TeachersFirst's Gifted in any Classroom: Personalized Connections

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Start • Helpful Background • Differentiating Academic Content • Respecting Creativity• Personalized Connections • Organization for a Sane Classroom

Gifted students make thoughtful connections more easily than most. They also have strong personal interests, often outside the scope of regular curriculum. Their profound sense of justice may spark an interest in human rights or environmental issues or in one little known, endangered animal. Forming personalized connections to extend the regular curriculum will challenge their minds and even offer connections that your entire class may learn from. 

Idea bins are a place where gifted students can store their ideas, web links, images, quotes, sound clips, and thoughts that matter to them. As their ideas become more organized and interests narrow, they can curate personal collections about a specific topic, adding annotations and personal notes or simply creating a magazine-style "feed" to quench their thirst for more information on that favorite topic.

The resources below offer tools for gifted students to collect ideas (idea bins), create curated collections of personal interest, or keep a personal journal of their thoughts. Many of these also allow students to collaborate with others when they are ready. Where possible, we have included DATs (device agnostic tools) that will work from any device, anywhere, and we have also tried to find tools both simple and complex to meet the needs of all ages. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" ideas and examples of ways your gifted students might use them. Note that Primary Wall "bins" last ONLY 30 days. 

Once your gifted students have a consistent "home" for their thoughts and collections, they will want to connect further. Learn more on our pages about Me-portfolios and connecting/collaborating with others outside their class.

 

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Trove - Rob Malda

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Discover and curate personalized news stories using Trove. Browse through ready-made Troves that may be of interest, and "follow" them. Create an account using your email or social...more
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Discover and curate personalized news stories using Trove. Browse through ready-made Troves that may be of interest, and "follow" them. Create an account using your email or social network login. Create and curate your own Trove by following the instructions on the site. This tool will work on iOs devices or on the web. At this time there is no Android app available.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use Trove to create student-navigated lessons or review materials for any topic. Create a whole class Trove account to follow Troves safely under teacher supervision. Allow students to set up their own accounts if over 13 and permitted under school policies. Have students work together in groups to create their Trove on current articles they can use in a research project. Have student groups create Troves of articles in the news related to the curriculum topic you are studying. For example, collect articles about disappearing habitats, design concepts that use new engineering materials, food and religion in a certain culture, or climate change and weather. Demonstrate a new math concept using articles found on the Internet. Create a class study guide for students to access before the big science test! Include Trove as part of your current events lessons and allow students to explore articles demonstrating different points of view. Use Trove as a professional resource for following current topics in education such as standardized testing or Common Core Standards. Speaking of Common Core, the articles collected in Trove could serve as practice with informational texts. Library/media specialists can collect Troves to teach students about using media in research projects.

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Diigo - Education - Diigo, Inc. 2010

Grades
1 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This interactive social bookmarking and collaboration tool does so much more than any ordinary bookmarking tool. It is a research tool, knowledge-sharing community, website annotation...more
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This interactive social bookmarking and collaboration tool does so much more than any ordinary bookmarking tool. It is a research tool, knowledge-sharing community, website annotation tool, and social information network all rolled into one "cloud" package. To get started, check out the About link. You will find information and videos on the uses of Diigo. Set up an account, being sure to click the FREE education edition upgrade. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

This tool can be used as a basic bookmarking tool, simply allowing YOU to save, sort, and access your own bookmarks from ANY computer or mobile device (once you are logged in). You have the choice whether your bookmarks are public or private. You can gradually ease into more advanced and interactive features: highlight parts of sites and save or share those annotations, add sticky notes to parts of websites, pictures, screen-shots, documents, audio, and more. Do group collaborative research. Organize your bookmarks by tags. Unlike sorting bookmarks into file folders, adding tags permits you to put multiple tags or "labels" on one site. The same site you tag for book reports could also be tagged for biographies, for example. Aditional Diigo features include groups (a way to share and exchange bookmarks with a certain group of Diigo users), messaging, and search features. You can search all the public bookmarks made by others and discover other people with similar interests, already bookmarked and ready for you to mark as your own. There are many groups you can join, such as those with a specific teaching interest or hobby. See "Tools" for many helpful options, including bookmarklets to make bookmarking instant on multiple devices. Bookmarklets drag directly to the toolbars on your computer and are well worth it. It goes beyond simple bookmarking and adds options like highlight, capture, send, read later, comment, search bar and Diigo message options. You decide your own level of use and desired tools to be shown on the bar. If choosing not to install the toolbar, then there is an applet called Diigolet that will be used in its place. It is not as strong a tool as the toolbar, but will work well if the toolbar installation is not possible. Check our sample group. You can also install a widget on your blog (or class web page) that will show your bookmarks there.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), DAT device agnostic tool (196), forum (9), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Teachers even in very early grades can use Diigo simply to share links with students and parents. To get more ideas on the potential education uses of this site, see this SlideShare powerpoint here. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Assign students a research topic and allow them to use Diigo collaboratively to collect and share resources. Share teacher-selected options (complete with comments or directions) easily using Diigo. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or use Diigo to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles using the highlighting tool. Find a relevant article for your subject, highlight the part that you want students to read. (If students are younger, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids.) Attach a sticky note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as a homework assignment. If you are fortunate enough to have all students with computer access in your class and at home, such as in one to one laptop program schools, you can organize many assignments using Diigo. Use this site to help all of your students stay organized. Share this resource with your (not so organized) gifted students to help them manage projects and not "lose" the information they "found somewhere." Post assignments, readings, online interactive labs, and more. The site even allows students to submit responses by adding a comment. Of course others will see what they said, so you may not want the comments to be the only thing they do! If you assign gifted students to do projects beyond the regular curriculum, consider having them curate and annotate a collection of resources on a higher level topic. For example, extend your study of World War II by having them collect web-based primary sources showing the propaganda leading up to the war, political cartoons during the war, and advertisements from the time. Have them annotate the collection explaining each artifact and how it reflects the sentiments and biases of certain groups. That same collection could provide other students a class opportunity to interact with "objects" from the time. If you have contact with other teachers of gifted students, they could collaborate across different schools or classrooms.

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Flipboard - Flipboard

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Use Flipboard to collect, explore, and share information from many sources, all in a magazine-style format. Flipboard can hold specific articles and images you choose or a dynamic "feed"...more
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Use Flipboard to collect, explore, and share information from many sources, all in a magazine-style format. Flipboard can hold specific articles and images you choose or a dynamic "feed" from a web source such as CNN, a Twitter hashtag, or a favorite blog. Most Flipboard consumers read their magazines on mobile devices, but you can manage and access your magazines from the "web tools" page (the link from this review) on a computer. Create your personal magazine(s) with things you care about: news, staying connected, social networks, and more. Create an account with Flipboard and then connect with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. Click the More panel to browse other categories and add them to your magazines. Drag the Flipboard button to your bookmarks bar or use the Flipboard app on your smartphone or tablet. Find an article you want to add to your collection? Click the + button next to the article to save it or simply click "Flip It" on your computer's browser toolbar to add that web page to your magazine. Edit your magazines online and share with friends and colleagues. View your RSS feeds or follow your news stream in social media with this magazine-style interface. Most of the tutorial videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home. If you want to share the videos with students, bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. Flipboard is a device agnostic tool. Load the free app on mobile devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), news (261), social networking (112), video (253)

In the Classroom

Create a class Flipboard account and create magazines for each unit studied through the year. Add information that is useful for student understanding, application of concepts, or materials to be used for projects. Create a magazine of great articles and information to read or search through. Consider creating a Flipboard magazine for student current events or happenings. Use this for reports on various topics such as food issues, diseases, political information, cultures around the world, and more. Make a customized "feed" for more advanced information on a topic for your gifted and advanced students. Students can curate a Flipboard of pictures or videos from the web on a certain topic to share with their classmates. Create a Professional Development Flipboard with other teachers. Teacher-librarians may want to work together with classroom teachers to create magazines of certain content for students to use during research units. Challenge your middle and high school gifted students to curate a magazine for themselves on a topic of individual interest, creating a "PLN" they can use for years. For example, a student interested in rocketry can locate and add blogs from rocket scientists, NASA feeds, and more. Talented writers may want to collect feeds from literary publications and author blogs. They will probably also discover related Flipboards created by others. As gifted students' interests change, they can curate other topical "magazines" to keep learning, even if the topics do not fall within the traditional curriculum. You may find that the personalization of learning is something ALL your students want to do.

Comments

There are amazing collections on this site. Cindi, NC, Grades: 0 - 6

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750 Words - Buster Benson

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a ...more
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a "keep private" button, and if you forget to click it who knows who will be reading your most private thoughts. This program is based on the idea that getting your thoughts on (digital) paper every morning can clear your head, focus your ideas, and organize and energize you for the rest of the day. Inspired by the book The Artist's Way, and its hand-written "Morning Pages" exercise, the creator of this program converted that exercise to our 21st century tools. If you care about such things, there is also a point system where one can compare constancy of writing and words written with others.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), gamification (65), journals (21), process writing (42), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

To write daily is a good idea for students. It helps them clarify their thoughts and questions, and get in touch with their feelings. 750 Words would be perfect for any writing program or with gifted students who often feel very strongly about fairness and/or world issues well beyond their years. Students can get their thoughts and ideas written down without having to worry about a grade or someone chancing upon their writings in a school notebook. Here's an idea for any grade level. Have your students do free writes (stream of conscientiousness writing) starting with 5 minutes or more a day. Ask students to count their words daily when time is up, always trying to increase the word count. After a couple of weeks have them use 750 Words and complete the stream of writing on a computer or mobile device. (This shouldn't slow many of them down since most are quick at texting!). After the first day, and again after the second week, using 750 Words have a class discussion about which format they like better and why. Use a backchannel program like Meetings.io reviewed here, or Today's Meet, reviewed here, for the class discussion. Using one of these programs ensures that even your shy students have a chance to say what they think about 750 Words. Challenge your students to complete the 750 words at home. They can earn points, and you know how competition can inspire some of them! Resource students and ESL/ELL students could increase their writing skills and fluency by keeping an online, private journal daily with 750 Words. Emotional support, autistic support, or alternative ed students may find this private space to work out feelings very therapeutic.

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Lino - Infoteria Corporation

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to ...more
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to use Lino. Join and create your own canvases to share stickies, reminders, files, and more. Change sticky colors from the menu in the upper right hand corner or use the easy editing tools that appear when the sticky is selected. Use the icons at the bottom of each sticky note to "peel them off," share, edit, and more. Create a group from your Lino page to share and collaborate on canvases. You can also share canvases publicly so anyone with the URL can participate. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): collages (17), creative fluency (8), creativity (109), DAT device agnostic tool (196), gamification (65), note taking (32)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.

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Symbaloo EDU - Symbaloo BV

Grades
K to 12
16 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo...more
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Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo EDU or begin exploring color-coded links on your own. Choose the EDU Tools WebMix to find links to classroom resources for social networking, video and image tools, and much more. Other WebMixes designed specifically for educators include widgets for classroom use, educational headlines, and much more. Tailor web resources to your individual need by creating your own WebMixes. Add tiles to instantly connect students with the resources you choose. Accounts are free but require a password (and email verification). Click "Edit WebMix" to change the background, rename the webmix, and edit the tiles. Link tiles to website URL's or RSS feed links. Hover over a tile to bring up a simple menu. Click "edit" to paste the URL of the resource, enter a title, and change icons and colors. Select any name to be displayed on the tile. Be sure to click "Done editing" when finished, and then "Share" to choose publicly or privately with friends. Use the embed code to embed directly into your class website or blog. Download the free iPhone or Android apps for use on mobile phones or use Symbaloo in your tablet browser as it has been maximized for use on these devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), DAT device agnostic tool (196), gamification (65)

In the Classroom

Be sure to know the URL's of the resources you are planning to share or have them open in other tabs to copy/paste. To share you must be able to copy/paste URLs (web addresses). Have older students create their own webmixes, but this resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use in specific projects or as general course links. If shared with the world, the webmix can be viewed by others and is public.

Create a webmix of the most used sites for your class and first demonstrate how the webmix works on a projector or interactive whiteboard if you have special instructions or color coding for its use. Some examples include links to copyright free images, online textbooks, or online tools such as Google Docss, ThingLink, Glogster, and more. Link to teacher web pages, webquests, resource sites for your subject, and any other resource that is helpful for students. Consider creating a login for the whole class to update with suggestions from class members. Use this AS your class website. Color code the tiles on a webmix for younger, non-reader, or ESL/ELL students. For example, color each subject differently from the others. Differentiate by color coding varying levels of skills practice at a classroom computer center or to distinguish homework practice sites from in-class sites. Differentiate difficulty levels using the various colors enabling you to list resources for both your learning support students and gifted students and all in between. Use color to organize tools for different projects or individual students. You may want to share this resource with parents at Back to School Night and the color-coding system for differentiation. This will help parents (and students) find what sites are ideal for their levels. Be sure to link or embed your webmix on a computer center in your room for easy access. Share a review site webmix for parents and students to access at home before tests, as well. Team up with other teachers in your subject/grade to create chapter by chapter webmixes for all your students.

Challenge you gifted students to curate and collaborate on their own webmixes as a curriculum extension activity on topics such as climate change or pros and cons of genetically engineered food. They can use color coding to sort sites by bias (or neutrality) as well as to group subtopics under the overall theme. Use the student-made webmixes with other students to raise the overall level of discussion in your class or as an extra credit challenge. If you embed the webmix in a class wiki, all students can respond with questions and comments for the gifted students to moderate and reply, creating a student-led community of learners.

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Stormboard - Edistorm.com

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information...more
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Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information on your sticky, new suggestions pop up along the bottom. Use this phenomenal aspect of Stormboard as suggestions by their "Idea Bots" may take you closer to your goal. Revisit "storms" as they are saved which adds more perspectives when viewing later. Let others' ideas incubate a bit and return to see what they have added. Free accounts allow up to 5 users, 1 administrator, and unlimited "storms."

Begin by entering the name of your storm, choosing privacy options, adding a description, and inviting users to join in (Stormboard members or by email). Type on the stickies. Drag them to arrange. Stormboard will suggest possible new stickies along the bottom. The center sticky on your screen will drive the "smart" suggestions. If Stormboard's suggestions take you away from your goal in your description, move another sticky into the center spot or close the suggestions area. Use the viewfinder to see where all your stickies are located. Group related ideas together by aligning them together or color-coding them. Contributors can drag an "idea vote" to mark the ideas that they like best. Click on the tab "Top Ideas" to view those with most votes. Click on "All Unrated" to view all, including those with no votes (great idea if you may have missed one).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), creative fluency (8), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Consider creating a classroom account for use with your students. Require them to initial their stickies in order to know which idea is whose. Use for any decision-making activity such as "What kind of pet should I buy?" Also use to generate related vocabulary words about a topic by entering their first word and letting the "Idea Bots" suggest stickies along the bottom. This is especially good if students must find information for a presentation or learn about a particular theme or topic. Share this site with your gifted students to use for organization, brainstorming, or collaboration with others outside their class. Social studies classes could brainstorm on how they might travel back in time to solve a political crisis or avoid a war. Lit classes could "storm" better outcomes for a novel or play based on evidence from the first portion of the text (for example, what if Romeo and Juliet had used Stormboard first?). Many issue-based or ethics-based problems in Science and Health can also be organized, debated, and discussed in this space. Why are some ideas "Top rated" over others?

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Evernote - Evernote

Grades
9 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY ...more
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY computer or web-connected device. Evernote is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Take snapshots of whiteboards, products, or whatever you like and upload them to Evernote. Search your uploads through the search function which will also search handwritten or printed text sections in photos and images. Sync everything through Evernote across all the platforms. Use Evernote to create notes and to-do lists and even clip entire Web pages. Use to manage passwords or even record audio. Everything added to Evernote is automatically synchronized across platforms and devices and made searchable. Evernote offers a free account as well as a premium paid version. If you use it a LOT, you may max out the free allotments for data, but try it to see! Our editors use it and have never hit the max. Categorize and organize information using tags, note titles, and notebooks. Keep track of several projects with the "Notebooks" feature. Use the web version or downloadable version of Evernote to share read-only notebooks with others. Download Evernote to add an extension to your browser to do web clipping with a click of a button. Click "New" to create a new document in your notebook. Use the search function at the top and even save searches for later use. Safety/security tip: If you have sensitive information (such as passwords, etc.) on your Evernote notebook but want to share other parts? Simply highlight and right click to choose "Encrypt Selected Text" to remove from the page to be shared.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), images (265), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed, not allowed, and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information that can be shared by all. Create separate notebooks for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use Evernote to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, etc. If your students are permitted individual accounts, they can collect notes in Evernote and share their research notebooks with you as evidence of completion of that phase of long term projects. Encourage creativity with your gifted students (or any students) by having them set up individual Evernote notebooks to use as "idea bins." Idea bins are a place to collect quotes, snippets of writing or poems they have started, questions and thoughts, artistic project ideas, images they like, or even voice memos to remember creative inspirations. It is important for students to know that idea bins (by whatever name) are an important part of the creative process, even for engineers!

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