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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in elementary education from the University of South Florida. His...
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A Can't Miss Lesson for Gifted Students!

Want a full-proof lesson for gifted students?

Read on.

I learned this lesson from a colleague, and it works really well with a variety of subjects. First, I need to refer to Bloom’s taxonomy (revised version), which features six levels of thinking.  At the bottom, students simply memorize facts and regurgitate them. At the highest level of the pyramid, students synthesize information and create-the most complex thinking.

These higher-levels are what you want to aim for when building lessons and activities for your gifted kids, who require more challenge, rigor, and creative expression.

Now, for the lesson.

STEP 1: Based on the subject at hand, select a test that students regularly take. It could be a reading or math formative issued by the school district or a Common Core practice test. Multiple choice/short written response work best for this exercise.

STEP 2: Explain to your students they will be creating a test for others-rather than taking one themselves. I hook this lesson by telling students they will be working as my teacher assistants for the week.  I also tell them that we will share the finished student-created tests with other teachers in hopes they will administer them as practice tests.

STEP 3: Provide students with a lesson packet, which includes a checklist of what to include in the test, such as an answer key. The packet also contains a grading rubric and a sample test that they can follow.

Depending on the type of test, you can provide students with the content to use for the test questions. For instance, for an ELA test, you could provide a grade-appropriate passage or require them to find their own.

I also require students to create certain types of questions, based on Common Core practice tests. You can have them design text-evidence questions, multiple-answer questions, two-part questions, questions that use graphics, etc. This ups the challenge level and avoids them creating the same type of basic comprehension question throughout the test. We also talk about creating wrong answers that are not too-farfetched and that may possibly catch the test-taker off guard if they are not careful!

STEP 4: Provide the time and resources for students to complete the test. I have them use Microsoft Word since it is a friendly format for typing out questions, and students can easily print the test when finished. Feel free to have your students explore other tools.

STEP 5: Score the finished product and hold a conference with the student to talk about what went well and areas of improvement. Have students provide copies of the test to other teachers at the school and ask them if they would consider using it in class.

This lesson is a sure-fire way to cognitively challenge kids at a higher-level, not to mention it gets them more familiar with test formats, which as you know, can change overtime. Personally, my gifted students become fiercely engaged in this lesson, and I can almost see the wheels turning in their heads as they try to create challenging questions that stump classmates.

Please let me know how this lesson works out with your kids.


Take care,