Teaching At-Risk Kids as Though They Were GT
When I first went through the certification process for Gifted and Talented, I was teaching in a "regular" classroom. I went to work the next day and began putting those strategies to work with my kiddos. We used the depth and complexity concepts. I asked them deeper questions in comprehension and science. They started learning how to identify patterns in everything-literature, social studies-making those connections. I truly believe that all students can benefit from being taught from the standpoint of high expectations-and this study proves that point.
I have worked as a tester for 4-year olds in our district for the GT program. I've tested kids that didn't qualify, but it wasn't because they didn't have any innate ability-it's just they had never been taught. I'll never forget a student I had, I'll call her "Alicia". The 1st week assessment she couldn't count past 3, she didn't know what an "A" was (1st and last letter of her name). About 3 months later she was adding, writing about the "reflection" in the pool. She had just never been taught. Sometimes you have to bring those talents out! She qualified in Kinder with very high scores.
I attended a workshop years ago where they shared research that had been completed in an inner-city school system (I wish I could remember who published it). But they compared the criteria of specific assignments and grading rubrics of the classes designated as a "regular" class and what was considered the "low" class. It was the same work, same objective, same lesson-but the expectations were very different-low students were given low expectations. I think this is the reason I am against tracking students and separating them into different classes based on ability. I think many teachers will start with low expectations for those struggling kids and keep that mentality all year.
I feel like my blog is in such an in-between place. On one hand I know people in the GT community read it, but I also hear from teachers of "regular" classes who find opportunities to implement some of the activities into their daily activities to challenge their kiddos-which of course, I think is just wonderful. In my humble opinion, all kids can benefit from learning how to "think outside the box" and be creative thinkers-it was nice to read an article that solidifies that school of thought.
But that's just my 2 cents! :)