Setting Up an Expert Day
One of the best strategies for teaching gifted and talented students is creating an Expert Day for your students.
How you set up an Expert Day will depend on the organization of your gifted classroom. Many gifted programs encourage children to work at their own pace on their own projects with the teacher as a facilitator. When gifted students are pursuing their own areas of interest, they will often generate several questions that could easily be answered by an expert. This is when you set up an Expert Day for that student (or group of students) in your gifted classroom. Teaching gifted students requires creativity and knowledge, and you will use these skills to enrich your students' interests with Expert Days.
For example, if you have a group of gifted students interested in politics and campaigning for a government office, then you may invite the mayor or local councilman to speak in your gifted classroom. Strategies for teaching gifted and talented students does not always have to rely solely on you as the teacher. If you feel this speaker could provide useful information for all your students, then invite him to speak to the whole gifted classroom. You should still give your student, who is pursuing the project in politics, some time to discuss questions one-on-one with the expert. Check over your student's questions before the expert comes to check that your gifted student is taking advantage of the knowledge the expert has to offer.
Expert Day Tips
Being organized for the Expert Day is another great way to use these strategies for teaching gifted and talented students.
- Practice the interview: Gifted students need practice with their communication skills just like any student does. In your gifted classroom, pair students and ask them to role play the interview with the expert. Even though the student pretending to be the expert doesn't know all the answers, he/she can still make up answers or help the interviewer create good questions.
- Look to your community and parents: Who are the experts in your community that you could ask to help your gifted students pursue their interests? Do you have any parents who would be willing to come in and serve as an expert (given they meet the qualifications)?
- Use email: If students in your gifted program are interested in NASA, then it may be difficult to set up an in-person Expert Day. You can contact someone from NASA over email and ask if an expert would be willing to be interviewed via Internet or over the phone.
- More than one Expert Day: When you are teaching gifted students, your students will have all different interests, just like in a regular classroom. You will probably need to have more than one Expert Day. Spread them out over a month or two, but make sure every student in your gifted classroom gets the chance to communicate with an expert.