Simulation Curricula for Gifted Kids
Interact is a publisher that offers curricula that is unique and creative. The units often are used as supplements in the regular classroom but can be used in a separate enrichment class. Many of the units involve interaction between students through simulations. I have seen Interact curricula used successfully in classrooms that consist of many different abilities. I knew one teacher who always had an Interact simulation going in his classroom. His students (including the gifted students) were so excited to go to school each day to work on the activities.
Each Interact unit includes a teacher's guide, purpose and overview, daily lesson plans, student materials, time management guidelines, and support materials.
If you do a search on “gifted” at the Interact Web site, results will show curricula particularly suited to high-ability students; however, many of the regular units also work well for students who are academically strong.
Unit subjects include language arts, social studies, math, science, and character building.
A few examples are
Up to 20 hours for preparation, planning, and performance
Description: Welcome to a monthly meeting of the Fairy Tale Advice Council. Led by Rapunzel, a handsome prince, and a recovering wicked witch, the council offers help in character building to folk and fairy tale creatures. In this fun and humorous musical, the Big Bad Wolf learns the Golden Rule, Cinderella gets help in managing her anger at her bullying stepsisters, and Jack and the Giant discover that their differences are cool. Will Humpty Dumpty take responsibility for his fall? Can Baby Bear forgive Goldilocks? And will the magic mirrors tell the evil queen the truth about who is "the fairest of them all?"
A flexible structure allows for lengthening or shortening the time required
Description: Cheatum Swindle is running the Goodwin's game factory into the ground by producing unfair games, and it's up to your students to use their arithmetic skills to save the company! Students work in pairs performing hands-on experiments with spinners, dice, coins, and cards to test the probabilities of Cheatum's games. The flip of a coin or the roll of the die determines the moves they make as they advance through the factory, examining games for fairness. As they find problems, they make modifications and record reasons for their decisions. In the final push to save the company's reputation, student pairs design their own games and present them with an explanation of their fairness.
Advanced Placement Short Story: Challenging Approaches for Honors, Gifted, and AP English Classes
Description: A sophisticated collection of 36 teacher plans and student handouts based on seven short stories (included) by well-known writers. The activities may be used in many ways. They may heighten awareness of how plot, theme, character, setting, point of view, and style interconnect; they may give students practice in answering the sort of multiple-choice and essay questions they will meet on the AP exams; or they may simply illuminate the art of the short story as practiced by some of its masters: E.B. White, Katherine Mansfield, Langston Hughes, Tillie Olsen, Raymond Carver, Sean O'Faolain, and Bernard Malamud. Index. Supplemental reading list.
Up to 15 hours of instruction
Description: Black Gold is a challenging, multi-disciplinary study of petroleum and our reliance upon this vanishing fossil fuel. The science, geography, research, mathematics, and language arts activities center around the global dynamics of petroleum production and consumption. Your students will
- create a map of the world showing the magnitude of petroleum reserves and consumption, and trace major transportation routes and techniques;
- use a variety of research tools, analyze information, and present and defend their conclusion;
- buy and sell crude oil at a commodity market (at their desks or via e-mail); and
- devise techniques to clean up a disastrous oil spill.
Gifted Children and International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools
The Hoagies' Gifted Education Page has reprinted an article that offers an overview of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools and considers whether they meet the special needs of gifted children. The article, titled "To IB or Not IB," provides a special focus on IB's implementation in Michigan's public school system; however, overall the article is informative for anyone interested in IB schools and gifted children.
[Modified on July 14, 2008]
One of this blog's readers, Jonna, commented that the article I've cited above is not as general as she expected. She felt that it focused a bit too much on Michigan's public school system. I think she has a good point.
I did a bit more research and found an article on the topic of AP and IB programs from Gifted Child Today that was published back in 2002. I believe the information still holds true, so I am providing that article in the form of a downloadable PDF for those of you would would like to read it. Click this link to download "The Advanced Placement Program and the International Baccalaureate Programme: A History and Update" from the Winter 2002 issue of Gifted Child Today.
Cartooning and Animation for Gifted Kids
Looking for a fun summer activity for your kids? Try cartooning and animation. An interest in this area could actually turn into a wonderful creative career opportunity.
There are some great Web sites that will help bright students learn this craft.
A set of tutorials to teach the art of animation.
An animation expert from Disney offers free online lessons in animation.
Gives kids the opportunity to create their own comic strips using templates.
Read a couple of articles from Imagine Magazine (published by Johns Hopkins University) telling about the pursuit of education and careers in computer animation
Also, check out your local library for books on cartooning and animation.
High-Achieving Students Harmed by No Child Left Behind
The evidence that the nation's current education initiative, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), harms the academic achievement of advanced students continues to mount.
According to two studies performed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, increased emphasis on helping students with a history of lower academic achievement results in lower performance for high achievers.
Today, the New York Times ran a good article, "Report Sees Cost in Some Academic Gains," which reviews the study's results and the implications of those results.
Online Resources for Twice Exceptional Students
An oxymoron it is not—twice exceptional, 2e, GT/LD, gifted with learning disabilities—these are all labels given to people who are very bright, yet have learning difficulties. The phenomenon is much more common than most people realize.
There are online resources to help parents and teachers better understand and work with students who fit into this category.
: Lots of free articles and an online newsletter to which one can subscribe.
: Lists characteristics of children who are gifted but are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or have physical disabilities. Suggests strategies to use with students who are twice exceptional. The Web site also discusses savants, those with Asperger’s syndrome, and gifted students who suffer from depression.
: There are many resources, including articles and personal experiences of both parents and students. A long list of types of disabilities is presented with links to supporting information. Also included are treatments, training, and therapies to use with twice exceptional students. Numerous support groups and email lists are given.
Explore these resources for a better understanding of kids with learning difficulties and suggestions of ways to help them compensate, while taking advantage of their wonderful strengths.
Mary Anne was perplexed by her preschooler. The child seemed quite precocious at times and Mary Anne wasn’t sure what to do about it. Should the child be tested to see what her true abilities might be? Should Mary Anne be looking at gifted school opportunities? Should she be doing anything special at home?
The American Association for Gifted Children at Duke University
has suggestions for parents with questions like those of Mary Anne. At this site, you will find information about characteristics of very young gifted children, appropriate activities that stimulate learning, identification and testing, and preparing your child for school.
At the Augusta Web site from Australia, you will find the article Parenting Gifted Preschoolers
, which lists both normal and advanced development in very young children as well as a list of activities to do with gifted preschoolers.
Each of the above Web sites will give you lots of fun ideas for working with your precocious preschooler.