The week of the 21st – 27th creates an opportunity to raise awareness of gifted children and the importance of differentiated education. To help parents understand their children and what it takes to care for their social and emotional needs, AEI has a list of speakers who have personally educated gifted children and their parents. 

Dr. Richard M. Cash is a teacher, district administrator/coordinator, and university professor. He believes thinking skills are crucial to students’ future success in their work, personal, and community lives. He once said, “In today’s differentiated classroom, students and teachers must work together toward a common goal of thinking proficiency.” Children should be learning beyond subject-specific knowledge. Richard learned valuable strategies to differentiate the curriculum when he taught the gifted. He identifies students’ strengths and weaknesses, and creates lessons loaded with critical thinking activities. He believes all students can think at higher levels with good teaching ideas, strategies, and techniques that were developed specifically for all learners.

Dr. Diane Heacox believes a teacher should learn and gather information about their students in a classroom and then write essential questions to frame and focus their curriculum to adhere to every student. She has taught at both elementary and secondary school levels and has served as a gifted education teacher and administrator, as well as instructional specialist in public education. She has been recognized by the Minnesota Educators of Gifted and Talented as the 2010 Friend of the Gifted for service to gifted education. She is also in the University of St. Thomas Educators Hall of Fame for contributions to the field of education. 

Has the brain always amazed you? You’re not alone. John Almarode is a mathematics and science teacher that created a unique experience for each of his students, matching instruction with how the brain learns. John used movement and the arts to increase the learning experience in math and science for those who needed help. John began working with Eric Jensen,  who is a world-renowned brain-based learning expert and staff developer. John became certified by the Jensen Learning Corporation after three years. He presented the role of brain research in education. He teaches action-packed workshops, that consist of ready-to-use strategies and the brain rules that make them work. 

Still curious about the brain? Janet Aaker Smith is an expert in organization in the areas of brain compatible learning, gifted education, creative and critical thinking, motivation, active learning, learning styles, cooperative learning and multiple intelligences. Janet once said, “I believe that learning should be fun, fascinating and leave you with your brain smiling! I design my workshops and presentation with that intention: to challenge all learners to think creatively and critically and enjoy learning.” When designing her curriculum she wonders how to make learning fun with added humor and laughter. The reason why laughter is so important is due to its power in creating a bond between the teacher and student. Without laughter there is no relationship and learning isn’t fun!

 AEI has many educators who work with gifted students and their teachers. Read about them and all our educators here: 

For more information on all of our speakers, please visit us at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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