Gifted Child & Classroom Differentiation

Updated on September 11, 2009
A.H. asks from Murfreesboro, TN
6 answers

Hello all!

I just started the process in asking school administrators for differentiation for my 5th grade gifted child who needs some additional challenge in school. I supplied test scores and am currently awaiting the school's response. Has anyone ever had to go through this process? Is there anything else I can give teachers and administrators that would help in making the best decision for my child? What can I expect in regards to this process? Are there specific questions I should ask when I meet with them?
Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!

Oh, in response to the questions about him being tested--he has been. He is in a pull-out gifted program for Language Arts and he is also in Accelerated Math. He is particularly bored in Science and would like more challenging work.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Find out what the policy is for your district- not just your school! My son tested out as gifted beginning in 2nd grade. He spent 2nd grade bored and we arranged a reading club for him and other advanced readers on our own. When he entered 3rd grade, the addition of more social studies and science curriculum kept him busier- just because it was something new. Has your child actually been tested yet? There is a big difference between a smart child and a 'gifted' one, both in ability and in behavior.

In our district they start pulling gifted kids out for small group instruction in 4th grade for reading and math, so my son will be leaving the classroom to work with the gifted teacher and a small group of other advanced kids this year.

However, even last year, within the classroom structure AND the grade level, they grouped the kids by where they were at for different subjects. So my son was in the advanced reading group and math group, but pretty much everyone was at the same level at that time for science and social studies.

It seemed to work well- he and his group often 'worked ahead' and got 2 homework assignments instead of one, etc. and no one seemed to mind. One child who is very good at math had completed most of the math coursework on his own before the year had ended, but was only a so-so reader. The teachers did a good job of individualizing the program for different kids, but we were lucky with teachers too.

Many schools allow teachers a lot of leeway in how they put these programs together, but there is usually an 'official' policy for the district and as a parent, you'll need to know about it.

Get together with other parents of advanced or gifted students and work together to get your kids some additional options, extra activities, etc. Don't try and do it alone, just for your kid- its a lot harder!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Our school district just started a gifted science program this year, but you have to be in the gifted math to qualify and it doesn't start until middle school.

My school district offers gifted math, science and language arts. There is some differentiation on the other subjects based on your performance and test scores.

You really need to learn about your school district and their policies. We have a parent's group in our district and that's how I find out a lot. At the most recent meeting several parents were complaining about their child's social studies class and how it wasn't challenging enough. In my district if your child is in band or orchestra, that is a main driver of the schedule they get because they have to schedule in the music class along with their gifted class so they end up with whatever. I wouldn't have known about that except for attending the meeting.

So find out your district's policy and talk to other parents in the same situation. Other parents are a great resource (as I have learned here!).



answers from Chicago on

I have a 14 year old gifted son who has tested in the top 99 percentile since 4th grade. His school wanted to accelerate him a grade, but I refused since he wasn't socially ready. Instead he has taken accelerated math and science classes, being bussed to the middle school from elementary and the high school from middle school when needed. It was kind of a pain to do, but the school was very accomodating and he did very well. Now he's in high school and doesn't have to leave the building and he's loving it! Much less chaotic and he's very comfortable as a freshmen, having taken classes with the upper classmen for years. There are lots of challenges to having a truly gifted child, but lots of rewards too. You're doing a great job by staying involved. Too many of these kids aren't being challenged and end up being bored with school.



answers from Chicago on

Hi A..
I teach second grade and I am all about differentiation. Has your child been labeled as gifted, or do you just think he is? Is there a gifted program in your child's school? Talk with your child's teacher.



answers from Chicago on

I would love it if you could email so that I can ask you some questions about the process your going through. My son just started kindergarten at Mokena Elementary School. I enrolled him in a summer program for gifted preschoolers through Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development. At his admissions testing I was told that he reads at the third grade level and his math is at the second grade level!! So far, he loves all the fun and games in kindergarten, but I'm not sure how long that will last. Today they're learning about the color yellow (he knew all his colors when he was 2). I'm not sure what I can expect from his teacher when she has 19 other kids in the classroom who may not be at my son's level??




answers from Chicago on

As a teacher I can tell you, that differentation is the newest buzz word in education and we are all struggling with how to effectively do this within our classroom. Too often our gifted students are overlooked, they are put to work as peer tutors or office runners, none of which truly enriches them. I would talk with your childs teacher and ask how comfortable she would be with differentiating the curriculum. Your child can do more project based work, this is often great for enrichment students. Talk to the teacher, open doors of communication and most teachers are willing to do what is best for each student.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions