“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Gifted Education 101: Differentiation Through Process

Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process

Photo of Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process

Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process

In the second post in this series, I wrote about how teachers of gifted students can differentiate programming through content. Content differentiation is often the most common form of differentiation.  It along with product differentiation are also the most obvious and visible forms of differentiation.  These forms of differentiation are things which observers might SEE if they were examining the differences between a gifted and "regular" program.   Another very important part of planning for teaching gifted students is differentiation through process.

Process is defined as: 
  • cognitive and affective thinking skills, 
  • learning how to learn, 
  • research and reference skills, 
  • written, oral and visual communications skills.
The Toronto District School board Special Education Department created a flow chart to demonstrate how its teachers could differentiate the program for gifted students through process.

Photo of Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process Flow Chart
Click on image above to view larger PDF version of flowchart.

The first part of the flow chart looks at RESEARCH SKILLS.

Photo of Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process Flow Chart
Research consists of the following skills and competencies:
Organizational Skills: Time Management, Personal Work Space, Planning and Task Completion
Experiential Learning Skills: Hypothesize, Validate, Observe, Big Idea, Assess
Inquiry Skills: Sources of Information, Referencing Information, Selecting/Categorizing Information, Point form notes, Communication, Use of Graphs/Charts
Independent Study Skills:  Organization/Time Management, Problem Solving, Research, Presentation, Independence/Motivation

The second part examines AWARENESS OF SELF & OTHERS.
Photo of Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process Flow Chart
Awareness of Self & Others consists of the following skills and competencies:
Interpersonal Learning Skills: Contribution, Tolerance/Accepting of Differences, Listening, Working with others, Problem Solving
Self-Directed Learning Skills: Goal Setting, Self-Regulation, Strategic Planning, Engagement, Motivation, Self-Direction
Leadership: Role Model, Responsibility, Goal Setting, Communication, Student Led Participation, Activities
Intrapersonal Skills: Reflection, Self-Knowledge, Self-Discovery, Self-Esteem, Metacognition

The final section of the flow chart focuses on THINKING SKILLS.
Photo of Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process Flow Chart

Thinking consists of the following skills and competencies:
Critical Thinking Skills: Gather information, Evaluate Evidence, Consider Alternatives/Implications, Choose/Implement best alternative
Creative Thinking Skills: Generation of Ideas, Combining of Ideas, Analysis of Ideas, Evaluating Ideas
Problem Solving Skills:  Developing Solutions, Creativity, Persistence Organization, Analysis and Applications
Creativity: Fluency, Flexibility, Elaboration, Originality, Application 

I don't know about you, but when I first encountered this flow chart I was TOTALLY OVERWHELMED!  There are 3 areas, 12 skills and a GAZILLION competencies (61 actually)!  The good news is that there is a lot of overlap within each of these areas, and if you start to think about it, the skills outlined can also be effectively integrated with the content and product part of the program.

In Toronto, we are into the second year of implementation of the areas outlined in the flow chart above. At our school we are continuing to explore how to best use this information to program for the gifted students in the intensive support program.  I am by no means an expert at any of the areas listed, but I have learned a lot as I continue to work my way through it.  In our school we focus on all the three areas each year, but we have a specific concentration on ONE area in each of the three grades.  The grade fours concentrate on RESEARCH, the grade fives concentrate on THINKING and the grade sixes concentrate on AWARENESS OF SELF & OTHERS.

As a starting point for the upcoming year, teachers of gifted may want to focus on organization skills with their students.  Most students need help with organization skills to one extent or another and the beginning of the year is a great time to set expectations and goals.

Please download a copy of this Organization Rubric as a FREEBIE.   You can use it to demonstrate the criteria for your students and then help them work towards success.

Photo of Organization Rubric Gifted Education 101:  Differentiation Through Process Flow Chart PDF

In upcoming posts in this series I will focus on each of the areas outlined above and explore some ways you can design a program to help meet the needs of the gifted students you teach.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. Sidney, thank you so much for the rubric! I can't wait to use this with some of my kids that really need to work on this. I really like the flowchart also. I'm going to print it and put it in with my kiddos Gifted EP's in my binder! LOVE!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Alison,
      You are welcome. I will posting more resources as the series continues. I am developing things and refining things I have used in my classroom. The flowchart is a good place to start and then work with the students to determine what their areas of greatest need are. It is excellent for helping you develop a comprehensive IEP.

  2. Wish i could count this for our update. I have a training tomorrow for differentiation!

    1. I hope you enjoy your training! Everyone approaches it differently, which is why I am writing this series on differentiation. The approaches you choose to use are dependent on the needs of the students in the class you are teaching. The more you learn about how to differentiate, the better prepared you will be to make decisions which will impact on the success of your students. Have a great week!

  3. I love this freebie. Can't wait to implement it with my class this year. Thanks!!

  4. Breanne,
    I plan to have more rubrics and other materials I use with gifted students on the blog throughout the upcoming year. Make sure you are following with Bloglovin (or your choice) to get all the updates. Let me know if there is anything specific you are looking for!