Alternatives Based on Enrichment

As noted earlier, the Enrichment Triad Model has been used as a way of offering academic alternatives for students whose curriculum has been compacted. Alternatives often exist to provide acceleration and/or enrichment for students whose curriculum has been compacted. This step proved to be the most challenging and the most creative for teachers. The possibilities for replacement activities include:

  • Offering more challenging content (alternative texts, fiction or non-fiction works)
  • Adapting classwork to individual curricular needs or learning styles
  • Initiating individual or small group projects using contracts or management plans
  • Using interest or learning centers
  • Providing opportunities for self-directed learning or decision making
  • Offering mini-courses on research topics or other high interest areas
  • Using mentors to guide in learning advanced content or pursuing independent studies.
  • Helping students to use the Internet effectively, gathering data and information and helping them to use this to further their advanced reading and information gathering techniques

Selecting Enrichment Options

These enrichment materials may include self-directed learning activities, instructional materials that focus on particular thinking skills, and a variety of individual and group project oriented activities that are designed to promote hands on research and investigative skills. The time made available through compacting provides opportunities for small group, special topic seminars that might be directed by students or community resource persons, community based apprenticeships or opportunities to work with a mentor, peer tutoring situations, involvement in community service activities, and opportunities to rotate through a series of self-selected mini-courses.

Decisions about which replacement activities to use are always guided by factors such as time, space, and the availability of resource persons and materials. Although practical concerns must be considered, the ultimate criteria for replacement activities should be the degree to which they increase academic challenge and the extent to which they meet individual needs. Great care should be taken to select activities and experiences that represent individual strengths and interests rather than the assignment of more-of-the-same worksheets or randomly selected kits, games, and puzzles!

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