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Vertical Differentiation for Gifted, Excessive-Potential College students

Vertical Differentiation for Gifted, Superior and Excessive-Potential College students: 25 Methods to Stretch Pupil Considering
By Emily L. Mofield
(Routledge/Prufrock Press, 2023 – Be taught extra)

Reviewed by Leslie Clever, Ed.D.

Hitting the fitting be aware with college students in our quest to supply difficult, partaking content material at each ability degree has all the time been troublesome however much more so just lately.

“With my daughter, she was tired of math, as a result of they couldn’t sustain, you recognize; I imply she simply mastered it too shortly for the grade.” – Mother or father of sixth grade pupil.

“When they’re completed, he will get to learn, which he loves, so he flies by means of his assignments and makes actually silly errors. However see, he’s not motivated to be a perfectionist or to get the fitting reply. He thinks, Effectively, if it’s within the 90s, what do you care if it’s 100. It’s nonetheless a great grade, and he will get to learn faster.” – Mother or father of fifth grade pupil

As these dad or mum quotations counsel, the hole between college students is rising, with pupil potential in a single classroom now more likely to span 5 or extra grade ranges in Language Arts, with a good larger vary of potential in math (Rambo-Hernandez et al., 2022).

How does a instructor meet the wants of a category of fifth graders studying from a 1st grade to a ninth grade degree?

A compendium of fantastic, well-tested strategies

Emily L. Mofield has compiled a sensible, sensible and extremely readable set of 25 completely different approaches to that query in her Vertical Differentiation for Gifted, Superior and Excessive-Potential College students: 25 Methods to Stretch Pupil Considering. And nearly any classroom instructor would discover extremely helpful.

Mofield – an schooling professor with a gifted schooling focus – particulars each the methods and the content material areas through which methods could be used, permitting lecturers, coaches and directors to make the most of this e-book as a compendium of fantastic, well-tested instructing strategies that additionally offers progressive purposes of those methods.

Vertical differentiation, Mofield explains, permits for “adjusting ‘up’ what college students know, perceive, and do by offering challenges the place college students are grappling with cognitively advanced duties that put together them to create, apply, and suppose as an professional” (pg. 9). She affords methods designed “to extend the cognitive expectations” for all college students (pg. 3).

Along with my position as a Library Media Specialist, I function a gifted enrichment instructor in a pull-out mannequin. I’ve the chance to give attention to the wants of the scholars within the gifted program a number of occasions every week in addition to to fulfill for bi-weekly classes with each pupil within the faculty in my common Media Literacy lessons. Mofield’s 25 methods can apply to both configuration I educate.

My very own copy of this e-book is unfit to share with others due to the amount of notes I took whereas I used to be studying, together with phrases equivalent to “helpful comparability to SEM [schoolwide enrichment model],” “share with fifth grade staff for social research,” and “college students will love.”

A more in-depth take a look at the e-book

Mofield organizes the 25 methods inside broader classes to help lecturers with ease of implementation, together with Evaluation, Downside Fixing, Inventive Considering, Developing Arguments, Metacognition, and Deep Studying. Every particular technique features a description of its use, together with its historical past and associated analysis, in addition to an instance.

Mofield’s energy lies in her potential to arrange, contextualize and develop the applying of what she refers to as “tried and true” strategies within the subject of schooling. For instance, when Mofield discusses de Bono’s 6 Considering Hats strategy (Technique #9) inside the Understanding the Downside chapter, she begins by explaining the essential mannequin: “Yellow Hat – identifies advantages and optimistic attributes” (p. 81).

She then means that this mannequin can go even additional to develop advanced considering if the Considering Hats are mixed with Paul and Elder’s Parts of Thought (e.g. Function, Query, Assumptions) from Chapter 2, so as to add a further layer of views to the difficulty at hand.

If that mixture appears overwhelming, she makes it accessible by including three pages of a accomplished handout utilizing these mixed methods, together with a hyperlink to the digital copy of the chart template (assets obtainable in a single pdf; entry restricted to those that buy the e-book by asking a text-specific query as a password). This similar mannequin is used all through the e-book for every of the 25 methods: describe, hook up with tenets of gifted schooling, exhibit its utility.

The expertise growth mannequin

Mofield’s frequent reference to the expertise growth mannequin will increase the breadth of purposes for these methods. For instance, she reminds us that Passow’s “Would, May, Ought to” Litmus Take a look at for gifted-appropriate content material asks, “Would all youngsters wish to be concerned in such studying experiences? May all youngsters take part… Ought to all youngsters be anticipated to succeed…?” (p. 27).

Mofield means that vertical differentiation can assist a expertise growth mannequin of Would/May/Ought to, providing the  instance of a Would query asking: “Would the publicity to high-level content material and problem result in subsequent steps in expertise growth?” (p. 28), with comparable examples for May and Ought to.

Frameworks for considering

Along with the methods, Mofield focuses on The Massive Image (Chapter 2) which focuses on frameworks for considering. Their strategic placement in the beginning of the e-book lays the groundwork for the vertical differentiation methods to comply with, however these frameworks are additionally sensible in their very own proper.

As an example, her mixture of Kettler et al.’s Taxonomy of Creativity (p. 39) with Cambridge’s Evaluation Taxonomy of Important Considering Abilities (p. 35) results in her personal Mixed Important and Inventive Considering Matrix (Desk 2.3, p. 40). I’ve printed this chart and positioned it in my gifted curriculum binder due to the way it permits for the amalgamation of two views on considering (i.e. artistic and important) into relevant examples, equivalent to “evaluation” (crucial) + “authentic work” (artistic) = “assess the relevance, plausibility, and credibility of 1’s innovate thought” (p. 40).

An approachable and sensible useful resource

General, Mofield has supplied a extremely utilitarian, accessible and sensible information to a few of the simplest vertical differentiation methods obtainable. Her writing fashion is extremely approachable and makes the implementation of those methods each sensible and affordable.

I consider the addition of this title to the studying record of a Skilled Studying Group (PLC) can be welcomed as a result of, amongst different issues, it passes the “tomorrow” check – is that this one thing I may use in my classroom tomorrow? For me, sure, 25 and extra occasions over.


Rambo-Hernandez, Ok.E. et al. (2023). How Academically-Various is the “Grade-Stage” Classroom? Open Science Framework.

The purpose of accelerating pupil entry to alternatives motivated Leslie Clever, Ed.D., to put in writing her dissertation on gifted schooling and experiential, student-driven pedagogies, which she additionally writes about at Having taught on the intermediate and center faculty ranges for over 15 years, Leslie’s major position as a Media Specialist in Middlesex, New Jersey, permits her to make the most of the district’s progressive STEAM-focused library curriculum to problem college students to suppose critically and creatively.




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