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Resources for On-line Learning Opportunities that Challenge Kids

Updated: Apr 4

Blake Haywood


For two years, NBISD's Differentiation website has shared hundreds of helpful activities, resources, training, and research for G/T students and parents and teachers of G/T students. Now, with COVID-19 stealing instructional time and in-person opportunities for extension, NBISD offers a simple way to allow kids who think differently a chance to do something different. The following LINK will take you to the Symbaloo on the Differentiation Website.


Students who require G/T services have the option of simply choosing an activity, recording their findings, responses, or review in a video on Flipgrid, and then sharing the Flipgrid with their teacher or G/T Pull-Out teacher/librarian. The goal of this exercise is to provide a user-friendly way to meet many of the accelerated, specialized interest, social-emotional, and leadership needs of our G/T and 2E Learners, whatever their age or background. We know that parents, kids, and teachers are juggling a plethora of apps, websites, and distance learning tools, so we decided to stick with the familiar.

It is now more important than ever to keep our gifted learners engaged, inspired, and stimulated. It's no longer about GPA or passing a test; the struggle is now forming connections over the wires. Of course, we want to continue to make academic connections in the minds of our students, but that is almost secondary, now, to connections with friends, teachers, and the community. Parents and teachers must face the effects that our new reality is having on the social-emotional well-being of our students. We must provide opportunities like this to facilitate those connections - it's a matter of mental health.


Aside from this simple opportunity for extension, I know many teachers are differentiating virtually as best as they can with Elements of Depth and Complexity, offering choice to students, and in very creative ways that are mentioned in the link. 


If your child needs a little bit extra, you can spend weeks on the Differentiation Website and barely scratch the surface. My favorite place to visit is the list of YouTube Channels for G/T Learners, where channels are labeled with appropriate grade-bands and topic (STEAM/History). 


You can find the following list of resources on the Symbaloo website as well:


New Braunfels Public Library— offers free access to eBooks and audio books. Find out what they are doing to hook you up with great reads. If your child doesn't have a library card, contact me or their ELA teacher to sign up by Friday for one!

Newsela— Great real world texts presented so that children can access the same text at different reading levels (currently free for schools).

Rivet— Free app that families can download with thousands of modern leveled readers.

Epic— Digital library of modern books aimed at children under 12. Always free for teachers and librarians (and students can access it during school hours).

ReadingIQ— Similar to Epic. There are thousands of modern digital books for readers under 12. Access is free for closed schools — learn more here.

International Children’s Digital Library–– A collection of international books for children aged 3-13 presented in 59 languages.

Project Gutenberg— Don’t be put off by the “old school” design of this website. There are 60,000+ eBooks that can be downloaded for all ages (most are older works with expired copyright).

Faded Page— 5000 plus eBooks that are completely free to download. Not designed for children but there are many classics for older students (like Project Gutenberg they are mostly older works with expired copyright).

Open Library— Catalogue where you can borrow books for free (lots of options for older students).

Lit2Go— A free online collection of stories and poems in MP3 (audiobook) format with accompanying text. Includes many classics with expired copyright.

Audibleis free right now for everyone! However if your 8th grade child already signed up, they got 12 free credits to buy any audiobook they want! If they didn't sign up yet, they have until Friday to get their free account. Email me or your child's ELA teacher to add them!

Storyline Online- Books read to you by real people! This is great for you guys with younger sisters and brothers. Children's book count too!

Scribd: Thousands of the best books, audiobooks, and more. All in one app!

Scholastic Learn At Home: Lessons, games, books and more available through Scholastic NOW!

Adventure Academy(3rd-8th grades): use code SCHOOL7581

Reading IQ(PreK-6th grades): use code SCHOOL7581

Bound To Stay Bound: This book company has created a website of resources from books to authors to publishers and lessons! Check it out!

FirstBook.org--This link will take you to FirstBook.org's Coronavirus links for mental/physical wellness, internet help, and lessons in all areas of content!


Blake Haygood is the Curriculum Design Specialist, G/T Specialist, and Advanced Academics Specialist for NBISD.


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