Center for Talent Development Hosts Educator Workshop

Center for Talent Development Hosts Educator Workshop

Center for Talent Development

What are the best practices for differentiating instruction for gifted students? The Center for Talent Development (CTD) presents a daylong workshop on October 15 featuring Sandra Kaplan, a professor at the University of Southern California and an expert in gifted education, and her best-practice approach to differentiation for gifted and high-ability students.

Educators of children from third grade through high school are invited to attend “Differentiation: Eight Key Components” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Evanston campus of Northwestern University. The cost is $100, and the deadline for registration is October 1. Information on the registration process is available at

Kaplan identifies eight key components of curriculum development, each representing a different aspect of academic rigor and challenge for gifted students. In a truly differentiated approach, students are engaged in moving from simple to complex understandings and skills, according to Kaplan. Developing skill sets and dispositions that help gifted students to develop as intellectuals — individuals who are excited about what to learn and know how to approach learning — is key to her methodology.

Demonstrations of lessons, examples of curriculum, and the opportunity to translate this approach to differentiation into participants’ own curriculum will be features of this presentation. Kaplan’s “best practice” approach involves learning depth and complexity, understanding the classics, integrating current events, and thinking from a variety of perspectives: an anthropologist, an economist and a sociologist.

Kaplan has experience as a teacher and gifted coordinator in an urban California district. She has also authored articles, chapters and books on differentiating instruction for gifted and high-ability students. As a principal investigator for three Javits-funded federal grants, Kaplan designed curriculum in the area of social studies and researched the effects of differentiated instruction.

Kaplan has served as president of the California Association for the Gifted and National Association for the Gifted, assistant director of the National State Leadership Training Institute on the Gifted and Talented, and a consultant for state departments of education and school districts.

“A classroom where learners are provided with equal opportunity to learn, but are not expected to learn the same curriculum in the same way at the same time, is the context that exemplifies differentiation,” says Kaplan.

Each fall, the Center for Talent Development hosts a conference for educators, informing them of best practices in gifted education and inspiring them to strive toward mastery of their craft and better instruction and support for gifted students.

By Marilyn Sherman and Center for Talent Development
Last Modified: 9/11/12