Please click on the link below for more information about the Second Round of GT/HGT Testing:
We’re always looking for ways to challenge and engage all learners – below is a list of Challenge Projects that are designed to challenge all students in all grade levels, and can be done either at school once classwork is done or at home. Projects and topics get more complex and mature toward the middle and end of the list of topics/ideas.
Independent Passion Pursuits: Grades 3-5 – Children have natural instincts to question and learn. Internet-based units (sometimes called Passion Pursuits) use that natural drive, while encouraging students to make deeper connections, use/develop skills in novel ways, and follow individual interests. The following units were crafted for specific Teller students, but can be used by any student with similar interests.
Genre Studies – a variety of projects and activities which are designed to enrich the genre studies in each Teller classroom.
Ms. Bass has partnered with community parents to provide an outstanding after-school enrichment opportunity for a small group of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who were nominated by their teachers. They will focus on using littleBits, which are color-coded electronic building blocks designed for inventing and innovating. The company’s mission “…is to empower the next generation to have the creative confidence and curiosity to always ask why. To test ideas without fear. To take feedback without ego. To use their brains and hands to solve real-world problems when there isn’t a clear answer.” More information can be found at http://littlebits.cc/
Teller – An INTEGRATED Gifted and Talented Magnet
As an Integrated Gifted and Talented Magnet, we’re proud to offer unique academic challenges to our students with GT/HGT designations. This doesn’t mean, however, that the GT Program at our school does nothing for students that don’t have a GT/HGT designation. The majority of the teachers in our school are endorsed by the Colorado Department of Education to provide GT services, which allows for higher levels of teaching and academic support school-wide.
In 2008, Teller Elementary became a gifted and talented magnet school for Denver Public Schools. The Teller community chose an “integrated” model for this program, meaning gifted and talented students would be clustered with other gifted students, and integrated in traditional, mixed ability classrooms. This model was purposefully chosen by parents and teachers as the best method to serve the varied ability levels of students, while modeling the social heterogeneity of Congress Park and the larger Denver community.
The integrated model has also been termed inclusive; “a place where everyone belongs, is accepted, supports, and is supported by his or her peers and other members of the school community in the course of having his or her educational needs met.” (Stainback & Stainback, 1990. p. 3) Creating an inclusive school is a process and involves changes in philosophy, curriculum, teaching strategies, and organization.
The staff at Teller has worked hard to create warm and accepting classrooms that embrace the kinds of differences that are seen in the larger community and are represented in the school; differences in race, religion, ethnicity, family background, family composition, economic level, and ability. While these differences exist and are acknowledged, it is commonalities that are highlighted.
Despite their unique traits and learning styles, gifted students still share commonalities with their classmates. Like their classmates, they have struggles and challenges, capabilities and talents. These may be quite unique, but Teller’s gifted students deserve the celebrations and support they can receive in their homeroom classrooms from caring teachers and neighborhood friends. And while gifted students may share academic abilities, that may be the only thing that they share. Some gifted students need a broader group of classmates in order to find someone similar to them in ways that are personally meaningful.
Academically, gifted students at Teller are supported in their classrooms by their homeroom teachers in conjunction with the gifted and talented specialist. Together, they focus on appropriate, varied, and purposeful learning options. Teller teachers are using the full range of strategies that are commonly recommended for gifted students.
Curriculum compacting is a procedure where teachers outline the goals of a particular unit, determine which students have already mastered most or all of the skills and concepts, and then provide more challenging activities for those students.
Tiered Assignments allow all students to work on the same skills and concepts but at different levels of complexity and abstraction.
Flexible Groupings is the practice of using short-term groupings based upon specific instructional goals as well as the needs of the students.Gifted students may be grouped together to accomplish a specific task or to learn a specific skill, but then may be grouped by interest with students with the same interests. Students might be grouped with students in another classroom, or even in another grade. Although groupings are flexible, they are purposeful.
Enrichment is the presentation of skills and concepts with greater depth, breadth, complexity, or abstractness. This can be accomplishment through tiered assignments or through additional projects or activities (extensions).
Acceleration is the practice of presenting skills and concepts earlier or at a faster pace. This can be accomplished through flexible groupings and/or curriculum compacting.
Independent study at Teller involves choice projects and/or activities that are agreed upon by both the student and the teacher. Some gifted students have personal “passion pursuits;” units of interest that are jointly created by the student and the gifted and talented specialist. Currently, individual Teller students are researching horses, dogs, mythology, inventors/inventions, and novel authorship.
Mentorships are available on a limited basis through DPS. Currently, a Teller student has been matched with a community mentor, who is an expert on mountaineering and wilderness survival. Another student is crafting questions for her interview with a local author.
The degree of differentiation in an inclusive school requires extensive preparation on the part of classroom teachers. Although teachers are surrounded daily by both children and other adults, teaching, by its nature, is incredibly isolating. Teller teachers are supported by their grade level teams, joint planning, the sharing of students, a teacher effectiveness coach, the administration, paraprofessionals, interventionists, special educators, the gifted and talented specialist, and other trained specialists. Many of Teller’s classroom teachers already hold gifted and talented endorsements from the state, and all Teller teachers (with the exception of ECE teachers) will be endorsed by June 2015. New teachers will earn their GT endorsement within one year of hire.
At Teller, classroom teachers collaborate with the gifted and talented specialist in differentiating instruction for their gifted students. These collaborations have resulted in the creation of enrichment and extension resources, the development of interest-based units with and for individual students, consultations about specific students and their needs, team-teaching in the classroom (push-in), short-term pull-out groups, and the implementation of appropriate instructional strategies.
Through the integrated model at Teller, when teachers develop and share their expertise, collaborate across disciplines and grade levels, and implement “gifted” strategies, they ultimately enrich the learning of all Teller students.
Stainback, W., and S. Stainback. (1990). Support Networks for Inclusive Schooling: Interdependent Integrated Education. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
For more information about Teller’s gifted and talented magnet program, please visit Ms. Bass’ website to see the exciting projects our kids are creating: https://msbassbunch.shutterfly.com/
Parents and/or teachers may nominate children for this program in the Fall of each year. Students are selected by the District based on testing, achievement, and teacher recommendations and then are placed at a gifted and talented site. For more information, see DPS’ Department of Gifted and Talented.