“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

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Gifted Education 101: Program Differentiation through Product

Gifted Education 101:  Program Differentiation through Product

Photo of Gifted Education 101 Differentiation through product Teachingisagift

"Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing 
assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction."*  
Carol Ann Tomlinson

In previous posts I have begun to explore program differentiation through content, process and product and environment.  Today's post will examine the many ways teachers and students can differentiate final products to allow students to demonstrate their learning.

The following examples can be used in Intensive Support Programs (congregated classrooms such as the one I teach), in withdrawal programs or a regular classroom.  Teachers can differentiate based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile.

Gifted Education 101:  Program Differentiation through Product

Some examples of differentiated products at the primary and junior level can include the following:

  • Provide students with CHOICES of how to express required learning (e.g., create a puppet show, write a letter, or develop a mural with labels); ( click here to read about CHOICE menus as well as Extension Menus) which offer a variety of ways for students to show their understanding;

  • Use rubrics that match and extend students' varied skills levels;

  • Allow students to work alone or in small groups on their products; 

  • Encourage students to create their own product assignments as long as the assignments contain required elements;

  • Use Bloom's Taxonomy of Thinking Skills to create higher level thinking challenges within any given unit or topic of study; 

Photo of Blooms Revised Taxonomy
  • Encourage student leadership opportunities which could include opportunities for peer-tutoring, coaching and teaching;

  • Encourage use of independent learning centres within your class;

  • Provide an interesting selection of texts, reference, science experiment books, novels, non-fiction texts, etc. which challenge higher level thinking;

  • Offer students the chance to be news editors for newsletters, etc. ( My former principal used to have my students be the official editors of the school newsletters);

  • Provide opportunities for Independent Study Projects (ISP) - topic, format, plans, assessment, etc. negotiated between student and teacher - there are many ways these can be used in the classroom - as an alternate activity while the class is done something else, as an ongoing project to be worked on when other work is completed, etc.

*Excerpted from: Tomlinson, C. A. (August, 2000). Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades. ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

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