Meeting the Needs of Gifted Learners: Effective Differentiation Techniques with Stephanie Higgs


Listen to the full episode to hear how to meet the needs of gifted learners:

Today’s topic of conversation involves a group of students who need our support, but in a different way than the majority of our students. I’m talking about our gifted learners. We tend to always think about students who struggle or need additional support, but it’s important to remember that our high achieving students deserve our attention and their own needs met as well.

In order to provide you with the most effective information, I brought on guest Stephanie Higgs to join me in this conversation. Stephanie is a gifted educator and differentiation coach, where she’s an expert in her field. She joins me today in sharing how to meet the needs of gifted learners by providing effective differentiation techniques and strategies. 

Stephanie starts off by sharing a shocking statistic that puts into perspective the importance of supporting and providing complexity and depth of content. She reiterates the fact that teachers should support them where they are academically and find challenging ways that help them grow as learners. Likewise, she shares activities that seamlessly fit in an already established literacy block or routine. 

If you have gifted learners in your classroom and maybe lacking ways to support them or you don’t have ideas for what to do to keep them engaged, this episode is for you! Stephanie is a wealth of knowledge and wants to partner together to figure out how to support gifted learners in a manageable way. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!

In this episode on differentiation for gifted learners, we share:
  • Ways to think about differentiation for gifted learners while keeping depth and complexity in mind
  • How to divide you literacy block that supports high achieving students
  • Stephanie goes deep in explaining activities that benefit gifted learners
  • The biggest challenge that high achieving students face when walking into your classroom
  • Propose a different way to do genius hour or passion project
Resources Mentioned:
Meet Stephanie:

Stephanie Higgs is a passionate, energetic, and engaging educator whose colleagues describe as radiating contagious joy. She has devoted her entire professional life to education, teaching in two of Tennessee’s three grand divisions. Stephanie earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she then taught for six years at a museum magnet school and helped students achieve up to three years’ growth in reading in a single year.  After relocating to Middle Tennessee, Stephanie became a fourth-grade teacher, which had been her dream since she was a fourth grader herself! 

In 2019, Stephanie became a gifted educator and differentiation coach, where the staff quickly named her their Teacher of the Year before being named a region-level semi-finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Soon after, Stephanie was honored with the TAG (Tennessee Association for the Gifted) Horizon Award, which is given to a gifted educator demonstrating promise and leadership in the field.

Later, Stephanie was named the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Teacher of the Year. Stephanie recently graduated with an additional graduate degree from Tennessee State University in Instructional Leadership and now serves on the executive board as secretary for the Tennessee Association for the Gifted.

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About The Literacy Dive Podcast:

Do you find yourself seeking new ideas when it comes to literacy instruction in elementary classrooms? The Literacy Dive Podcast was created to offer actionable steps and to share information for teachers, like you, who are always looking to improve their craft! ELA is our jam and we are excited to dive into all things reading and writing with you!

Your host, Megan Polk, is the creator and owner behind The Literacy Dive and loves to support students and their teachers with curriculum, literacy instruction, best practices, and engaging literacy activities.

Dive in with us every Monday for a new episode from Megan! She, and her guests, will chat about various literacy topics and will bring you tips and tricks that can easily be implemented in your classrooms. You can tune in wherever you get your podcasts! Listen to The Literacy Dive Podcast on platforms like AppleSpotifyStitcherGoogle, and more!

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Hey, I'm Megan!

I am a literacy specialist and curriculum designer who loves sharing tips and ideas to help students thrive in literacy! It brings me joy to await those a-ha moments and to see light bulbs turn on!

I have a huge passion for reading and writing and love to co-mingle the two any chance I get! You can expect to learn new strategies and ways to keep your students engaged during your literacy block! I am so glad you’re here!

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