"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."
DOLPHINS IN A TREE
The Children Neglected By
No Child Left Behind
Beached by short-sighted policies, gifted and talented students struggle as they sit in our classrooms and wait. They wait for rigorous curriculum. They wait to be challenged. They wait for engaging, relevant instruction that nurtures their potential. And, as they wait, these students lose interest in their passions, become frustrated and unmotivated from the lack of challenge. As a result, they become our lost talent.
-Kristen Stephens and Jan Riggsbee
Developing Programs for the Gifted
A Six Step Approach
1. Define the Gifted Student
These students possess talents and abilities that differ from those of their peers to such a degree that differentiated educational programs should be provided to nurture their growth and development.
What are the characteristics of students who are gifted?
When asked this question, most teachers will cite three qualities. Firstly, gifted youngsters tend to get their work done quickly and may seek further assignments. Secondly, they ask questions that differ from their classmates in depth of understanding. Finally, they have interests in areas that are unusual or more akin to the interests of older students.
• determine the characteristics of the gifted.
• develop teaching methods and models.
• explore social-emotional needs of the gifted.
• evaluate programs.
• encourage parental involvement.
3. Devise Eligibility Components
Eligibility for program services should be based on and include:
• Acquisition of extensive information on the abilities of the student
• Early identification
• Involvement of qualified professionals in the identification process
When identified and nurtured at an early age, gifted students are exposed to the attitudes and motivation necessary for full development of their capabilities. Observation of student behavior, portfolio assessment and review of individual assessment results are a few of the strategies found effective in the early identification of gifted students.
4. Use Multiple Criteria to Develop a Student Profile
1. Assessment of appropriate student products and performance.
2. Record of observation concerning classroom behavior.
3. Appropriate rating scales, checklists, or questionnaires.
4. Individual interview.
5. Individual or group aptitude tests.
6. Individual or group achievement tests.
7. Record of previous accomplishments (such as awards, honors, and
5. The Case for In-Service Programs
The goal for program planners is to create a learning environment in which these students can fully develop their abilities and interests without losing their sense of membership as part of the class. This is a tall order for teachers and students, because the usual remedy is to segregate these students into small homogeneous groups or to assign individual projects. While both of these strategies have their place, neither is sufficient to accomplish the goal. Therefore, we must consider the overall dynamics of the classroom, and plan for an environment in which all the students can fully develop their abilities and interests within the confines of one organizational unit.
6. Create a Pool of Candidates
To develop a pool of candidates to be considered for services provided by the gifted program, local personnel should establish a specified time each year to scan test scores, student grades, and student work samples.
In addition to the screening of information available in school records, personnel should also seek referrals of gifted students from teachers, parents, students, and community members.
Additional Sources: Guidelines for the Gifted from the State of Virginia
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