As the fall quickly approaches, many teachers and parents are starting to wonder how they can best support their gifted students during the school year, whether they are attending virtual or face-to-face in the classroom. Here are a variety of ways you can help every student.
Organization – Help your students be organized by providing them with a checklist or calendar of some sort that they can keep track of the work they need to complete. Many students like having a list with “must dos” and “can dos” so they are able to do extra work if they prefer. Teaching children to prioritize, and allowing them to have choice and voice in their learning fosters decision-making skills. Google Classroom is a great place to put all the students’ assignments, so they do not have to go to multiple places to find what they need.
Communication – Communication is a big key when it comes to virtual/socially distance learning! We do not want students to get stressed and worn out, especially during these already hard times. Let them know you are still there for them to help them both emotionally and academically. Provide time for students to talk with their peers as well, using tools such as video conferencing so they are able to maintain social connections. This will help alleviate some of the stressors of not being able to see their friends. Hold daily office hours where students can pop on to your video conference to ask questions or just talk. You can also have students sign up for individual or small groups sessions where you are able to answer their individual questions and provide them with feedback on ways to improve their work.
Executive Functioning Skills – Before digging into the academics at the beginning of the school year, try to focus more on executive functioning skills with your students. Talk about time management, goal setting, chunking tasks, self-regulation, etc. Our students need to learn how to manage these different skills, and by teaching the students the skills at the start of the school year and continuing to work on them throughout the year, they can be more successful in managing their time and setting goals whether virtual or socially distancing in the classroom. Executive functioning skills are lifetime skills.
Provide Extra Virtual Challenges – Provide students with challenges they can do at home. This could include virtual escape rooms, creating something at their house, scavenger hunts, etc.
Choice Boards – Choice boards are a great tool to use in the classroom. Choice boards provide options for students to show what they have learned. This would be a great idea to use for virtual learning because the students may not always have the materials you would like them to use for a certain task. Therefore, by being provided choices, they can select ones that fit the materials they have at home.
Talent Show – Each one of our students has a plethora of talents, and they are not always able to show off those talents in the classroom. Let them show their classmates what their talents are through a virtual talent show!
Whether you are teaching virtually this school year or social distancing in the classroom, it is important to let your gifted students know you are there for them academically and emotionally. We need to work together to support them during these challenging times. Using the suggestions above can help you support every one of your students.
Board Member, WI Association for Talented and Gifted