What makes a Student Gifted or Talented?
Students are considered "gifted" when they have an IQ score of 130+
U.S. Department of Education's Definition:
The term "gifted and talented", when used with respect to children, or youth, means children, students or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic areas and who needs services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capacities.
Teaching Gifted Students
Working with gifted students might require classroom or curriculum modifications.
How to Spot a Gifted Student
A gifted student might asks several questions and is very curious. They could possess a large amount of information and have a good memory. The student might also learn information quickly and display academic unusual achievement. In addition, they might be self motivated. Also, they could use unusual approaches to problem solving.
However, a gifted student might also get off task and off topic easily. They might become bored and disruptive during class. In addition, a gifted student might become resistant to repetitive activities/memorization. Also, a gifted student might miss deadlines and become overwhelmed by taking on too much. A gifted student might also challenge authority and be seen as a "know it all" by their peers.
"Gifted" comes in all shapes and sizes
No two students are the same and no two gifted learners are the same. All students learn in different ways. Some students need music to help them focus, others might need complete silence. Some might work better with the use of technology, while others might work better with pencil and paper. One might have organization down to a science while another student might be horrifyingly disorganized. It is up to you to take the time to get to know the students individually and what makes them comfortable.
How to Meet the Needs of Gifted Students in a Regular Classroom:
If a gifted student has a tendency to finish their work before other students in the classroom, consider having them work on an independent project related to the topic being discussed. This allows them to continue thinking and learning new information, instead of just waiting around for the other students to catch up.
Consider talking to the gifted student about entering an academic competitions. This would encourage the students will to continue learning as much new information as they possibly can. It would also allow them to interact with students who are similar to themselves.
Figure out which area of study that the gifted student is interested in, consider finding a mentor for the student within that area of study.
Do NOT leave your Gifted Student Behind!
If you have a gifted student in your classroom, remember that the information the other kids might just be learning for the first time, the gifted learner might already know. Also, gifted students might finish their assignments way before their other classmates do. Make sure that the gifted student is prepared with other work, such as an individual project or even just reading a book to keep them from becoming a distraction to their peers. If the student can test out of the class into the next grade level, make sure the arrangements are made to do so! Do NOT hold a gifted child back! Do NOT waste their talent! Do whatever it takes to get them where they are learning new information! A gifted student needs to be challenged! It is up to YOU to give adequate information to your gifted learner! Do not let them fall behind!
60% of teachers indicate that their lessons are centered around the needs of the struggling student(s).
Did You Know?
72% of our states are NOT required to train teachers on the needs of gifted and talented students.
Only 41% of classroom teachers HAVE been trained to work specifically with intellectually advanced students.
Gifted students have already mastered 40-60% of their grade level content by the FIRST day of school.
Three Teaching Methods:
One teaching method that I would use would be incorporating different mentors for different areas of interest that the gifted learner has. This would allow the student to expand on a topic that they are interested in, thus making them eager to learn.
The second teaching method that I would use would be differentiated assignment and homework. Because a gifted student learns at a faster pace, I would not want to hold that student back because the other class members need a little more time with a lesson. If the gifted student shows proof that they understand, I would encourage them to move on. It might be more work for me, but I would rather the student learn information they do not know already than continually rehashing what they do know.
The third teaching method that I would use would be volunteer work. Gifted students tend to get bored easily. In addition, they also feel like the outcast because their peers might consider them a "know it all." I believe that volunteer work would allow the student to interact with other people, which they might not feel comfortable doing inside of school. Also, I believe that hands-on work would keep the student from becoming bored.