Teaching gifted students can be both exciting and frustrating. Our gifted children have the ability to grasp, organize and apply abstract concepts quickly and more efficiently than other students which often leave teachers a little bit perplex about what to do with them. In a previous article I wrote about some blunders to avoid when teaching these students, here are some strategies you might find useful.
The most obvious strategy is to engage your gifted students into an independent project where they will be able to explore new things and use their creativity. Instead of giving extra worksheets to your gifted students have them to use their extra time into something that genuinely interest them and that can or cannot be related to the topic studied in class.
In terms of projects what we call “vertical enrichment activities” are projects or assignments related to the topic studied in the classroom but that go beyond the mere curriculum. These types of activities are aimed at challenging students in a range of subjects while enhancing their thinking skills.
High achieving students and gifted ones don’t often have the opportunity to compare themselves to others so having them involved in some kind of academic competition can be fruitful. It could be a reading challenge, a Math challenge, a Technology challenge, or a general knowledge quiz. Whatever the project these events can be highly motivating for gifted students.
As I wrote in a previous article, using gifted students as a tutors for less able ones is not such a good idea. We tend to believe that pairing gifted students with low attainders can be profitable for both but it’s rarely the case. Instead talk to your colleagues, contact organizations that deal with gifted students, find mentors for your gifted students, meet their parents and work hand in hand with them. Gifted students need tutors as well. It’s not because they are gifted that they are here to be teachers’ helpers.
Using technology is also great to help our gifted students so that they can reach their true potential. Through the use of technology, students can explore their abilities and find ways to work more independently. It is worth mentioning as well that they can build projects with other gifted students to go beyond what they already know.
Implementing leveling assignments can also be good. When using these you can use the same type of material and assess all your students on the same topics but the questions that you will use and the projects you will ask your gifted students to create will differ slightly to ensure that they are pushed enough.
Finally I would highly recommend some readings from Piaget and the Bloom’s taxonomy so that you familiarize yourself with some more techniques and ideas to pitch your lessons to the right level for these students.