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Administrative Considerations

Principles of a Differentiated Curriculum for the G/T

download Principles of a Differentiated Curriculum for the G/T

Curriculum and Instruction

Vertical or horizontal teaming or professional learning communities can provide structures to develop and implement differentiated approaches to G/T instruction.

Differentiated curriculum should be responsive to the characteristics of gifted and talented (G/T) learners.

Other considerations include the following:

  • Curriculum compacting and flexible instructional grouping should be expectations.
  • Task analysis is a strategy that will help ensure appropriate scaffolding of learning experiences.
  • The development and use of tiered assignments should be a natural result of flexible instructional grouping.
  • Students need opportunities to learn varied research models.
  • Mentor training includes expectations, criteria for evaluation, and formative and summative evaluation.
  • Communication skills (oral and written) need to be taught systematically.
  • Judge training needs to ensure consistency from product to product.
  • An independent study process should be taught in the elementary grades, so students are not dealing with a new process and new content simultaneously. Independent study is more than a historical research paper.


Classroom teachers should consider the following in developing their schedules:

  • If teachers use curriculum compacting, students may use the time when they do not need classroom instruction to work on their project. This approach could limit contact with the student's mentor. This approach would be most beneficial when combined with a scheduled independent study course.
  • When students complete assignments early, they can work on their projects.
  • One day per week or one week during a six- or nine-week period can be dedicated to independent study.
  • Classroom teachers can use one or a combination of the above options to support students' endeavors in independent study.

Administrators should consider the following in developing the school’s master schedule:

  • Classes scheduled in the afternoon periods allow students more flexibility for meeting with mentors.
  • When teachers team-teach two or more courses, students can be allowed larger blocks of time for independent study in a regular schedule.
  • Because of the varied interests of students, there will be scheduling conflicts with elective courses.
  • Block scheduling and accelerated block scheduling will require a greater degree of coordination to allow students in-school time for this type of professional quality work.


Students should have equitable access to specialized equipment, supplies, and resource materials as necessary to complete TPSP projects. Examples of resources that may be required include the following:

  • Equipment—cameras (digital, 35mm, video), science equipment, computers, LCD projectors
  • Supplies—paper (draft quality and superior quality), poster board, transparencies, transparency pens, markers, film, ink cartridges, and notebooks
  • Resource materials—professional periodicals/journals, advanced texts, computers and technology, software, or applications
  • Travel—district-provided assistance to help teachers and students with travel expenses
  • Miscellaneous—postage, letterheads, envelopes, reprography, and refreshments for public presentations
  • Stipends—for the project teacher and other professional educators facilitating student projects

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