For the gifted child, school can sometimes be boring. A bit more advanced than their peers, these students often finish in-class tasks quickly and might not feel challenged by the standard curriculum. While teachers are often encouraged by their high achieving students, it can be overwhelming to keep gifted children engaged and participating in class. Many teachers struggle to find ways to make sure these kids are getting the most out of their lessons and being mentally challenged while at the same time effectively teaching the rest of the class.
While teachers are faced with the task of engaging and challenging gifted students, they are not alone in this endeavor. National and local resources are readily available to educators and administrators serving gifted students. From programs to online activities, there are a multitude of options. We’ve highlighted a few of them below.
There are many state and local level organizations that were created to help educators and administrators develop curriculum and support their gifted students. Most state departments of education have a branch specifically for gifted education and offer programs for funding opportunities as well as online resources for curriculum development.
Check your state Department of Education website for information on what programs and curriculum support is available. There are also many organizations and networks that were created to aid educators and parents. Though many do have member-exclusive content, these sites also have plenty of free resources available for public use. The Illinois Association for Gifted Children (IAGC) provides professional development for educators, support for families, and scholarship opportunities for children in Illinois. Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented offers administrators free online resources about a variety of topics, from low-income gifted students to meeting national standards, and holds leadership conferences.
Below we’ve listed several well-known national organizations that support gifted education development and research. These organizations conduct extensive research on a variety of different topics related to gifted education.
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
1707 L Street, NW, Suite 550
Washington, DC 20036
The NAGC’s mission is to make gifted learners a national priority. The NAGC provides a variety of resources for educators, administrators, and parents. These resources address policy and practices and offer online and local professional learning opportunities.
Center for Gifted Education Policy at the American Psychological Association (CGEP)
750 First Street, NE
Education Directorate 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
The CGEP conducts research to generate public awareness and provides information about gifted education in the areas of academics, the performing arts, sports, and professions. The Center’s research can provide useful and current information that administrators can use to support the gifted students in their schools and districts.
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted(SENG)
P.O. Box 6550
Scottsdale, AZ 85261-6550
SENG was created in 1981 to bring attention to the unique emotional needs of gifted children. It provides guidance, information, resources, and a forum to support to families and communities of gifted children by focusing on the physiological aspect of gifted children. By providing research and knowledge about gifted students, SENG works to eliminate misdiagnosis of gifted and mentally challenged individuals and increase the chances for gifted children to succeed in public schools.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
E1110 North Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22201
The CEC supports gifted individuals in the special education classroom and covers current issues in policy, ethics, and academic standards in special education. It also advocates heavily and works to change national policy with regard to funding for special and gifted education.
Find a list of more national and local level organizations that cater to the gifted here.
While outside resources are available to help educators and administrators support their gifted students, each student and classroom has unique challenges and issues. As educators and administrators, it is sometimes necessary to get creative and develop programs and practices that fit your schools and classrooms. These can come in many different forms and may require a bit more ingenuity.
If you have a student that finishes assignments early or finds the classwork unchallenging, try developing independent projects to fill up the rest of the class period. This will help engage students and can offer an opportunity to challenge the class as a whole.
The internet is an amazing tool for gifted learning. It offers gifted students a chance to discover and learn for themselves. Choose a handful of good quality educational sites that students may explore on the subject. By allowing them to choose the topic within the subject area, you can encourage them to develop a deeper love of learning.
Real World Assignments
When students understand how a subject applies to them in real life, it can encourage them to search deeper and excite them about learning that subject. Real world projects let students see the relevance of what they are learning. This can be as simple as using math concepts to help kids create a Popsicle stick structure to showing how buildings are designed or having students write about a serious issue to a government official and sending to him or her. By assigning activities that connect students to what they are learning and require deeper thought, you can benefit not only the gifted learner but all students who participate.
For more creative ideas and projects, check out these resources from TeachersFirst and Bright Hub Education. Also, be sure to take a look at these great books to help support your gifted students below:
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