Sunday, August 9, 2015


This blog post was contributed by Belinda.

Since the beginning of the year we have had professional learning in the area of Gifted and Talented leaners at Newmarket School. To view all the resources- check out our shared folder on the School Staff Site.
The sessions have been facilitated by Brooke Trenwith from Te Toi Tupu.

9th March Creating a shared understanding.

19th May The Over Excitabilities of Gifted Children.

4th August Differentiation

Our third Gifted and Talented session with Brooke was around the theme of differentiation. 

This session took place on Tuesday August the 4th. Brooke challenged us to define what differentiation was - and what it wasn’t. There was a consensus from the group when presented with scenarios designed to get us thinking about whether the strategies shown were differentiated instruction or not.

We then discussed the ways in which we establish which particular students require extension for a particular curriculum area. We talked about the importance of establishing students’ prior knowledge - both formally (pencil and paper tests) and informally (observation in discussions/scenarios).

We were then challenged to consider the levels of challenge we provide for our students by describing the activities we use to extend our students across the curriculum.

The Maker Model was then introduced. Some of us were familiar with the model, for others it was a new concept. This model describes how lessons can be differentiated in terms of PROCESS, CONTENT, PRODUCT & LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. We learned that it is not necessary to differentiate on all dimensions simultaneously.

Next we looked at the differences between extension, acceleration and enrichment, and what this means with regard to our gifted students.

Planning for differentiation was next on the agenda. We looked at the importance of providing a hierarchy of questioning: factual, conceptual, and provocative, in order to establish the levels of thinking in the class. It was stressed that we must ensure that we are planned for content, processes and products that allow for abstract/conceptual thinking - vital for our gifted students.

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