What do gifted students need? Learnwell Collective is here to help!
REACH (Reaching, Exploring, and Cultivating our Heads, Hearts, and Hands) is a program Learnwell offers to help students dive deeper into subjects of interest. Each quarter, a different spotlight shines on a specific subject or area of interest.
Spotlights range from dance and movement to science, engineering, or art. Every quarter, our REACH program offers a menu of opportunities open to any student who wishes to explore, go deeper, or learn more in a particular area of enrichment.
What do gifted students need?
The National Association for Gifted Children writes that “students with gifts and talents perform – or have the capability to perform – at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience, and environment in one or more domains.”
At Learnwell, we believe that children can exhibit intelligence in a variety of ways. All children need to be challenged to think critically, grow to enjoy the process of learning as opposed to viewing it as a means to an end, and be given the freedom to explore deeply areas of their individual passion and interest.
Characteristics of Gifted Students
All students, gifted and talented included, show multiple areas of strength and intelligence. They may be highly creative, show an early eagerness to learn, or simply enjoy diving deeper into areas of interest.
How Learnwell’s REACH program is different
Gifted and talented students will not be singled out or pulled from their classrooms at Learnwell. In fact, because our REACH program isn’t exclusively for students who show a propensity for areas of giftedness, all students are allowed to participate in deeper exploration within the context of the Learnwell North Georgia hybrid school structure.
The Learnwell hybrid learning model offers parents the flexibility to take part in a variety of learning opportunities to keep their students challenged and engaged – no matter what gifts, talents, and abilities they possess.
Hybrid learning at Learnwell allows teachers to partner more closely with parents to identify areas where students need to be challenged and areas where they need more support. Teachers work with parents to provide what each student needs, and as individualized as possible.
Teaching Gifted Students
There are two schools of thought when it comes to teaching gifted students: acceleration and enrichment. Acceleration is the opportunity to go faster. Students skipping multiple grades or taking the SATs at age 12 may come to mind when you think of the most extreme versions of acceleration. Enrichment, on the other hand, is going deeper.
With the mental health challenges that this generation faces, we believe that enrichment is the better way. We’re not in a hurry, and we believe that it is really beneficial and healthy for students to better understand their own gifts, talents, and passions. Knowing that all students have areas of strength and intellect, we support gifted students’ desire to explore what motivates them and what sparks their curiosity.
To be clear, REACH is not a gifted program where students’ test scores determine their participation. It is a regular menu of enrichment opportunities for any student to choose from, explore, and engage in.
In addition, our hybrid school model allows for accommodation of accelerated learners because of the strong partnership between teachers and parents.
Examples of Gifted Activities Learnwell Offers through REACH
While each quarter offers a different spotlight, every quarter provides a range of activities for students of multiple interests. Writing contests, poetry readings, and writing book reviews have been some of the writing-based activities in the past. Strong readers are encouraged to explore books at a deeper level, research authors, and learn about the publishing process.
STEM challenges have also been a spotlight. Students have been able to explore engineering at a deeper level, coding, and even typing at the youngest of ages. One month in particular, REACH hosted a schoolwide typing contest. The kindergarten through second-grade students reigned victorious over the older middle school students.
Other activities have included dance, science, history, technology, and math exploration. For example, students had the opportunity to learn about coding programs such as Scratch, Blockly, Code for Life and much more.
Students who are curious about history explored indigenous cultures during Native American Heritage Month, and those who love art can take part in art tutorials, art contests, and creative problem-solving using a combination of art, technology, science, engineering, and math.
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