Minnesota Council for the Gifted & Talented

Connections. Advocacy. Resources. Equity. Support.

Hormel Gifted and Talented Education Symposium

June 9-12, 2014, in Austin, MNsymp logo

Registration is now open for the sixth annual Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium—a collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the Hormel Foundation and Austin School District. Invited speakers include many of the field’s finest regionally, nationally and internationally known presenters, focusing on foundational knowledge, creativity, curriculum strategies, social and emotional needs. Go to the website for a complete schedule and other information:


Registration ends May 25.

One of the speakers, Ann Claire Gadzinkowski, will do two presentations on young gifted children and their education

Starting Small: Differentiating For Young, Bright Students in Early Childhood Classrooms

Nearly every early childhood classroom includes at least one exceptionally bright student, from the preschooler who would rather take apart her tricycle than ride on it, to the third grader who is reading at a high school level. Differentiation in an early childhood classroom can be especially difficult for teachers because these very young children are just starting to develop academic skills and executive functions. This session explores differentiation strategies that are developmentally appropriate for young children, such as offering students a wide variety of methods for demonstrating their knowledge, including sculpture, dramatic play, and dictation. Interactive presentations on each of the differentiation strategies will include opportunities to discuss, practice, and reflect in small groups.

Conversations & Connections: Challenging Exceptionally Bright Young Children

Concepts of social learning theory, such as Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, are especially relevant to early childhood classrooms, where young children are more likely to play with a friend than study a book. This session demonstrates how early childhood teachers can challenge exceptionally bright young children by engaging them in complex and challenging conversations and by deepening the learning relationships in the classroom, including both the relationships between adults and children as well as the social relationships between the children. Participants will have opportunities to discuss and practice the strategies in small, interactive groups.

Ann Claire Gadzikowski brings more than twenty-five years of experience as a teacher and administrator to her role as Early Childhood Coordinator at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. Ann’s primary responsibility at CTD is coordinating the summer Leapfrog program, offering fast-paced enrichment courses for gifted students, age 4 through grade 3, at six locations in the Chicago area. A graduate of the Erikson Institute for Advanced Study in Child Development, Ann is the author of textbooks, leveled readers, and teacher guides. Her most recent publication is Challenging Exceptionally Bright Children in Early Childhood Classrooms (Redleaf Press, 2013).