When you think about a succulent plant and its ability to survive dry conditions, you think about its natural ability to be resilient no matter the circumstance and how gifted students have similar characteristics. Even though many traditional classrooms do not provide optimal environments for gifted students, there are ways we can adjust to accommodate the needs of gifted students and watch them thrive. SIG academic courses provide these optimal educational environments and help nurture their gifts and talents.
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the word thrive is to progress despite circumstances; our role as educators, parents, or advocates is to facilitate educational opportunities that allow gifted students to grow despite external settings or influences that usually cater to a mainstream learner. Here are four ways SIG programs can support gifted students grow into their potential:
Due to the asynchronous development, gifted students have high-functioning cognitive and intellectual abilities. At school, this can be a blessing or a curse! If their educational settings, do not acknowledge how much or what they know prior to instruction, it often can be a repeat of concepts that can yield to a frustrating academic experience. At SIG, we understand the gifted learner does come with various strengths in a given subject matter, and it is our goal to ensure they grow from this knowledge into more complex applications. SIG prides itself in implementing the strategy of pre-assessments to help identify each student’s readiness in all courses and to inform differentiated curriculum and instruction practices.
Choice on its own does not meet gifted learners’ needs, but it provides a platform where students can showcase their creativity and innovation. At each grade band level, SIG students have a choice of course options that help them dive into topics that are meaningful and relevant to the current culture. Furthermore, students choose their pursuit of passion within each course that they will further explore towards a culminating product that helps them develop executive functioning and advanced research skills.
Academic and social settings are always better when you can share it with a friend. How do gifted students identify with like-minded experiences among their chronological-aged peers? Social media can help parents connect potential friendships in new environments. Teachers can also be great “friend matchmakers” because they see students in social environments and can keep an eye out for like-minded peers, knowing that gifted kids are far less-constrained by age-based friendships than typical learners. SIG programs are another way to introduce like-minded peers. Through academic challenging courses and social opportunities, SIG students can have the best of both worlds where they can connect with friends who have similar interests, abilities, and experience life just like them.
Sometimes we unintentionally focus solely on the academic potential of gifted students at the cost of investment in associated soft skills that serve as the catalyst for academic success. Social-emotional development among gifted students is often developed within academic environments and not only isolated to building friendships with like-minded peers. SIG courses specialize in intentionally developing both academic and executive functioning skills through a unique academic feature identified as the culminating product. In each course, students work towards an innovative product of choice and topic of interest to exercise creative thinking and inspire innovation. SIG students develop critical skills such as time management, goal setting, organization of ideas, leadership, communication, advocacy, creative problem solving, and research skills through these unique opportunities.
By: Caroline Daniel, Director of Academics for Summer Institute for the GiftedExplore Courses