Looking for some ways to challenge your advanced mathematicians? If you’d like to keep them on the same topic as the rest of your class, consider increasing the complexity of your current unit. If they’re in need of more advanced curriculum to keep their creativity flowing, try to bring in novel ways of looking at math.
Like all HM comprehension skills, “Making Inferences” appears yearly beginning in kindergarten, so I know my 6th graders have practiced, and may well have mastered, the skill. To differentiate, I turned to the model of “Thinking Like a Disciplinarian.”
In 6th grade, Houghton Mifflin’s Theme Two begins with the comprehension strategy of “Fact and Opinion.” A quick pre-assessment shows that my class has a solid grasp on the difference between fact and opinion, so how can I up-level my instruction? I realized that my students had an assumption that facts are “good” and opinions are “bad.” So my differentiated lesson became centered on challenging this belief.
Why “is this good?” is driving me mad.
Teaching our students to prewrite, write, and rewrite is a difficult process. Much like getting students to show their work in math, process writing is a challenge for gifted students who work intuitively and are annoyed by artificial processes. What better motivation is there than the chance to point out someone else’s errors AND be rewarded for it?
No one can deny that our gifted students have great power. They may be intellectual powerhouses, grasping concepts years ahead of peers. They may be emotionally sensitive, becoming aware of issues such as mortality at an early age. They may be leaders of people, showing leadership qualities from the very beginning. How do we teach them to use this power?
Conflict is an essential tool for analyzing literature, understanding history, and improving as a writer. Each year, my 6th graders discuss the types of conflict commonly found in stories and analyze writing using the content imperatives.
Our gifted students can do grade-level work with little instruction, but how do we demand excellence?
We must be careful not to admonish our intuitive learners for being intuitive. As teachers of the gifted, we must set up learning environments that are best for our students. And if they’re doing it all in their heads (and getting it right!), then the environment needs to change.
By 6th grade, our reading program’s comprehension skills have become a bit basic for most of my gifted students. I’ve been working on increasing the depth and complexity of these skills. In this case, “Noting Details” has become “Explicit Vs. Implicit Details.”