GATE: Ben Franklin Elementary
At Ben Franklin Elementary School, we use the “GATE Cluster” model where students who have been identified as “gifted and talented” are clustered in a classroom where the teacher has had training in differentiating instruction for GATE students. While all teachers on our staff have been trained in this type of differentiation, we feel that clustering the GATE students in a classroom provides them with opportunity to be in a unique setting where they can challenge and be challenged by like-minded students, and they can learn from the strengths of all types of learners.
Students in our GATE Cluster classrooms learn grade and age level appropriate California State Standards but also receive differentiated instruction within those standards. Like their fellow students, they may be learning about a specific period of time in history or mastering a math concept, but GATE identified students will be learning this concept in a different way or producing a product that is at a different level than that of their peers. Students are regularly encouraged to use their talents to show their understanding in novel ways and using depth and complexity, offer explanations and make out-of-the-box connections, find out about subjects in great detail, explore relationships between concepts using comparing and contrasting, and much more. Students are never asked to “do more” but are rather asked to do “differently” as to challenge them to their maximum extent. To that end, some of the products students have created are debates, musical performances, computer products, videos, school newspapers, design (graphic and otherwise), dramatic monologues, oral histories, simulations, and much more.
In the past, we have also offered our GATE students several After School Academies (budget allowing) such as music classes (recorder), art appreciation and production, debate, PowerPoint, money management, newscast, and more. Parent/Child Academies have also been popular. This year, GATE students will be producing videos that teach our student population the positive behaviors expected at our school. They will also be participating in Math Field Day and other yet-to-be determined after school enrichment.
If you have any questions about Ben Franklin’s GATE program, please contact Jennifer Furnish, GATE Coordinator, at 951-739-5645 or firstname.lastname@example.org