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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and author of Meditation in the College Classroom: A Pedagogical Tool to Help Students De-Stress, Focus,...
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Adding this One Line to Your Lesson Plans Could Make A Major Difference for Gifted Students

At a recent meeting of instructional supervisors, I urged them to add one, simple line to a newly revised lesson plan template required for use by teacher candidates at the university.

It read:

What accommodations will you make for students identified as gifted and have an EP (educational plan)?

I asked colleagues to include this on the lesson plan template under the section of “accommodations” for students.

Before I made this request, the section simply required teachers to consider how they would accommodate English language learners and students with disabilities. While these accommodations also need to be in place, I felt it necessary to provide a question that caused teachers to reflect on how they would challenge gifted/advanced learners.

Too often, these students fail to be accounted for in lesson planning, and thus, their needs go neglected in the classroom. In my opinion, effective, strategic lesson planning involves accommodating all levels of learners, not only those struggling with content and standards but those requiring additional rigor and academic challenge.

Adding this one-sentence to a lesson plan encourages the process of differentiation for students who might have mastered the skill being taught or who would benefit from studying that skill in deeper, more complexed ways.

Perhaps this one sentence could motivate teachers to research instructional strategies for gifted learners, maybe even attend trainings and conferences to enhance their expertise in this area.

This one sentence could prevent a gifted student from sitting in school all day, being bored and unchallenged, as so many of these students experience. This sentence could reduce the frustration that gifted students feel, some never expressing it outwardly, on a regular basis. This question could result in teacher collaborating during team planning meetings to brainstorm ways to challenge higher-level learners and seek out the school’s teacher of gifted as a resource.

This simple question could help create a more equitable classroom, where all students’ individual needs are met.           

Yes, this one line could make all the difference.