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Challenging Gifted Students in Mainstream Classrooms

written by: Barbara • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 7/12/2012

Diagnostic testing has shown that gifted students have exceptional academic skills in processing and applying knowledge in mainstream classrooms. For the gifted student who is being marginalized in the classroom, teachers must find challenging instructional methods to make learning rigorous and fun.

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    Tips to Challenge Gifted Students

    The facts are definitive and conclusive that gifted students need a diversified instructional curriculum that actively engages them in the mainstream classroom. Gifted students need challenge both in academic curriculum and teacher instruction. There are tips that teachers can use in both curriculum and instruction to make learning equitable and fun for their most precocious students.

    Tips for Teaching Gifted Students

    • Have students work with you in selecting a diversity of learning materials that challenge and motivate their interest and academic abilities.
    • Provide curriculum that challenges gifted students to understand learning in real-life applications. Once they've shown evidence of mastery, keep the learning proactive and productive.
    • Use technology, field trips, interviews, science fairs and student portfolios to provide additional learning resources between the classroom curriculum and the global classroom.
    • Use high leverage teaching to promote high leverage learning for gifted students.
    • Make sure that curriculum provides relevancy, rigor and real-life application for students eager to process the world around them and explore learning applications of that world in their own lives.
    • Have students keep an organized checklist of accomplished assignments during the week.
    • Students should be provided with exciting curriculum that promotes multiple learning strategies and applications to learning outcomes.
    • Allow gifted students processing time in order to reflect on their learning experiences.
    • Present learning activities outside the box for gifted students who are self-motivated to challenge and evaluate their own leanings. Make sure your grade book maintains their individual assessments and current scores.
    • Keep a library of interesting reading materials in the classroom.
    • Create individual and group projects that promote both a social engagement and academic challenge for gifted students and their peers.
    • Celebrate the academic and behavioral accomplishments of gifted students in mainstream classrooms.

    The tips could go on and on, not just for gifted students, but for all students needing challenge and rigor in the learning process. The educational journey for gifted students may start in the classroom and end in the application of learning skills in every aspect of their life. Challenging gifted students shouldn't be extra work for the teacher or the other students. Gifted students can be a true gift to any classroom. Provide some instructional tips and you will create eager learners ready to share their exceptional skills and make learning fun for all students.