January 2008

 

Happy New Year!

We hope you all enjoyed the holiday season!  As the middle of the school year approaches, we wanted to share with you the benefits of accelerating a gifted student during this time.  Mid-year acceleration may be just as successful as a grade skip at the beginning of the school year due to the fact the decision is made at a logical stopping/starting point in the curriculum.  Below are guidelines used internationally to assist schools in determining gifted studentsí suitability for accelerated progression: 

1.       A comprehensive psychological assessment of their intellectual functioning, academic skill levels and social-emotional adjustment by a trained psychologist should be done for students who are being considered for accelerated progression.

2.       Academically, the student should demonstrate skill levels at least the average of the class she/he desires to enter.

3.       Socially and emotionally, the student should be free of any serious adjustment problems. Principals should be aware, however, that in some gifted students social and/or emotional difficulties may have been caused by inappropriately low class placement. In such cases the situation may be alleviated by accelerated progression.

4.       The student should be in good physical health. The studentís size, however, should be considered only to the extent that competitive sport may be viewed as important in later years.

5.       It is important that the student should not feel unduly pressured by parents/guardians. The student should be eager to move ahead.

6.       The receiving teacher must have positive attitudes towards the grade advancement and must be willing to help the student adjust to the new situation.  The receiving teacher must also have access to professional development, if needed, to maximize his/her capacity to provide for the student.

7.       Judgments about the studentís social and emotional maturity should include input from the studentís parents/guardians and the psychologist. Gifted students are sometimes rejected by their peers. It is important that teachers do not confuse the absence of close peer relationships with social immaturity.

8.       Ideally, grade advancement should occur at natural transition points, such as the beginning of the school year. However, advancement at other times may be desirable where the studentís prior and receiving teachers can easily confer about how best to help the student make a smooth transition.

9.       It is essential that the academic and social development of accelerated students be closely monitored. 

10.   Care should be taken to avoid building up excessive expectations from grade advancement. A small minority of gifted students are so far advanced in their intellectual or academic functioning that one year of advancement will still leave them bored at school. For such students further advancement may be advisable, either at that time or later in their schooling.

11.   Decisions regarding accelerated progression should be based on facts rather than myths. The research literature on accelerated progression reveals that acceleration benefits carefully selected students both academically and socially. Conversely, failure to advance a highly gifted student may result in poor study habits, apathy, lack of motivation and maladjustment.

*Guidelines adapted from Feldhusen, J F, Proctor, T B and Black, K N ĎGuidelines for grade advancement of precocious childrení, Roeper Review, 19 (1), 1986, pp 25 Ė 27

 

  In addition to these guidelines, the following resources on acceleration may also be helpful:

 

 

WebQuests

A WebQuest is an inquiry-orientated activity in which all or most of the information used by learners is drawn from the Internet.  They are designed to utilize the learnerís time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support the learnerís thinking at levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 

 

A Rubric for Evaluating WebQuests, San Diego State University

Here you'll find a ready-made template for scoring or evaluating student WebQuest projects, complete with scoring categories. Checklists with additional scoring criteria to evaluate project fine points are also provided.

 

The Machine called the Human Body (Multidisciplinary: grades 3-8)
This WebQuest is to help students gain an insight on different systems within the human body, including the circulatory system, nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, skeletal system, muscular system, endocrine system and the immune system. 

 

Move over J.K.! (Language Arts: grades 6-8)
In this WebQuest, students are both authors and editors. During week one they write a short story and research how to get their short story published. The last step is for them to write a persuasive business letter trying to convince an editor to publish their story. In week two, they become editors. They evaluate each others' work, revise and edit it. Then students write a business letter to the author giving suggestions on how to make the story better.

 

Digital Poetry (Thoughts In Motion) (Technology: grades 9-12)
Poetry meets the digital world so students can explore the written word in a new light.

 

As always, if you are looking for assistance, ideas or resources, please feel free to contact us at edguild@davidsongifted.org 

 

Davidson Institute Updates

 

Davidson Academy of Nevada Logo 

Applications Available for 2008-2009 School Year

 

A free, public school for profoundly gifted pupils on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, The Davidson Academy of Nevada is seeking qualified students to apply for the 2008-2009 school year. The Academy is specifically designed to meet the needs of profoundly gifted middle and high school students, starting at the sixth grade level and beyond. For admission details, please visit www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu/Admissions.

 

On Saturday, January 12, 2008 The Davidson Academy will host a special information session and campus tour for prospective students and their families, and all others interested in learning more about the Academy and the University of Nevada, Reno If you are interested in attending the tour, please RSVP to Breanne Jones at bjones@davidsongifted.org by Monday, January 7th.  ________________________________________________________________________

2008 THINK Summer Institute Application Available

Applications due January 30th, 2008

 

For more information on the THINK Summer Institute, or to download an application, please visit www.THINKSummerInstitute.org. _____________________________________________________________________________

2008 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications Available

Applications due March 26th, 2008

 

For more information on the Davidson Fellows, or to download an application, please visit www.DavidsonFellows.org.

 

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.

 ~Author Unknown