Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Enrichment

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.
The rest of my units are organized in a variety of ways, but they each offer students choices in the assignments they complete and all of the tasks pull from the higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy.  I made direction sheets for each of the activities, so it should be easy for students to complete the tasks independently.
I plan to assess students' work through a rubric that I created.

You can grab a FREE copy of my Ancient Greece Enrichment Unit here!



5 comments:

Jess said...

I think you should decide based on your decision as a professional. You know what qualities a gifted or extremely motivated smart student has so observe them, make notes, look at their regular class work, and make a decision. I like the idea of grading off a rubric and how you give them choices. Do you have these enrichment packets at your TPT store?
Rambling About Reading

Ashleigh said...

Jess, I think you're right. I'm just always questioning my decisions. I think with some experience in doing this I'll feel more confident. By the way, I do have them in my store.

SandyK said...

I completely agree with Jess that your observations are critical. Your confidence will grow as you develop a system to track the "soft" data, which sometimes gives us more information than statistical reports. I would devote some time to that now, before school starts, and then revisit it once you start using it with students so that you can ensure that you have everything that you need to justify your decisions should you ever be required to (hopefully, that won't happen). Plus, it will help with the parent who will come ask why little Timmy got to do "this neat project" but her son Jack did not.

Rosie said...

I love the idea of these independent projects, especially the one on ancient Greece. I love Greek mythology and try to teach it every year. I would start with students identified, and/or other students who are high achievers. Be careful though that you don't pick students who are not well-organized or able to complete work independently even if they are gifted. I would love to see the final project for the ancient Greece. I am also certified in AIG (Academic and Intellectually Gifted).

Julianne said...

That is great! I did my senior thesis on how to address the needs of gifted students. My older brother was one of those hugely gifted students who barely made it through school. I always look to address those students in my classroom. I started an enrichment club in my class for this year. I love what I've seen of your units so far!

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