Gifted & Talented News - Gr. 6-12

Winter 2017: Building Depth & Complexity Across Disciplines

Purpose of Differentiation

Differentiation refers to differing content, process (or skills), and products of the core curriculum to make that curriculum more responsive to students' individual needs, abilities, and interests. Depth and complexity dimensions are a method for differentiation. Visit the link below to learn more about depth and complexity and how to use the icons to build depth and complexity.

Differentiation and Sample Lessons Using Depth and Complexity

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Depth and Complexity Defined

This first link explains the icons associated with Kaplan's depth and complexity along with an example using reading literature tied to standards. The second link includes a poster of each icon that can be used for a bulletin board or to hang around the room. The last link is a template to teach the students how to use the icons for a specific discipline.

Icon Explanation -

Icon Posters -

Using the Icons Template -

Building Depth and Complexity in Math

Instructional Strategies that Build Depth and Complexity through Literature and Text

Literature Circles and Frames

Resources for how to implement depth and complexity are below. Think Like a Disciplinarian, conversational round table and frames are just some of the strategies below that can challenge students to develop thinking skills and comprehension using literature or informational text.

Please click on links below for resources and examples on literature circle products, poetry literature circles, sample literature circle unit and templates.

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How important is text complexity?

Research suggests that a trend toward less challenging texts in high school, and a tilt toward narrative texts, at the expense of informational and expository ones, have left young people particularly weak at comprehending and dissecting information from difficult texts and using it to build evidence-based arguments.

Where’s the evidence? • A 2006 study by ACT Inc., for instance, found that the biggest stumbling block for students who fell short of the readiness scores in reading on its college-entrance exam was answering questions derived from complex texts. it is important for teachers to keep in mind that text complexity factors are guides to aide in the selection of texts students can read. In addition, those same factors should aide in the selection of texts that will also stretch students’ to continue to grow and develop their skills as readers and as thinkers.

Think Like a Disciplinarian:

What is a Disciplinarian?

An academic disciplinarian is an expert in a particular field of study. Academic disciplines are branches of learning or scholarly instruction in which degrees may be earned at the college or university level. Disciplinarians teach, conduct research and publsh their findings. Discsipilarians may also be experts in an applied field where they perform specialized tasks. Many disciplinarians collaborate with others in different fields.

Why Think Like a Disciplinarian?

Teaching students to think like a disciplinarian is an engaging approach that allows students to become familiar with various academic disciplines. It also helps students make sense of what they are learning. Thinking like a disciplinarian challenges gifted students to "explore the advanced and sophisticated complex concepts in the disciplines by assuming the roles of different disciplinarians." (Sandra Kaplan, Ed. D., University of Southern California)

DeBono's 6 Thinking Hats

This strategy can be used to develop thinking skills through close reading of a variety of texts. This strategy can be combined with depth and complexity icons for students to develop further thinking and understanding of a topic.