I often see the prompts of Depth and Complexity used in classrooms, but too frequently they’re applied at a surface level.
The bracketed tournament isn’t just for college basketball. Set up a tournament to determine best president, state, element, or literary character and challenge your students to make interesting judgements.
It’s easy for science instruction to linger in the bowels of Bloom’s Taxonomy as we try to cram everything into the tiny time allotted. However, isolated facts don’t inspire our students. Let’s set up units that invoke creativity but demand knowledge.
Science should be more than memorizing facts. Let’s spice it up and push our students from the doldrums of remembering to the soaring heights of evaluation. While it’s true that this will take longer than just following a textbook, we’re not just teaching facts, we’re equipping students with the ability to make well-informed judgements.
Some little genius might suggest the environmental impact of creating bricks versus using the easily renewable sticks and straw. Perhaps there is a negative economic effect of using bricks for a house. Now students can evaluate the choice in a whole new light. And all we did was add a couple words to the question.
I’ve been continuing the idea to explore classic music during silent reaing, and incorporated Gustav Holsts’ “The Planets.” My students, who have an affinity for memorizing gods and goddesses, took a special interest in this idea. I figured, let’s see how far their interests will take us?
Here’s a “critical thinking” question from the Houghton Mifflin selection “Beneath The Royal Palms:” “Why did Alma’s family decide to make nativity figurines?” To me this is asking for low level thinking, certainly not what I would consider “critical.” Now, let’s transform this into a beautiful and rigorous question suitable for your gifted kids.
Moving from analysis to evaluation sure makes things more fun. Why? Check out these examples. Which would you rather answer?
Creating a differentiated learning environment for gifted students doesn’t mean throwing out everything you learned in your credential program. Learn how to add on to or adjust the base program, curriculum, or standards that any general education teacher uses.