Understanding Your Gifted and Talented Student:
“Gifted students generally have unusual talent in one or occasionally two areas. Below are six areas where we will find giftedness. No child will be gifted in all six, but some may be in more than one area. Within specific academic ability, students again usually have one or two subjects that they are best in and passionate about.” National Society for the Gifted and Talented
Researched-Based Strategies for Our GATE Students:
At Westlake Charter School we use the strategy of purposeful clustering to address the needs of our GATE students within the classroom. The background of clustering can be best described by this excerpt from The Cluster Grouping Handbook: How to Challenge Gifted Students and Improve Achievement for All, by Susan Winebrenner, M.S., Dina Brulles, Ph.D.
“Gifted students who are clustered demonstrate high achievement because they experience more consistent challenge in their learning activities. Their scores on achievement tests show forward progress. When gifted students are purposefully clustered in otherwise heterogeneous classes, their learning needs are much more likely to be noticed by the teacher. They also enjoy more attention to their social and emotional needs because of the specialized training the teacher receives. Cluster grouping also makes it more likely that gifted kids will work to their full potential and take advantage of available differentiated learning opportunities because they will have other students to work with on these advanced learning tasks. Having serious competition from other students like themselves, they begin to develop more realistic perceptions of their abilities and to better understand and accept their learning differences. With so many opportunities to work and learn together, gifted students become more comfortable working at extended levels of complexity and depth in a given subject or topic. Their willingness to take risks in learning experiences increases when they spend time with others who share the same interests, have similar abilities, and can also benefit from the available differentiation opportunities.”