Do's and Don't's Differentiation

Edutopia is a great resource for educators. I use it frequently to read articles and blogs to learn how to best approach my gifted learners. It also sends emails with activities you can use with your students.

Below is a link to an article about the do's and don't's when teaching gifted students in the general ed. classroom. This will probably be a review for most of you but please take a minute to skim over it. Think about any questions you may have.

Scotts is focusing on vocabulary this year. If you click on the title above you will be directed to the website byrdseed that gives vocabulary strategies for gifted students.


* Pre-Assessments

* Bonus Questions

* Exit Tickets

One of the best ways to group your students is through pre-assessments. This can be done by using a separate, couple question quiz or you can include a "Bonus" question at the end of a test or quiz that you are already giving. That way you do not have to grade two separate assessments and it will still serve the same purpose. Keep in mind that the students placed in the "high" group within your class, can be different students each week based on the results of the pre-assessment. It may not even include the identified students from time to time. They are not perfect and will have some gap areas as well.


* Standards you are already teaching

* Can be Cross-Curricular

* Choice Boards

The activities that gifted students should be doing in your classrooms will be ones that are extensions or enrichment of the standards that you are teaching that week to your class and they have already mastered. They can also involve cross-curricular activities. If you have assigned a novel for your class. Your advanced students may need a different novel at a higher reading/Lexile level that involves the same theme. Other activities could include a choice board activity based on a them from a novel.

Example: One of my classes is reading the book "Ben and Me" this is about Benjamin Franklin. We will be completing a choice board project for the Revolutionary War to extend this book.


Real-World Situations:

Gifted students are also those students that want to know why they are learning what they are learning. Make sure to give them purpose. They need to understand the purpose behind something in order for it to make sense to them. Take a concept or standard that you are working on and have those students do an activity that allows them to apply that standard/concept in a potential real- world situation.

Interest Projects

Research says that allowing Gifted students to have choice in what they learn and how they learn it is one of the most effective ways of reaching them.

Study People

Gifted students typically enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies of people that are successful in an area of interest. Students can do research projects on the people that are involved the event in history the class is studying or the area of science, authors or mathematicians. A list of these people could be provided and they can choose one to study. They could create a Blooms ball or choice board of activities based on that person.

Critical Thinking Practice

Students must practice critical thinking and problem solving skills. Provide an area in your room for those early finishers that they can pull a critical thinking activity out of a folder or box for them to work on as an anchor activity. There are many websites that provide these activities. You just have to ask "Google" the right question.
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Scotts is currently working hard to develop a team for Odyssey of the mind this year. This is a great program for those students that may not be gifted in reading or math but are more creative. Encourage participation in this program. It is a program that is active across the globe.

Other Opportunities to learn more about differentiation and teaching gifted students

1.) PAC 4: Differentiation & Learning Strategies

TNL # 12738

@ ADR from 3:45-5:45

January 21st

February 4th


March 10th

2.) Winter AIG Focused PD

TNL #12898

@ ADR from 3:00-5:00

February 1st