As nice as it would be to have a packet or a folder of activities we could hand to you with prepackaged enrichment suitable for any child, the reality is that each situation and each child is different, requiring a more customized approach. The purpose of this kit is to give you the information, resources, and tools to quickly create appropriate, relevant, and interesting activities for the high ability children in your classroom.

Likewise, if you have spent time yourself developing an idea, please consider adding it to the wiki so that others will benefit from your time and effort. You may find that there are activities posted by other teachers that save you time down the road, making your investment pay off.


Differentiation for Highly Able Students

An article on the rationale behind enrichment.

Be respectful of your students' time by keeping the work meaningful.

Additional thoughts on differentiation:

(by Shelagh Gallagher, Bertie Kingore, Carol Ann Tomlinson, Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Ann Robinson)

Differentiation is not individualization — you don’t have to create a unique lesson plan for every child
Not every child needs differentiated instruction
Gifted kids are not "OK on their own" — they need teachers too!
Gifted kids are not teachers, and tutoring others isn't differentiation
Don't use “Twinkie Differentiation” (Tomlinson's term): cute activities with no real purpose

Differentiated Instruction must:
  • Amplify good education
  • Feature consistent attention to learning styles and interests (teacher-student connection)
  • Include high-quality curriculum
  • Feature pre-assessment and ongoing assessment
  • Have a teacher who can efficiently manage DI
  • Include flexible grouping and have a teacher who can effectively manage flexible grouping

Differentiated Instruction is:
  • Teachers at work refining the art of teaching; focusing on who we teach, what we teach, and how we teach
  • Ongoing and never finished
  • A celebration of kids being able to learn something every day at the appropriate level
  • Complex and demanding
  • How we earn the name “Educator”
  • Recognizing differences
  • Acknowledging that all students can learn and we need to figure out what we need to do to reach them


Differentiation Strategies


Always begin with a preassessment:
  • Pretest
  • Survey or interest inventory
  • Parent letter
  • Prior work
  • Conference
  • Concept map

Then differentiate assignments or lessons by:

Content

Process

Product

Different texts
Curriculum compacting
Interest centers
Skill centers
Small group investigations
Expert focus groups
Contracts
Acceleration
Branching
Simulations
Tiered assignments
Activity choice boards
Extension menus
Dinner menus
RAFT projects
Self-guided learning
Working with a mentor
Tiered products
Student choice from product list
Varied rubrics
Extension menus
Dinner menus