Gifted Cluster Grouping for Grades K - 3rd
Wildfire Elementary School utilizes a cluster grouping model for gifted students in grades Kindergarten - 3rd.
Gifted identified students are clustered into Gifted Cluster classrooms with the grade level teacher who has been designated by the building principal, Mr. Schoonover. Gifted Cluster teachers hold a gifted endorsement issued by the state of Arizona, or are working toward acquiring one. In this model, gifted students receive differentiated curriculum and instruction in all content areas on a daily basis.
The gifted teachers at each grade level for the 2021 - 2022 school year are:
- Kindergarten - Mrs. Ridenour
- 1st grade - Mrs. Yancy
- 2nd grade - Mrs. Stringfield
- 3rd grade - Ms. Guarino
In the Cluster Grouping Model, gifted students are clustered into mixed-ability classrooms at each grade level. The teacher has had training in understanding, planning for, and instructing gifted students. If there are more than eight gifted students in the grade level, two or more clusters may be formed.
High-average students are placed into classrooms without the Gifted Clusters to create a balance of ability/achievement levels in classes across the grade level. Because all classes maintain a slightly narrowed range of performance and abilities, this method of grouping students does not represent a tracking system.
Classroom compositions are carefully structured with two main goals: to ensure that there is a balance throughout the grade level, and to reduce the learning range found in any given classroom. This system provides opportunities for teachers to more readily respond to the needs of all their students.
Gifted Cluster teachers plan appropriately challenging instruction for their gifted students. This may involve acceleration, enrichment, and various extended learning opportunities targeted to develop the following skills through learning in the content areas:
- Logical thinking
- Reasoning skills
- Critical and creative thinking
Gifted students receive instruction that is differentiated in content, process, product, learning environment, and assessment:
- 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.
Honors Pull-out Model for Grades 4th - 6th
Wildfire Elementary School Gifted Specialist Mrs. Glenda Martin provides content replacement and content enrichment to gifted students for grades 4-6. Students receive accelerated and enriched instruction in mathematics and/or language arts, depending upon their area(s) of identification and needs. Students receive content replacement in lieu of the regular grade-level curriculum provided in their homeroom classes, and content enrichment in addition to instruction provided in the homeroom.
The curriculum in these content areas is accelerated to an appropriately challenging level. In language arts, students receive instruction through grammar and literature. Students move beyond the regular language arts curriculum using advanced levels of analysis and critical thinking. In math, students pursue topics such as probability, logic, statistics, algebra, and geometry at advanced levels.
Enrichment during Honors classes may include:
- Accelerated Mathematics
- Latin stems studies as a foundation for interpreting the living languages
- Socratic Seminars
- Junior Great Books
- Classic and Contemporary literature
- Project-Based Learning
- Core Knowledge integrated curriculum
- Advanced problem-solving instruction
- Classic literature
- 4 level grammar
- Math Olympiad & Continental Math competitions
- Grammar and vocabulary instruction using the work of Michael Clay Thompson
Cluster Grouping Information & Resources: Books, Articles, and Research
- Learn more about the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model in this four-part series on: implementation, administrative support, tips for success, and sustaining and evaluating progress in the model.
- Blog article about Gifted Cluster Grouping by Dr. Dina Brulles, Ph.D.
- Cluster Grouping of Gifted Students - Frequently Asked Questions - By Susan Winebrenner, M.S. - Adapted from ERIC Digest EDO-EC-01-2
- "The Cluster Grouping Handbook: How to Challenge Gifted Students and Improve Achievement for All" - A Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model By Dina Brulles, Ph.D. and Susan Winebrenner, M.S., by Free Spirit Publishing.
- "Maximizing Gifted Students’ Potential in the 21st Century" from the American Association of School Administrators, e-Journal - By Dina Brulles, Ph.D. and Susan Winebrenner, M.S.