Think about the worst inservice workshop you ever attended. When you filled out the workshop evaluation at the end, chances are you wrote (or at least thought) something along the lines of one of these:

This was a waste of my time.

It was irrelevant.

I had better things I needed to do today.

I didn’t see the point of what I was asked to do today.

I already knew this and probably could have taught the workshop myself.

This is the situation in which bright and gifted students often find themselves. When the classroom teacher is forced to slow the pace for students who can’t keep up and to reteach some concepts several times until the majority of the class understands, the faster students are constantly feeling like they could be using their time for something better.

Differentiated work you give to students, especially highly able ones, should always be worthwhile and meaningful. Instructional time in school is limited enough without asking some students to wait for their peers to catch up to where they are. Consider some of these options when you are planning activities for these children:

  • Curriculum compacting
  • Structured independent study
  • Acceleration
  • Personal goal-setting and self-evaluation
  • Increase complexity (not quantity)
  • Depth of proof or reasoning
  • Self-paced learning/programmed instruction
  • Extension menus