• HiCap Instructional Resources


    Below are quick links to the instructional resources on this page:

    Or keep scrolling to learn more about each of these resources!

     If you have any issues accessing the links to any of these resources, please email HiCap@psd1.org for support.

    Starter Kit for Teaching and Developing Highly Capable Learners

    Check out Pasco School District's Starter Kit for Teaching and Developing Highly Capable Students, which will provide you with more information about:

    • Washington State's Highly Capable law and our legal obligations to our highly capable students
    • the nature and needs of our highly capable students
    • low-prep differentiation strategies for mixed ability classrooms (with resources and materials)
    • social and emotional strategies (with resources and materials)
    • and cluster grouping

    The "Starter Kit" also contains an index with a plethora of resources about teaching highly capable learners. You must be signed in to the PSD network in order to access it. Once you are signed in, click here to access the 2019-2020 Starter Kit (embedded links in this document were last updated September 2019; please report any broken links to Sarah Pack at HiCap@psd1.org so they can be repaired).

    HiCap Starter Kit

    A Brief Guide to Anchor Activities for Mixed Ability Classrooms

    Having your highly capable students tutor other students when they finish early can make it more difficult for them to fit in with their peers. For students who finish ealier than their peers, anchor activities are a fun, engaging, and rigorous way to ensure your highly capable students are learning every minute they spend in your classroom. Find resources for developing and managing anchor activities in your classroom by clicking here (embedded links in this document were last updated October 2019; please report any broken links to Sarah Pack at HiCap@psd1.org so they can be repaired).


    ByrdSeed TV

    byrdseed tv

    Click here to watch "Welcome to Byrdseed.TV from Byrdseed TV"

    ByrdSeed TV is a library of videos that can be used to help you differentiate your lessons for your highly capable students. There are also some great videos for teachers about using the Depth and Complexity prompts presented at our HiCap trainings since 2017.

    Access your ByrdSeed TV account for free by clicking here! You will need to use your PSD1 email address to create an account and access Pasco's district license.

    Below is a message from Ian Byrd:

    Here’s an update on what [Ian Byrd has] been adding in the last couple of months. A solid baker’s dozen of new videos for the new year so far!


    As a teacher, I never felt comfortable teaching writing. Our writing curriculum was targeted at the most-struggling of writers, leaving me scratching my head for what to do with my on-level or (especially) advanced writers.

    I’ve spent a lot of time recently adding writing resources that I think I could have really used as a teacher.

    • Writing Samples I think that my advanced writers got so good by reading a lot and then mimicking the authors that they read. To support that idea, I’ve added more samples of high-quality, public domain writing that you can use as starting points, mentor texts, read-alouds, or anything else your heart desires. They’re served up as Google Slides, but PDFs are also included.
    • Writing Techniques I’m working on a series of lessons about really specific sentence structures to help students add some spice to their writing. These are things my advanced writers did naturally that I’d have loved for other students to try out.
    • Story Starters To practice all of these techniques, kids need something to write about. The more enticing the topic, the easier it is to get started. So I created a bunch of random-phrase generators, customized for different settings, to help jump-start writing topics. The results often make me chuckle.


    As I wrap up my writing push, I’m planning some math lessons. Last week, I created a whole bunch of “fill-in-the-blank” multi-digit addition and subtraction problems that, quite honestly, got my brain sweating. These are great examples of adding complexity rather than just difficulty. And I always love math problems with multiple solutions!

    Have a particular area in math that you need support in? Shoot me an email and I’ll add your needs to my big list of ideas!

    Odds and Ends

    • I’ve added a few new pencil and paper games, the topic that I definitely get the most student-email about!
    • Speaking of student feedback, a class informed me of some goof-ups in my Fraction Equivalence Story, which I have since fixed.
    • I’ve been playing around with this “Not Like The Others” format, which often works nicely for really specific science and social studies topics.

    Depth and Complexity Icons

    Dc grouping

    Depth and complexity icons are a great way to differentiate your instruction and quickly and easily increase the rigor of your existing materials and resources. Want to start using depth and complexity icons in your instruction? Download the icons here or click here to access the depth and complexity teacher workbook to learn more about each icon and examples of how to use the icons in mixed ability classrooms. 


    You can also check out our "Professional Development Resources" page for a list of Depth and Complexity trainings available!

    Project Based Learning/Genius Hour Planning Guide

    Project Based Learning and Genius Hour are instructional frameworks that deliver active learning opportunities to students through real-world project work and are particularly beneficial for highly capable students and students who are performing above grade level. Project Based Classrooms don't just use student projects as a final evaluation of student learning; they use student projects as the vehicle for instruction, too!

    The visuals below, developed by the Buck Institute for Education PBL Works, outlines many of the key project design elements and teaching practices that research indicates will contribute to viable and successful learning experiences for students.

    PBL Design Elements         PBL Teaching Practices


    Using the Gold Standard Design Elements and Teaching Practices displayed above, the Bite-Sized Project-Based Learning Planning Guide is designed to help teachers navigate the decision making processes teachers have to make when designing a gold standard project based learning experience. The Planning Support Guide also includes links to resources and materials that will help you implement the teaching practices displayed above.

    PBL Workbook

    The Highly Capable TOSA, Sarah Pack, who has been recognized by Washing State OSPI for innovative teaching practices using project based learning frameworks, is also available to meet with you one on one to support your work with Project Based Learning at any stage of planning or implementation.

    Additionally, check out the "Professional Development Resources" page to register for upcoming trainings that support Genius Hour and Project Based Learning.

    The Buck Institute for Education's PBL Works also has a YouTube channel with tons of videos to support teachers with project based learning whether you are PBL beginner or a PBL veteran!

    Creativity Takes Courage: Creative Thinking Strategies

    Creative thinking is considered the most rigorous type of thinking. Creativity is also one of the best ways to bring joy back to your classroom while students develop academically, socially, and emotionally. Check out the Creativity Takes Courage Workbook and find some low-prep instructional strategies that invite students to engage in creative thinking at any grade level and in any subject area. This workbook contains TONS of examples that can be implemented in your classroom right away! 

    Creativity Take Courage Workbook