To support and challenge gifted students, it is very important to increase the level of complexity of their assignments. Since this can be quite time-consuming, we put together the following list of tested learning material to differentiate assignments for your gifted students with little time.
We update this list on a regular basis, so it’s worth checking back from time to time.
We would be glad if you shared this material with your colleagues. Also, if you know other good methods that you do not find here, we would be happy if you shared them with us and allowed us to publish them. Please use the contact form for that purpose.
We wish you fun and success in class!
A few tips to start out:
- To prevent feelings of injustice, it is important to show appreciation for the students’ extra efforts.
- If you are insecure, ask your students how they would like to delve deeper into a subject. Some have very good and creative ideas.
- Discuss if, and if yes when, how and in front of whom the student will present her results and stick to it. This is important, because this presentation will expose the student and give her a special role. Therefore, she must be involved in determining if and in which context she would like to do this. Should you agree on a presentation, it is important to ensure it actually takes place and isn’t cancelled or constantly postponed. Otherwise, the student may get the impression that her work is uninteresting or worthless.
- Wall of questions: If children have questions on a certain subject, they are encouraged to write them down and pin them to a wall. In a situation where some students are already done with their assignments, they can pick questions to answer.
- Create learning posters: Fast children are allowed to create posters for the class, which illustrate the class material in short.
- Students that are done quicker than others come together and ask each other difficult and/or extensive questions on a subject until all students are done. This can be done either cooperatively or competitively.
- Encourage students to turn learning material into something creative:
- Newspaper article
- Theater play
- Come up with questions for an exam or a final quiz
- Work on additional/ deeper aspects
- Find ways to implement the material (in real life), or learn about examples of implementation
- Change of teaching/lesson structure: In the beginning of class, all students come to the front desk. The teacher explains the subject matter briefly and complexly. Those students who understood receive difficult assignments and find their seats. This process is repeated for an intermediate and easy level. After that, the teacher – and possibly one student – sits down at a “help desk” students can come to when they need help.
Learning to write/ read:
- Don’t predefine words for the child. Rather, let them find words that begin with the letter they’re studying, or in which this letter can be found several times.
- Make a drawing out of the letters or numbers they are learning.
- Solving Sudokus is a good way to practice writing numbers.
- Let the students find and write down math problems in which the numbers they are studying come up particularly often.
- Assign math problems in which the respective number comes up often, e.g. this number needs to be subtracted repeatedly, which makes the child write this number again and again.
8888 – 8 = 8880 ;
8880 – 8 = 8872
8872 – 8 .... etc.
Depending on the IQ, you can use more difficult numbers for the subtraction: 88, or even decimals: 8.8 or 8.88….
- Offer books or texts that meet the child’s level of language and comprehension as well as interests, if possible. You can let the child choose their own literature at the library, bring something from home, or ask what they like to read at home and what they find interesting.
As an explanation: A 7-year old child with a verbal IQ of 145 has the language comprehension and linguistic abilities of a 16 year old. To understand their boredom and sense of underexertion when being provided with regular school literature, imagine what would happen if you gave 10th graders the literature of 2nd graders for a whole year…
A. English and other modern languages
- Fill in the blank - assignments:
- provide German instead of English words that need to be filled in in the correct form in English
- place the infinitive of the respective words not directly behind the blank, but in a box
- Let the students explain Grammar in English
- Keep the reproductive phase as short as possible while keeping the productive and circulation phases creative, for example with a play, stories. etc.
- Have the students write stories/ sentences with new words
- Let them write quizzes or taboo cards
- Let them create a crossword puzzle with the words they need to learn
3. Receptive Competencies (reading, listening, seeing)
- Open/W-questions instead of true/false or multiple choice questions
- Give answers to which the students need to find questions
4. Productive competencies (speaking, writing)
- Add in additional challenges: use the following words, write xx words (at least/ at most/exactly), try to make it rhyme (provide a dictionary)
- Have students experiment with different types of literature: write a text and then turn it into a poem/ a song/ rap/ etc.
- approach a subject through debate (e.g. in English)
- put a subject into its historical context
- learn about philosophical background texts and put those into context
- describe a subject from various perspectives
C Math and Sciences:
- find examples for implementation
- students create brain teasers and riddles
© Sönne Kienle, Katja Rischmann, Frauke Niehues