Gifted education v. differentiation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there any benefit to 'gifted pull-out' programs as opposed to higher level academic work?  My oldest DD is in Kindergarten.  She has never had an IQ test, but is clearly well ahead of her peers.  I'm not sure if she is a high achiever, gifted, or maybe a little of each.  I participated in a 'gifted' program in elementary school, and looking back, it didn't seem particularly helpful.  I remember being given a construction paper cut in the shape of a had and being told to glue it onto another paper and use crayons to turn it into another object (i.e, upside down hat becomes a boat).  We did these type of activities a lot.  DD's school does a lot of differentiation.  Kindergarten has about 10 reading groups.  She is in the highest reading a late grade 1/early grade 2 material.  Its much easier than what she reads at home.  Math has 4 ability groups.  She is in the highest one working on double digit addition and subtraction.  We're working on multiplication at home.  I'm wondering if the differentiation is enough, or if I should be asking the school for more.  I don't know if her school even offers gifted programing (it is a charter).  Any thoughts, suggestions? 

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#2 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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Is she happy where she's at? does she seem bored, or understimulated?  Do you notice she's trying to make things  harder for herself? 

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#3 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's happy with school, at least the social aspects.  She complains about the work (particularly math) being too easy.  DD is a very compliant child, so she does whatever is asked of her is school.  I don't think anything at school thus far is challenging...  Her behavior is always excellent though, so I'm wondering if teachers don't notice that she isn't being challenged. 



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#4 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 05:21 PM
 
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If she's complaining she's bored and things are too easy, I'd definitely request testing and research what options you have available to you.  Kindergarten is set up to be interesting in just about every way, usually, so if she's bored now she might be really bored in grade 2.  Knowing what your options are is a good start

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#5 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 05:50 PM
 
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In general, gifted pull-outs don't work. Our son had one which he loved but it was non-academic. They wrote, produced, filmed and edited the school newscast as well as produced a series of short educational movies. Each of these kids were accommodated individually within the classroom and/or through subject acceleration. They did not make-up work that they missed in the class. It was just an opportunity for the GATE kids to work together and relieved them from some of the repetition in their regular class. Most pull-outs are poorly executed and often cause more trouble than they are worth.

 

Whether differentiation is enough really depends on the individual child, level of giftedness and the flexibility of the curriculum. Personally, differentiation alone was not enough for my kids. It took a combination of full grade acceleration, additional subject acceleration, in-class differentiation, open-ended curriculum, GATE clusters, highly gifted classes and a very flexible school district to make things work for DD 15 over the years. DS 11 needs a little less not because he's less gifted but because he's a different personality and had some other alternatives... subject acceleration, GATE cluster, foreign language immersion, gifted pull-out and in-class differentiation has made for a positive schooling experience for him.

 

So, continue to ask for differentiation... start with her strongest area or the area she's finding the most frustration. She may enjoy the gifted pull-out when that becomes available but don't expect that will solve any issues she's currently having. In the same vein, if you find it isn't working, don't feel badly pulling her out and asking for something else.


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#6 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 07:00 PM
 
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My solution so far has been to make myself available to my son's teacher to offer differentiation at times that will reduce boredom for the high achievers (for instance, a reading group during the time when she has to do remedial work with the students who aren't reading at grade level). I think that this works better than anything, if the teacher is amenable to it. Realistically, she doesn't have enough time in the day to serve both the high performers and the low performers, so it's the low performers who get their needs met most consistently in the classroom. I don't expect that to change. 

 

The pull-out gifted program starts next year, and I think it will be fun for my son and his peers, but I don't think it's going to be any great shakes academically. I'm thinking about formal afterschooling next year.

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#7 of 8 Old 03-14-2012, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, thanks for the ideas.  For now I think we'll stick with the diffentiation in class.  She only has a couple of months left of school for this year.  I'm hoping that in first grade, they'll move her up more than one grade level for math.  I'll continue to work with her over the summer in math and reading.  The reading comes naturally, as we both love to read books.  Sometimes its a little more challenging to find appropriate math activities.  Any suggestions?  :)



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#8 of 8 Old 03-15-2012, 09:11 PM
 
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I went through my first gifted/IQ testing in Kindergarten. It was suggested by the teacher, and turned out to be a good time for my parents to see how far ahead of the game I was. They chose differentiation for as long as it would work; by 2nd grade, I was in a 4th grade reading and a 4th grade math class (I'd just leave my class for part of the day and walk down the hall to 4th grade rooms). Then I skipped a grade. I still needed some differentiation because I was so far ahead in math in particular. 

 

Things got a lot better after I skipped a grade because I fit better intellectually and maturity wise with my new class. In middle school, I also participated in the gifted pull outs, and they were silly. Silly, silly, silly. Arts (creative time), our language/english course was gifted, and we learned Spanish. It was a little fancier than what the other kids did, but that's about it. Could have just been our district, though, who knows. 

 

Anyway, the most important thing for me was that my parents believed me when I told them how bored I was at school, and worked with the administrators to find ways to challenge me (and then being ahead allowed me to complete some college during high school). And they continued it at home... we had Spanish and French programs, typing programs, books lined around the wall of the basement; everything from the classics to young adult lit. I also had a REALLY fun math game on the computer, but for some reason the name of it is escaping me. For the early 90's, it was a pretty fancy set-up and it was outrageously fun for me. Looking back, I think it all contributed to my continued intrinsic motivation as far as schooling. 

 

I also wrote a lot down about my experiences as a gifted child, at the time it was therapeutic and now it's very useful. I believe my 3.5 y/o DS is gifted and I am grateful to be able to get inside his head in some ways as we get closer to school age. 


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