I think the whole idea of "Compacting Curriculum" (p.38) is a great way to keep gt students engaged in their work. The idea of buying back learning time to spend it on a choice activity. I have sort of done this last year using an extension learning sheet and we called it Tic-Tac-Done. It extended their learning overall, but not specific to what we were learning that day or week. So, I really like the ideas/examples given in the book to help me really make it work better next year.
In response to bratliff on July 7, I have also used compacting curriculum in my classroom. The students liked going through the curriculum at a faster rate and having a choice of extension activities. It definitely kept them engaged and they liked sharing what they learned with the class.
I am very interested in the idea of compacting the curriculum for gt students and I also like the idea of choice activities. I would like to hear some examples of how to do it in first grade.
I agree that curriculum compacting one answer. Students enjoy being able to choose and expand their understanding of various topics. However we must be sure that the products of this type of learning are quality work and that the students truly did grow academically.
I really like the goal-setting log (pg 19) for keeping children accountable with their work. I can see how this will really help perfectionists, as well as procrastinators, stay engaged and on task with school work. I love all of the contracts mentioned in chapter 2, especially the contract with problem-solving focus on page 65. The extension options are amazing and I think gifted students would find them engaging.
Mrs. M's Kinders 7/8... I agree that the goal-setting log would be a great tool to help students be accountable for their learning. I have noticed that some students who are procrastinators have a hard time starting, because the assignment may seem overwhelming to them. Besides talking with them about breaking down the assignment into manageable chunks, using the goal-setting log would help the student become comfortable with that skill and over time help the student become a more independent learner able to manage their own work/time.
In response to Mrs. M's KindersJuly 8, 2014 at 11:30 AM, i really like the idea of the goal-setting log also. it will help keep all students focused on what they need to have done and when it needs to be done. It will also all students to see exactly what still needs to be done and how much time is left to get their goals met to get the grade they would like.
I had a student this year that could not get started doing his work. By using a goal setting log, his work improved because he loved checking it off of his list.
Catherine Roth:In response to Mrs. M’s Kinders on July 8th-I know in theory that goal setting is a good strategy to keep students focused. However, I find goal setting very difficult-especially for perfectionists-because perfectionists do not want to fail, so they set a goal that they know they can meet so they won’t fail. It makes writing goals extremely difficult. This is one strategy that has not held much success for me as a teacher professionally or for my students. I am willing to keep at it, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so I will need to tweak this strategy to make it work for me.
In response to Ms.Kinders post on July 8, I completely agree about goal setting. A few years ago I decided to be honest with some of my low readers and show them their DRA level in comparison to where they needed to be by the end of the year. We then would set short term goals for advancing through the levels. The outcomes have been amazing! The students own their learning.
To Ms. Kinders:I also liked the goal-setting theory. I find that when students learn to make a list and check it off, they get a positive sense of accomplishment that leads to wanting to accomplish more.
It was very helpful for me that the book differentiated between what to do when teaching skills and when teaching new content (I'm ahead here). For teaching skills, like specific writing skills, I liked the "Most Difficult First" (pg. 42). That seems to be similar to a pretest (pg. 48). The example of Elizabeth creating an imaginary country is a great extension (pg. 48).
In response to Val Harelson on July 8 I also found the Most Difficult First idea to be very interesting. It's actually a strategy that can be applied to a class as a whole. Present them with a challenging scenario and them let see where intuition takes them. You can then support the idea with basic skills you were going to cover anyway. Often students miss out on the challenging stuff because they are fatigued by isolated skills before the interesting stuff happens. A GT student could feel this fatigue at an even greater level.
Response to Jonathan: it's true that this world has plenty of problems, and that almost every field/career choice is currently looking for problem solvers. It seems like the kids would appreciate the relevance of The Most Difficult First.
How can we as educators assist gifted students to stay engaged in course work? Site page numbers.I like to use the Name Card Method mentioned on page 14. This method keeps all gifted students engaged because the students know that i am not calling on those who always know the answer and those who know the answer, often think they can do something else because they already know the information..By using the Name card method, students must be active listeners and participants because they don't know if their name will be picked to answer a question.
I use popsicle sticks with their names on them to call on students. This makes them all be accountable.
In response to Helen Roberts on July 10th- I do like using names/sticks to pull for responses. I believe it gives all learners an opportunity to share and stay active listeners and contributors of the classroom.
I have also used popsicle stick for calling on students, but have placed them in a different jar after I have called on them. I love how the book emphasizes keeping them in the same jar so that the students never know if they will get called on again. Something that I will be doing from now on!
I feel that compacting is a great way for the GT student to take ownership of their work and will keep the discipline issues down due to they are working with more challenging work. I like the extension activities on page 67.
In response to ashepherd on July 11, I agree that compacting curriculum and using extension activities are a great way to keep students engaged in the classroom. The students are more motivated to learn because of the ownership they can put on their learning.
I believe differentiation is the key to keeping students engaged in class. I liked the author’s statement on page 38: “Gifted students differ from their age peers in how they learn, not merely the depth and complexity of what they learn.” Obviously, we have certain content we need to cover, but if a student already knows the content, they could go more in depth through an extension activity. When we give assignments, we can offer options for how they will show their understanding, or the students can come up with their own ideas of presenting their comprehension of the content.
I think the concept of a Learning Contract on p. 51 is very intriguing. It offers differentiation to any student that wants it, whether gifted or not, and provides opportunity for student to pursue their own unique learning experiences. While there are a lot of individual goals to track, what's interesting is that a student can elect to go back to the mainstream at any time. There might be a unit where they choose not to differentiate themselves. Given the freedom of the system, it's possible that every student in the class could be allowed at least one chance at having a Learning Contract to complete some independent study.
Response to Helen Roberts (7/10): I have been using the Name Card method (pg 14) for many years with my juniors and seniors in high school. As Helen notes, this method not only keeps everyone engaged (including gifted students) but it also conveys a sense of fairness (to all students) in asking questions that students immediately perceive.
According to page 39, "three key strategies for differentiating....learning contract," I like the Most Difficult First. I liked the Most Difficult First strategy. Since I teach elementary, I do not have giant tests covering all the TEKS the students need to know. Working on smaller chunks of curriculum, and exiting them quickly works much better for my students. Of course this works really well in Math, but I think there are ways to use journaling before lessons to identify previous knowledge for Social Studies and Science. It would require being prepared for possible students not attending the lesson in advance, but I think this is possible when you think of learning as a 'unit' not lessons.
I think the best way is differentiated activities. I really prefer open-ended activities that can be completed at the student's own level. They can be challenging for those that need it and remedial for some of your lower students.
As an educator I can help my students stay engaged with course work by compacting the curriculum. I would really like to try the Pretest for Volunteers, page 48, as I feel like this would be a way to save valuable time and to let students who are ready move forward and stay interested.
Response to Moneyj: I too was intrigued by the Pretest for Volunteers on page 48. The only complication that might arise at the secondary level is whether or not the kids want to be honest with teachers as to whether or not they're ready to move on. One would think this would be a no-brainer, but I can see kids thinking that maybe they won't have to do much work if they stick with the easier concepts and choose not to move forward.
The concept of "Compacting Curriculum" on page 38 reminded me of something called Menus, which I would like to use more of this year. It's self-directed learning, and allows each kid to work at their own pace on concepts. It's good mostly for review, I believe, but it provides choice to kids, which is so important. As a teacher, I think if we provided more choices, especially to gifted kids, we'd get a lot more out of them in terms of productivity.
I believe that educators can assist gifted students to stay engaged in course work if they allow the students to work on alternative activities as sited on page 57. If a student feels that they have alternative activities and ways to create/produce work they will be engaged and have a drive to learn more.
Stacey L- I think this would be really good for you and I to collaborate on some of the alternatives ways this year since we will be the GT teachers for the grade level. It would be really interesting to be able to compare what we are seeing in each others classrooms.
I think seeing what our students are interested in is a good start. On pg 29 it states," They (the underachiever) need to be given their own work to do... work that is challenging and meaningful to them". I think work should be meaningful. If we as educators can continue to move away from assignments that focus on the lower levels of blooms and move toward assignments that require students to use their creativity and thought process to solve a problems all students will benefit.
As teachers we have several options to keep our students engaged in learning. On pages 42-45, the strategy of ‘Most Difficult First’ is explained. This is a great way to keep all kids engaged in a task. If a student show competency in a skill by completing the most difficult problems first, then that student may move on to an extension task. Also, compacting curriculum such that students can show mastery without having to sit through all direct instruction, will keep students engaged. This happens through the pre-test [p.48-49] and the The Learning Contract [p. 51-60]. I am especially intrigued with the ‘Question Chip Technique’. I think this one is definitely worth a try! Kids will enjoy the choice and power they have in determining when and where is ask for help and this will in turn keep them engaged in their task.
I really like the idea of using the "Most difficult problem first" strategy to engage the students(pages 42-47). I have tried this before in math several years ago and it was very successful, especially at the beginning of the school year when a lot of the material is new. I have not tried it in other areas although I could see where this could work really well in science also.
Response to Scapuchino (7/21): I find this section a bit tricky with regard to applying the strategies to juniors and seniors. These students are often inundated and overwhelmed with work (in-class and homework) so many students would manipulate the "contract" (51-63) and would minimize the "goal setting" standards. However, I do think differentiating instruction via extension activities and choices (111) would work for all students but particularly these older, gifted learners.
I love the compacting technique…especially the pretest component. To give the students the spelling test at the beginning of the week is a great idea. If the student masters the pretest, the he can create his own spelling list. I had two students doing something similar last year. They mastered the entire spelling curriculum so they chose to use a set of words being used by advanced spelling bee contestants. These words were difficult and interesting to the students. I was impressed with their dedication to the challenging curriculum.
We can keep our students engaged by allowing them to actively participate in choosing the depth of learning they will do and by choosing how they will demonstrate their learning. Menus, such as the one on page 81, allow students to choose activities they are interested in. Student choices create student engagement. The Daily Log of Extension Work on page 92 serves as a useful tool for students to explain what they have chosen to do, but it also holds them accountable. Giving students ownership in their learning will keep them engaged.
I love "the most difficult first" concept on page 42-45. It is such a simple yet seemingly effective strategy. I will definitely use this strategy this year starting with math.
Michele RennickCurriculum compacting (p.39) is a great theory. It allows for individualization of tasks and gives the gifted student some control over his or her learning and product. However, teachers must know their students and determine if they are capable of such independent work. We must be careful that when we assign compacted curriculum it will be a successful endeavor. Though it may be an individualized assignment; it might not be independent work. I liked the fact that he mentioned that grades should reflect the mastery of the objective and not the compacted activities. However, expectations should still be set so that the student is engaged and smarter than he or she was before the assignment.