TeacherGoals Podcast Episode 44

How to Differentiate Instruction for Gifted Learners with Stephanie Higgs

Gifted learners are found everywhere, and we can cast a wider net to help refine and grow their gifts and talents.

Stephanie Higgs
Gifted Educator & Differentiation Coach

Join us in this enlightening episode as we explore the fascinating world of gifted education. During this episode, Stephanie Higgs dives into the identification process and uncovers the unique characteristics that gifted students possess. She discusses the importance of casting a wider net when identifying gifted learners and offers practical tips for educators to tailor instruction to meet the diverse needs of gifted learners. Discover how to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and create meaningful learning experiences that challenge and engage these exceptional students.

Whether you're an educator, parent, or simply intrigued by the world of gifted education, this episode will equip you with valuable strategies and insights to unlock the full potential of gifted learners and create an inclusive learning environment for all. Tune in now and embark on a transformative journey in education!

3 TeacherGoal Tips


Tip 1:

Consider identifying and serving a broader range of students, not just the top 2-5%, but potentially up to the top 20% of the student population, through talent development models 


Tip 2:
Recognize that there is no average student, and strive to provide differentiated instruction that meets the unique needs of each student, whether they are advanced, gifted, or require additional support.


Tip 3:
Understand the negative impact of excessive repetition for gifted learners. Instead, provide meaningful and enriching learning experiences that allow gifted students to explore and go beyond the mastery of the same learning goals repeatedly.

This Episode Features...

Stephanie Higgs

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.

Stephanie knows that learning is not bound by the front and back of a textbook or the four walls of the classroom, so she offers engaging, enriching units filled with hands-on opportunities and community outreach to her students daily. Her primary focus is maximum impact on student achievement. Stephanie has presented professional development at the school, district, state, national, and world conference levels. Her dynamic approach to empowering educators, with a focus on solutions to daily classroom obstacles, has helped her reach many teachers who impact countless lives. To reach more educators, Stephanie has recently started an Instagram account @littlemissgifted where she shares daily bite-sized tips to support teachers. Stephanie currently divides her time between daily gifted instruction and coaching teachers to enrich and extend learning to meet the needs of their diverse learners. Her fellow teachers know Stephanie thinks she has the best job in the building! 

Erica Terry, Host

Erica Terry is a 20-year educator and co-author of the Eva the Diva Girl rhyming picture book series written with her daughter, to empower young girls to build confidence and grow in self-love. She is also the founder of Terryfic Learning Company, where she equips teachers with actionable tools and resources to start a profitable online business and build generational wealth without stress.  

You can find her hanging out on Instagram @ericanterry_

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