Challenging Advanced Level Students

Question: My student seems advanced for his age. He’s 11 and can complete most of the homework we do with only a little prompting. I’m looking for a way to challenge him in our sessions. Any ideas?

There are many online resources you can use to challenge your student if they seem too advanced for their grade level. Recently I have been using Khan Academy to differentiate instruction for my students who are either advanced or below grade level. If you set up an account, you can actually add on your student (or as many as 30 students if needed) and assign them lessons to work on.

You can also monitor their progress as well and see exactly what skills they need help with. Once you have them start completing several lessons on Khan Academy, then you can see what your student has mastered or what your student needs extra support with. The best part about Khan Academy is that all the videos, lessons, and activities are completely free!

The most important thing to remember with advanced students is to keep them continuously challenged! If they feel as if they content they are learning is too easy, look up the beginning of year standards for the following grade level and teach them the content. They’ll be excited to learn something new and expand their learning!

Other great resources for reading and math that are standards based is IXL. Although IXL is not a free website, you can choose the subject they want to learn (Math or Language Arts) and choose the topic. Make sure you click carefully about which topic to learn because IXL only gives out a few free problems per day.

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Keeping Students Engaged in Learning

Question: “My 7th grade student always seems to want to end our sessions early, after we have completed homework. I try to work on additional material with my student but she doesn’t seem interested or understand why I have brought extra work.”

Whenever I motivate my students to do extra activities, they always need a convincing reason for completing the assignment or else they’ll perceive it as extra homework. If I plan an extra activity for them, I always explain how the skill would be useful in solving real-world problems. Since your student is in 7th grade, an extra activity she could do is learn how to make a budget so that she can manage money more efficiently. This would help her learn how to save up money to buy something useful. And even though she are learning budgeting skills, she is also learning foundational math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Now that she can see the benefit in learning how to budget, she should be more open to learning math skills.

Another approach is to take into consideration your student’s interests. For example, if you want her to improve her reading and writing skills and her favorite video game is Minecraft, you can have her write a paragraph about who created Minecraft and why they developed the game. This will help build her essay writing and sentence structure skills, and she will be more motivated to learn because she is writing about her favorite game. If you have a computer available, you can also have her watch a video of something she finds interesting and then have her write down what she liked about the video.

Essentially, to make any activity more appealing to complete, I always show my students how the activity will help them succeed when they get into high school, college, and beyond. Also, I try to incorporate things into the activity that are interesting to them.