Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mindsets in the Classroom {Chapter 3}

Book Study Button

It’s time to link up again for Chapter 3 of Mindsets in the Classroom.   This chapter was a great refresher on some of the training I received when I became the gifted cluster teacher for my grade level.  Teaching gifted children is all about differentiation…teaching all children is all about differentiation in an ideal world.  So what are some ideas that we can take away to help us be responsive teachers who meet the needs of all of our students?
Here is my chapter summary, followed by a few takeaways from each section of the chapter.


In this chapter the author takes us through the steps for planning differentiated and responsive instruction.


For me personally, this is a huge part of my planning process.  Often when  I preassess my students I find that a great deal of them have already mastered the standards….this is especially true in math with my students who are gifted quantitatively.  Preassessing helps me to determine if there are gaps or skills that students are missing before we continue.  Sometimes I will make center activities and small group lessons that center around these skills.  It also helps me determine which skills will need the most practice with during our math rotations.

How do you handle students who have already mastered the standards you will be teaching?


Curriculum Compacting is something that I learned about in my gifted cluster training.  If I am being 100% honest, it is still the thing I struggle with the most.  What to do with the students that compact out while I still need to teach 28 other students. 

I would love to hear from those of you that use curriculum compacting successfully and how you make it work!


Again, in my gifted cluster classroom this is something that is happening often.  I have an extension menu that I created last year to go with the curriculum frameworks we teach first quarter and my goal is to finish making menus for the rest of the quarters this summer.  Here is what my first quarter extension menu looks like.

Extension Menu 1

When I create an extension menu I try to incorporate math, ELA, science and social studies.  I also try to use the multiple intelligences so that students have a variety of ways to express what they have learned.

Do you use extension menus in the classroom?  Would you be willing to share them?  Maybe we can all swap ideas and avoid recreating the wheel!

Another way that I enrich is through the use of Genius Hour!  Once I get Genius Hour started in my classroom, I allow students who are early finishers or who have already mastered something have extra time to work on their Genius Hour project.  You can read all about Genius Hour HERE.

And check out the Genius Hour Starter Pack I created by clicking the pic below!

Genius Hour Starter Pack Slide


For me this part of the chapter was a huge affirmation!  I am the teacher that when the majority of my class does poorly on an assignment, I ask myself where I went wrong.  If they didn’t get it, that is on me.  I need to go back and I need to try it differently.  It drives me C.R.A.Z.Y. when teachers put assignments in the grade book that most of the class did poorly on. 
Here are some of my favorite ways to do formative assessments on my students:
  • Plickers- my kiddos go crazy when I pull out the plicker cards.  The website is super easy to use and I love that I can control everything through the app on my phone!  If you aren’t using Plickers you NEED to check it out!
  • Learning Road Trip- this is Meet Miss Parker’s cute take on fist to five.  I have the posters hanging in the front of my room and we use this often.  I love to use it to get a quick gauge of where they are before we partner up or before I make small groups.  I heard a great idea in a training to snap a quick pic of the number they are holding up so that you can refer back to it when making your small groups!
  • Exit Tickets- I love using short exit tickets, especially after introducing a new concept.  I check them over at night and use them to group kiddos for reteach time and station work.  Here is an example of an exit ticket I used after introducing equivalent fractions.

Equivalent Fractions (first lesson)

Chapter 3 was a great review for me of things learned during training two summers ago. I definitely needed a reminder of the kind of responsive and student centered classroom I want to have.

I hope that you will link up with us as we continue to learn about transforming our classrooms and schools!


  1. So many resources!!! Love it! Bookmarked this page so I can go back when I have time to browse each and every one. :D I love how much this chapter reassured you that so many of the techniques you use are spot on. I had never heard of curriculum compacted and it sounds a bit intimidating but I plan to look into it much more.

  2. Great post! I love your extension menu!! Finding appropriate enrichment is a struggle for me. I love the way you incorporated so much into such fun activities that they can do. Thank you for the great idea!!

  3. I love the resources you shared! The extension menu is great, I used something similar when I taught 5th grade, but I like yours better!