Allendale is constantly reviewing it services for Gifted & Talented students across the district. We structure our program according to grade bands: specific to K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. We implement both a push in and pull out mode. Our K-2 programs begins with Exposure, 3-4 is categorized as Exploration, 5-6 focuses on Divergence and Convergence and 7-8 allows students to learn through guided Independence.
In grades K-2 (exposure), the enrichment teacher, in collaboration with classroom teachers, develops and implements whole class lessons and STEM challenges. These grade level projects inspire students to use their creativity and problem solving skills, while providing opportunities to collaborate with peers and build communication skills. Additionally, the enrichment teacher serves as a teacher-facilitator for techniques of differentiation within the general education classroom. As a result, every K-2 child participates in enrichment experiences throughout the year.
The Enrichment Program for grades 3-7 focuses on exploring disciplines and real-world problems. Both global and local problems are analyzed to foster an empathetic perspective in which students have the ability to generate positive change. Students engage in design challenges, breakouts, evidence assessments, and logic puzzles in an effort to strengthen their creative-thinking, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills. Students examine the philosophical role of ethics, epistemology, truth, and identity, and perception. Students engage with both current events and classic texts, like those of Plato or Shakespeare. Toward the end of this program, the focus is on developing a strong foundation of self-efficacy and advocacy for further application in school and in life.
In grade 8 students will investigate a topic and create a project of their own choosing under the direction of the Enrichment Specialist. This work is highly individualized and is guided by self analysis of skills, strengths, learning styles, interest and passions. Careful planning and communication help to develop the talents of students.
Allendale will continue to review and analyze the optimal way to provide students across the district with enrichment experiences. We are able to provide out students with all the experiences we always had in our hybrid learning environment.
❏ Enrichment education is an integral part of the Allendale School District’s curricular program, including services for students identified as “gifted and talented” and for all students as an extension of the core curriculum standards, grades K-8.
❏ Enrichment education is an opportunity for students to expand their intellectual and creative capacities at an appropriate level commensurate with students’ educational and social development and their specific abilities, talents, and interests.
❏ Enrichment education should be developed according to a spiraling set of themes in grade level clusters:
Exposure (Grades K-2): At a young age, all students should have opportunities to learn, expand, and experience education in each academic area, piquing intellectual curiosity and educational interests. A specialist should work closely with classroom teachers to provide enrichment opportunities within the general education classroom.
Exploration (Grades 3-4): Students in the intermediate elementary grades develop intellectual abilities and interests at varying degrees. Students identified as “gifted and talented” should experience enrichment education from a specialist outside of the general education classroom thus cultivating important intellectual habits of inquiry, problem solving, and independent thinking.
Divergence and Convergence (Grades 5-6): Building on Exploration, students identified as “gifted and talented” should be guided by an enrichment specialist outside of the general education classroom. Instructional experiences should first foster divergent thinking in each academic area and then move toward convergence, involving peer dialogue and collaboration around a multitude of explored ideas.
Independence (Grades 7-8): Students identified as “gifted and talented” should engage in independent inquiries with support from an enrichment specialist. Accessing important habits of mind acquired earlier, these students can pursue, develop, and receive feedback on their work through inquiries taking place in pullout classroom settings and/or credible online venues.
Here are some of the additional Enrichment activities at Brookside School that all students have access to:
LEGO Robotics – The LEGO Robotics Program is designed to help children learn cooperation skills and problem-solving techniques through the construction and programming of a LEGO Robot. Fourth grade students learn to build the robot and do basic programming, and then have to program their robot to navigate through one of four obstacle courses. Fifth grade children expand upon this by adding sensors to their robot and learning the applications of sound sensors and motion sensors. They then need to apply this knowledge base to program their robot to clean up Mr. Winkelstein's office after it was messed up by an overactive squirrel. All fourth and fifth grade students get an opportunity to participate in this program.
Battle of the Books- Battle of the Books is a national competition. Children who are interested read a minimum of three books out of a list of eight prescribed books. Children then form teams of four to six children, and compete by identifying the appropriate book from a clue. Fourth graders compete internally only, and fifth and sixth graders compete to go to the Regional Battle of the Books Competition.
Passion Projects (8th Grade Project)- Students identified as meeting the quad district's gifted and talented criteria OR students willing to participate in a rigorous, self-driven investigation may enroll in the 8th Grade Project Cycle. In this course, students identify personal strengths, areas of interest, and design a research method that allows them to understand the topic from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Students will be coached through this experiences by the enrichment specialist. The goal is to develop critical consumers and inspire creative producers for an authentic audience in our world.