Gifted and Talented Education (G.A.T.E.)

G.A.T.E. is the acronym for Gifted and Talented Education. Though many think G.A.T.E. classes are just for students with high I.Q.’s, The definition of G.A.T.E. is broader than that. Students who are gifted and talented in areas such as specific academic ability, leadership, visual and performing arts, and creativity are all considered G.A.T.E. In the BLS school system we use a matrix to determine if a child is a candidate for our G.A.T.E. program.

BLS has one self-contained GATE classroom housed. Our program begins with students in 1st and 2nd grade who work at 2nd and 3rd grade levels respectively. Students are provided differentiated instruction in these classrooms meant to meet their academic needs and push them to work at their full potential. Upon successful completion of the GATE program, students are able to move into our school system one grade level higher than sequenced. Meaning, if a first grader completes the GATE program, they can move to 3rd grade in our system. GATE Program Goals In addition to our Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) Bethany Lutheran Students exhibit 1. Students will become critical thinkers and problem solvers. 2. Students will use increasingly complex levels of thinking and production. 3. Students will accept greater responsibility for their own learning. 4. Students will develop civic responsibility and an open-minded perspective towards a universal citizenship. Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals Some common characteristics that many gifted individuals share is listed below; however, not all gifted children exhibit all the characteristics all the time.

  • Unusual alertness, even in infancy
  • Rapid learner; puts thoughts together quickly
  • Excellent memory
  • Unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age
  • Advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas
  • Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles
  • Often self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler
  • Deep, intense feelings and reactions
  • Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful
  • Idealism and sense of justice at early age
  • Concern with social and political issues and injustices
  • Longer attention span and intense concentration
  • Preoccupied with own thoughts – daydreamer
  • Learn basic skills quickly and with little practice
  • Asks probing questions
  • Wide range of interests (or extreme focus in one area)
  • Highly developed curiosity
  • Interest in experimenting and doing things differently
  • Puts idea or things together that are not typical
  • Desire to organize people/things through games or complex schemas
  • Vivid imaginations (and imaginary playmates when in preschool)

Gifted learners generally show characteristics that differ from their age peers in one or more area of function: cognitive, affective, physical, and intuitive. They also differ from each other as each gifted learner has unique patters of characteristics and interests. Differences commonly found between most gifted learners and their age peers that require differentiated curriculum are:

⇒ Advanced comprehension and a faster pace of learning that can cause them to be at least 2 to 8 years ahead of the regular age-graded class in some areas;

⇒ A need for complexity and intensity that these students often bring to an area of study, so that they are seldom challenged by the materials presented to their age group;

⇒ A desire for depth shown through the ability to make connections, find unusual relationships, and move from facts to principles, theories, and generalizations; and

⇒ Originality of expression through alternative and varied input and processes, inquiry, and self-directed learning.

Often high achievers are confused with students who are gifted. While there can be no certainty as to clear distinctions in every instance, gifted children usually exhibit the ability to generalize, to work comfortably with abstract ideas, and to synthesize diverse relationships that are too difficult for students of the same age who are not gifted. The high achiever generally functions better with knowledge – and comprehension – level learning that with abstract and open-ended material. Some high achievers need only increased opportunity to develop giftedness; others become frustrated by more complex challenges.