Five Strategies for Supporting Gifted Students

Last week’s most-clicked ASCD SmartBrief article echoes a previous most-clicked report from the Fordham Foundation that claims policies focused exclusively on low achievers disserve high achievers, and as a result, top performers steadily lose ground as they transition through school.

How to Support Gifted Students in Your Classroom” asks teachers to be mindful of how they can identify, recognize, accept, and utilize giftedness in your classroom beyond adding more work for gifted students or asking them to tutor less-proficient students.

An EL article from the archives, “Raising Expectations for the Gifted,” suggests five strategies for teaching gifted students in an inclusive classroom:

  • Curriculum Compacting: Streamlining what is taught to students by first assessing their prior knowledge and then modifying or eliminating work that has been partially or fully mastered.
  • Flexible Grouping: Grouping students according to strength, need, or interest, and groups change frequently, sometimes in the course of a single class session. (See Tomlinson for more on this topic.)
  • Product Choices: Allowing students some choice in what sort of culminating product they will produce.
  • Tiered Assignments: The entire class studies the same content, but individual students choose assignments at different levels of complexity, with the teacher’s assistance.
  • Multilevel Learning Stations: Providing meaningful independent work that extends and enriches class discussions.

How do you support gifted students in mixed classrooms?

Laura Varlas is an ASCD project manager in publishing, and a graduate student in the secondary education: English/language arts program at George Washington University.