Guide for Students

Forms and Directions for the Students’ Version of the Guide:  “Selecting Challenging Activities”



Students’ Guide (printable pdf file)
Students’ Guide (online version)
Directions are provided below and on each form.

This version of the Guide is provided to enable students to contribute to and understand the process of differentiating her or his curriculum.

Some students need or want to have their voice heard in plans that affect their education. These include bright and gifted students who are not completing regular assignments, those with strong personalities (with “attitude”), and those with learning disabilities.  The student can also be asked to complete this version when the teacher or observer finds it difficult to interpret the student’s actions in terms of the Brilliant Behaviors.  This may be because they are very different from the observer in temperament, culture or in other ways.  Even when students are good candidates for a standard teacher observation, it’s interesting and empowering to give students an opportunity to participate in the planning from the start.

In this variant of the Guide, the student (self-assessment) version of the Brilliant Behaviors has replaced the teacher-oriented versions.  The language in the directions for the guide is more student-friendly.  The student determines which behaviors she or he demonstrates when engaged in a challenging activity in an area of strength, passion or interest.  The remainder of the process is identical to that recommended for the Self-Assessment Version of the Brilliant Behaviors .


Robyn Stuart (10 years old) captured the essences of the benefits of having students complete the Guide when she described her experience of filling it out the first time:

          Filling out the self-evaluation was frustrating at first because I’d never done anything like it before, and I find it hard sometimes to judge myself. Once I got started, though, it was easier because I knew what to do then. I did a lot of re-deciding, though.

          When I had filled out the self-evaluation and added up the “X”es, the French word for what I found my results to be is “bouleversant” i.e. deeply moving, because I didn’t know what to expect but I know what I wanted. I agree completely that I need “Self-Selected Format”. It is one thing I find is very important for me at school, because I should learn just as much as another kid who is not gifted like I am, and sometimes if I do the same work as they do I’m not learning anything new even though they might be. However, if I choose my own work, I can choose things I don’t know so I learn something. Unlike some people, I enjoy challenging work over work I already know how to do. When I choose my work, I look for concepts I have heard of but I’m not familiar with or have never encountered.

  1. Fill in the information at the top of the form.
  2. Read the list of Behaviors in the form.  If you are completing the form online, let the cursor rest on the name of a behavior and a description of it will appear..  Click here if you want more information about any of them.
  3. Do you experience any of those behaviors when you are learning something challenging about a topic you love?  Put a check mark (√) in the column to the left of each Behavior that is consistently, intensely true of you while you’re learning something fascinating.
  4. If you are completing the Guide online, it will complete steps 5 to 8 automatically.
  5. When you’ve finished, highlight the row of “X’s” to the right of each behavior that you’ve checked.
  6. Then, count the number of X’s down each column that are highlighted.  Record the total in the row marked “Number of X’s highlighted” beneath the rows of Xs.  Do this for every column.
  7. Compare the “Number of X’s highlighted” to the “Total number of X’s in the column”.  Look for the biggest proportions.
  8. In the row labeled “Mark the 3 or 4 strategies with the greatest proportion of Xs highlighted,” put an X at the bottom of the columns with the greatest proportion of the X’s highlighted.
  9. Now look at the names of the strategies theGuide is recommending for you.  They are the ones you’ve put Xs beneath if you’re working on a paper version of the Guide or they will be highlighted in green if you are completing the Guide online.  There are brief definitions for each strategy provided on the back of the printed form or you can see them by putting your cursor over the name if you are using the Guide online.  The Guide thinks activities like that involve those strategies will challenge you in ways you’ll like when you are learning about your favorite topic.  Do you agree with what the Guide has recommended?
  10. Share your Guide and the results with your teacher.

Printing, Saving and Loading An Online Version of the Guide:

The online Guide can be printed, saved or loaded by clicking on the buttons near the top of the page, on the right side. Directions for saving and loading appear below and will also appear online when those buttons are selected.

To Print:
Press the “Print” button at the top of the page and complete the normal procedure to print a document.

To Save:
On a PC:

  1. Right click on the word “Download” below.
  2. Select “Save link as”.
  3. Save the file in a safe place you’ll remember on your computer.
  4. As mentioned above, the information you will not be able to retrieve the information you’ve entered after you leave this window. Even if you leave this window open, the information will be deleted by [a date & time].

On a Mac:

  1. Press the control button and click on the word “Download” on the screen.
  2. From the options that appear, select:
    • “Download linked file as” if you are using Firefox or Safari as your browser.
    • “Save link as” if you are using Chrome as your browser.

        3. Save the file in a safe place you’ll remember on your computer.
4. You will not be able to retrieve the information you’ve entered after you leave this window. Even if you leave this window open, the information will be deleted by [a date & time].

To Load your Guide on either a PC or a Mac:

  1. Click on the “Choose File” button to search for the file you want to open.
  2. Find the file on your computer. The name of the file should end in .pfl
  3. Select the file you want to open by clicking on it. After it appears highlighted, click on the “Open” button in the lower right corner of the window.
  4. Now click the “Upload File” button
  5. The Guide should open with the information you had saved in it.
  6. Remember to save the changed file if you want to use it in the future.