This year, I have two gifted students in my classes, as well as another 10 high achieving students. In the past, I had more freedom in my curriculum to try to meet the high level students’ needs. However, this year, I am required to follow a scripted reading curriculum with fidelity, so it has been more of a challenge.
The first thing I have done is begun pre-testing the high achievers and gifted students each Monday. If they can pass the weekly test before instruction, they are free to work on a separate project during the week. If they don’t pass, they can work through the assignments and readings at their own speed and re-test when they are ready. If they pass at that point, they can move on to working on a different project.
This has worked out well, mostly. I have a few students who, after working through the week’s assignments, still don’t pass the test. Still figuring out what to do about that.
The projects I have assigned started out more demonstrating the week’s topic on a poster or in a piece of writing. However, this time, the first half of our unit is focused on various types of survival, so for three weeks, they have been reading other books about survival and will create a diagram showing the parallels of survival in different environments.
In addition, I discovered http://www.byrdseed.com which has wonderful ideas for challenging students to think more deeply. He sends out a list of idioms each week with ideas for how to use them. So, my advanced students are also learning idioms and working on projects related to them.