Our GATE “program”


Posted by Mrs. Ibrahim | Posted in depth and complexity, GATE, teachers, Thinking Maps | Posted on January 21, 2011

I have been “meeting” a lot of people (parents, teachers, and administrators) in the Gifted and Talented community on Twitter  and thought I’d share how my school’s GATE program works.  Hope to hear an overview of some of your programs as well!IMG_0466

First of all, all the schools in my district support GATE students, but in different ways.  The classrooms at my school are of mixed ability.  My school chose to spend the money to hire a GATE teacher to support the approximately 100 students in 4th-6th grades.    The teachers have had trainings in differentiation and have a Universal Access or Workshop time where they work in small groups.  They differentiate the California standards for the gifted students to challenge them.

Here’s where I come in… I pull the gifted students into the library/media center for 1 hour a week to provide even more depth, complexity and enrichment.  One hour a week doesn’t sound like a lot, but it gives me a chance to teach them tools like Thinking Maps (adding a Frame of Reference for metacognition) and Depth and Complexity icons in a homogenous group.  Then, I will be showing these tools to the teachers so they will be able to embed them into the rest of the curriculum.

Another bonus to me pulling them out of their general education classroom is it gives the teachers an hour a week to reteach and review with a smaller number of students.  If a gifted student happens to need to be retaught a concept, the teacher can keep them instead of sending them to GATE with me.

How does your school meet the needs of these students??

Thinking Maps


Posted by Mrs. Ibrahim | Posted in Thinking Maps | Posted on September 4, 2010

thi_mapThinking Maps are visual teaching tools that are based on the 8 thought processes: defining in context, describing, comparing and contrasting, seeing analogies, classifying and categorizing, cause and effect, whole-to-part thinking, and sequencing. The Frame of Reference is added to each map to show metacognition, reflection, and synthesis information.
Thinking Maps are:
      Visual patterns
      Based on 8 cognitive skills
      Can be used in all content areas and all teachers
      Used in combination with depth and complexity

I have been using TMs for about 12 years now with students from pre-K to adult and have found them to be a crucial part of my teaching. I have had success with ELL students, GATE, and RSP. They are about teaching kids to THINK and organizing their thinking to add depth and complexity.

To start using TMs with any class, I introduce about 1 map a week using a topic they are very familiar with: themselves!  I always give them a template for the introduction but from then on I have them draw the maps themselves. This is important so they own the map.