Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gifted Accommodations.. Say What?

I don't know if I've every really shared with you the loveliness of the school I work at.  Anyway... it's not uncommon for our kiddos to come to school without breakfast (we have a free breakfast/lunch program that I'd say 95% of the students qualify for and receive).  They sometimes come in the same uniform clothes from the day before.  And, at the beginning of the year, I'm lucky if half of my students bring in all of their supplies from the supply list.  It's not the best area.  There are many, many families that struggle.  It's definitely normal that my firsties come in at a preschool or Kindergarten level.  I'm used to working with those students because that seems like my norm.  But...... this year I have a SMARTY PANTS in my class.  I just don't know what to do with the guy! 

This student read all of the Dolch sight word lists... pre-primer, primer, first, second, and third.  NO mistakes.  I got a list of 4th grade words of the internet, thinking to myself "ahhh, this will be challenging for him!"... but, finding out that he could read right through those words.  The ONLY mistakes he made was emphasizing the wrong syllable of the word.  I'm talkin' words like: experience, molecule, although, experiment, Europe, necessary.  I mean, COME ON!  He also BREEZED right through the 2nd grade  Math diagnostic.  In fact, he did better than all of our 2nd graders.  He could spell all of the 2nd grade "challenge" words I gave him, too. I'm stuck.  Completely stuck.  

After speaking with the principal, I was told that I had to provide him with gifted accommodations in the classroom.   I was trying to get him moved up a grade or two for big subjects like Reading and Math.... but, I can't.   To be honest, it made me kind of mad.  I feel like we are doing a disservice to this student.  We do anything and everything for our struggling learners... why can't we do more for him?  We're a charter school... so we don't really follow the same rules as public schools, but I still think there should be some kind of resource for him.  

Now, it's up to ME to push his brain so he doesn't get bored.  Basically, I have to create his own curriculum.  He'll get his own set of sight words, his own spelling list, his own Math activities, and his own Reading activities.  And, I'm supposed to be teaching him these things while I'm trying to teach my other students (who are all pretty much at a Kindergarten level).   Can you sense my frustration?! 

I've been working on making activities for the A-Z Mysteries series books.  I feel like these books have some challenging words for him but he can still read them independently.   Hopefully that's enough for him.  I'm so fearful that I won't push him hard enough.  I feel like if he comes to me at a 4th grade Reading level, he should leave me at a 5th/6th grade level.  So, I definitely have my work cut out for me! 

I'm so sorry to rant and ramble... I just had to get that off my chest!  Has anyone else ever been in a similar situation?  

Thanks for stopping by (and listening to my complaints)!


  1. Hi, Wow what an amazing lil guy. My school suggested Khan Academy an online resource for math for our higher level students. I don't like it for our lil kids but you never know he might like it. Check it out first and its free. Good luck! He could also get involved in some independent research projects in class. I really believe in the teach horizontally versus vertical approach in this case. They are still young and need so much in other areas.

  2. Evelyn - Thanks for the suggestion of Khan Academy! I've heard of it but I've never used it. I will definitely check it out! I think you're right about teaching horizontally. Now, I just have to get moving and creating for this kiddo! Thanks for the comment! :)


  3. I agree with Evenlyn...teaching horizontally is important. My experience with smarty pants like the one you have is that their comprehension (deep level) is at a basic level and their written responses are also usually pretty basic. I have a high reader right now and he is begging me for chapter books but he can not make connections with what we read or ask questions. I told him that after we get that down, then we will move on to chapter books. It is frustrating for him right now, but we all know that reading is so much more than knowing the words.

    Good luck, and I look forward to seeing what you find works with your student!

    Wishful Teaching