English Language Arts and Mathematics
Kindergarten through third grade students are not formally identified for gifted education services, nor are they pulled out of the regular classroom for enrichment. In recent years, District 27 has shifted service delivery from pull-out groups during the week to in-class differentiation. The early primary learner who demonstrates competency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening benefits from a teacher who differentiates instruction to meet student needs fluidly throughout the day and week. This focus on differentiation is more natural and consistent as opposed to having a child leave the classroom for an isolated and limited enrichment session. Differentiated instruction in the primary grades may include book clubs using above-grade-level books and stories, writing assignments and research projects, and flexible groupings for reading instruction.
Beginning in first grade teachers utilize an instructional approach called “leveled literacy.” Based upon assessment data gathered, the teacher forms “guided reading groups” to deliver instruction targeted to meet students’ needs. Each guided reading group receives instruction from the teacher throughout the week at their specific level with appropriate resources chosen for their reading group. Guided reading groups are flexible, and student groupings may be adjusted throughout the year in response to student growth. Classroom teachers are highly skilled at utilizing this instructional model, which is aligned with best practices in teaching exceptional learners in the early elementary years. The District curriculum reflects the use of in-class leveled literacy rather than having selected students pulled out of class for enriched reading sessions. In this way, high level literacy instruction is consistently delivered on a daily basis.
At Shabonee School, students are assigned two core teachers; one teacher is responsible for a half day of English Language Arts and the other teacher for a half day of Math, Science, and Social Studies. All 4th and 5th grade ELP students spend half of their day with the ELP teacher for English Language Arts instruction. The students read, discuss, and analyze a variety of novels as related to the Common Core State Standards. They are engaged in writing activities; they study and learn vocabulary and grammar. In addition, students are engaged higher level thinking skill activities and research projects related to their reading.
The ELP program in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade is a humanities based program integrating the reading, language arts, and social studies classes. The students meet with the gifted education teacher(s) daily for these three class periods. The students read and discuss novels using the Common Core State Standards as related to the themes developed at each grade level. The students read outstanding literature and engage in small group as well as whole class discussions. In addition, students deepen their critical thinking and writing skills as related to the novels and the thematic units.
Students who qualify for participation in math extension groups meet with a designated teacher for approximately one hour each week to focus on problem solving, reasoning, patterns, and mathematical communication.
Beginning in fifth grade, students may be identified for honors math placement. Honors math meets for one hour daily as opposed to enrichments sessions offered one hour per week. Many of these students progress to pre-algebra in 6th grade, algebra in 7th, and geometry in 8th grade. Math extensions and honors math placement are determined by analysis of student data, including NWEA, Terra Nova, and other standardized measures.