Promoting Supplementary Opportunities for Gifted Students

Instructor: Linda Winfree

Linda has taught English at grades 6-12 and holds graduate degrees in curriculum and teacher leadership.

In this lesson, you will learn about supplementary opportunities for gifted students and your role as a gifted educator in supporting those opportunities.

Promoting Supplementary Opportunities for Gifted Students

Gifted learners think deeply and critically and have a desire for knowledge and experiences that often bubbles out of them. Even if these students are enrolled in excellent academic programs tailored to their needs, they both need and deserve opportunities beyond the normal school day.

As a gifted educator, you will want to promote these supplementary opportunities. This can involve various roles. You might sponsor a school club in a special interest area or an after-school enrichment experience. You might help students find information about different programs or events related to their academic or creative passions. Or you might work with students to prepare them for competitions. Although your role may vary, the importance of encouraging students through supplementary opportunities never wavers.

Let's take a look at the opportunities you can present to your gifted students.

Summer and Weekend Programs

A variety of summer and weekend programs are available to extend learning for the gifted. Weekend programs, which take place during weekend hours, might reoccur on a regular basis, such as one Saturday a month, or they may be offered on a different timetable, such as for four consecutive Saturdays or once each quarter. Ted is a gifted fourth grader who is fascinated by animals. His city has an aquarium that offers monthly half-day seminars, with each seminar focused on a different animal who lives in the area's river habitat. Lawrence, one of Ted's classmates, has recently developed an interest in coding. A local technology company wants to encourage young people to pursue computer programming. Their employees teach coding on Saturdays for four weeks, so Lawrence is able to pursue his passion. Both programs help the boys extend their learning.

Summer programs occur in the summer months during school breaks and usually extend for several weeks. Many states offer a summer honors program for gifted and talented middle and high school students. These competitive programs are housed on college campuses and provide opportunities for students to study a topic such as math, writing, or other creative endeavors deeply. Various summer camps, whether day or sleepaway camps, also offer the opportunity for deep study. Maria is a gifted high school sophomore with an interest in engineering and robotics. She attends a robotics camp taught by engineering professors at a local college. The five-week program deepens her understanding of both engineering and robotics while motivating her to join her high school's robotics team in the fall.

Special Interest Organizations

Special interest organizations are organized groups based around a certain area of study. For example, these organizations might focus on writing, art, math, technology, or science. Students may access them in person or through an online platform. Laura is a sixth grader gifted in the area of math. She is a member of an online math club. The club's website provides tutorials and challenges, as well as moderated discussion boards. Because Laura lives in a rural area, the math club offers enrichment experiences she would have difficulty finding in her small town.

Trey, who attends gifted classes at his local middle school, is a member of a specialized group who design and race small wooden cars. Part of a larger national group, his local chapter spends time each week experimenting with different silhouettes and weight ratios to produce faster cars. Trey, who also loves art, not only is extending his math and science skills but enjoys the creativity of designing custom paint jobs for the small vehicles.

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