Sunday, June 12, 2011

Higher Level Curriculum vs. Higher Level Enrichment

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We received a graduation announcement from the son of a good friend of mine.  He was not only graduating from High School, but from the local community college.  My son, who will be a senior in the fall, said, "I  admire the real scholars, and I always feel a little bit bad that I am not one of them."  This caught me off guard, because this particular son is about as gifted and talented as they come!  I decided that another post on the value of high level curriculum, AND the value of high level enrichment might be in order.

We live in a very rural area.  Our high school is small, but it offers some AP and Honors classes, all of which my children have taken.  The nearest university is 30 miles away, so dual enrollment is very difficult.

Our school does, however, have a plethora of activities going on, and students can be involved in many things at one time, (unlike my large city high school, where you could only do one thing at a time!)  
The son I mentioned, has taken great advantage of all of the activities, and has met the needs of his giftedness, through enrichment, quite well.

Just for an example...
Here is a list of what he did last year:
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Started on the varsity soccer team; had one of the starring roles in the fall musical; sang with the school's premiere musical group, (which included trips, competitions, and activities); qualified at district drama to go to the state drama competition, and attended the state drama competition; was a male cheerleader and continued to take gymnastics weekly so that he could  learn more stunts, (they cheered at all of the varsity games); competed in district speech and qualified to attend the state speech tournament, which he attended; had a starring role in the spring play; participated in student government; continued to lift weights daily; took honors classes; ran for and won the position of student body president for next year, and got good grades.

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 The point of all this is not to say that graduating from the Jr. College is not a wonderful thing,it is a great opportunity, but if you do not have access to higher level learning, do not despair!  Gifted students can prosper and even earn great scholarships to college, if they take advantage of theenrichment resources around them. (All 4 of my children who are old enough to go to college, graduated from our rural high school and attended the university of their choice on scholarship!)

I have mentioned Joseph Renzulli before, and his Schoolwide Enrichment Model.  Just as a review, this model for gifted programs relies heavily on enrichment for bright students.

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The Department of Education wrote an article about Mr. Renzulli's Enrichment Program.  A portion of the article is quoted below.  You can access the entire article here.
"Joseph Renzulli (Renzulli, Sand and Reis, 1986) created this model specifically for the education of gifted students so that teachers could provide programs that are qualitatively different.
                    The Enrichment Triad Model consists of three types of enrichment:
  • TYPE I - General Interest / Exploratory Activities
These activities are designed to provide students with as wide a range of experiences as possible, and include excursions, club, interest centres, visiting speakers and brainstorming sessions.
  • TYPE II - Group Training Activities / Skills Development
These activities are designed to develop thinking and feeling skills and students are involved in designing, experimenting, comparing, analysing, recording and classifying. Skills to be developed include creative and critical thinking, learning how to learn, using advanced level reference materials and communicating effectively.
  • TYPE III - Individual and Small Group Investigation of Real Problems
Students apply the knowledge and skills they have developed while working through Type I and Type II activities. They become investigators of real problems, working on specific areas of study towards presentation to a real audience. Activities include researching, debating, surveying, making a presentation, writing a journal article or producing a book or play.
A significant feature of Renzulli's Enrichment Triad model is that all students can work at the first two levels, and the activities generated within these levels support the third level. Type III activities are more appropriate for gifted students, as they allow for the generation of creativity."

The enrichment activities that my son participated in throughout the year fit right into the enrichment triad activities suggested by Joseph Renzulli's model.  Summer is here and it is a great time to involve your children in enrichment activities.  Be creative, follow your student's interests, but most of all...have fun!  Enrichment can be exciting and great fun!


Read more here:
Vertical Enrichment
Enrichment for Gifted Children in Math
Ideas for Enrichment
Ideas for Enrichment for Younger Children
More Ideas From e-How Family
A List of Enrichment Websites

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