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Have students solve logic problems to flex their critical-thinking and problem-solving muscles.
Children can explore a wide variety of topics using BrainPOP’s collection of animated movies, quizzes, games, and readings. Invite your talented writers and artists to submit their work to this magazine written for kids by kids.
Let students dig deeper into concepts with the help of Khan Academy’s online, and completely free, tutorials. Designed for middle school girls and older, Made With Code introduces students to the world of coding and programming. As Katy Kennedy was planning a unit on astronomy with her fourth graders at Harper Elementary School in suburban Chicago, she knew one of her students almost could have taught the lesson himself. People assume these kids will get by, says Susan Winebrenner, a former teacher and author of Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom. Eric Carbaugh, who taught a sixth-grade gifted class and was a differentiation and curriculum coach before becoming a professor of education at James Madison University in Virginia, suggests talking about differences. Winebrenner suggests teachers start by presenting the most difficult concept first to allow advanced learners the chance to move on to deeper content. For instance, if students have shown they understand area and perimeter in math, look for a real-life problem in the school, such as a playground renovation. Kids can also help develop a project’s scoring rubric, a process that can lead them to understand the effort required, Winebrenner says. To engage gifted middle school students, educator Jeffrey Shoemaker says teachers need to find something meaningful with a “wow” factor.
Although a teacher may have adjusted the curriculum for a gifted child, that’s not always visible to parents, says Dina Brulles, director of gifted education at Paradise Valley Unified School District in Phoenix. When Payne meets with parents, she tells them they are like bookends and the student is the book.
Adds Heacox: “All kids, including gifted kids, need daily challenge, and if they don’t get that challenge, they will sit back and not engage. GCSEPod is a unique service, designed to tap into the learning potential of smart phones and handheld devices through a combination of clever technology and high quality, award winning content, to ensure equality of access, high usage and the best possible impact on GCSE results.

He knew everything already,” recalls Kennedy, who works in Wilmette Public Schools, which disbanded its gifted program 20 years ago. He investigated black holes and created a three-minute video—a good option, since he falls on the autism spectrum and struggled with talking in front of a group. Tune in to their individual needs, do frequent assessments, and differentiate instruction, experts say. He likes a shoe-swapping exercise to illustrate the range of students’ physical differences before discussing learning differences. Kennedy does frequent “short and sweet” pre-assessments by giving kids a few problems or an entrance card. If a student understands the most challenging part of a lesson, there’s no need for them to learn the easier concepts that lead up to it. Allow students to apply their knowledge and create a plan for the new playground, Venosdale suggests.
Using information gathered from a student’s pretest, the curriculum can be compacted for advanced learners. A gifted learner’s brain processes information rapidly, and he or she often thinks in more sophisticated, abstract ways. Authentic, hands-on projects are the draw for his students, who opt in to his pullout program at Ohio’s Lima West Middle School for one five-hour block each week.
For instance, gifted children may seem focused in class but come home and tell parents they are bored, French says. Keep up with classroom trends, get expert teaching tips, and find dozens of resources in every issue.
Each mini-podcast provides students with relevant, easy-to-digest information in a tiny file format, ensuring students can add learning content onto their mobile devices. And without a challenge, some gifted students don’t learn how to work through difficult material until college, when they can hit a wall. This means not just giving them “more of the same,” but designing work that has more rigor and depth, says Diane Heacox, an education professor at St. Some students may be gifted in math and others may excel in the creative arts, Carbaugh says.

Anybody can try.’” Once those who have mastered the content are identified, the trick is to have something ready for them to do that will present them with a true challenge, she says. Winebrenner suggests meeting with these students to discuss a “learning contract” that will allow them to work through a chapter more independently and that will offer related extension activities. For this reason, Venosdale has found gifted students thrive with assignments that let them explore topics of interest in new ways. In a general classroom, Shoemaker says teachers can let gifted students research a new angle of a class topic.
Angie French, a K–6 gifted and talented specialist at Timber Creek Elementary in Magnolia, Texas, says parents need to be informed about the resources the district and teachers have and be encouraged to work with their child’s teachers on enrichment projects. Our kids are using computers and tablets to socialize, stream video, and create movies and songs. While it takes time up front, the result is more targeted and meaningful instruction, she says. For instance, last spring, when eighth graders were learning about the Civil War, some gifted students who already had a basic knowledge of the battles researched the ways in which soldiers died.
They explored injuries and medical treatment, and they learned about everything from amputation to infections. To meet the needs of various learners, use flexible groupings, says Krissy Venosdale, an innovation coordinator at the Kinkaid School in Houston. But first, create a sense of community through daily class meetings or quick team-building games. In order to accomplish this goal, each year students in Grades 1, 3, and 5 will receive at least 3 hours of instruction on how to become a responsible digital citizen.

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