The Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Gifted students in the Regular Classroom
By: Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Beth Carey
With consultation Gifted Students (especially Erika a Grade 6 Student, HWDSB)
*Do remember that FAIR and EQUAL is not the same.
* Do continue getting extra work – (but not EQAO packages) ß Many gifted students will be prepared, without the additional prep here as the regular program would be enough.
* Do continue to encourage students to choose a more challenging, classic or award- winning book or literature.
* Do continue to be respectful and kind as this is always appreciated.
* Do allow freedom to work on own thing while class is working (but please do not interrupt and ask questions without giving warning…let the student work)
* Do ask student if they already have mastered the skill or concept. Do ask student to demonstrate the skill.
* Do ask student if he/she can enhance or change the assignment or project in order to be more challenging or interesting (do this instead of giving too many add-ons)
* Do be flexible in assessments. Allow students to “tell” you the concept or skill rather then complete the worksheet or task associated (which might frustrate them and may be unnecessary.
*Math – Do allow student to demonstrate the skill. Then student may work on Individual Contract rather then extra questions.
*Do know that one demonstration question is enough.
* Do have students show understanding of a concept in all subject. If they have mastered the skill, do allow them to work on individual contract.
* Do continue to praise and give feedback. Many Gifted students have insecurities and anxieties and do need social and emotional support.
* Do continue to support ideas of using technology, even if the technology isn’t familiar to the teacher
*Do continue to work with school supports like the Gifted Itinerant teacher – Students want to be involved in this
* Do continue to provide leadership opportunities
* Do always ask student before the task or lesson if she/he is prepared to assist and ensure student has had ample time to prepare. This will avoid that last minute, “Can you help..” situation.
* Do continue to allow student to demonstrate other ways of doing a question, for example, in Math student might have a different way of showing a skill or concept that could resonate with other students.
* Do change your practice to meet the needs of the Gifted Learner. This might include not using a PAPER AGENDA, but instead posting a schedule on the wall.
* Do give breaks between projects. This will give them time to work on an individual interest. Often Gifted students are introverted and need time to recalibrate on their own.
* Do allow choice of projects
* Do provide goal setting opportunities for Gifted Students like you would do with students with other Learning Needs.
* Don’t always include student in the whole class reading activity, instead allow student to work on their individual project (learning contract). Especially when reading is a strong area and student wants to engage in other material.
* Don’t insist that Gifted students complete reading or writing diagnostic tests (DRA, OWA). Many of these students already have shown strong ability in these areas and don’t require a diagnostic.
*Don’t group student with lower reading groups, unless it is pre-arranged. Gifted students don’t always need to learn the skills associated with reading in the same way.
* Instead of several extra projects (or extensions), allow student to work on Individual Project Inquiry project that is linked to the Big Idea or concept.
* Don’t assume that the student does not know skill or concept or that he/she need time practicing. When these students get a concept, it often doesn’t require time to practise
* Don’t always require a formal test or assessment for these students. If they already know it, and you know they know it, then why spend time testing?
*Math – Don’t assume because the student is Gifted that he/she knows the skill already. But, remember he/she will pick up the skill quickly.
* In Math, don’t always insist that students must show all steps to a problem. Gifted students may not need to go through every step.
* Don’t have student sit through whole class lessons (when skill is already mastered). Allow student to work on his/her own individual endeavor contract.
* Don’t assume that student wants to work with others to teach them. This may be stressful or frustrating for them.
* Don’t have student be the “Class Teacher” unless teacher is in the room and that it is pre-arranged.
* Don’t follow a project with another project. Often social life and social skills are important to Gifted students. Allow time to recalibrate and reflect.
* Don’t always feel the need to give too many projects just to ensure the student is busy or isn’t board.
* Don’t assume because they are gifted that they are organized. They need constant help with organization and should never be reprimanded for poor organization but instead nurtured in this area.
* Do not assume because they are Gifted that they do not need a MODIFIED program. Ensure their IEP’s have goals and learning expectations, not just accommodations.