Talented & Gifted
Gifted and talented learners, by virtue of their cognitive, creative and leadership attributes, may require special approaches in education. The Woodbridge School District seeks to maintain a learning environment sufficiently flexible and supportive so that gifted and talented students can participate in enrichment and accelerated learning experiences commensurate with their unique needs and abilities.
As well, in addition to the social and emotional needs common to all students, children identified as gifted and talented may have social and emotional needs related to their giftedness. The Woodbridge School District Gifted and Talented Program seeks to help children understand the nature of their giftedness, and when appropriate, have opportunities to explore their social and emotional development.
Goals of the Program
The following goals are established to offer a continuum of program services for advanced-level learners:
- Ensure that gifted education services are an integral part of the general education program.
- Provide differentiated instruction and curriculum to enhance student achievement and performance.
- Provide for the social and emotional needs of advanced-level learners.
- Recognize and develop diverse abilities and talents.
- Provide comprehensive professional development for teachers to help them meet the needs of advanced-level students.
- Provide opportunities for students to explore unique interests and apply abilities in small group settings:
- Students working in small groups can voice more, concentrate time in areas of interest, explore different perspectives, apply skills in context, develop higher levels of thinking, and pursue a passion.
- Support the development of autonomous learners through the use of metacognitive strategies:
- Students have the opportunity to work independently, and interdependently to develop the ability to reflect upon and evaluate their work, taking responsibility for their learning.
- Support the implementation of Differentiated Instruction in the regular education classrooms:
- Students benefit from planned, individualized extension activities of the concepts and content being taught in the classroom. Teachers develop these activities through application of flexible grouping, tiered lesson planning and curriculum compacting.
- Support teachers in expanding their repertoire of differentiation strategies and ability to identify and serve gifted learners:
- Teachers benefit from observations of other classrooms, book groups, on-going professional development in the classroom and specific workshop experiences. Teachers improve their ability to differentiate instruction and meet exceptional needs of students through having release time, support and resources.
- Provide opportunities to support students to express and explore social and emotional development:
- Students gain understanding and acceptance of their giftedness through participation in individual and/or small group processes facilitated by School Psychology/Counseling staff.
Levels of Service
School wide enrichment includes foundational skills & tools and the development
of critical & creative thinking:
differentiated lessons K-6
modeled lessons to develop thinking skills in all students
general exploratory activities
Additionally, school-wide enrichment may include opportunities for additional challenge and extended learning experiences:
differentiated experiences and enrichment
cluster grouping for activities or projects
consultation between classroom teachers & specialists
Enrichment and extensions for identified students include:
- collaboration with content area specialists
- instructional seminars
- cluster grouping for long-term projects based on interest
- curriculum extension units
Additionally, services for identified students may include highly challenging curriculum & instruction:
- acceleration by subject
- independent study
- resource group
- open studio
- counseling services
Under current regulations, public school districts in Connecticut are required to identify 3-5% of their student population as gifted and talented. The process for identifying these students is decided upon by school district personnel. School districts are not mandated to provide services to students.
The TAG Committee consists of classroom teachers, special education teachers, specialists, Special Services staff, and administrators. This committee works closely with Special Services and supports grade level teams in the screening of nominations for gifted and talented identification. Once students are formally identified they are invited to participate in activities that provide academic challenge and creative outlet.
Parent Resources for Talented and Gifted
As recommended by the
Connecticut State Department of Education
Gifted and Talented -QUESTIONS & ANSWERS FOR PARENTS
Provided by the Connecticut State Department of Education.
Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG)
CAG is a volunteer driven, non-profit organization whose membership of parents and educators work to promote the welfare and appropriate education for gifted and talented students. Links on the home page include, among others: events, advocacy, law and policy, hot topics, and frequently asked questions. www.ctgifted.org
CAG Understanding and Challenging the Gifted: A Teacher's Handbook
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
This is a national-level advocacy group consisting of parents, professional educators and affiliate groups from many states that support gifted education. The home page provides links to enrichment/summer programs, parent association membership, parenting information, and publications and material. NAGC, 1707 L Street, Suite 550, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 785-4268, FAX (202) 785-4248. www.NAGC.org.
The Association for the Gifted (TAG)
This group is a special interest group of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). It is an advocacy group that focuses attention on the needs of the gifted within the broader needs of diverse and special needs children. A great link to the ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education is provided on this home page. CEC, 11920 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091, (703) 620-3660, FAX (703) 264-9494. www.CEC.sped.org.
Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)
The mission of SENG is to improve the quality of life for gifted individuals so that they might appreciate, understand, and enjoy fully the intellectual and emotional talents they possess. The home page provides browsers with articles, gifted related web sites, and electronic lists and discussion groups. www.sengifted.org.
World Council for Gifted and Talented Children
This is an organization that works to network educators of gifted children around the world. They have member services as well as publications for teachers and parents. They publish a journal, Gifted and Talented International, twice a year that deals with current theory, research and practice. They also publish World Gifted that provides current information about the field and acts as a forum for dialogue about pertinent international issues. www.world-gifted.org
Johns Hopkins University
Center for Talented Youth
5801 Smith Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21209
Phone – 410-735-6278
Fax – 410-735-6200
Distance Education Courses
Family Academic Programs
Julian C. Stanley Study of Exceptional Talent
Acceleration by Subject
Through the differentiation strategy of curriculum compacting, students do not continue to work on what they already know. Instead, instruction is planned that is more advanced and challenging with a focus on student readiness and motivation.
Grouping of identified or non-identified students in a heterogeneous classroom for the purpose of matching students needs to the appropriate instruction.
Instruction in a regular classroom to a cluster group of students by a specialist in conjunction with the regular classroom teacher.
Provision of instructional information/materials by specialists to the regular education teacher so that appropriate services to students may be provided in the classroom.
Curriculum Extension Units
Opportunities for students to participate in thematic units that engage them in advanced-level thinking, questioning, and research. Students are nominated for participation by teachers based on a variety of performance indicators.
The practice of informally grouping and regrouping students into smaller clusters according to specific goals, activities, and individual needs. The present use of flexible grouping in differentiated instruction is an on-going, ever-changing process of matching curriculum with student needs.
General Exploratory Activities
Activities designed to maximize exposure to a wide variety of experience in areas of interest. These activities may include field trips, speakers, cultural arts events, and interest centers.
Self-directed study/project/research of a selected topic under the guidance of a teacher.
Discussion-based sessions on specific topics focusing on advanced higher level process skills. Students develop a broad a range of advanced-level skills in preparation for study and creation of a product on a chosen interest under the instruction and guidance of professionals.
Specialized in-depth, long-term, advanced study or internship with a community member and under the direction of an educator knowledgeable about gifted and talented education.
Lessons designed to teach students how to think more effectively. The teacher models, or “thinks aloud”, while applying higher order strategies to text or a problem. Thinking strategies can be used in any curriculum area, and students are given opportunities to practice the strategies in several content areas.
Opportunities for students to engage in long-term projects in the arts or in technology through the use of open time scheduled in those special areas.
Groups of identified students’ serviced outside the classroom. The groups are based on students’ abilities, needs, and interests and are designed for accelerated content and process skills development.
Open-ended experiences designed to encourage students to explore and manipulate ideas and materials. A form of differentiated instruction, response lessons challenge and extend student thinking in all subject areas and tap student potential in critical and creative thinking.
Counseling assistance planned in coordination with the parent/guardian and provided by professional familiar with the characteristics and social-emotional
development of gifted and talented students.