Research Based Tools to Challenge Gifted Kids

A Teacher’s Toolbox for Gifted Education: 20 Strategies You Can Use Today to Challenge Gifted Students
By Todd Stanley
(Routledge/Prufrock Press, 2022 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Erin Corrigan-Smith

Gifted education is on the rise. Districts across the nation are focusing on adding gifted classes and expecting teachers to learn about gifted strategies and ways to inspire students to reach their fullest potential.

However, there is more to gifted instruction than just increasing the “rigor,” though that is the buzz word in education today. Ideally, gifted strategies can be applied to learners at all levels to push gifted students further and to bridge the gap for learners at other levels.

A Teacher’s Toolbox for Gifted Education is a practical guide, sharing strategies that can be implemented in any academic setting. Stanley, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati teaching gifted education and an educator for over 25 years, offers practical research and evidence-based strategies we can implement to increase engagement in the classroom.

Strategies for most settings

Though most of the strategies are intended for the secondary classroom, the approaches discussed can be modified to work in almost any setting. The strategies included call on on those “hot ticket items” in the educational zeitgeist of today – namely STEM and PBL focused activities to inspire today’s learners.

The book has ideas on how to decorate a room to introduce students in a round-about way to how instruction will look within the classroom walls. Each chapter discusses a different strategy, from use of board games in the classroom to how to effectively run differentiated centers.

Each strategy is further broken into focused ideas for implementation in different disciplines. And there are ideas for cross-curricular team-ups as well.

Scales reveal realistic time commitments

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect to the book is the rating scale for each exercise which gives a realistic rating for how labor intensive the strategy is for educators to implement. A teacher can quickly locate a strategy to pair with an activity and get a realistic idea of how much time they need for proper execution.

Though the book is fairly thin, it is packed full of useful information, tips, tricks, and ideas for effective classroom use. There are even linked YouTube videos included that illustrate examples of the strategies in practice for those who happen to be visual learners or for those who need a quick refresher.

Overall, this text is a great option for gifted teams to use for researching new ideas, or for grade level teams to find strategies that can be used to help struggling learners reach higher levels. Not all the ideas are practical for all settings, but each strategy can be added to a teacher’s toolbox to increase student engagement and academic rigor in the 21st century classroom.

Erin Corrigan-Smith is a secondary ELA teacher in a suburb of Atlanta. She has a B.A. and a M.A. in English, and her focus of study is children’s literature. She has recently returned to school to earn an Ed.D. in Reading and Literacy. In her downtime, she enjoys going to her family’s cabin in the North Georgia mountains with her husband and dog, to read, to complete her never-ending piles of homework, and to relax.



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