Monday, February 18, 2008

Sorry kid, you're not supposed to be Gifted yet!

What do you do when you have students that are very young and Gifted with a capital "G?" In our province this is a Designated Special Needs label, which is accompanied by funding. Gifted is not the same as bright. Bright kids learn, gifted kids already know. Bright kids are creative sometimes; gifted kids have wild silly ideas. Bright kids get good grades and stay in school; gifted kids...not always. This is a serious matter.

It is common practice to test students for giftedness around the third grade. But what about those kids who really need more when they are in the earlier grades? We can't tell students "wait two more years, then we can do something about you being gifted." That would not be best practice.

I think that technology can provide some low-text activities that can challenge students, and give them a chance to creatively express themselves. To that effect I have begun planning a course for Primary students with a Gifted designation. Here is what I have so far.

The embedded mind map above was done on a site called "". In the upper right corner you can zoom in and out with the plus and minus sign. Also, you can click and drag the mind map around.

I have tried to create activities that are not as text based, however some Grade 1 gifted students are great readers. I just thought that less text and more multi-media would allow their gifted thinking to come through easier, and that they could produce work that better reflects their thinking. You may notice I have included keyboarding in the course, however it is not to be so strict with teaching fingering, but to orient young kids with the keyboard. I would definitely use Dance Mat Typing, a typing website for kids brought to you by BBC schools.

Some of the other programs are opensource or freeware. Some suggestions for activities are web 2.0 applications. My goal is to provide age appropriate technology activities for gifted kids for very little money. What little money we have in such precious programs is best spent in my opinion in providing as much people support and real people involvement in these kids' programs. If I can provide them with really cheap, if not free engaging technology activities, then so much the better.

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