Support Planner:  Gifted students


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Expanding the use of the Planner

Most schools focus on problematic behaviour, at least initially. But as they become more experienced attention expands to include students with other special needs. One of the last groups to be included are the High Ability or Gifted students. This works because


  • schools have goals for gifted students
  • an alert might be helpful to reduce possible misunderstandings and oversights
  • Performance/needs ratings*  apply (see below)  
  • there are observations, support actions.... to be gathered, considered, designed, implemented...
  • many of these students will benefit from a support plan
  • and so on

How and why

Helene Boyer at West Launceston Primary describes how and why the school uses the Planner to support these students:


  • The Planner is a SUPPORT Planner, not just a Behaviour Management Planner/Record
  • It is frequently the case that highly able students have higher levels of anxiety and are harder on themselves because of either their very high expectations of their own performance or because they feel ‘out of step’ with same age peers as a result of their exceptional intellect.  For example, one of our young boys find group work very difficult because he thinks that they may not produce the correct answer or the best work and he feels much more comfortable if he only has his own ideas/answers to manage.  One of his PBS goals is linked to supporting him to relax and enjoy group work and the less predetermined outcomes that may result.
  • Similarly, these children often need specific Positive Thinking training or counselling with Support Staff around their self esteem, management of peer relationships or management of feelings (its tough being a child with an IQ of 140+ who is aged 6 and hasn’t yet developed the stamina, physical skills or social skills to do what your mind says you can).
  • We use the Planner to schedule the planning and reviews each term of an “IEP” for these students which documents the class teacher’s planning for extension work, e.g. pairing with older students working on a specific learning challenge, Ad Astra etc, or the support interventions – very important info for the next year’s teacher
  • Some of these students have co-morbidity issues, e.g. high functioning Aspergers and ‘splinter’ talents/skills and so we are planning around the whole child across the week/the term.


An example from the school's 2006 experience: 'Jane'

"We had a breakthrough with/for 'Jane' earlier in the year when we reviewed the planner records around her related to her classroom disruptions, peer conflicts and her frequent anger tantrums (up to an hour in length with full on screaming and attempted destruction of her environment)

We engaged in some dialogue around possible triggers or causes plus what we knew about Jane's skills and from classrooms observations.

We subsequently referred Jane for an academic assessment with the GO with the suspicion that she might be of gifted ability and this was proven conclusively.

At the same time we had arranged 1:1 Anger Management counselling with a resource teacher who also worked with Jane's mum around issues at home.

Her classroom program was modified to enable further extension in her learning program and her teacher also watches for ‘triggers’ or a build up in frustration/anxiety that might result in a tantrum so that she can act proactively with Jane to help her remember her strategies to avoid getting too upset.

The number of negative incidents/tantrums recorded have decreased markedly and she is having lots of success and smiling so much more. Jane's Planner record graphically documents the success of a wrap-around approach to supporting all aspects of this student’s educational program."

Worth considering in your school? Almost certainly. Thanks Helene


There could be just one adjustment that might be useful: instead of the 1 to 4 rating scale as currently used in many schools it might make sense to move to a five point scale:

  1. Exceptional
  2. Meets all expectations very well
  3. Meets expectations
  4. Some concerns
  5. Serious concerns

If schools are interested to make this change we could adjust your current data in the roll-overs.





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