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Differentiation for Gifted Learners

Going Beyond the Basics
Revised & Updated Edition


With increasing numbers of students receiving gifted services every year, it’s more important than ever to make certain we are meeting their unique learning needs in the classroom. Differentiated instruction for these learners must go beyond adjusting content levels, task complexity, or product choice—it must truly challenge and support learners on all levels: academic, social, and emotional. A leading resource in the field of gifted education, this book connects the unique learning differences among gifted students to the specific teaching methods used to tailor their learning experiences. Expansive new content in the revised edition includes:
  • a discussion of underserved learners—particularly English language learners, students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and economically disadvantaged students
  • updated information on learning standards, MTSS, and universal screening 
  • new guidelines for honors courses 
  • a focus on scholarly questioning, ethics, and empathy
  • a novel new strategy to increase curricular depth and complexity 
  • information on learning orientations
  • new research on neurological differences of gifted learners
  • the pros and cons of co-teaching and how to assess its progress
  • new tools to increase achievement, plus a discussion of “underlearning”
  • the benefits of coaching and lesson study
  • the authors’ perspectives on and guidelines for grading
Downloadable digital content includes customizable reproducible forms and a PDF presentation; a free PLC/Book Study Guide for use in professional development is also available.
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Paperback $42.99 84327 Paperback 84327 $42.99

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ISBN: 978-1-63198-432-7
Audience: Gifted education teachers, coordinators, specialists, and program directors; general education teachers; instructional coaches; curriculum developers; administrators; parents of gifted students
Trim Size: 8.5" x 11"
Page Count: 264
Digital Content: Includes PDF presentation and customizable reproducible forms
Praise for Differentiation for Gifted Learners
“Heacox and Cash hit a home run again. With a strikingly fresh and updated perspective, the authors take Differentiation for Gifted Learners: Going Beyond the Basics to a new level of possibilities with their revised and updated edition. If you liked the original book, you will love this new edition. It promises to be a must-have classic that all educators should read. This book is not to be missed!”—Patti Drapeau, adjunct faculty at University of Southern Maine, founder of Patti Drapeau Educational Consulting Services, and author
“The highest praise for the authors! This new revision spans the gamut of how all aspects of teaching can be differentiated using formative assessments to create authentic learning and real-world connections. Heacox and Cash skillfully consider the roles of teaching and leadership, defensible gifted programming, and how to ensure equity when differentiating instruction. Through surveys, questionnaires, reflection guides, and observation and feedback forms, the authors show teachers how to design lessons that engage and challenge all learners. They then provide an abundance of practical templates, lesson plans, and ideas that create a complete system for taking differentiation beyond the basics.”—Dina Brulles, Ph.D., director of gifted education, Paradise Valley Unified School District, and School District Representative, National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Board of Directors
“I have been referencing and recommending the first edition of this book, from its first release, to student teachers and practicing teachers. This new edition is even more helpful in establishing a solid foundation in the topics that are so crucial for the field today, especially in areas of equity and in comparing and contrasting historical practices and improvements. At a time when gifted education courses struggle for enrollment numbers and gifted programs around the country are being debated for closure, discussions of defensible practices are critical for meeting the needs of the real students. Teachers also need to see how gifted education fits within the larger scope of education. This book has practical ideas, a clear writing style, and many avenues for conversation. It should be used in teacher preparation courses and professional development opportunities to build expertise and reflection. I look forward to the conversations that I will have with both new and experienced educators as a result of this new edition.”—Nikki Myers, founding director of Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning and member of the Colorado Academy of Educators for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative 
“In the new edition of Differentiation for Gifted Learners, Diane Heacox and Richard Cash truly do go beyond the basics to help teachers extend their knowledge of the skills needed to differentiate instruction and apply this knowledge to a variety of student populations. Both Heacox and Cash have written and presented extensively on differentiation, and their knowledge of context truly enriches the content in this important book. I was especially interested in the focus on underserved populations, including ELL students and students who have ASD or ADHD and/or face other learning or behavior challenges. This addition is in sync with the trend in gifted education that emphasizes the fact that we teach all types of gifted students and must program for them. I personally appreciated the information in chapter 5, which offers guidelines for creating honors/advanced courses and a curricular framework that infuses the pedagogy of gifted education into secondary courses. Too often we forget secondary gifted students, but Heacox and Cash do not. I endorse this book and encourage those who are serious about meeting the needs of gifted students to read and apply the information presented.”—Felicia A. Dixon, Ph.D., educational consultant and professor emerita, Department of Educational Psychology, Ball State University
  • 2014 Legacy Book Award for Educators Winner (previous edition)
Understanding Underachievement in Gifted Learners

We’ve all had them—students who don’t produce to the level of their capabilities. It can be frustrating, annoying, and overall confusing. Underachievers, often gifted or advanced learners, are sending us a message. Our job is to figure out what that message is.

Underachievement is when students have a discrepancy between their potential (whether innate ability or talent) and their performance. As defined in the book I wrote with Diane Heacox, Differentiation for Gifted Learners: Going Beyond the Basics, underachievers can be either nonproducers or selective performers. Nonproducers refuse to do the daily work or homework but still perform well on final assessments, whereas selective performers pick and choose what they will do and where they will put their energies.

Continue reading on the Free Spirit Blog.
Motivating the Gifted but Reluctant Learner
A Free Webinar with Diane Heacox, Ed.D.

Join Free Spirit’s edWeb community, Social-Emotional Learning, Positive Behavior, and Student Achievement, to take a short quiz based on the webinar below and earn a free CE credit.

Related Resources

A guide to identifying gifted students and creating equity and inclusion within gifted programs.
Recognize and support twice-exceptional / 2e students to help them succeed in school—and beyond.
Differentiation for Gifted Learners PLC/Book Study
Inspiring Student Empowerment: Moving Beyond Student Engagement, Refining Differentiation
Start Seeing and Serving Underserved Gifted Students
Cluster Grouping Handbook 2019
Teaching Gifted Kids 2018
Teacher's Guide to Flexible Grouping
Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners
Making Differentiation A Habit Updated Edition
Advancing Differentiation Revised and Updated Edition
Teaching Twice Exceptional Students
A comprehensive guide to visual learning strategies with easy-to-use activities.

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