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Boredom Busters for Gifted Students

gtchat 04112017 Boredom

Why should teachers be concerned that gifted students are bored at all? At the very heart of teaching – of becoming a teacher – is the belief that all students in their care are learning. Boredom for any student often leads to classroom management issues and gifted students can pose significant disruptions to learning. It is in everyone’s best interest to keep students engaged.

“All kids need to be engaged at their zone of proximal development. Gifted kids needs freedom to explore.” ~ Barry Gelston, Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

Boredom can create many undesirable consequences in the classroom and can affect gifted students exponentially as they progress through the educational system. The results of boredom in school are felt far beyond the classroom walls; misbehavior doesn’t stop at end of school day.

There are things that shouldn’t be done in response to a gifted student who is truly bored at school. Gifted students shouldn’t be given busy work, ignored, or condescended to when they finish early. They shouldn’t be expected to serve as teacher’s helper simply because it’s a convenient way to occupy their time.  Down time in the classroom should be used to provide meaningful work for gifted students that addresses their specific needs.

No more worksheet packets! End the madness! Appropriate, purposeful instruction based on data driven decisions. ~ Sarah Kessel, Supervisor of Advanced Learning Programs

There are strategies which can be used to alleviate boredom in the regular education classroom. Pre-assessment is the first step to heading off boredom. Realistic expectations of ability are needed. Rigorous, relevant and appropriate differentiation takes time and effort when planning curricular interventions for GT. (See resources below.)

“I also like to have students “choose their own adventure” by finding ways to show concepts with their voice- how can you show this?” ~ Heather Vaughn, M.Ed, UT Austin – Coordinator of Advanced Academics

What should teachers look for to determine if the student is bored or it is something else (perfectionism, 2E, ability)? Teachers need to look for signs of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis. Then, refer the student to the appropriate staff members for evaluation. Teachers should have any and all relevant evaluations of student’s past performance and possible issues.

Engaging kids in solving authentic problems is 1 of the BEST ways to make their education REAL! ~ Tracy Fisher, School Board Member, Coppell, TX

Parents can do numerous things to combat summertime and holiday boredom when kids aren’t in school. Parenting GT kids is hard work. Adequate planning is essential to head off boredom. They can consult with GT teachers, gifted organizations, and websites about summer opportunities.

It’s also important for parents to recognize need for ‘down’ time as well. Not every minute away from school needs to be planned. Summer and school breaks are a wonderful time for gifted kids to explore their passions – think family vacations; camps; and internships.

Boredom does not need to be a subject to be avoided, but rather seen as an invitation to see how to best meet the needs of the gifted student.  A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Bored Out of Their Minds

15 Tips on How to Differentiate Learning for Gifted Learners

Boredom Busters: Breaking the Bonds of Boredom (PPT)

Gifted and Bored? Maybe Not

Early Finishers: Ideas for Teachers

Early Finishers: 9 Ideas for Students

Smart and Bored

Smart Kids and the Curse of the Kidney Table

Primarily Speaking: Word Work Fun!

I’m Done, Now What?

Daily Practice for the New SAT

TED Connections from MENSA for Kids

Book Review Writing: A Guide for Young Reviewers

Cybraryman’s Geocaching Page

Cybraryman’s Programming – Coding Literacy Page

Cybraryman’s Robotics Page

Genius Hour with Guest, Andi McNair

Steve Spangler: The Science of Connecting People

Coppell Gifted Association: Summer MOSAIC 2017

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Conquering Cognitive Weariness with Guest, Lisa Van Gemert

Lisa Van Gemert

Always a conference favorite, Lisa Van Gemert joined us to talk about cognitive weariness, aka ‘boredom’ in the classroom. Lisa, the Gifted Guru, is the Gifted Youth Specialist for American Mensa. Their new Twitter handle is @MensaGT.

So, how exactly does Lisa define ‘cognitive weariness’? “Cognitive weariness is like the French ennui – existential boredom – specifically with regard to school work. Cognitive weariness hits when we have what one researcher called the “shriek of unused capacities.” The gifted are more prone to cognitive weariness because boredom is a root cause, and they are so often bored.”

When asked “What strategies can teachers use to counteract boredom?”, Lisa was prepared with a fantastic list of strategies. #1 Decrease predictability. Don’t run the class in the same pattern every day. #2 Decrease monotony. Don’t do the same thing for very long – no more than fifteen minutes, even in high school. #3 Increase choice. Feelings of confinement lead to boredom, and mental confinement counts, too. #4 Decrease distractions. That kid’s tapping pencil is increasing boredom in other kids. Little known, but true. #5 Accurately and consistently match ability with work level. Goldilocks the work. A full transcript may be found here.

You can find Lisa Van Gemert at TAGT 2013 in Houston, December 4th to 6th. She’s speaking with Brian Housand Thursday at 10:30 AM, Thursday at 12:15 PM and twice on Friday. All of her presentations are ‘not to be missed’.


Lisa Van Gemert’s  @gifted_guru Website ‘Gifted Guru

Lisa Van Gemert’s presentations on Slideshare

Lisa Van Gemert Gifted Youth Specialist @AmericanMensa

Lisa Van Gemert’s Pinterest Page 

Living on Edge of Chaos Podcast Ep 5 Chat w/Lisa Van Gemert from @coffeechugbooks

Lit From Within: Motivation and the Gifted Learner’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

Beyond Boredom (understanding and conquering the ‘b’ word)’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

Differentiation in the GT Classroom’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

The Creativity Prescription’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

Perfection{ism} An Occupational Hazard of Giftedness’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

The Gift of Self’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

Gifted Overview’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

Grouping without Fear’ from @gifted_guru on Slideshare

The Five-Headed Dragon – Threats to Giftedness’ (pdf) from @gifted_guru

Heart Over Head: Emotional Intelligence and the Gifted Learner” from @gifted_guru on Prezi

Deliberate Excellence: The Power of Effective Classrooms” from @gifted_guru on Prezi

Cybraryman’s MakerEd Page

Cybraryman’s GeniusHour Page 

Flipsnack ~ A place for showcasing student work

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