Using Curriculum Enrichment in the Classroom
Just like its name implies, enrichment is a teaching method that involves the enhancement of the curriculum and providing extra lessons, projects, and assignments to make students better-rounded.
Enrichment activities can take countless forms and do not necessarily always need to include prescribed lessons pertaining to the curriculum. Enrichment motivates learners to take a more in-depth or expansive look at a topic or concept. Students may need to do further research on the topic/concept, connecting it to a more rewarding or meaningful aspect of the real world, or approaching it with a separate lens or perspective. Regardless of the activity, the goal or notion typically remains the same – promote intrinsic curiosity, further exploration, and lifelong learning.
Enrichment has several key components. First of all, teachers have to use appropriate assessment information and data as guidelines to find out crucial aspects such as mathematical competency, reading level, etc. These data points help teachers provide the students with materials that will genuinely enhance or elevate their learning without raising a demotivating level of difficulty. Secondly, enrichment has to be individualized and consider the capabilities of a student. Assessments to determine grade-level proficiency in math or reading levels helps teachers accurately understand how to group students successfully for enrichment activities. Grouping or pairing students depending on these data points lets students work collaboratively among students with similar abilities and interests.
Also, while every option for enrichment should encompass a similar learning objective, the method students will use to reach the objective can be significantly different based on their selections or interests.
Teachers also need to make some considerations when chalking out enrichment activities. They should develop a running list of concepts or topics in which learners have demonstrated their interest. Then they need to start curating a collection of texts that involve these topics or concepts so that learners can start to explore their interests by finishing additional research. Additionally, teachers need to think about how they will account for the evaluation or grades of the enrichment activities. Those learning experiences should not be considered as bonus work or extra work that would not be evaluated. Students should know how the enrichment activities will influence both their overall learning and overall grade.
Enrichment might include tiered assignments/projects or multiple rubrics. Tiered assignments include differing levels of difficulty utilizing advanced vocabulary, text complexity, different levels of analysis, and higher-order thinking questions. Multiple rubrics come with the concept that students are assessed depending on their individual capabilities encompassing the task or project.