Question:

My five year old son has started Kindergarten and is reading and solving math equations on a second grade level. His analytical thinking skills are way above par also. I am interested in learning ways to challenge him in the classroom.

Answer:

In my opinion, the key to happiness in school revolves around two concepts: compacting and interests. Compacting involves determining what the child has already mastered (subtracting with regrouping) and streamlining or eliminating instruction on that topic. Let’s say your son is in 2nd grade and the teacher is introducing subtraction with regrouping. Your son was doing that with proficiency in Kindergarten. The teacher wants to make sure he really understands the concept so she gives him a pretest. He does well (let’s say 80% or better) on the pretest. If there was a concept he did not understand in the 20% of the problems he missed, the teacher would streamline his instruction by teaching only those concepts to him. If the 20% reflected careless errors which he could easily correct, he could be compacted out of all of the instruction relating to subtraction with regrouping. Now the big question….what to do while the other children are learning what he already knows. This is where interest comes into the picture. The ideal is to allow him to work on a special project in his area of interest. If he loves history, he might work on something related to the Civil War while the other children are learning subtraction. If he is fascinated by planes, he might investigate Bernoulli’s Principle. Specific guidelines need to be established so that he has a sense of direction and so that the teacher feels comfortable with his progress. A great teacher guide on how to compact is:

by Joseph S. Renzulli, Sally M. Reis, Deborah H. Burns

And there is also a tutorial on Curriculum Compacting at: http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/siegle/CurriculumCompacting/INDEX.HTM

The objective is to give him something to do

Some other possibilities:

If there is at least one other child in his class with whom he could work, the two children could be reading a book and discussing an open ended question while the class is learning the letter M.

Junior Great Books is a fabulous program and can be run by parent volunteers as well as teachers. www.greatbooks.org

While the class is working on what the number 5 means, a child who has mastered number sense could be working on something more complex such as number patterns… what comes next?

2 4 6 8 ________ _________ __________

2 5 8 11 ________ _________ __________

3 5 8 12 ________ _________ __________

Instead of adding single digit numbers, give him the answer. The answer is 12 – how many ways can you make 12? Encourage using more than two addends (4 + 3 + 5).

Anything that gets your son thinking about words and numbers and what they mean instead of just using them is wonderful. Where did words come from? Where did numbers come from? Why are words important? Why are numbers important?

My five year old son has started Kindergarten and is reading and solving math equations on a second grade level. His analytical thinking skills are way above par also. I am interested in learning ways to challenge him in the classroom.

Answer:

In my opinion, the key to happiness in school revolves around two concepts: compacting and interests. Compacting involves determining what the child has already mastered (subtracting with regrouping) and streamlining or eliminating instruction on that topic. Let’s say your son is in 2nd grade and the teacher is introducing subtraction with regrouping. Your son was doing that with proficiency in Kindergarten. The teacher wants to make sure he really understands the concept so she gives him a pretest. He does well (let’s say 80% or better) on the pretest. If there was a concept he did not understand in the 20% of the problems he missed, the teacher would streamline his instruction by teaching only those concepts to him. If the 20% reflected careless errors which he could easily correct, he could be compacted out of all of the instruction relating to subtraction with regrouping. Now the big question….what to do while the other children are learning what he already knows. This is where interest comes into the picture. The ideal is to allow him to work on a special project in his area of interest. If he loves history, he might work on something related to the Civil War while the other children are learning subtraction. If he is fascinated by planes, he might investigate Bernoulli’s Principle. Specific guidelines need to be established so that he has a sense of direction and so that the teacher feels comfortable with his progress. A great teacher guide on how to compact is:

*Curriculum Compacting: The Complete Guide to Modifying*by Joseph S. Renzulli, Sally M. Reis, Deborah H. Burns

And there is also a tutorial on Curriculum Compacting at: http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/siegle/CurriculumCompacting/INDEX.HTM

The objective is to give him something to do

**instead of**rather than**in addition to**the regular classroom work.Some other possibilities:

If there is at least one other child in his class with whom he could work, the two children could be reading a book and discussing an open ended question while the class is learning the letter M.

Junior Great Books is a fabulous program and can be run by parent volunteers as well as teachers. www.greatbooks.org

While the class is working on what the number 5 means, a child who has mastered number sense could be working on something more complex such as number patterns… what comes next?

2 4 6 8 ________ _________ __________

2 5 8 11 ________ _________ __________

3 5 8 12 ________ _________ __________

Instead of adding single digit numbers, give him the answer. The answer is 12 – how many ways can you make 12? Encourage using more than two addends (4 + 3 + 5).

Anything that gets your son thinking about words and numbers and what they mean instead of just using them is wonderful. Where did words come from? Where did numbers come from? Why are words important? Why are numbers important?