Giftedness: Find the Joy and Uniqueness in Every Child
This past fall, I started the gifted endorsement program through the Schultz Center. My goal in taking these courses is to learn how to better meet the needs of the children in my classroom. It is estimated that students who are gifted and highly talented encompass 5 to 15% of the school age population. The following are a few ways that classroom teachers can incorporate gifted activities into a regular classroom.
- Differentiate the curriculum in order to address different needs within the classroom. For example, my class was recently writing in their Pre-K Journals. Some children were able to draw a picture. Others sounded out a letter or two to go along with their picture. Others wanted to write words to go along with their pictures. Everyone was working on a different level, yet their needs were being met.
- Allow students to pursue independent projects based on their own interests. This is an option for children who finish their work early. If a student has an interest in dinosaurs, encourage them to spend their free time creating a dinosaur project. This will not only keep them busy, it will keep them busy learning more about a subject they really enjoy.
- Be flexible with the curriculum. Take advantage of real-life experiences. Recently, half of my class was in New York City at the same time. The rest of my class took that opportunity to learn a little more about New York. We found it on the map, we talked about what kind of weather was happening (snow!), and we discussed what fun adventures our friends were having!
- Last, but not least, find the joy and uniqueness in each child. Children may exhibit their gifts in non-typical ways. Keep in mind that every child will have different needs.
Implementing these strategies will benefit the whole class, not just the gifted ones. I am proud to work alongside the wonderful teachers at Beaches Episcopal School who use these strategies, in addition to many others, to create the best learning experiences for our students!
Melody Harding, Beaches Episcopal School PreK4 Teacher