TABLE 1.1 (continued)
Connection Child to Child
Intentionally creating and facilitating
opportunities for children to learn from
Emma is fascinated by birds and is able
to identify the species and breed of
the birds she sees in the neighborhood
around the school. Emma’s teacher
invites her to create a bird book and
pairs Emma with Julianna for the proj-
ect because Julianna loves to draw all
kinds of animals.
These three strategies—differentiation, conversation, and connection—
are like a braided thread that is woven throughout this book. Using any one
of the strategies will benefit children, but when implemented in combination,
this trio creates an especially rich and satisfying learning experience.
Overview of This Book
Chapters 1 and 2 of this book provide the foundation for understanding what
it means to be exceptionally bright in an early childhood classroom. Chapter 1
describes the characteristics of exceptionally bright children in greater depth
and offers an overview of the field of gifted education. Chapter 2 presents
informal and formal assessment methods that can be helpful for identifying
exceptionally bright children and describing their weaknesses and strengths.
Chapters 3 through 5 each focus on one of the three strategies for chal-
lenging exceptionally bright young children: differentiation, conversation,
and connection. Chapter 3, on differentiation, offers suggestions for how to
adapt the curriculum, teaching practices, and the learning environment to
challenge exceptionally bright children while still balancing individual and
group needs. Chapter 4 describes specific techniques for asking questions that
promote complex and creative thinking and strategies for providing authentic
feedback that will prompt children to think more deeply. Chapter 5 explains
social learning theory and offers suggestions for grouping children and facil-
itating their interactions in order to increase opportunities for children to
make connections and learn from each other.
The next three chapters focus on three specific curriculum areas: literacy
(chapter 6), math (chapter 7), and science (chapter 8). Each of those discus-
sions demonstrates how the three strategies from chapters 3 through 5 can
be utilized in that curriculum area to challenge exceptionally bright children.
Introduction | 5