These ideas are based on the work of Dr. Sandra Kaplan and are adapted from The Flip Book by Sandra N. Kaplan, Bette Gould & Victoria Siegel and The Flip Book, Too by Sandra Kaplan & Bette Gould. Both are great, practical sources for gifted lesson ideas.
The Next Level of Rigor
Ask More Interesting Questions
Consider these two tasks:
- Identify three patterns in jazz music
- Identify the origins of three patterns in jazz music.
Simply by combining two thinking tools, you’re encouraging far more interesting and complex thinking about the content area. Here are three questions created with multiple thinking tools:
- What factors converged to change the trend of newspaper readership?
- What ethical decisions contributed to the Declaration of Independence?
- How is West Side Story‘s big idea a parallel to Romeo and Juliet?
Aside from creating tasks to complete or questions to answer, you can ask students to support or refute generalizations based on multiple thinking tools:
- Ethical problems lead to the development of rules.
- Details converge to create unexpected results.
- Multiple perspectives create ethical problems.
Students can search for evidence across several disciplines to determine the validity of these generalizations or ask your students to focus on simply math or European history. Ask students to consider their own lives when examining these ideas.
Student-Generated Statements Are Powerful
Don’t forget to challenge your students to create their own statements using multiple thinking tools. When asking for the moral or theme of a story, require students to express it using a combination of depth, complexity, and content imperatives. Gifted students are often close to an interesting truth, but lack the vocabulary to express it. These tools provide a scaffolded path to complex thinking.
Imagine if you asked students “what is a big idea of the Three Little Pigs?”
You’d probably get something like “hard work pays off in the end” or even “don’t be lazy.” These are true, but your gifted learners are capable of more critical and interesting thinking. Make it a requirement to answer the question with at least two thinking tools:
- Points of view can change over time: what appears foolish at one time may seem wise later.
- Ethical choices have lasting effects (contributions).
Now these are interesting ideas. They will probably also require time, thought, and practice. Furthermore, students must justify their thinking, probably writing a paragraph to explain themselves.
Note: limit the maximum number of tools per sentence! Otherwise, students will pack them in, resulting in a sentence bursting with big words but lacking meaning.