adapting one or more of the areas mentioned above.

WHAT IS TIERING?

Tiering is one form of differentiation.  Tiered activities are very important when a teacher wants to ensure that students with different learning needs work with the same essential ideas and use the same key skills.  Teachers use tiered activities so all students focus on essential understandings and skills but at different levels of complexity, abstractness, and open-endedness.  By keeping the focus of the activity the same, but providing routes of access at varying degrees of difficulty, the teacher maximizes the likelihood that:
  1. Each student comes away with pivotal skills and understandings.
  2. Each student is appropriately challenged.
Tasks are matched to each student based on student need and task requirements.  The goal is to match the task's degree of difficulty and its pacing to student readiness. (Tomlinson, C. (1995).  The Differentiated Classroom)

  How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms -- Lists features of a  differentiated classroom and shows the flow of instruction in a differentiated classroom.  This  is an excerpt from the guru of differentiation herself, Carol Ann Tomlinson.
Differentiating Curriculum for Gifted Students  -- This article focuses on creating an  effective curriculum.  Suggestions are given as to the types of modifications that can be made as teachers work to differentiate instruction for students.
Curriculum Differentiation -- An overview of the research on differentiation.  Gives examples of the many ways in which curriculum can be differentiated.
Reading List on Differentiation -- List of reading sources that can be used to exploredifferentiation.
Successful Practices for a Differentiated Classroom -- This is a super sight that gives insightful details about the principles of differentiation, and how they can be used  successfully.  View one of the PowerPoint presentations to review or learn more about  differentiated strategies.
Differentiating Curriculum for Gifted Students -- Discusses modifying various aspects of education to meet the needs of gifted students.  This site also has effective guidelines for  content acceleration.
Carol Tomlinson -- Gives a background on Carol Ann Tomlinson including a listing of publications related to tiering and differentiating the curriculum.
  Preservice Training in Differentiation for New Teachers--  Provides research and suggestions for introducing differentiation to new teachers.
  Understanding by Design -- Explore this sight and learn more about this approach to  curriculum design that starts out with the end in mind.  Perfect for meeting the needs of all  learners.

WHAT IS ACCELERATION?

Acceleration can be any one, or any combination of the following:
1.  Continuous Progression -- Student receive instruction daily and move ahead as they master content and skills.  Age-based grade levels are not applicable to these students.
2.  Compacted Courses -- Abbreviated time for content.
3.  Advanced Placement and Concurrent Enrollment -- Students are  enrolled in  a course normally taught at a higher level.
4.  Grade Skipping -- Students skip normal grade placement levels.
5.  Early Entrance -- Students enter some phase of schooling earlier than normal.

Acceleration -- Article describing what acceleration in action.
More on Acceleration -- A very general overview of research about acceleration sometimes also referred to as flexible pacing.
Meeting Able Learners' Needs through Flexible Pacing --This site gives guidelines for  teachers and district administrators for implementing flexible pacing.
Providing Curriculum Alternatives To Motivate-- Adjusting the pace is motivating for exceptional students.  This site gives suggestions for implementation and examples.

WHAT IS ENRICHMENT?

The term Enrichment is used to refer to curriculum as well as program delivery services.  Enriched curriculum refers to richer, more varied educational experiences, a curriculum that has been modified or added to in some way (Davis &Rimm, 1994; Howley, Howley, & Pendarvis, 1986). An enrichment program goal is to offer students curriculum that is greater in depth or breadth than that generally provided.

Enrichment Clusters -- A discussion of how enrichment strategies are used under the Schoolwide Enrichment Model.
Enrichment and Extension Activities -- Links, resources, and activities to possibly enrich the general curriculum.
Gifted Resources Enrichment Page -- More links to resources for enriching the curriculum.

WHAT IS CURRICULUM COMPACTING?

Curriculum Compacting is a procedure used by classroom teachers to adapt the regular curriculum to meet the needs of above average students. Work that students have already mastered is eliminated and work they can master at a faster pace than their classmates is streamlined or "compacted."

WHAT IS A LEARNING CONTRACT?

A written agreement between a student and teacher that outlines:
  1.  What the student will learn or accomplish
  2.  How the student will learn
  3.  What period of time is necessary
  4.  How will performance be evaluated
"Learning contracts empower students and allow them to assume greater control over their own learning by allowing them choice and freedom while at the same time providing structure and security" (Greenwood, 1995, p. 89)

Compacting and Contracting -- Use these two strategies to motivate and accommodate  students.
Curriculum Compacting -- Overview of compacting that includes ready-to-use and sample  forms.
Learning Contracts -- Learning contracts can assist students in becoming independent  learners.

WHY USE QUESTIONING?

All students must move beyond being mere consumers of information.  Our goal should be to promote the use of inquiry in the classroom and life, so that students can formulate, modify, or respond to others' ideas or information in a meaningful way.  Questioning  is an important part of the learning process. It serves to clarify, revise, give feedback, and extend or provide opportunities for higher level thinking.  Teachers need to enable all students, the gifted included, to develop the higher level thinking skills which are foundational to the complex and abstract thinking required for real-world problem solving.  Appropriate questioning techniques are one way this can be accomplished.

The Basics of Bloom's Taxonomy -- Here's a great overview of Benjamin Bloom's ideas regarding levels of questioning.  It also includes some ideas on how levels of questioning strategies can be implemented in the classroom.
Major Categories in the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives -- This sight gives another overview of Bloom's six levels of questioning and provides links to additional sources.
Questioning Menu -- Links to materials that may help you improve your questioning skills.
Questioning Techniques for Gifted Students -- Simple ideas about the importance of questioning and techniques for using it successfully in the classroom.
 
 

GENERAL RESOURCES
Explore these additional sights to find endless amounts of info for parents, students, teachers and anyone else interested in finding out more about gifted and talented students!

GT World!  -- A meeting place for families, friends, or anyone else interested in supporting the gifted and talented.  Includes links to several GT mailing lists, etc.
TalentEd Resource Materials -- Provides an annotated bibliography covering subjects within many different areas of gifted education.  Get the reference and go find out more!
  Hoagies' Gifted Education Page -- Probably one of the most comprehensive sights covering an innumerable number of topics in gifted education
  National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) -- This is the home page for the best known association for gifted children in the United States
  Gifted and Talented (TAG) Resources -- Follow the links on this page and go any number  of directions to explore more about a topic of interest
  Austega Gifted Education Resources -- This Australian sight gives a good overview of a  number of topics as well as providing additional links
  ERIC Clearinghouse on Gifted Education -- Part of the ERIC article collection, this link will  take you to additional articles and mailing lists about many topics of possible interest
  Index on Educating the Gifted and Talented -- Searching this sight compiled and rated by KidSource will lead you to a variety of interesting information
  The TAG Family Network -- Provides access to articles of interest and gives another comprehensive listing of more Internet resources.


If you have any comments to make or want to request additional information, send your message to:
jeremy.smith@cache.k12.ut.us
hlzilles@yahoo.com
fullmeister@hotmail.com