PVSchools gifted education curriculum complies with District curriculum guides and with state standards mandated by the Arizona State Board of Education. Gifted Education Services staff use the following guidelines for instruction of gifted students.
Academic Objectives Targeted in the Gifted Programs
- Promote critical thinking and reasoning abilities.
- Develop and expand thinking skills.
- Utilize differentiated strategies for learning.
- Build or extend cognitive language skills.
- Facilitate opportunities for learning.
Gifted students require a mathematics curriculum that not only challenges their current abilities but also pushes them into new realms of understanding. This type of differentiation is best provided through an acceleration model that allows students to demonstrate mastery of grade-level standards and move through the curriculum receiving instruction at their challenge levels.
Through the Content Replacement/enrichment model provided at each elementary school, gifted students in Grades 4-6 are provided the opportunity to engage with a challenging curriculum that is one or more years beyond their current grade, as needed.
Students in Grades K-4 are provided this challenge through the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model. This setting allows the gifted cluster teachers to pretest mastery of grade-level mathematics standards and instruct students at the level appropriate to their learning needs.
Language is not just the expression; it is the essence of understanding. The Gifted Literature curriculum consists of four key components:
- Literary comprehension and analysis studied through the lens of literary elements and devices
- Strong, advanced vocabulary development through the study of Latin and Greek stems
- Grammar study to enhance the understanding of language in written context
- Study of Poetics
These four components allow gifted students to extend their understanding of language beyond the literal and inferential into the realm of evaluative analysis. Students in grades 4-6 are given the opportunity to expand and enhance their understanding through either a content replacement or content enrichment. Students in grades K-4 are presented with challenging vocabulary and text through the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model.
Gifted Education Curriculum Objectives
Gifted students receive instruction that is differentiated in content, process, product, learning environment and assessment.
Creative and Productive Thinking. Students will study techniques that help in the search for innovative solutions. They will develop unique and refined conceptualized ideas.
Problem Solving. Students will learn strategies for rational decision making and apply them to problems and issues in today’s world.
Thinking Skills. Students will make connections between present knowledge and new information derived from varied materials, media, and environments. They will identify premises, analyze relationships, and validate conclusions.
Communication. Students will use communication to construct knowledge through a variety
Research. Students will make effective decisions about the identification, implementation, and presentation of ideas.
Personal Development. Students will recognize their strengths, needs, and individuality, and develop skills to achieve their potential while making meaningful contributions to society.
Areas of Differentiated Instruction
Content. Complex, abstract ideas presented in a variety of disciplines, including interdisciplinary curriculum.
Process. Higher-level thinking through Bloom's Taxonomy and the Multiple Intelligences
Products. Alternative methods of demonstrating mastery with a range of complexity
Learning Environment. Student-centered, flexible grouping based on readiness, interests and abilities
Assessments. Pre-assessment and testing out-of-grade level curriculum
Common Core and the Gifted Learner
The adoption of the Arizona Career and Readiness Standards significantly impacts the education of all students, including gifted and high-potential learners. For decades, best practices in education have evolved from gifted education.
This has occurred because in gifted education, we are continually seeking methods for challenging students to go beyond the basic understandings and move into deeper levels of understanding. The move toward Common Core standards reflects this practice on a large scale as they derive from instructional practices and strategies educators have been using in gifted education for decades.
Gifted education in Paradise Valley Schools focuses on interdisciplinary concepts, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving across domains. With implementation of the Common Core, we will continue to differentiate for gifted learners within a set of standards that are reasonably rigorous in each subject.
We recognize the importance of continuing to accommodate the needs of gifted learners and provide the additional rigor and challenge these students require for making continual progress. The standards also encourage us to move beyond acceleration methods to provide enrichment and critical thinking throughout all of the content areas. We address this by ensuring that there are open-ended opportunities to meet the standards through multiple pathways, more complex thinking applications, and real-world problem-solving contexts. New assessments will drive the instructional process. Gifted learners will be assessed through performance-based and portfolio techniques that are based on higher-level learning outcomes.
- Rigorous curriculum demands that the students:
- Go more deeply into content
- Explore the complex nature of the content
- Consciously include thinking skills in daily activities
- Explore project-based activities
- Connect to both the world of the student and the teacher
- Learn strategies more than answers
- Understand how to ask the right kinds of questions
- Think creatively with agility
- Bring adaptable skills to the market
- Communicate efficiently and effectively through various modalities
- Access, analyze, and evaluate information