Strategies

Vermont classrooms are exciting places for children's learning and growing.   These classrooms have made great strides in meeting the needs of "normal" children and handicapped children.   However, in every room there are approximately 15% of children, three or four gifted youngsters, who need special accommodations in order to be receiving an appropriate education.  Here are some strategies that can be considered for use in a heterogeneous classroom (see references for additional, detailed information.):

Acceleration - moving at an advanced rate or to an advanced grade in one or more content areas.

Bibliotherapy - using literature to accommodate affective (emotional) needs.

Cluster grouping - four to six students of similar ability in an area are grouped together in one class; they receive differentiated instruction.

Complex instruction - a type of cooperative group learning that is beneficial for gifted children because the assigned tasks are complicated enough to require the contributions of all group members.

Curriculum compacting - condensing content based on assessment of prior knowledge; a method to buy time for independent study or other enrichment activities.

Creative dramatics - improvisational drama and theater games promoting creative expression and concept development.

Creativity training models - strategies for enhancing creative development (i.e., Talents Unlimited, Williams Creative Thinking)

Differentiation - a way of looking at classroom management, in which the teacher proactively plans and carries out varied approaches to content, activities, and products in anticipation of and response to student differences in readiness levels, interests, and learning needs.  It is good for all children, including gifted children.

Distance learning - advanced courses taken via telecommunication devices.

Divergent (or varied) questioning - open-ended questioning that elicits responses at the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.

Enrichment - additions to the curriculum which enhance learning for all children by increasing the depth and/or breadth of learning (e.g., guest speakers, artist-in-residence programs, class trips)

Experiential learning - hands-on learning.

Flexible grouping - students working in small groups which are sometimes formed by readiness levels, sometimes by interests, sometimes by preferred learning modes, or sometimes by other things such as friendship groups or gender.

Independent study - opportunities to do advanced level research on an individual basis according to interest and ability level resulting in examining real problems leading to tangible results.

Integrated / thematic units - teaching all content around one central concept, weaving relationships between disciplines.

Junior Great Books - shared inquiry approach to discussing works of great literature.

Learning centers - opportunities for independent inquiry in various content areas; centers will include books, art and writing materials, audio-visual aids, and other resources to extend learning.

Learning styles - differences in the way children perceive and order information we give them; accommodating these differences by modifying our teaching style.

Mentorships / community resources - accessing local people and places to enrich learning opportunities.

New Standards Reference Exams - testing used by Vermont to assess students’ knowledge in an open-ended manner.

Problem solving - developing techniques for systematically solving problems individually and in groups (e.g., Future Problem Solving, Odyssey of the Mind, Creative Problem Solving).

Subject advancement – student advances to higher grade in specific subject(s) in which he/she excels.

Telescoping – completing two grades in one year.

Tiered assignments – assignments that are at different readiness levels for different groups of students.   All students have tasks on the same essential theme, and all tasks are respectful and meaningful.

Thinking models - strategies for enhancing advanced level thinking and questioning (i.e., Talents Unlimited, deBono CoRT).

Vermont portfolio assessment in math and writing - instruction designed to help children produce authentic works (portfolio pieces) that exhibit criteria as defined by assessment standards.

Writing process approach - a process-oriented approach to teaching the language arts.

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