Curriculum & Instruction

Curriculum & Instruction

A district should meet the needs of gifted/talented students by modifying the depth, complexity, and pacing of the curriculum and instruction ordinarily provided by the school.

The curriculum shall develop students' abilities to think critically, to communicate effectively, to reason, to solve problems, to value diversity, to seek alternatives, and to learn ways to find answers to questions.  

At Northwest ISD, the education of identified gifted learners is based on the following areas:

Problem Solving & Critical Thinking: The student uses a variety of approaches to solve problems; develops thoughtful questions; plans, organizes, implements, evaluates, and presents solutions.  Students demonstrate skills of complex thinking; see relationships; examine facts and variables; make deductions based on logical reasoning.

Creative Thinking: The student uses divergent thinking; sees things in new and different ways. The student shows fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration in generating and presenting ideas. 

Research Skills: The student asks open-ended research questions and develops a plan for answering them; gathers information from relevant sources; clarifies research questions and evaluates/synthesizes collected information; purposefully organizes and presents ideas/conclusions.

Communication Skills: The student communicates effectively; listens actively; participates effectively in a group.

Through the curriculum and various learning opportunities, students will develop into independent learners.  The student will learn to organize his/her time and work and use a variety of resources.  Students who receive gifted services will learn to set high standards of quality and complete self-directed learning.  Students will also develop innovative products and performances.

Elementary

Units for each grade level are designed with the four GT standards as well as the TEKS, National Association for Gifted Children Student Outcomes, and Texas College and Career Readiness Standards.

Decisions as to the area of further content exploration for the topic should be made with the students’ academic strengths and weaknesses in mind, as well as their interest areas.   Curriculum will also address social & emotional needs of gifted learners.

Parents of elementary gifted and talented students receive both student self-evaluations and progress reports that provide feedback on the four gifted and talented curriculum areas: problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, research skills, and communication skills.

1st and 2nd grade GATES students will receive a progress report every 12 weeks.  In 3rd - 5th grade, rubrics will be sent home with each project’s completion.  Progress reports will be sent home at the end of each semester.

 

Secondary

The array of learning opportunities emphasizes content in the four core academic areas and is commensurate with the abilities of gifted and talented students.   Gifted services are delivered through a combination of GT, PreAP, and Advanced Placement courses.  

6th - 8th Grade ELA

The foundation of the GT ELA curriculum is SpringBoard, the district’s PreAP curriculum.  The curriculum is based on backwards design which provides students with the knowledge and skills needed for success in advanced academics.  Modifications have been made to each grade level to give students the opportunity for depth & complexity within the content.  

Students have opportunities for both problem-based learning and Socratic discussion which calls on students to use higher order thinking skills.

6th & 7th Grade Math

Like GT ELA, the foundation for GT Math is the PreAP curriculum. Because gifted learners tend to move through curriculum at a faster pace, students will be able to go deeper into particular concepts through inquiry and project based learning.

In all other PreAP courses, teachers are expected to differentiate using a variety of strategies considered to be best practices for gifted learners.

High School

PreAP and AP classes in high school are naturally designed at a rigorous level.  AP classes, since they are college courses, are a form of acceleration.  In order to meet the needs of gifted learners in PreAP and AP courses, differentiation of the curriculum, including adjusting the pacing should occur using a variety of strategies.