Learning Options for Gifted Kids: A Podcast for Parents

by Joel McIntosh

Parents are often presented with a menu of learning opportunities for talented kids. From special accelerated classes and dual-enrollment college programs, to homeschooling and online courses, the decisions about quality learning opportunities can seem endless.

In this podcast, I sit down with Carol Fertig, the author of Raising a Gifted Child: A Parenting Success Handbook, in order to help make sense of some of these many options.

Carol is a parent and has been involved in gifted education as a teacher and administrator for more than 25 years. Her blog, Peak Educational Resources, highlights the best resources for parents and teachers of students with high learning potential.

Carol and I touch upon a wide range of learning options for gifted kids and ways that parents can become involved in sorting through those options.

In her interview, Carol makes reference to four important Internet resources:

 
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Differentiating Instruction for Gifted Students

by Joel McIntosh

Laurie E. Westphal discusses strategies for differentiating instruction for gifted students in a mixed-ability classroom in this podcast.

Laurie E. Westphal discusses strategies for differentiating instruction for gifted students in a mixed-ability classroom in this podcast.

As we discussed in a previous podcast titled Ability Grouping of Gifted Children, increasingly teachers grapple with the task of differentiating instruction in a way that challenges every student in a mixed-ability classroom. While there are many approaches to accomplishing this goal, Prufrock Press' Differentiating Instruction With Menus series is one of the best ready-to-use resources available on the topic.

In this podcast, I speak with Laurie Westphal, the author of the series. After teaching science for more than 15 years, both overseas and in the U.S., Laurie now works as an independent gifted education and science consultant and as a very popular Prufrock Press author of 30 books.

Differentiating Instruction with Menus

Differentiating Instruction with Menus

Laurie's Differentiating Instruction With Menus series offers teachers exciting tools to challenge and reach both gifted and advanced students in the classroom. Whether these students need enrichment, choice in independent practice, or even additional academic options resulting from curriculum compacting, these books provide teachers a complete ready-to-use resource that includes a rubrics that can assess different types of products, free choice proposal forms to encourage independent study.

This interview was originally recorded in 2010. Since then, Laurie has expanded her Differentiation Instruction with Menus series to address gifted and advanced learners in all of the core subject areas for grades K-8. She has also written a new series designed to support typical and struggling learners in those same subjects. She has also developed two high school editions of the Differentiating with Menus series which address Algebra I/II and Biology.

In the podcast, Laurie discusses differentiating instruction, the use of menus to modify student learning and progress, and the exciting student work that can result.

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Ability Grouping of Gifted Children

by Joel McIntosh

Prufrock Press Gifted Education Podcast xsm.jpg

In the past, gifted children often were placed into special gifted classes or accelerated learning groups. The thinking went that if you could group gifted children together, it was easier for those students and their teachers to move at a faster pace. However, the practice of grouping students by ability has become a controversial topic in many schools. As a result, during the last few years we have seen the dismantling of special gifted classes. We’ve seen teachers move away from the use of ability groups in their classrooms.

How are gifted students affected by this change and does it make sense to move away from ability grouping?

To answer these questions, I’ve invited Todd Kettler to join me in discussing this topic. When this podcast was first recorded, Todd was the director of Advanced Academic Services at Coppell ISD (Coppell, TX), a district outside of Dallas. However, since then, Todd received his Ph.D. from Baylor University and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas. Todd is on the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Advanced Academics and is the past chairperson of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented’s Research and Evaluation Committee.

Todd makes reference to the research supporting ability grouping in his interview. For more information on this topic, there are two excellent resources:

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