Last year I received my gifted endorsement, and I have to say that it was one of the best professional development opportunities that I have experienced. I am not the gifted teacher at my school, but I’m always looking for ways to grow professionally. Some of the key thoughts that I left with were:
- Every student has the right to learn something new each day
- Gifted students are typically the students who make the least gains during the year
- Many of our gifted students are not straight A students, because they are non-compliant, because they don’t see the purpose or value in their classwork
- Gifted students usually make the most gains when they work with students of a similar ability
- Offering independent studies and choices are great ways to differentiate
The program inspired me to begin developing enrichment units for my students. I decided to create my units for social studies, because I feel like reading and writing are the easiest subjects to differentiate, and I was already differentiating tasks in math workshop. I created geography, government, and Ancient Greece units that I’m so excited to try out this year.
In each unit I have an independent study contract where students must agree to certain working conditions and a daily work log to help keep students on task.
One of my concerns about independent studies was that while students may learn a lot, what if they don’t learn the curriculum that I’m required to teach. One great idea I got from the class was to include a study guide and check point assessments to ensure students are learning the appropriate content, so in each unit I added a study guide that listed the main concepts students are required to know by the end of the unit. I broke the concepts up into 2 groups, and once a week a plan on giving a small mini assessment to make sure students are on track.
You can grab a FREE copy of my Ancient Greece Enrichment Unit here!