When done well, discussion in the classroom can be a really powerful tool for learning and engagement. Many teachers talk of the fantastic outcomes from using DMIC’s talk moves in their maths programmes. But engaging those gifted learners in high-level and highly effective discussion can sometimes be a little tricky. Here at NZCGE we’ve put together a few things you could try out, and some resources to explore, that might help you make classroom discussions work really well for our gifted learners.
What to do with…
Gifted learners who… don’t like to share that much
Try post-it discussions. Some gifted learners are introverted, shy, anxious or scared of ‘getting things wrong’, so they are reluctant to talk that much. To get them engaged you could try: having them use post-it notes to add their ideas to a discussion. They could use words or symbols, and the post-its could be actual physical ones or digital ones (like using Jamboard or Padlet).
Read more about - Introversion and gifted learners
Gifted learners who… share too much!
Try apple or core. Conversely, some gifted learn ers LOVE to talk and end up dominating discussions to the point where no one else gets a word in! To get them to focus their conversational efforts, try holding up a picture of an apple or a picture of an apple core… holding up the apple means that anyone can talk about ‘the whole thing’ with lots of detail. Holding up the apple core means ‘just the core’... just the essence of an idea. You can model this strategy yourself really easily, teach it directly and it is very simple to use.
Read more about - Gifted and the gift of the gab
Gifted learners who… need to move and groove.
Try active discussions. Who ever said that having a great discussion meant sitting still? Use ‘get up and go’ discussions where students are moving around. These can be as simple as ‘go stand around the art table if you agree or go to the back door if you disagree’ or making a standing continuum. You can add much greater complexity (which our gifted kids love!) by having ‘walking discussions’ where students share a new perspective, idea or question each time they bump into someone OR they repeat something they have heard OR they actively seek out different opinions.
Read more about - Tips and tricks for great discussions from The Philosophy Man