7th Grade GATE Pathways English Language Arts Curriculum Overview
Course Description: GATE Pathways 7 addresses reading literature and informational text, writing, speaking and listening skills, and language concepts (conventions and vocabulary). GATE Language Arts courses provide challenge and complexity to gifted and advanced students. Gifted and advanced students benefit from differentiated teaching strategies to complement the depth and breadth of their thinking. Opportunities to produce different products and processes based on student choice are embedded. Students will interact with increasingly complex texts, build knowledge through content-rich texts, and engage in evidence-based reading and writing. Texts read will vary in length and genre but will be unified by a real-world topic on which students will read, research, write and present. Students will have multiple opportunities to engage in discussion about the topic of study in order to develop critical thinking skills. Themes may include but are not limited to space exploration, turning points, people and the planet, and facing adversity.
Gifted Outcomes: Gifted and advanced students in these courses are self-directed learners who will have opportunities to show progress in the following ways:
- Working collaboratively
- Thinking creatively and critically
- Solving real-world problems
- Producing quality products
- Contributing to the classroom, school, and surrounding community
- Communicating effectively with peers, instructors, and professionals in the community
- Researching with competence
- Demonstrating scholarly habits such as curiosity, preparedness, goal setting, and risk taking
G.A.T.E. Course Content: The GATE Pathways program of study is based on the National Gifted Education Standards and Arizona State English Language Arts Standards. The curriculum units will expand on the depth and variety of activities and assessments. The Kyrene gifted learning environment will provide for many opportunities for the student to explore open-ended problem solving that is relevant to the student’s real world. To increase autonomy, students will have choices within the curriculum regarding subtopics of study, technology tools, and media of their finished products, which will communicate their learning. Additionally, the content will be designed to be appropriately challenging to the individual student to ensure educational rigor.
The GATE Pathways program of study will address the emotional and social needs of individuals. This will be accomplished by identifying student interests, strengths, and gifts. Students will be interacting with peers in flexible grouping, participating in goal setting, and reflecting on their own progress. The desired outcome for the student is to reach his/her potential not only as a real-world learner and a problem solver but also to grow both socially and personally.
Q: Why call it GATE Pathways instead of just Advanced?
A: We are required by state law to provide gifted testing three times per year, as well as, services for all identified students. These services are described in our scope and sequence, which is approved by the governing board, and submitted to the state. Many families of gifted students understand their education rights and look for programming to serve those needs. Providing Advanced courses is an appropriate service for gifted; however, we know that the needs of gifted students go far beyond the accelerated curriculum. Gifted teaching is good teaching, and addressing the needs of both Gifted and Talented learners is the right thing to do. Eliminating the word gifted sends the wrong message.
Q: The inclusion of advanced students in the Self-contained Pathways will confuse the advanced parents and upset gifted parents; why combine these groups?
A: Parents of advanced students often wonder if their child is, or needs to be, gifted to enroll is special programs. The new criteria for GATE Courses all but eliminates the need to decipher between advanced and gifted. The shift provides gifted students an optimal learning environment while allowing the same opportunities for academically talented students. Ultimately, none of our middle schools have had the professional development or curriculum support necessary to appropriately meet the needs of gifted students. The new name will take some getting used to for everyone but we are confident that the change is positive in every aspect. In addition, our feeder high schools have made similar adjustments to criteria for advanced courses so the need to test and label students in the middle school is no longer necessary.
Q: Will all middle schools have GATE Pathways on their course schedules? What about JAG, IB, AVID, and the Pathways programs?
A: All six middle school’s will have GATE Pathways courses. The special programs that make each campus unique are not going away but the emphasis is on a universal language which is GATE.