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Ability Grouping: Is your child’s elementary school preparing for this?

June 9, 2007
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It will be interesting to see how many CISD elementary campuses implement ability grouping this fall. You will know YOUR child’s campus does this when:

  • You see fewer classrooms with GT kids. Grade levels will have more than 6 GT kids ability-grouped in just a couple of classes depending on the number of GT kids in that grade level. The objective is to reduce the number of times a  classroom is impacted by pulling kids out to be challenged in an appropriate manner for them. Specifically, clustering  provides gifted students with a connection to other gifted students and an intellectual challenge in the regular classroom.
  • You observe your child’s classroom teacher differentiating the curriculum for GT kids. Pre-tests will be given before  new material is introduced to determine who needs instruction – not just in spelling either. Once a student demonstrates mastery of the regular curriculum, the teacher then offers a deeper understanding of the subject learned. After all, he/she is gifted all day long – not just when pulled  out for Challenge class.
  • Each clustered class has a skilled gifted teacher who has gone through professional development training and continues to do so throughout the school year.
  • You hear how your child’s challenge teacher is planning with his/her classroom teacher(s), so “Challenge” is more closely  tied with the classroom curriculum. A Challenge teacher is a gifted specialist who provides coaching for the teachers of  gifted students.
  • Your school’s principal ensures that gifted students are grouped and resources are provided for teachers as crucial steps to help ensure a more challenging curriculum to address their learning needs. All students benefit from being in a cluster classroom, because the teacher is able to offer extension materials to all students if they have grasped knowledge of the subject.
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