Thursday, March 26, 2009

Curriculum Development for Advanced Learners

“What Works: 20 Years of Curriculum Development and Research for Advanced Learners”
Dr. Joyce Van Tassel-Baska
Keynote Address: NCAGT Conference (March 26, 2009)

· How do we determine what works?
· It is not a linear process . . .we build theories based on what really works in practice
· Theory . . . Research . . . Practice
· Differentiated Curriculum is needed based on the different needs of gifted learners . . . high power curriculum that is designed for gifted learners
· Integrated Curriculum Model . . . came from her understanding of the research and combining the things that we know work . . . advanced content dimension, issue/theme, and process-product
· The value of the ICM is that it brings together what works best for gifted learners
· A set of goals for gifted learners is a very important part to gifted instruction
· It is also very important that teachers use teaching and learning models for working with these students (the most powerful models to use with any level student)
· Authentic assessment tools can tell us a lot more about the authentic learning of our students
· Curriculum for the Gifted does go along with the core standards
· For the Science curriculum, PBL is used to organize and guide the development of lessons
· Wheel of Scientific Investigation and Reasoning (doing of science as opposed to having science done to them) . . . laminated poster?
· PBL Science Units . . . students who have been exposed to this model are better equipped to developing their own investigations
· PBL is one of the most motivating tools for teachers and students! It is a mutually reinforcing and motivating kind of approach. Studies have found that it is beneficial for all types of learners (average and above) . . . shows growth!!
· Project Clarion . . . research findings for primary grades . . . show significant growth in children exposed to this type of instruction across the board (regardless of SES)
· Social Studies Curriculum . . . history is the catalyst (interdisciplinary area)
· Language Arts Framework is advanced and challenging literature
· Hamburger Model for teaching Persuasive Writing . . . research growth is outstanding!!! Have to use Laminated Poster in class?
· LA Research suggests that 2 areas show gains: literary analysis and persuasive writing
· Through using a structured approach to writing, we can increase critical thinking abilities
· To enhance Critical Thinking: Jacob’s Model is a scaffold to move from lower order thinking to higher order thinking skills (gains in ability, discussions, and interest)
· What works in assessment
· Use of multiple assessment including assessments that tap into higher level thinking and problem solving
· Assessment Instruments on Website . . . public domain. . Look at and USE
· Test of Critical Thinking (TCT)
· Performance-based Assessments
· Persuasive Writing Pre-Assessment (examples in handout)
· What works in professional development for High End Learners?
o Use teaching and learning models to demonstrate high level instruction
o Training on materials to reduce inferences about application
o If teachers see that students are responding by doing something different based on them doing something different, they are more likely to continue . . . so they need to try things to see what works and helps make changes
· Lessons Learned:
o Today is always here . . . tomorrow, never
o Lets do the things that we know work for gifted students
o Curriculum design matter . . .you have to know where you are going . . . and assess it
o Curriculum development matters . . . we have to try it out so we will know what works
o Curriculum development requires content experts and teachers working together (teachers know kids so they are the best translators of key ideas into appropriate words)
o If we provide high power learning models and give students the opportunities to use them repeatedly (5 times or more), they will transfer and work
o The more kids have the opportunities to practice these kinds of skills and high level thinking, the better results we will get!
o Learners from low-income background benefit strongly from high-powered curriculum
o Use of authentic assessment documents authentic learning (PBL is good but not only way)
o Implementation of innovative curriculum requires monitoring to keep it going (even when money runs out)

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