Remember being 10, 12, 15 years old? Your teacher just asked you to do some sort of icebreaker to get to know the kids around you. Ugh. How can we break the ice in ways that really let the classroom warm up–while also engaging gifted students’ academic interests?
How can we get gifted students to deepen their understanding of literary and historical characters? How can we bring together isolated facts and help students visualize and analyze the impact of a person on a story or a time period? A Body Biography is a way students can use images and writing to express that analytical and conceptual understanding of characters.
This post, the first in an occasional series, provides a framework for infusing rigor and relevance into a standards-based curriculum by looking for opportunities to help gifted students develop conceptual understanding and requiring them to use that understanding in the context of real-world problems.
Problem-based learning may be open-ended and ill-structured, but problem scenarios require well-defined characters, plot, and setting. Setting the scene right–with high-stakes, high-impact specifics–helps students understand the importance of the conundrum they’re about to tackle. What elements are key to your scenarios?