EXCEL CLASSROOM CURRICULAR GOALS
The following list describes how the daily classroom experience for formally identified gifted students (in 4th-8th grade) is tailored to meet their needs. It is a district-created document intended to guide both students and their families to an understanding of the specific qualities of giftedness and how Rockford Area Schools supports and promotes those abilities.
You have a right to know about your giftedness and how it makes you different from others, whether it’s your problem solving, memory, reasoning, motivation, inquiry, insight, communication, interests, imagination, or sense of humor. You will be allowed to be passionate about your talent area without apologies. You can feel good about your accomplishments and feel accepted for who you are as a person.
QUALITIES ABOUT YOURSELF TO UNDERSTAND
1: YOU ARE INTENSE.
Gifted doesn’t just have to do with being smart. You might also feel and experience the world with more intensity. You might question more extensively, have more energy, be more aware of your surroundings, see/dream things more vividly, feel emotions more deeply, be more driven, be more empathetic, or be more philosophical.
IN THE CLASSROOM: Understanding these intensities and learning ways to focus them will help you to see them as benefits, not burdens.
2: YOU ARE COMPLEX.
Your brain is wired differently. (They call it a “brain on fire.”) Your memory and the way you process new ideas is very efficient and complex. It’s easier for you to understand and remember more information because of the elaborate connections that your brain makes to decide what is important. You can think about more than one thing at a time and make quick leaps between ideas.
IN THE CLASSROOM: Problems will be complex and involve a lot of information. The complexity might come from how the problem makes you think, feel, collaborate, or create.
3: YOU ARE PERCEPTIVE.
The ability to more easily see the big picture and underlying patterns is a big part of what makes you gifted. It’s easier for you to solve complicated problems because you can focus on what’s really going underneath all of the details.
IN THE CLASSROOM: Finding the principles (or reasons) that are at work will help you achieve a deep understanding of an issue or problem. The process of finding these relationships and patterns is work that truly challenges your brain.
4: YOU ARE ASYNCHRONOUS.
Being advanced academically doesn’t necessarily mean you are equally mature in all other areas (physically, socially, emotionally etc…). In those areas, you might be just the same as other kids your age. This can make life a little confusing.
IN THE CLASSROOM: People don’t automatically succeed in life just because they are smart. We will encourage each other and help with different things as they come up.
GOALS FOR YOU TO STRIVE TOWARDS
1: BE RESILIENT.
You probably have done really well with many things since you were young. This might mean you think everything should come easily. Believe it or not, you’ll be more successful later in life if you have opportunities to struggle in school now. You will become more resilient as you experience things that aren’t easy and realize that it’s okay if a smart person has to work really hard.
IN THE CLASSROOM: Activities will be tough so that you can practice making mistakes in a safe place, with others like you.
2: BE AMBITIOUS
It is probably the case that you find enjoyment in projects that frustrate other students. An open-ended problem requires a great deal of intellectual effort. When you can push yourself through the challenges, you will be achieving at your highest ability!
IN THE CLASSROOM: Unstructured types of problems will be the norm. You will have to form the details of the problem, the solution, and the path in between.
3: BE INTELLECTUAL.
Being intelligent is not the same as being an intellectual. Thinking intellectually involves being able to analyze, discuss, and question controversial ideas (that don’t have an easy answer). These situations cannot be settled by only the facts or personal experience.
IN THE CLASSROOM: With a variety of issues, you will be asked to evaluate the sources of your facts, focus on cause and effect or patterns, consider opposing points of view, and delay forming a conclusion until you have enough information.
4: BE WELL-ROUNDED.
Having a high I.Q. (intelligence quotient) does not guarantee success. You must also have a good:
E.Q. (emotional quotient) - know what you feel and and how feelings affect you and others around you
S.Q. (social quotient) - know how to relate to a world full of other people with patience and respect
C.Q (creativity quotient) - think fluently and flexibly; be original; and elaborate on others' ideas
IN THE CLASSROOM: Depending on your strengths, you will help or be helped with these other areas.
Delisle, J., & Galbraith, J. (2002). When gifted kids don't have all the answers: How to meet their social and emotional needs. Minneapolis: Free Spirits Pub.
Galbraith, J., & Delisle, J. (2011). The gifted teen survival guide: Smart, sharp, and ready for (almost) anything (Rev. & updated 4th ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Pub.
Smith, K. (2010). Challenging units for gifted learners: Teaching the way gifted students think : Language arts. Waco, Tex.: Prufrock Press.