DSCR: Students With Unique Gifts and Talents Resources (Week 12)

Greetings! Our group has put together a series of resources that we hope will aid you in your discovery of gifted and talented students and how to support them. We are centered around how our community (students, teachers, peers, parents…) can contribute to furthering gifted students’ abilities.

Common Resource 1:

https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources-parents

The NAGC is an American association centered around providing support and resources to gifted and talented students, as well as their parents and educators. This is achieved not only by education and research, but also through community building and advocacy. 

This resource focuses on four main aspects; the first centering around the NAGC’s goals and how they contribute to their community through their NAGC’s annual fund. Next the site offers a wide variety of resources for the community, including students, parents, and education professionals. Another important aspect of this resource is its section on how to get involved; including volunteering, donations and networks. Finally, this resource is of importance to professionals working in this domain because it offers opportunities for professional learning. 

Overall this website is useful for a wide range of individuals that are associated to gifted and talented students, it offers valid and practical information and prioritizes gifted learners.


Common Resource 2:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/019263659608058311?casa_token=AAdvVUz9U5MAAAAA%3Ax-UmaeKyPNATXKRdrowWCbvAXnOQO52fLZZqNqcG0-m7ntMys0x6v-B3E2FsvuOIHferg30jIIocWA&

In Sue Teele’s, Redesigning the Educational System to Enable All Students To Succeed, the author discusses methods that can be put in place that can accommodate students of a unique and gifted nature. Teele’s purports that education systems should create new learning environments in which students can excel and learn at their own individual pace. In these unique learning environments, “unfair comparison with the progress of others” would be avoided while students can embrace a strong sense of positive reinforcement. Students of all backgrounds can adapt to certain learning styles and take on assessments tailoring to their individual needs. 

Teele explains that teaching and learning should not discriminate on the basis of race, sex or socioeconmic statuses; that education should be made available to all. Thus, when schools appreciate diversity, education can move toward high academic excellence and reveal the academic potential of all students. One may find this article quite helpful in understanding the complexities of accommodating unique and gifted students alike in an educational setting. 

Although academic in nature, Teele’s article provides an interesting glimpse into what a diverse setting could look like and details how the inclusion of diverse students would proceed and be celebrated.


Individual Resource 3:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0LhdQIhmzk 

In this TED talk, Ava, a girl who was labelled gifted, speaks about why she thinks being given a title that defines her intelligence felt off. She continues her speech by pointing out all the things she noticed when they placed her into a gifted school. She knew that she was forced to socialize with students that were similar to her, and she felt like one small mistake would make her feel inferior to herself and others, simply because everyone was held to the “gifted standard”. She felt pressure to be perfect, which later on developed anxiety to keep up in Ava’s life. As she continues speaking, Ava describes that she was placed in a gifted school because of her circumstances. She had two parents who nurtured her, who provided a good life, and who had access to resources to test her skills and abilities. Ava makes a good point. She tells the audience that students from low income and different racial and ethnic backgrounds cannot exercise their gifts, simply because their chances and circumstances don’t allow it. Ava says, due to the situations of every individual, it is most likely that those who “start behind, stay behind”. Ava suggests the following question in her TED talk, “How can we evolve our education system to stimulate all students without separating them with the limited definition of intelligence”? She offers a few pointers relating to financial budgeting for after school programs, and grade placements for gifted students.


Individual Resource 4:

 http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/apr16/vol58/num04/Six-Strategies-for-Challenging-Gifted-Learners.aspx 

Although this website might not be peer reviewed, it gives a good idea to teachers on how they can help gifted students in the classroom. This resource provides six strategies to foster a gifted student in a regular classroom. The list offers the following: Offer the more difficult first; Pre-test for volunteers; Prepare to take it up; Speak to student interests; Enable gifted students to work together; Plan for tiered learning. We’ll focus on three of them. 

Offer the more difficult first gives the advice that a gifted student can complete 25 easy math questions and still not foster their skills, while providing five complicated ones gives the student the opportunity to work on and challenge themselves. 

Speak to students' interests allows the students to choose how and what they’ll work on. It allows them to see how far their gifted skills and abilities can go. 

Oftentimes we hear in our courses that we should pair the stronger student with the weaker one, but how about “Enabling gifted students to work together”? They can work together to challenge each other and themselves. It benefits them because they get to know others who are going through the same thing, and they can learn from each other.


Discussion Questions: 

 

  1. In today’s classroom, teachers are now focused on equal opportunities for all students. In an environment focused on inclusivity, how can we help high-achieving (gifted) students further improve themselves so that they can reach their full potential while keeping an inclusive classroom? 
  2.  What tools or resources can a teacher provide to a student who is clearly gifted but part of a lower socio-economic class or part of a cultural or ethnic minority? 
  3. Hearing Ava’s story about why “gifted” labeling does not work, do you think this applies to every child who is has a unique gift? Should all gifted students be placed into a gifted school? If not, why so? 
  4. Is there a strategy from resource four that you agree with? Or that you don’t? Is there one you might want to add or remove? 

 

 

Team members: Jake G Provencher, Katarina Markovic, Gabrielle Tremblay



Comments

Jake G-P avril 1, 2020, 18:53

Question 4: Is there a strategy from resource four that you agree with? Or that you don’t? Is there one you might want to add or remove?

Naomi Vadeboncoeur avril 2, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Naomi Vadeboncoeur

Hi! After looking at resource #4, I really like the “Plan for Tiered Learning” strategy. Perhaps this is because we have learned and even planned tiered lessons in another course. I feel like this is something that I have been trained to do and therefore feel more comfortable facilitating. Although it may take a little bit more planning time, I think it will be time well used because we are simultaneously planning for not only gifted students, but all the different levels of our students’ performance levels. I think it is a very inclusive method and can be done in such a way that does not single out our students’ different needs.

Katarina Markovic avril 4, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Naomi Vadeboncoeur

Thank you Naomi for answering our question! I think you make a great point that the strategy Plan for Tiered Learning might be the most reliable and accurate strategy we have when it comes to designing a lesson plan to try and accomodate everyone's needs. I think you make a fair point as well that this might be the only training we get in regard to diverse students. We do have field experience, but we are never really exposed and taught how to create lesson plans for special kinds of classes. I think you are right, we do have the resources in creating lesson plans, specifically for tiered learning, but now all that is left is to apply them. I think it'll take time to adjust and rearrange once we meet ur future students. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

Paola Maraventano avril 4, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

Hello! I find this resource useful because it provides various strategies that allow gifted students to feel included in the classroom. For instance, most of these strategies encourage educators to provide all students in the classroom with choice, including the gifted students. Additionally, the fifth strategy encourages all students in the classroom to work together. I believe that this strategy beneficial because it allows all students to exchange their knowledge and ask thought-provoking questions. This allows gifted students to realize that they also have to exert effort with challenging content at times. However, the only strategy I would use less often in my future classroom is the first one, which requires to offer the most difficult first because it might cause gifted students to feel out of place. I would only use this strategy if the parents and student agree to receiving less questions that are more difficult to complete. Overall, I believe that I would make use of this website in the future because it offers different strategies to provide an inclusive classroom setting, specifically for gifted students.

Jake G-P avril 1, 2020, 18:53

Question 3: Hearing Ava’s story about why “gifted” labeling does not work, do you think this applies to every child who is has a unique gift? Should all gifted students be placed into a gifted school? If not, why so?

Sarah Elizabeth Reed avril 2, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

Ava introduces us to an interesting perspective that many of us don't have; one of being labeled as gifted. Not only was she labeled as gifted but she was also placed in a gifted program. In this Ted Talk, Ava brings up very valid and important issues that she associates with the typical pull-out gifted program seen in schools. You ask whether these issues are universal with all students who are labeled as gifted and I would have the tendency to say that they are to some extent. I have met such "gifted" students who seemed happy to participate in these programs, but I am sure that they too have felt the isolation and alienation at some point or another. I therefore do think that on some level having a separate school for the gifted would solve some of these issues; such as the constant social and academic comparison they experience from their "typical" peers. But I also strongly believe, as it also seems to be the case for Ava, that this connection to the community (peers of all types) is extremely valuable and that those who are not as fortunate to be placed in gifted program should also be kept in consideration. It is for that reason that I tend to agree with Ava in her advocation for more diverse and flexible classrooms; ones that allow everyone to shine and push their limits. If everyone were allowed to pursuit their own interests, then those who are particularly gifted may not stand out as much and have a better ease fitting in. But of course, there is no perfect solution; every option comes with its own challenges. I am a teacher myself and I therefore know how challenging it is to support a large group of students who are all at different levels. I know that trying to achieve this "diverse and flexible" classroom may prove to be more challenging than most can take on (when considering everything else teachers have to deal with and manage). So perhaps the solution here would be to have better additional support in the classroom to allow for such environments to occur. Overall, not an easy issue to tackle. Look forward to hearing what others think of this.

Elizabeth Jefferson avril 2, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

I do think this applies to most students labeled as gifted. It creates this pressure to succeed and it can be suffocating at times. Some children are quite skilled at a young age compared to there peers and are immediately labeled as gifted. What happens to the student that could read at a 6th grade level in grade 2? Often in 6th grade, the other students catch up. Now they have to live up to the expectations of this label they have and they can't. I was in an enriched program in high school because I did quite well in primary school. I was not gifted, but I did better than most. Once I was in a class where everyone did well, I was one of the worst ones in class. I suddenly felt all this pressure to be top of the class and I felt like I was letting everyone down constantly. I wasn't good at school anymore. It didn't matter what my grades were, because I was the worst. 80's were like failing when everyone had 90's. I do agree with what Ava said about those who ''start behind, stay behind''. Students with a low socioeconomic status sometimes struggle daily just to get by. You cannot expect them to excel at school and get into gifted school when they have to think about fit hey will be able to eat that day. Not everyone was dealt with the good cards in life and it can be extremely difficult to change one's situation.

Tessie Isaac avril 3, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

Hi, The word (gifted) holds power. Indeed, it brings pressure to the ones labelled with it. However, a gift is what everybody has. Indeed, everyone is gifted in some manner. Ava even mentions the idea of different intelligences. To relieve such stress, maybe the best solution is to place children who can be affected by such placement in regular schools. But certainly, these schools will have to support not only gifted students but all students (because of their various intelligences) by knowing what areas they are gifted in; by providing opportunities to explore, and have rich content for them (ex: research-based units). The word gifted also gives the idea that these students will never have difficulties in anything throughout their lives. But sometimes, that is not the case. They may have a head start in life due to external factors in their environment, and then a stagnation period may happen where their classmates catch up to them. This makes me think that the opposite can happen as well. Meaning, I do not believe in the start behind, stay behind mindset. Of course, there are many factors into play such as not having enough finances and resources, however, we can aid in lowering the number of these factors and do our best as educators by helping our schools to budget for after-school programs and change the formatting of school work to permit exploration of interests for all.

Katarina Markovic avril 4, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Tessie Isaac

Hi Tessie, I think that's a great point you made, that some might have missed in the TED talk, you summarized Ava's idea of "even if I am intellectually gifted, it does not mean I have zero difficulties". I find it interesting as well that you don't necessarily agree with the statement of "start behind, stay behind". I think you're right, where even if circumstances don't allow it, with the right training, teachers still have the power to make a difference. Thank you for your contribution to our discussion! I encourage others to reply to your thread so we can keep the talk going.

Katarina Markovic avril 4, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Elizabeth Jefferson

Elizabeth, Thank you for taking time to answer our prompt. From what I understand to your response is that students success and their background has an affect as well on their motivation to achieve and excel. That if a gifted student is raised with a low socio-economic status, they might not have 1) the access to these types of schools, and 2) might not be motivated to advance themselves in their academics because of everything happening around them - and they might not even understand why they are unmotivated. Of course motivation is a whole different topic than giftedness, but I think it plays in. I think you made a fair point when telling us your experience. Even though you were never labelled as gifted, when you advanced to the higher level courses, you felt the pressure to succeed on the same level as your peers. It just gives us an idea of the type of students we'll have in our classes, and how we should work around that to make everyone's experience as fruitful and knowledgable as possible. Thank you for your contribution to our discussion! I encourage others to reply to your thread so we can keep the talk going.

Katarina Markovic avril 4, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Sarah Elizabeth Reed

"there is no perfect solution; every option comes with its own challenges. I am a teacher myself and I therefore know how challenging it is to support a large group of students who are all at different levels. I know that trying to achieve this "diverse and flexible" classroom may prove to be more challenging than most can take on (when considering everything else teachers have to deal with and manage). So perhaps the solution here would be to have better additional support in the classroom to allow for such environments to occur". Hi Sarah, I wanted to reply to this part of your response, because I think it offers us insight as pre-service educators in what to expect with our classes. Although it does sound like a dream to have to achieve the flexible and diverse classroom, I think you're right that it will prove to be a challenge. We need to account for the gifted, and the students with difficulties in our classroom. In order to foster everyone's maximum potential, I think having additional support is the best solution, like you said. What kind of support do we need? Is it an extra helping hand in the classroom, i.e. another educator? These are all questions that are not so simple to answer, but it is a food for thought. Thank you for your reply Sarah, I encourage other to join in on your commentary!

Mu Rong Yang avril 5, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

Hi Jake, I do not think that it is beneficial for both the gifted child and other children to be separated into a special classroom. This would cause a separation for both groups, and would only perpetuate the bad impressions from both parties. For gifted children, they could be labeled as "above" and beyond others, whereas to other children, they could be labeled as ordinary and mundane. It is exactly to breaking those stereotypes that there should not be separation of classrooms. Just as in the TED talk, what is important is to create a compassionate and understanding environment, so students can help each others instead of being apart of each others because of prejudice.

Enista Sharonne Chiniah avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Enista Sharonne Chiniah

Hello! I do not believe that all student who are gifted should be placed into a gifted school. Going into a specialized school also comes with a certain standard. Therefore, before placing a student who we should remind ourselves is still a child into this type of school we need observe and think about the student's resilience and personality. Even if a student has the qualifications to enter those school, does he or she have the resilience/personality necessary to graduate from this school or even to survive in that environment? By participating in these programs, some students may develop anxiety like Ava, and some may develop overconfidence. There is this one child, AA, which I am very close to since he was born. In grade 4, he was selected to be part of the "doucance" program in his school. (It is a program where the administration team basically chose around 15 students who will be taken out of regular class to attend another class which challenges more cognitively.) Obviously, these 15 students are considered the "smart", "cool", respected one by the other students. During that year, AA confidence boosted to a point that he thought he was the best. He did not listen when he was given advice. The next year, AA was chosen again by the administration team to be part of this program. However, his parents refused to put in this program due to his change. The next two year of elementary went well. Without giving much effort in his regular class, he was excelling. However, when he arrived in secondary 2, it hit him. This previous studying methods were not working anymore, he was not the best anymore and that affected him a lot. In short, gifted school may help students who are gifted academically by challenging them more. But, it is important to understand and know, how it affects the other areas of their life.

Jake G-P avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Mu Rong Yang

Hi Mu Rong, I couldn't agree more. It is important to avoid separating students despite their abilities or backgrounds. Doing so develops feelings of isolation or discrimination that have no room in an educational setting. Furthermore, the literature points describes that it is in fact, degrading to one's educational development were students separated on the basis of them being gifted or not. It is encouraged that teachers and fellow educators help move society in the direction that honours diversity in the classroom. Thanks for your post!

Jake G-P avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Enista Sharonne Chiniah

Hi Enista, Your prompt and answer is quite interesting and highly detailed. Your personal anecdotes equally represent a deep understanding of the subject at hand. I agree that the accommodating gifted students should not simply end at the educational stage. Education should touch and improve all facets of one's life, including gifted children. Educators should extend their environment of learning beyond the boundaries of their schools into the macro-systems of a student's life. I believe the best way we may approach this is to establish more direct contact with parents, guardians and extracurricular authorities in order to ensure that the child we all teach is challenged and care for in all facets. Great addition to the dialogue, thanks!

Jake G-P avril 1, 2020, 18:53

Question 2: What tools or resources can a teacher provide to a student who is clearly gifted but part of a lower socio-economic class or part of a cultural or ethnic minority?

Anna-Nicole Longo avril 18, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

This is a difficult question, maybe that's why no one has commented yet. We often think of providing online resources for students that are at-risk or gifted (either end of the spectrum. Providing more reading material or games/activities that can be done virtually. I think that families that are of lower socio-economic class or part of a minority, who can not afford such online access, should be shown free resources. Perhaps the school has a budget for providing at-home iPads for those who can't afford one, or maybe there are local libraries that the child could access by foot or car that provide free books. The teacher can even consider creating a donation system in the school that allows the entire school and other organization to donate resources that can then be shared to those that are in need. There are several organizations that donate to schools and can provide a lot of great knowledge and resources to those students. I believe organization is what it takes to make it happen.

Jake G-P avril 1, 2020, 18:53

Question 1: In today’s classroom, teachers are now focused on equal opportunities for all students. In an environment focused on inclusivity, how can we help high-achieving (gifted) students further improve themselves so that they can reach their full potential while keeping an inclusive classroom?

Jayde McCullough avril 1, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

Hi Jake, I think it’s really important for teachers to provide students with additional work once the main task is done. As all students progress through school work at different rates, it’s important to provide those gifted students with tasks to complete when they are done, as to not create disruptions for the other students. Having an area on the board titled: "What to do when you complete your work" is a great way to keep students busy. The teacher can list tasks for the students to complete such as a brain-bender, a sudoku, cross-word, and the students get to pick their favourite option. The tasks are still educational and ensure that all students are working, which helps create an inclusive environment for everyone.

Elizabeth Jefferson avril 2, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

This reminds of something my primary school teachers used to do. We had a points system in class, for rewards. There were many varied ways of getting points so that it was fair for everyone. One of them was to complete bonus assignments, either french booklets with grammar activities or math and logic problems. Once you finished the required work, students would work on their booklets, in the are they wished to work on. As an incentive to finish your main work, the extra work could be done in teams. This made everyone in class happy. If you finished early you were so excited to do the challenging work and prove you could do it and then get rewards. The other students did not really care because they were busy anyway and they had a lot of other ways of getting reward points. It was a great system that kept the class running smoothly. I don't ever remember being bored or not having work in that class.

Madison Roy avril 3, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Madison Roy

Hi! After reading this question, I immediately thought of something that I saw being implemented during my field experience. At the beginning of the school year, students were all presented with a “when I’m done book”. This book, which was filled with different grammar, spelling and various English language arts activities, was something that students could take out of their desks and work on if they had completed their work. There were a variety of versions of this book therefore students who liked being challenged and felt other work was “too easy” were given a more complex book to work on. In this case, students looked forward to taking out their book and working on their ELA activities, but I imagine that a book such as this one can easily be implemented to other school subjects.

Salina Berhane avril 3, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

I think the first step in helping gifted students is to listen to them. I think by listening to the student and getting to know them we can learn more about their personal interests and this will help us guide extracurricular activities that will motivate them. Such as a reading review and personal projects. A lot of gifted students also enjoy helping others, I wouldn't force any student to do so, but it could be encouraged.

Victoria Bradshaw avril 3, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

I think that just like trying to reach students with difficulties, the lessons should always be tiered. The base of the lesson or activity should have the same learning objective however we can create different learning goals for the students, and furthermore those who may be "gifted" an create their own goals. By getting to know our students on a more personal level, like Salina mentioned, this can help us guide them into furthering their own knowledge. We want our students to be curious and interested in the subjects they are learning, so by giving them some power to take learning into their own hands, they will be intrigued to follow the path they please. This must be done with some form of supervision and guidance, but by providing these students with ideas and personal projects, they can leap into a whole new world of learning.

lB
lisa Boisvert avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Salina Berhane

Hello, I completely agree with your statement about getting to know your students. I think it is a crucial part of providing a successful education program to students and it definitely helps us as educators to better orient our lessons. Furthermore, I think encouraging students to become classroom helpers is a great idea, personally I have used it a lot and students really seem to enjoy both helping their peers and getting help from their peers. In addition to these two ideas, I believe a great way to respond to the needs of gifted students while respecting the idea of inclusive classrooms is creating assessments that are flexible, meaning that although the assignment has specific criteria it allows students to take on the project any way they want. For example, science fair projects, personal book reports, different research projects etc. This would allow gifted students to approach topics that fully interest them without leaving anyone behind. Lastly, the idea of a "when I am done book" is also a great tool to use to keep everyone busy at all times but also to give students the opportunity to work on different levelled tasks. Overall, as educators, it is important to remain open-minded and flexible in our teaching strategies in order to respond adequately to the needs of all students!

Gabrielle Tremblay avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Elizabeth Jefferson

Hey Elizabeth! I love your points system idea, keeping students stimulated and challenged is always important. What I like the idea you have proposed is that students seem to have fun with it as well which is a great bonus! Keeping gifted and talented students motivated in class is very important, this points system is an incentive that will keep students busy and learning and provides them with a reward for their work.

Gabrielle Tremblay avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jayde McCullough

Hey Jayde, I think you extra tasks board is a great idea! It really acts to maintain the dynamic and feel of an inclusive classroom. Your strategy of giving gifted students extra tasks that enhance their learning is a great way of limiting disruption in your class. They can do so quietly on their own whenever they finish their work before others. Thanks for taking the time to respond to our post!

Gabrielle Tremblay avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Salina Berhane

Hey Salina! I love how you personalized this FOR gifted students. It's important to remember that these children are individuals who have interests that go beyond their gifts and talents. Taking time to figure out what makes your students unique and giving them work that reflect their own personal interests will motivate them greatly. Personalizing work for your students needs is a great way to keep them stimulated and interested in learning.

Gabrielle Tremblay avril 6, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Madison Roy

Hey Madison! Thanks for your feedback! I think your extra work booklet is a great idea, for gifted students it is a great way to keep them busy and challenge them at the same time.

Darnelle Noel teacher avril 11, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

When I was doing my second internship, my CT offered a gifted student a bigger course load. She also offered him access to online resources that were levels above what was worked on in class. When he finished class work, he was often allowed to help teach others( to improve his phrasing and explanation) or continue a process online. I felt like it gave the student a chance to improve himself but also challenge themselves when explaining a theory/lesson to a classmate.

Anna-Nicole Longo avril 18, 2020, 18:53
Replying to Jake G-P

I think that if the classroom environment is set in such a way to promote individual and collaborative growth, the students would be understanding if others in the classroom may be more advanced in specific areas of learning. The classroom attitude should be that the group is learning and working together to create wonderful projects and come up with great ideas, while simultaneously, each individual is unique and focusing on their specific interests and areas of growth. This can eliminate the need for having students feel disconnected to gifted/talented students. Thus, creating an inclusive environment.

Sandrine Armand avril 11, 2020, 04:09

Question 1: Hello team, I believe that the focus should not be on equal opportunities, but on equity, whether it is for struggling learners, students on the learning curve, or gifted students. To help gifted students further improve themselves, I would put in place a system where these students would be able to complete their work and have additional tasks. By having an adepted and challeging "program" in place, gifted or talented students would be able to reach their full potential.

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