Welcome to the Gifted Program
Our program for gifted students currently follows a pull out model, as is common at the elementary level. Students’ enrichment schedules are developed in collaboration with classroom teachers. Missed classroom work is made up according to each teacher’s discretion.
The overall goals of the program are to encourage higher level thinking skills and creative thinking, and to provide some measure of enrichment and extension through small group and individualized instruction. The small group structure is a key element of the program, as it promotes both instructional flexibility and the development of cooperative skills among students.
Math activities have included word problems, logic grid problems, logic “mind benders,” graphing, Math games such as “24” and “Set,” and participation in the Continental Math League at various grade levels. Problem solving can also consist of a general question, such as “How many sneakers can fit in the gifted classroom?” or of “lateral brain teasers,” visual puzzles, etc. The goal is to challenge students by enhancing and extending their mathematical skills.
Language Arts can encompass a wide variety of activities involving reading, speaking and writing. There is an emphasis on creative writing, which includes stories, poems, essays and book reports. Lessons can also include analogies, vocabulary development, and group discussion of both Junior Great Books stories, and students’ individualized reading. Students have also worked on group projects such as “newspapers” and “magazines,” and yearbooks for their homeroom classes. Students have also conducted debates, written and acted in plays and skits, done readers’ theater, and given oral presentations in their own and other classrooms. The goal is to further develop student communication skills.
Science & Social Studies
Science and Social Studies extension activities are tied to both the curriculum and individual student interests. Areas that have been emphasized include U.S. and world geography and history, current events, space and ecology. Students typically choose a topic, do research, write reports, and give oral presentations on their projects. Fourth grade students discuss current events, and participate in the quarterly National Current Events Meet.
Integration of the gifted program with the regular curriculum has consisted of collaboration with classroom teachers on the individual needs of their gifted and/or high achieving students, and extension of areas covered in the curriculum. For example, to complement third grade “animal reports,” gifted students have researched endangered or extinct species, and to extend the fourth grade study of the U.S. Southwest, students each researched particular Southwestern states. In addition, students have worked on writing projects that they shared with their homeroom classes.
Students also develop their presentation skills by presenting their enrichment projects in other classrooms, often those with younger students. Gifted groups have also worked on specific enrichment projects as part of their classroom requirements, such as writing a play to dramatize the fourth grade’s “Farmer Boy,” or portraying the lives of famous people when their class worked on a unit on biographies.
Integration with the regular curriculum has also consisted, at times, of providing challenging materials to classroom teachers, or of conducting in-class and/or pullout Math enrichment for combined gifted/high achieving groups. Further ongoing integration of the gifted program with the regular curriculum is expected. For example, this year most students will work on quarterly Science or Social Studies extension projects, based on the unit being studied in their classroom.
Gifted students also use computers extensively and enthusiastically. Students use computers for writing and graphics, develop Power Point presentations, and hone their research skills through supervised use of the Internet.