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Independent Study

Independent Study Projects (ISP) for Gifted and Talented Students

                  in the Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1

                                              Master

 

Independent study is the most frequently recommended instructional strategy

in programs for gifted and talented students and is included in the majority of

introductory texts as a means of differentiating and individualizing instruction

(Clark, 2002; Colangelo and Davis, 2003; Davis and Rimm, 1998; Feldhusen,

Van Tassel Baska, & Seeley, 1989; Gallagher and Gallagher, 1994;

Parker, 1989; Swassing, 1985; Treffinger, 1986).

 

Gifted students like instructional strategies that emphasize independence such

as independent study and discussion. As a result, students will have the

understanding that:

 

·         Independent study is the process you apply when you research a new topic

      by yourself, or with others.

·         Students conduct self-directed research projects that are carefully planned

      with the teacher and are monitored frequently.

·         Independent study projects are an opportunity to complete real world investigations.

·         Through real world investigations the ISP provides students the opportunity to think,

      feel, and act like a practicing professional.

·         ISP is a planned research process that is facilitated by the teacher and focuses on

      lifelike problems that go beyond the regular classroom setting.

 

Independent Study Models:

 

·         Renzulli’s Enrichment Triad Model (1977a; Renzulli and Reis, 1997)

·         Three Stage Model (Feldhusen, Kolloff, 1986)

·         Self-Initiated Learning Model (Treffinger, 1975, 1978, 1986)

·         Autonomous Learner Model (Betts. Kercher, 1999)

 

Guidelines for ISP:

 

·         Don’t confuse aptitude with skill.

·         Identify independent study skills.

·         Adapt as the student changes.

·         Use different types of research. The internet should not be

      the only resource.

·         Make it a part of the regular program, not an addition.

·         Monitor progress and products.

·         Develop an appropriate evaluation. (Rubric for the unit)

·         Believe in the student’s ability and be a model.

 

The Process: For student Instruction

 

Step One: Introduce Independent Study

·         Define the process

·         Give student a plan to manage their work

·         Teach students the importance of meeting deadlines

·         Provide a calendar with due dates as the study progresses

 

Step Two: Teach selecting a topic

·         Provide ideas to help students select something to study

·         Questions for students that will help them narrow their study topic

·         Provide a list of resources students may use to narrow their search

 

Step Three: Organizing the study

·         Teach the students “mapping” skills

·         Organizational structures: descriptions, comparisons,

      cause and effect.

·         This area should lead to students asking questions.

 

Step Four: Students ask questions

·         Teach students about good study questions that may produce several

      possible answers.

·         Blooms Taxonomy is a good framework to use for students in the

      questions section of the process.

·         “Most Thinking Questions” can only be answered if the student creates

      and evaluates new information

 

Step Five: Choosing a study method

·         Students will explore study methods besides the library

      and the Internet

 

Step Six: Gathering information

·         Oral interviews, surveys, reading, observing, listening are all

      ways to gather information.

·         Internet, journals, and abstracts are a few more ways to

      gather information

 

Step Seven: Developing a product

·         Written reports are not the only way to present an independent study.

·         Graphs, bulletin boards, oral presentation, timelines, hands-on, visual,

      the arts, making artifacts, and on-line media are all possibilities.

 

Step Eight: Sharing information

·         Oral Presentation and display are both good processes for sharing.

·         Discussion with the students about public speaking and best practices

      for success.

 

Step Nine: Evaluating the study (Rubric)

·         Both summative and formative.

·         Was it well planned?

·         Was the research extensive?

·         Were a multitude of resources used?

·         Did I write probing study questions?

 

Rubric:

·         A rubric evaluates the performance of an assignment.

·         Teachers use a rubric as a scoring tool to assess what

      a student learns after a lesson or the completion of a project.

·         Look at the Rubric for this project.

 

                                                       Independent Study Project Rubric

 

1

Not There   Yet

Student did not understand the concept (s)

 

Student did not use appropriate strategies

 

Student did not complete the steps in order

 

2

Satisfactory

Student has some understanding of the concept

 

Student shows some thinking skills

 

Student completed the steps with help

 

3

Good   Quality

Student understanding of the concept is evident

 

Student uses appropriate strategies to get results

 

Student shows thinking skills to arrive at conclusions

 

4

Exemplary

Student has complete understanding of the concept

 

Student used effective strategies to get positive results

 

Student completed assignments in a timely manner and

showed excellent work

 

 

                                            Resources

 

Betts, G.T., & Kercher, J.K. (2001). The autonomous learner model: Optimizing

ability. Greeley, CO: ALPS.

 

Johnsen, S. K., Goree, K. K. (2009) “Teaching gifted students through independent

study”. In F. Karnes & S. Bean (Eds.) Strategies for teaching gifted students

(pp. 415-445). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

 

Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (1997). The school-wide enrichment model: A how to

guide for educational excellence (2nd ed.). Mansfield Center, CT: Creative

Learning Press.

                            

                                              Websites

 

cde.state.co.us (Colorado Department of Education)

Go to standards/instruction, the Colorado Standards, then Science.

 

History/Social Studies for K-12 Teachers-

http://home .comcast.net/~dboals1/boals.html

 

Ivy’s Search Engine Resources for Kids-http://www.ivyjoy.com/rayne/kidssearc.html

 

Sengifted.org (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted)

 

The Math Forum-http://forum.swathmore.edu

 

ThinkQuest-http://www.thinkquest.org

 

400 North Elm Street | Cortez, CO 81321 | Phone: 970.565.7522