Wiggle Room

Last night, during a pretty busy storm, I got to thinking about what the ideal gifted school would look like.  I’m sure there are schools out there that do some or all of this or have found that one or two of the ideas just simply don’t work in real life.  In any case, these are just my ‘mind munchings’ on the matter (in no particular order).

  •  Students would work 1/2 of the time on academic issue related to standardized testing, the other 1/2 of the time on topics, projects, research that interested them.
  • Teachers would work in the area of their speciality or passion and not be asked to teach anything else, i.e. a teacher highly interested and skilled with working with ADHD gifted children would do just that.  A teacher with a passion for teaching Language Arts would do just that for any and all grade levels.
  • Teachers are specially trained or knowledgeable about issues such as autism, Augbergers, profoundly gifted, ADHD, etc.  Mechanisms are in place in the program that show that these special needs are being met or dealt with in the classroom curriculum and activity.
  • Programs are divided by the type of gifted child.  Example: the introverted, highly focused child versus the kinesthetically driven, constantly moving child, the overachiever or perfectionist, the dual exceptional child.  Their teacher would be highly skilled on how to motivate that particular type of gifted student.
  • Active informational programs for the parents in active programs dealing with the issues their particular child has or is experiencing at the time.
  • A smooth integration of new gifted students to the program.  Pair up the child with a buddy, provide a place for the student to ‘digest’ his or her new surroundings.  Scaffold the social experience until the child is comfortable in the new school situation.
  • Provide an active place of learning and also provide a place for reflection and thinking.  Encourage each student to do both during the day.  Students need time to reflect on their learning.  Also provide plenty of time for independent play or social play to explore new found knowledge or extend social skills.
  • Portfolios for each student.  A culminating portfolio of all the students best work over the course of the time they are attending the school.  Student projects, assignments, tests, writings plus scores on various standardized testing and a discussion on the student’s strengths and weaknesses from the teacher, parent and child point of view.  Some of the folder can be confidential, some can be for student view.  The portfolios would be documentation of the student progress and thinking.
  • Field trips are sorted by topic, not by grade level.  They are mapped out for the entire school year.  Students are required to attend one field trip in related to each discipline: Math, Science, Fine Arts, Language Arts, History, Social Studies, then they are encouraged to attend as many field trips in their field of interest as financially possible.  This approach would round the individual, yet encourage their passions.  Make sure that each trip is fully described so the parent and student can choose the ones that best suit their interest and needs at the time.  Interest drives their choice.
  • Give the student more control over their own learning.  Use brain based motivational ideas rather than extrinsic motivation to empower the student to move ahead in their learning.  Allow for more choice within a set of guidelines.
  • Have a way that students can show and share their products resulting from their own interests outside of the classroom.  Encourage other students to view and discuss these products.  Value the student work and creativity, share it with others.
  • Provide interactive websites that are playful yet educational.  Students need choices and guidance in choosing sites that have educational and play value.
  • Provide a safe playground. Have students track incidents of accidents and what they can do to reduce those accidents.  Extend this type of real-life learning to other areas of concern within the school environment.  Teacher should bring into the classroom as much real-life learning as possible.


  1. jen said:

    Wow. If only a school like that existed, and was affordable, I wouldn’t lie awake nights wondering what in heck we were going to do with our kid. We have options nearby, but dang, not the moolah for it.

    May 23, 2007
  2. Angie said:

    You are so lucky in Colorado, BTW, just in the Denver area alone there are a number of private schools for the gifted child – in Houston – one! Now, whether those schools are truly serving the gifted child, I can’t say…..

    May 23, 2007

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