Enriched Curriculum for Gifted and Talented Middle School Students
To provide a stimulating and challenging language arts curriculum, Connections Academy has formed an exclusive online partnership with theGreat Books Foundation. Our high-ability middle school students excel using the foundation’s highly regarded Junior Great Books® program.
A Respected Curriculum
The Junior Great Books curriculum is based on the idea that everyone can read and understand excellent literature—and that literature has the power to engage the imagination as well as the intellect. Students in our gifted and talented language arts programs read great literary works and use them as a launching point for deepening their comprehension, critical thinking, and writing skills. They complete a variety of learning activities, both online and offline, and may participate in individual and group projects.
Creating a Lively Discourse
Central to this program is Shared Inquiry™, a method of actively interpreting a text with others in a group. During LiveLesson® sessions, teachers serve as Shared Inquiry discussion leaders, posing thought-provoking questions and guiding students to reach their own interpretations of the text. These real-time discussions give students the opportunity to develop social and communication skills as they interact with their gifted and talented peers. Gifted and talented language arts students gain experience in:
- Presenting ideas logically and persuasively
- Supporting their opinions
- Listening actively and carefully to others
- Agreeing and disagreeing constructively
- Responding to other students’ ideas, questions, and comments
- Revising ideas and evidence based on Shared Inquiry discussion
- Writing description, narrative, expository essays, and persuasive essays
Teachers may also offer enrichment activities for gifted middle school students to express themselves creatively, to explore topics of special interests, and to integrate cross-curriculum subject matter into their language arts projects.
For middle school students who are gifted in math, Connections Academy aspires to deepen the understanding of and interest in mathematical concepts, to ignite creative and critical thinking skills, and to fuel a lifelong passion for the power of math.
Our superb, certified teachers understand that to keep exceptional middle school students appropriately challenged and motivated, they need to be accelerated through the basics. These experienced teachers also recognize—and accept—that gifted students think differently and may make intuitive leaps or employ unusual approaches and strategies to solve mathematical problems.
Our gifted and talented middle school math program empowers students to work above their grade level. Rather than focusing on computation, gifted and talented students are immersed in advanced content with higher levels of complexity and abstraction, rich in mathematical reasoning and problem solving. Gifted and talented mathematics students engage in learning activities that include:
- Solving multifaceted, open-ended problems with real world applications.
- Interpreting, predicting, and analyzing mathematical situations
- Thinking analytically and creatively
- Participating in high-level thinking and good mathematical discourse
- Exploring interesting problems with other of like interests and abilities
Teachers also have the flexibility to customize lessons, enabling students to explore topics that interest them in greater depth or to work on group projects with their gifted and talented peers.
At Connections Academy, gifted and talented middle school students who have a passion for science benefit from an advanced curriculum that emphasizes gaining an understanding of important scientific concepts rather than the memorization of facts. Our teachers engage these high-ability students as active investigators, encouraging inquiry, as well as first-hand exploration and experimentation.
Using open-ended problems and high level questioning, teachers lead their classes in discussions to examine issues and encourage creative, critical thinking, as well as scientific objectivity, skepticism, and curiosity.
As students study scientific ideas and concepts in depth, our gifted and talented middle school science program introduces them to real-world applications. As they progress, advanced middle school students have the opportunity to examine more abstract subjects and problems of greater complexity. Students are also instructed in experimental design and the scientific process, equipping them to conduct their own original research. Gifted and talented science students gain experience in:
- Discussing scientific problems
- Analyzing information and data
- Developing a theory or hypothesis
- Designing and planning experiments using the scientific process
- Conducting research
- Interpreting and judging results
Teachers may also offer these advanced middle school learners opportunities to independently explore topics of special interest, to participate in group projects with their gifted and talented peers, and to integrate cross-curriculum subject matter into the study of science.