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Gifted Learners in a Regular Classroom

2nd_grade_08_004 Welcome back from the holidays!  I hope everyone enjoyed some time off.  I know I did.  Little Johnny has been sitting in your class for a while now.  You have noticed he is a bright student.  He always gets his work done.  However, during your teaching he tends to question your knowledge on certain subjects.  He asks questions the other children aren't interested in or just don't understand.  Now he is becoming a behavior issue.  What are you going to do with this child for the remainder of the school year?  We've all had a Johnny in our classroom.  As we begin again in January, I thought I would toss out some strategies for the gifted learner in the regular education classroom.   I would also love to hear what you are doing for your gifted learners in your classroom!

With all that teachers have on them, how do you plan 23 different individualized lessons?  Differentiating curriculum is a great concept but who has time for all the planning?  I know it can be overwhelming, so here's a few ideas that my colleagues and I use.  To begin with, the internet is one of your best resources.  Take a subject that you will be teaching, for example the solar system.  Go to Webquest.  Search in their database for a webquest on the solar system.  It is laid out for the learner to complete the research to then complete a project.  The rubric is right there for you with everything the student will need.  Let that student work on their project while you are teaching that subject.  At the end of the project, let the student present their project to the class.  You have just differentiated the learning for that gifted student.  Try out Scholastic as well, they have webquests and other projects to support what you are teaching.  I like to Google  everything, so google your subject and if you like webquests, add that to your search.  I have found endless ideas already created to use in the regular classroom.  Gifted children need the stimulation in the classroom.  They can become the behavior issues in the classroom when they are bored.  I would love to hear what you are doing in your classroom for your gifted students!


Alyssa Zelkowitz

Hi, Jill,

I DEFINITELY have the issue in both my general and my inclusion class where my gifted students are often the most challenging to teach! I find that it's really hard for me to stay one step ahead of my most able learners.

I use peer mentoring and 'class experts' a lot to engage my gifted students... When I assign these roles, I take some time to explain the difference between a peer mentor and a teacher, and I try to point out that a good peer mentor should be more like a cheerleader, a guide to help their friend figure something out in a different way, while a teacher will give more information or a specific strategy to do this.

I find that often, while my gifted students may be intellectually capable of grasping the material I am covering in class, they also tend to be my students who struggle to work in a group or who have impulse control problems during social time. Putting them in the position of a peer mentor allows them to shine and also gives them an opportunity to develop valuable compromising skills and cooperative learning techniques WITHOUT making them little teacher's assistants.

While I have to be careful about taking frustration tolerances and general temperament into account, I've found that all of my learners benefit from this process. I have pretty limited computer time, but you've motivated me to find some more webquests to use with my gifted kids in the time I have! If you have access to it, Instructor Magazine also always has some webquests that are great to use in classrooms or computer labs.

Thanks for shouting out the gifted kids in regular classrooms... it's a group that definitely needs visibility!


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Strategies for Gifted Learners are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.