1st Edition

Challenging Units for Gifted Learners Teaching the Way Gifted Students Think (Social Studies, Grades 6-8)

By Kenneth J. Smith Copyright 2011
    202 Pages
    by Prufrock Press

    Gifted students have the potential to learn material earlier and faster, to handle more complexity and abstraction, and to solve complex problems better. This potential, however, needs stimulating experiences from home and school or it will not unfold. The books in the Challenging Units for Gifted Learners series are designed to help teachers provide the stimulating curricula that will nurture this potential in school. The units presented in this series are based on research into how these students actually think differently from their peers and how they use their learning styles and potential not merely to develop intellectual expertise, but to move beyond expertise to the production of new ideas.

    The Social Studies book includes units that ask students to explore the struggles of America's first permanent English settlement in Jamestown, to hold an African economic summit, to study various Supreme Court cases and primary source documents, and to create a Civil War documentary that views the war from the perspective of a person living in a particular state.

    Grades 6-8

    Acknowledgements Chapter 1 Introduction: We Are Intellectual Archaeologists Chapter 2 What Are They Thinking? The Cognitive Processes of Gifted Learners Chapter 3 It’s Not Easy Being Queen: The Story Behind America’s First Colonies Chapter 4 Competing Voices: A Simulation of Antebellum America Chapter 5 The Supreme Court: A Simulation Chapter 6 An African Economic Summit References About the Author Common Core State Standards Alignment


    Kenneth J. Smith, Ph.D., works at Sunset Ridge School District 29 in Northfield, IL, a suburb of Chicago. He currently runs the district-wide enrichment program. In 1995, Ken earned his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Columbia University in New York. He was an American Memories fellow for the Library of Congress, and his articles have appeared in The Middle School Journal and Gifted Child Today.

    Smith takes each of these complex, "ill-defined problems" and breaks them down into well-constructed units. He introduces each unit with a research-based "cognitive connection" and then transitions into step-by-step, teacher-friendly lessons...I really appreciate the creativity of the units combined with the simplicity of the daily lessons. It's the exact formula that I feel teachers need. Plus, these units will truly challenge my 6th graders. I'm so used to having to increase the rigor of all my curriculum, it's quite a great feeling to plug something right into my schedule and not feel like I'm shortchanging my students.,Ian Byrd,Byrdseed Gifted, 2/9/11
    Having personally witnessed Dr. Smith and Mrs. Stonequist's outstanding gifts in the implementation and teaching of many of these units first-hand, I was excited to learn that the units were committed to a formal writing process and published so that students across our county might benefit from their wisdom. Drawing upon his research work in cognitive psychology from Columbia University in New York, Dr. Smith enlightens readers on the different ways in which gifted learners think and process information and how to reach gifted learners in different ways.,Dr. Howard J. Bultinck,Northeastern Illinois University, 3/14/11