Activities for Gifted Students in Elementary School

Instructor: Elizabeth Hemmons

Beth has taught early childhood education, including students with special needs, for the past 11 years. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.

In this lesson, we will explore many activities for your gifted students, which you can use daily in your elementary classroom. Continue reading for some fun, engaging and teacher-friendly activities you can implement in your school.

Gifted Students in the Elementary School

A gifted student can be identified as a student who shows evidence of 'high achievement capability' in various academic areas. Teaching gifted students in your classroom can be challenging but also very rewarding. Frequently, we hear that these students are 'bored' during class or even have behavior problems because they aren't being challenged enough throughout the day. It is important for teachers to provide opportunities for our gifted students to be pushed to their highest academic level and find ways to extend instruction to meet their needs. Whether in a small group in a regular education classroom or in a full class of gifted students, these activities benefit and engage gifted students in all learning environments.

Language Arts

Reader's Theater

Using a reader's theater script is a great way to challenge higher level readers. You can find scripts for all reading levels and create a dramatic performance using different readers for each part. To extend the activity even further, your gifted students can create scenery, costumes, props and perform for their peers and parents. This activity is fun for all elementary grade levels!

Writing Extension Activities

If your gifted students' strengths are in writing, provide your students with frequent opportunities to creatively write about books they have read. For example, have students re-write the ending of a story, change the characters or setting or even create a sequel to a story they have just read. These activities can be challenging and help gifted students be more creative with their writing.

Literature Circles

In a literature circle, a small group of students have a discussion about a story that they have all read. The activity is student centered and gives students the opportunity to be leaders and engage in critical thinking. Each student within the group is given a role or job. For example, the Summarizer, the Question Writer, the Story Mapper, and/or the Presenter. When the circle has completed group discussion, the group can then present their findings to the rest of the class.

Letter Writing

Have your gifted students write a letter to a local business or newspaper about an opinion they have or something in their community that they would like to see change. They could also write to a favorite author or illustrator to learn more about them. Starting a relationship with a pen pal is a great way to strengthen letter-writing skills and learn more about other cultures and environments.

Math

Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to engage your gifted students during math instruction. Some examples are Sudoku, logic and reasoning puzzles, KenKen puzzles, brain teasers or riddles. These can be used at all grade levels.

Technology

The Internet can be a great resource for your gifted students. Have your students use the Internet to research information about a particular subject and then create a PowerPoint presentation about their findings. Challenge your gifted students by having them answer lesson questions and learn about a subject by searching the Web, known as a WebQuest.

Independent or Group Projects

Gifted students can be challenged by completing math projects either independently or in groups. For example, using dice or coins to simulate experimental and theoretical probability. Another example would be making a scale drawing of the classroom or school by using measurements and area.

Math Mentors

Gifted students can also be used as mentors for your lower-level students in the classroom. Gifted students may add a new perspective to a math topic or lesson. It also may help your gifted student find new ways to deconstruct math problems and find solutions.

Science

Science Fair Activities

Science fairs are a great way to build school community. Whether it is an experiment to solve a problem or just for fun, your gifted students can share the results of an experiment that they have developed and conducted. They can then use the data gathered in their experiment to create a presentation to share with their peers and/or parents.

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