How to Teach Gifted Children in a Regular Classroom

When I taught Gifted and Talented students, they were in a regular classroom (first or second grade).  I had a mix of regular students, gifted and talented students, ESL students (sometimes students starting the year speaking no English), and children with learning disabilities or physical handicaps.  How is a teacher able to meet the needs of gifted students?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stretch every lesson where possible with Higher Level Thinking Skills.
  • Teacher’s manuals will often have suggestions for gifted students.
  • Have the gifted students work on projects they can do by themselves.
  • Just because a student is a gifted student does not mean they are an independent worker or a self-motivator.   Pair these students up with a partner who is an independent worker.
  • Utilize resources.   I had one exceptionally bright first grader who would go to the library and do research on topics of his choosing with minimal supervision from the librarian.   He would either write about it or illustrate and make a poster about his research.
  • Encourage students to enter extra activities offered by your district such as Science Fair, History Fair, Invention Convention, Art Contests, etc.   One year, I had a gifted second grader (an ESL student) who excelled in art and entered a district contest.  He won an award!
  • Have students work on a class newspaper that they publish once a week or once a month.
  • A lot of times, you can see where certain students excel in one or more of the Seven Areas of Giftedness.   Develop centers or projects for these areas.