Photo by Tambako
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.
Add Depth And Complexity Icons
You can begin by adding an element of Sandra Kaplan’s depth and complexity:
- List three details that explain why Alma’s family created nativity figurines.
- Identify the change over time that made it possible for Alma’s family to create nativity figurines?
- Explain two opposing two points of view towards the nativity figurines.
Connect To A Larger Idea
Try connecting this question with a larger theme or quote:
- Explain how the nativity figurines support the big idea “conflict can lead to positive outcomes.”
- Explain how the Alma’s family and their nativity figurines demonstrate a theme of perseverance.
- Explain how the nativity figurines support the quote that “the best things in life are free.”
Connect To Other Stories
Increase the rigor by connecting the question with another story:
- Note three parallels between Alma’s family and the family of Jackie Joyner Kersee.
Take It To The Top!
Finally, move your thinking skill up Bloom’s Taxonomy by crafting an evaluative question:
- Do you agree with the family’s decision to devote time making nativity figurines?
- Which action represented a bigger sacrifice: making the nativity figurines or moving homes to support mom’s business?
Don’t Start Everything From Scratch
This is a simple example of taking grade-level curriculum and differentiating it to fit the needs of gifted learners. When creating lessons or assessments, be sure to mine your base program for all its worth. There are wonderful seeds there that, with your care, will blossom into an appropriate challenge for your students.