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...for my high flyers!

Specific Challenges in Mrs. Gold's Class

1.  Challenge Capsules- After children are finished with their mandatory work, they are rewarded with the option of doing challenge capsules- little capsules that you open up to find a challenge question that usually must either be researched, or requires higher level thinking.

2.  Interactive Notebooks- Students have two different journals in which they can interact with in any way they'd like. The first is their lifebooks. Lifebooks are a journal account of your child's interest and lives. They can write poetry, use drawings, create lists, or any other form of expression that shows their feelings. This is differentiated, as students can challenge themselves to whatever level they can achieve. Interactive Science Notebooks are similar to lifebooks, except that they are only focused on the science unit at that time. Students must express their learning in similar ways as the lifebook journal allows them to, in order to show me what they've learned that day.

3.  Mastery Club- Students can work on the Mastery Club in and out of the classroom, however they must finish mandatory work before going to the Mastery Club.

4.  Nightly Challenge- Students identified as Enrichment will be offered a nightly challenge. This challenge is also available to every student in the class, who would like to do it as well.

5.  Math Challenge Project- Before each math chapter, I conduct a pre-test to see how much information students know about the upcoming chapter. If they know 90% of the chapter's material, I will give them a challenge project that they MUST work on when they finish the daily math journal page. Other students will be working on review math activities, but since students identified to work on the challenge packet have high prior knowledge, they can by-pass the math reviews. If students finish the math boxes and would like to work on the math challenge project optionally, they are allowed.

The challenge project is not extra work or harder work, it's actually a "project" that goes along with the unit we are studying at that time. The project deals with math in everyday life, so students must apply their knowledge to higher levels of thinking.

6.  Higher Level Questioning-  Students will be asked interpretive verbal questions to increase their understanding of a subject.

8.  Extra Credit options are also available to students.

Top 10 Ways to Challenge Students

1.  Students need to have a sense of empowerment; an awareness that because they are special, they are equipped to do the work. However...

2.  Students should also know that good grades are not automatic. Work has to be performed as well as learning of new material and methods.

3.  Assignments should afford the student the opportunity to explore curriculum topics in greater depth and to use independent thought processes to do so.

4.  Self-directed work is recommended as well as to encourage continuing self-motivation.

5.  There must be a sense of purpose or mission. Volumes of work don't make a difference.

6.  Students should know what they are learning really matters in the real world. Some students lack interest and motivation because they don't see the relationship between what they are learning and the real world around them. It is especially important for the teacher to encourage them to see the connection and to make the life applications real to the students. (This is why our Everyday Mathematics Program is great!)

7.  All students need to learn the value of independent learning. Students should be geared toward learning how to research, and where to go to find information. Students should be given the opportunity to explore topics of their own interest. However...

8.  All students also need to learn to work together. They need to listen to one another, and take one another's perspectives. They also need to learn how to present their thoughts to others who might not be thinking the same way in which they are thinking.

9.  Students need classroom experiences that encourage higher level thinking, that involve choice, that provide opportunities for creativity.

10.  All students, must be treated as individuals. Although some children are classified as Academically Talented, they still learn in their own way and must be challenged to their own ability, as any other student would be. My job as a teacher is to recognize that, and provide individual support to their learning styles.



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