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Wide Range, Even in Gifted Class

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Wide Range, Even in Gifted Class
Old 09-27-2009, 06:11 PM
 
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This is my first year teaching a first grade self-contained gifted class. The class is brand new in my school, but we have had one gifted class in each grade, 2nd-5th grade, as well as three or four gifted classes in 6th, 7th, and 8th. I have 24 first graders who have all been identified as "gifted" through testing, yet there is still such a HUGE range of levels and abilities in the class. I have children reading on Guided Reading levels between C and M. I also have children writing full paragraphs, and then children still writing strings of letters. `

I just want to know if anyone has experience such as this. Also I am hearing from the teachers of the older gifted classes to start looking (already!) for children who need to be taken out of the gifted program for second grade. There is no written criteria to identify who should or should be in the program once they have past the test - though children are taken out when they are not performing up to par. I thought I would be working on above grade level material, but there are some children who are not above grade level at all in some areas.
I would like any advice possible!
Thank you,
Stephanie


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2nd Grade Gifted Teacher
Old 09-28-2009, 07:06 AM
 
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I teach the 2nd grade gifted class at my school and am the specialist for the school....24 first graders is a lot identified. Statistically speaking, those numbers are off and you have some that have been identified that are not. We identified 5 first graders at my school last year and the most we have in a grade level currently is 8. What testing do you use and what criteria?
The second thing to keep in mind is that just because they are gifted, doesn't mean they are gifted in the core academics we cover in class. They may be wonderful artists, talented musicians, great listeners, leaders, etc. See if you can discover/identify an area they are gifted in outside of the classroom.
Another factor to look at (I'm experiencing this currently) is that bottom line they may have had a poor teacher last year and may quickly catch up under a more careful eye.

With all this in mind, it sounds like your school/district needs to examine your identification process because it sounds like it is too broad.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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I agree with the PP. Your identification numbers are way over the norm. Also, there is such a thing as gifted underachievers.
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Gifted in NYC
Old 09-28-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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Well I am in a New York City school where children are tested for "giftedness" using the Bracken School Readiness Assessment test and the Otis Lennon School Abilities test (OLSAT). According to these two tests, children in NYC who score 90% or higher are offered spots in gifted programs throughout the city. My school is one of those choices. The first grade program is brand new this year in my school. Most of the 24 children in my class came from different schools (public, private, Montessori...) all over New York City. I help administer the tests each year and the two tests used don't assess reading or writing skills. They are looking more at logic and higher order thinking skills. They are also not looking at other kinds of giftedness , such as musical or artistic. I can understand my children have the ability for logic and higher thinking minds but I don't know how some of these children focused for an hour and a half to take these tests when they can't even focus for 5 minutes in the classroom. It's only been 2 weeks so far, but already I'm feeling pressure to "watch for children who shouldn't be in the gifted program." However there is no written criteria for what kind of performance a child needs to be in the program. I will not make these judgments at all yet, because I know first grade is such a crucial year of academic growth. It's just a new and interesting situation for me.
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Ah Ha :)
Old 09-29-2009, 03:12 PM
 
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That makes much more sense for your numbers to be so high if they are coming from other schools. If your admin is pressuring you to identify non-gifted, I would ask for criteria or "red flags" that you should watch for.
Also, could some of the ones not focusing be bored? Or be the underachievers the other poster mentioned?


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give them time
Old 10-25-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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I have a similar situation, but I only have the students one day per week - but I have them from first to fourth grade. My first group of first graders are now in third grade. They had huge variances in ability level in first grade, by the end of second they'd leveled out. I would hesitate to remove anyone after one year, if you have accurate testing. The academic level is not always a good indicator of giftedness in younger students, as they have a wide variety of prior knowledge and life experiences. After two years of consistency school in school instruction, you should see a less drastic gap. Also, if you do have a student or two who continue, I'd recommend testing for a learning disability (my own child is HG w/ADD and a reading disability) before removing them from the program.
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