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Teaching Strategies for Gifted Students

Janelle Cox

What sets apart a gifted student from any other student in the classroom? It may be their ability to absorb concepts more quickly, or how they have a keen sense to organize and apply these concepts more effectively and efficiently than other students. With approximately 3.2 million gifted students in grades K-12 in the United States, how do we know we are meeting the needs of these students? As teachers, we spend so much of our class time using teaching strategies to help our struggling students that our gifted students are getting left at the wayside. Here’s how to use teaching strategies to develop a classroom environment that will help nurture your gifted students and ensure that you are meeting their unique needs.

Teaching Strategies that Utilize Technology

One of the best ways that you can ensure that you’re meeting the needs of your gifted students is by utilizing all that technology has to offer. Technology permits students to be able to foster their creativity. In addition to that, it enables gifted children to work at a pace that may go beyond the other students in class. There are a multitude of tools that are available through technology that can help extend their learning and interests, as well as nourish their needs as a gifted student.

Differentiate Instruction

Gifted students like to be challenged and in order to that you can differentiate instruction. An easy way to differentiate instruction in a regular classroom setting is to give your students choice boards. Choice boards are basically like a tic-tac-toe board that you fill in with a variety of different activities in each square. The great thing about these choice boards is that you can create different boards for students who are working at different levels. You can also create one choice board for the entire class that can meet the needs of all students by simply choosing a variety of different activities on a range of different ability levels. This way, students have many choices to choose from. Overall, it’s a simple way to meet the needs of all students, and challenge your gifted students.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Teachers can use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide in working with gifted students and as a way to engage all students at all levels. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides teachers with a way to provide higher-level thinking skills in their most gifted students. Teachers can use a combination of both lower-order as well as higher-order thinking skills to keep even their most advanced students on their toes. The great thing about this strategy is that it can be used with all students, gifted or not.

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Independent Projects

Oftentimes children who are gifted complete their work faster than others, which leaves them with a lot of extra time. Independent projects are a great way to help gifted children develop their creativity as well as foster interests. Children can use this extra time to explore what interests them and create a project that is entirely on their own.

Challenge Learning

Another great way to challenge a gifted student and help them excel even further in a subject they are really good at, is to send them to another classroom for that subject. For example, if a student is exceptionally well at math, you can send them to another classroom where they’ll be challenged in math. This way, the student will be learning at a rate that is appropriate for her needs.

Collaborate with Parents

One of the best ways that you can ensure that you are meeting the needs of your gifted students is to work closely with parents. Most of the time, you’ll find that the parents are their child’s best advocate, and they want to see that their gifted child is being challenged. Meet with parents and show them how you determine what information their child will learn and at what pace. Parents of gifted children are always wiling to help out in any way possible to see that their child’s needs are always being met.

Meeting the needs of gifted students is not as hard as you may think. As long as you provide students with opportunities that accommodate their unique learning abilities and needs, then your gifted students will be able to soar.

Do you have any suggestions for aiding gifted students? What effective teaching strategies have worked well for your students? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  

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