Differentiated Instruction Strategies for Gifted Students

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

When we think about differentiation, we often think about struggling students. But gifted students need differentiation, too! This lesson offers some strategies that you can use to differentiate instruction for gifted students.

Differentiated Instruction for Gifted Students

After a few weeks of school, you have discovered that your student Angela seems bored. She's distracted, unmotivated and even getting into trouble in class. When you look at Angela's test scores, you notice that she scores significantly higher than the rest of the class. Apparently, she is paying attention, but the material and activities are too easy for her. It is up to you, as her teacher, to help Angela stay motivated and excited about learning. But how?

A gifted student can be identified as a student who shows evidence of above normal achievement capability in various academic areas. To meet their needs, you need to focus on differentiated instruction, or offering different students a variety of activities, strategies, and pathways toward your instructional goals. This lesson will help you learn some differentiation strategies that focus specifically on gifted students, concentrating on the areas of language, math, science, and social studies.

Language Arts

Some gifted students really excel at reading and writing. The strategies here will help you differentiate to meet these students' needs.

More Complex Texts

Sometimes, differentiating instruction is as simple as offering gifted students more advanced texts to work with. Choose books and passages that deal with the same themes and concepts other students are working on, but with more sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure. Gifted learners will appreciate the challenge.

Writing Extensions

Many gifted students finish their writing activities early. Give them a chance to stretch their skills by offering more opportunities for creative expression in writing. Gifted students might rewrite a story from a different character's point of view or might invent a sequel or prequel to something they read in class.

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