Accommodating exceptionally able students

Mariah views practicing step-by-step processes as a waste of time when solutions can be found by just looking at the problem.Students who are talented in mathematics often demonstrate an uneven pattern of mathematical understanding and development, since some are much stronger in concept development than they are in computation (Rotigel, 2000; Sheffield, 1994).

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In addition, the recent emphasis on state standardized testing programs has increased the use of basic skills instruction and drill in an attempt to assure that all students will be successful on these tests (Moon, Brighton, & Callahan, 2002).

A great deal of research supports the conclusion that gifted students need to use advanced materials and curricula if they are to reach their potential (Reis, Westberg, Kulikowich, & Purcell, 1998; Van Tassel-Baska, 1995, 1998a).

By the time these emergent mathematical geniuses arrive for their first formal math lessons in kindergarten, they may have already established their own unique theories of number sense, sequences and patterns, problem solving, and computational strategies. Excellence in educating gifted and talented learners (3rd ed.).

Too frequently, the teachers following the curriculum merely touch on many math concepts, failing to recognize and nurture young mathematicians (Pletan, Robinson, Berninger, & Abbott, 1995).

A more linear approach to mathematics is often a better match for gifted children instead of the spiral curricula often found in textbook series and followed by classroom teachers.

For example, when the topic of decimals is introduced, children with mathematical talent can be allowed to delve much further into the topic, learning practical applications for decimals and the connections between decimals and other mathematical topics.

Formal instruction in elementary school classrooms often lacks challenge for the gifted learner since courses in regular classrooms sometimes have a relatively narrow range of topics, minimal investigation of concepts, repeated drill and practice, and yearly repetition.

The basic mathematical concepts that are presented in kindergarten and 1st grade can be a particular problem for children who have already mastered number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, and counting.

Nevertheless, most teachers have had similar experiences with children who are talented in mathematics and strong in logical reasoning. This article will address these and other questions in an attempt to shed some light on the difficult issues of challenging and nurturing children who demonstrate talent in the field of mathematics.

Unfortunately, many programs for gifted children are inadequate and poorly designed (Heid, 1983), leaving classroom teachers to struggle to meet the needs of gifted children effectively. Characteristics of the Gifted Math Student Whether math problems require computation skills, problem-solving strategies, inferential thinking skills, or deductive reasoning, mathematically talented students are often able to discern answers with unusual speed and accuracy.

Many of these students’ gifted characteristics emerge during the preschool years. Teaching strategies for twice-exceptional students.

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