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5 months ago

What happens in class? Challenge.  Risk taking.  Problem solving.  Responsibility.

As the Gifted Case Manager for elementary students in the Bangor Area School District, I work with gifted identified and high ability students from Kindergarten to Grade 6.  Classroom instruction depends on the individual needs of the students, but most students will receive some combination of English Language Arts, Mathematics, and  problem solving activities.

English Language Arts - Main Resources
Mathematical Problem Solving
General Problem Solving

About Our Math Activities

5 months ago

The primary goal of the mathematics activities in the gifted/challenge classes is building number sense, mathematical problem solving, and a deeper understanding of mathematics. Through puzzles, word problems, or math scenarios, students build their understanding of math principles.

Early Elementary - K-2. The focus is on setting up the problem, determining what is needed, and working through the logical steps to solve the problem.  Students use workbook resources like Problem Play, PETS, and Number Sense.  Students usually work one grade level above in their regular math class.

Late Elementary - 3-6.  The focus is on building problem solving independence and an understanding on the internal logic of mathematics.  Students participate in the Math Olympiads international math completion.  Students use their understanding of arithmetic, geometry, and number sense to solve real world problems.  

  • Grade 3 - Continental Math League problems serve as a transition to more complex mathematical thinking.  We use the grade 2-3 band of problems in order to build early abstract math problem solving skills.
  • Grade 4 - Let the Olympiads begin!  Students begin their training with the Math Olympiads competition problems.  Grade 4 focuses on problem solving strategies from Creative Problem Solving in School Mathematics.  Students work on and compete on Level E (grades 4-6) math problems.
  • Grade 5 - Students continue work with the Math Olympiads.  This year focuses on selected topics in problem solving that examine the internal logic of mathematics.  Students work on and compete on Level E math problems.
  • Grade 6 - Students continue to work with the Math Olympiads at an advanced level.  This year focuses on supplemental math skills required to successfully complete the Level M (grades 6-8) math olympiads.  Students are introduced to geometry and algebra concepts this year.  Students work on Level M problems but compete on Level E math problems.

Junior Great Books

5 months ago

The Junior Great Books (JGB) is our primary ELA (reading and writing) resource for grades 3-6.  JGB is text- and inquiry-based -- basically, we actively engage with the text, asking questions and seeking answers from the text itself.  

JGB requires close reading of each short story with multiple opportunities for writing with each story we read.  Students are required to complete any assigned JGB activities prior to class to meaningfully participate in class discussions.  The Junior Great Books is based on shared inquiry to explore important ideas and build English Language Arts skills.

Gifted Identification Process

12 months ago

Many parents ask about the process of identifying their child as gifted.  By Pennsylvania law, gifted students are supported in school in reading, writing, and mathematics.  Students can be identified as gifted any time, but IQ, the primary method of identifying gifted students, is more reliable and stable around 3rd grade.  

Most parents decide to participate in the gifted identification process in order to give their students more challenge in school.  This is a worthy intention.  My only caution is to make sure the student wants to be challenged and is ready to do the extra work.  

Here's a brief overview of the gifted identification process.  If you think your child may be gifted, start here.  After you've made a determination that your child may be gifted, the fun begins!

Step 1:  Identifying Potential Students

  • Parents request their child to be screened for giftedness in writing OR
  • Child Study Committee recommends student is screened for gifted after a review of student data
Step 2:  Gifted Screening.  A guidance counselor will work with your child to screen him or her for giftedness.  If the student is identified as potentially gifted, further testing will be recommended to parents.  Sometimes, this screening process is skipped for a more comprehensive testing.

Step 3:  Full Testing.  If a parent opts to continue on the gifted identification process, a licensed school psychologist will work with the student on a variety of tests and assessments.  Teachers and parents/guardians will be asked for their input.  This process may take several months.  

Step 4:  Recommendations.  A school psychologist will write a Gifted Written Report, which will present the results of the testing.  If a student is identified as gifted, the school psychologist will suggest which types of gifted interventions should be considered - reading, writing, and/or mathematics.  

Step 5:  Initial and Follow Up GIEP Meetings.  Each gifted student will be issued a Gifted Individual Education Plan (GIEP). Decisions on behalf of the students will be made by the team based on the results of the Gifted Written Report, classroom observation, parent input, and school/state assessment results.  Students will be considered for either enrichment and/or advancement in the areas of his/her giftedness.  We will meet at least once annually (more if necessary) to review the Gifted IEP placement.