Blog #3 is for Grades 3-8 Class Teachers
How can you especially give your gifted students a challenge so that they keep actively engaged in their learning? Challenge Books!
In every class there are always those students who finish their assignments accurately and proficiently prior to the rest of the class. Of course, you first have to verify if they have completed the assignment correctly and that they used the quality of skill (handwriting and/or artistic presentation) that you requested. But then what?
We found that beginning in 3rd grade challenge books can provide an answer. These books are a collection of brainteasers and curriculum exercises that can be copied and made into booklets. These exercises don't teach new skills, but rather give these students the opportunity to use those skills they have already been developing in new ways thus we promote that you give these challenge books to each student in the class.
Why do we say "beginning in the 3rd grade"?
Your students will need to be able to decode the instructions on their own, so we suggest that you introduce these books once a majority of your students have "cracked the code" (in other words, students who can read to learn rather than still learning to read) and we find that that happens in 3rd grade.
When and how do you create a challenge book?
Of course, the summer is a great time to gather different exercises and assemble your first book, but they can be created anytime during the year. Each book should be spiral–bound, if possible, and have 24 pages (front back for a total of 48 pages) plus a cover and a back (which the student could decorate). Collect enough material to make at least one book per semester. Make a copy of the first book for each student in the class. Some will go through several books during the year, some will get partially through a book, and others will never open it up because it takes them all of the allotted time in main lesson to complete an assignment. You could send home the incomplete books over the summer for students to work on, if you decide this would be advantageous for the student.
What kinds of exercises can go into your challenge books and where might you find them?
For a number of examples of challenge book entries and resources, go to the "How To" – "Miscellaneous" section to access the complete article on challenge books. We hope you have as much fun assembling them as your students will have doing them!