Blog Archives

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.

Point/Counterpoint: Challenges to Gifted Programs

gtchat 09042015 Point Counterpoint

This week’s #gtchat used a different format to accommodate our topic of how to answer challenges to gifted programs within a school district. The points to be considered were:

Point #1: Gifted students will do fine on their own; they don’t need any extra help.

Counterpoint: “Students should be given reins of learning but should have a teacher to help facilitate their studies.” ~ Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman

Counterpoint: “Not all students learn the same way and that includes GT students. They have their own set of needs that need to be addressed.” ~ Andrea,

Counterpoint: “Gifted learners are still learners. Everyone needs guidance and support.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Working at the class level so far beneath their possible level all the time is not ‘doing fine’.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “High achievers may do well on their own, but not all gifted students are high achievers.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Gallagher argued gifted students require competent educational services for their special needs to be met (Gallagher, 2004).” ~ Chelsey Mintz, graduate student through USC at Oxford

Counterpoint: “Many GT Students need additional support and encouragement. ‘One size fits all’ never works!” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT  educator

Point #2: Gifted students serve as role models and need to stay in the regular classroom.

Counterpoint: “Expecting a child to be a role model for age-peers usually is an invitation for bullying. No child needs that.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “No. That is unfair to gt kids. If they want to help classmates, fine, but *expecting* them to be role models? No.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at

Counterpoint: “Some gifted students fill that role naturally. Others will not. Students should not be expected to be anything other than their best selves.” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT educator

Counterpoint: “Gifted students can be role models, but they’re in school to get an education like all kids. Teaching is adults’ responsibility.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “All students have strengths and can serve as role models in different capabilities. Gifted don’t need to be singled for this role.” ~ Katie McClarty, Pearson Research and Innovation Network

Point #3: Gifted students need to learn how to socialize with all kinds of people.

Counterpoint: “Good to be able to socialize with all but main need is to be able to socialize and have deeper relationships with true peers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “‘All kinds of people’ can’t mean a lot of time without like peers. Otherwise, claiming they need socializing is just an excuse.” Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “We should address students social & emotional needs as they present themselves. Address issues today to avoid future challenges.” ~ Katie McClartyPearson Research and Innovation Network

Counterpoint: “I think we are really bad at interpreting what students want or need as social interaction. Some kids actually enjoy their own company.” ~ Justin Vaughan, teacher in Australia

Point #4: There isn’t enough money to go around. Gifted programs are too expensive.

Counterpoint: “Many gifted programs are low cost or no cost at all; consider online options or ability grouping.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Not all programs are expensive. We think any student should have access to an engaging learning environment despite costs.Many programs offer scholarships and financial aid (we do!)” ~ Andrea,

Counterpoint: “Expensive GT programs will never replace a quality GT teacher. I’d go with the awesome Teacher every time.” Aaron Peña,  Texas principal

Point #5: Differentiated instruction is sufficient for gifted students.

Counterpoint: “Teachers today are overwhelmed by expectations that they can adequately meet a myriad of ability levels.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Teachers that plan for voice and choice, menus, passion projects, etc; don’t need to do the differentiating – It happens naturally.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Differentiation only works for gifted if done to the necessary level, breadth, depth and pace. Can be a big ask for teachers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “I do believe differentiation is one of the most important teacher skills. I don’t want to dismiss it. But nothing works alone.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Point #6: Gifted programs are elitist.

Counterpoint: “I don’t think they’re elitist, but think they may be too narrow in scope to catch different kinds of giftedness.” ~ Dr. Toby Brown, technology teacher in OK

Counterpoint: “If all students were given access to learning based on interests, abilities & choices, elitism wouldn’t be an issue.” ~ BrendanCatalyst Learning

Counterpoint: “Elitism implies “better.” Gifted students aren’t. They have different needs. I don’t think they’re more or less important needs.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “It is seen as elitist mainly because gt services aren’t provided in most schools in poor areas – where they’re needed most.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at

Counterpoint: “Gifted programs depend on a fair and equitable identification process. It’s a well-known fact that this issue needs to improve. Flawed identification practices and funding formulas which favor wealthier school districts are contributing factors.” ~ Moderator

A full transcript may be found at Storify.

Thank you to our presenting partner @giftedandtalentededu for supporting #gtchat and this week’s Giveaway! Texas teacher, Brooke Horn, was the winner of a 3 month subscription to: K-7 Independent Study Math & Language Arts Combo Course.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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:


The Obstacles Deterring Gifted Education

The Unkindest Cut: Seven Stupid Arguments against Programs for the Gifted

Assessing the Arguments against Gifted Education (AUS)

Planning and Implementing Programs for the Gifted (Amazon)

Hey America, Let’s Not Leave Our Gifted Kids Behind

America Hates Its Gifted Kids

Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?

Achievement & Success We’ve Got This All Wrong

Casting Stones at Cacti Our Intolerance of Gifted People

The Workplace Mobbing of Highly Gifted Adults: An Unremarked Barbarism (pdf)

Gifted Adults in the Workplace: Nerds or Heroes or Misfits

At Work: Are You Too Smart for the Job?

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education

Top Ten Myths in Gifted Education (YouTube 8:10)

Cybraryman’s Student Centered Page

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Underachievers

The Culture of Bullying 

Easy Ways to Provide New Learning Opportunities

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Mythbuster – Myth 9


Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Snappy Answers to Stupid Excuses

This week’s chat was based on a blog post by Dr. Jim Delisle at the Free Spirit Publishing Blog, “Snappy Answers to Stupid Excuses“.  Although Dr. Delisle could not be with us at the chat, he sent this reminder for parents and advocates. “When it comes to their g/t kids, just exhale now and again.”


                                                      Dr. Jim Delisle


In his post, Dr. Delisle listed The Top 5 Offending Statements:


  • “You know, every child is gifted in some way …”
  • “We don’t need a separate gifted program, because all of our teachers differentiate.”
  • “It’s not fair to the less capable children to remove gifted children from their classrooms. Who will be their role models?”
  • “It’s not possible to be both gifted and have a disability. It’s either one or the other.”
  • “Your child can’t possibly be gifted – have you looked at her grades?”


Interestingly, the chat was populated mostly by educators as well as several homeschoolers. Most all had encountered some of the offending statements in their lives while advocating for gifted students. The discussion turned to personal experiences that they had in their own childhoods and remembrances of how their parents responded to situations involving these types of comments.

What advice did folks have for parents preparing to meet with teachers and school officials to discuss their child?

  • “Learn the language of gifted education. Any conversation will go better if you’re speaking the same language.” ~ Moderator
  • “With school leaders, it is not always what you say but how you phrase it that will either get them to dig in or listen.” ~ Diane Heacox, Ed.D., author (with Richard Cash) of Differentiation for Gifted Learner: Going Beyond the Basics
  • “Even teachers are willing to be taught if it’s done with tact. Bring resources you’ve found helpful to your kid’s teacher’s attention.” ~ Jeffrey Farley, middle school teacher in Beaumont, Texas
  • “Gather all your information, have references ready to quote, don’t allow conversation to get sidetracked and make appointment for next meeting.” ~ Jo Freitag, Coordinator of Gifted Resources and author of Sprite’s Site Blog, Australia
  • “Share anecdotes about child’s interests, behaviour, etc. Not all [teachers] know it affects sleep, self esteem.” ~ Barbara Larochelle, GT teacher for 15 years, Edmonton, Canada

What do you say when a school administrator tells you there is no need for a gifted and talented program because all students needs are being met in the regular classroom through differentiation of the curriculum?  Dr. Delisle suggests that you ask for specific examples of how differentiation is being done in your child’s classroom. Be prepared to show examples of your child’s work at levels well beyond current grade-level placement. Amy Harrington, Esq. and Board Director at SENG, told us “Many gifted kids don’t need teaching, but rather mentoring. Curriculum is also a waste of time. Modifying it is like a band aid.” Dr. Diane Heacox reminded us that, “Differentiated instruction for ALL is not the same as differentiated instruction for GT.” Drew Frank, principal of Davis Academy in Atlanta, made the astute observation that, “Asynchronous development, divergent thinking, hypermotor overexcitability…etc – In class DIn (differentiated instruction) is not enough to meet all needs of [GT]!”

“You don’t have the moral right to hold one child back to make another child feel better.” ~ Stephanie Tolan

Question #5 dealt with – What would you say to: “It’s not fair to the other students to remove gifted children from classes as they are role models.”? This elicited many divergent responses!

  • “Removing gifted and talented students can be the best thing for a class. When bored we’re…disruptive, rebellious, and BAD role models.” ~ Susanne Thomas, Director of Online Education at Gifted Homeschoolers Forum
  • “You don’t have the moral right to hold one child back to make another child feel better.” ~ Stephanie Tolan (quoted by the moderator)
  • “Teachers who say that are usually defining “gifted” as “sweet little high achiever who does what I say.” ~ Justin Schwamm, Latin instructor at Tres Columnae
  • “There is research around students modeling after those who they perceive to be more similar to them; not the superstar.” ~ Dr. Diane Heacox
  • In his blog post, Dr. Delisle suggested, “Ask for research-based evidence supporting statement that gifted students serve as role models in general education classes.”

The question as to whether or not a student can be gifted with an accompanying disability, twice exceptional, was discussed at length. It seemed to be a prevalent attitude among administrators who did not have experience with gifted education. However, the existence of twice-exceptional students is well documented. In fact, Dr. Delisle advises parents to say to administrators, “Suggest the possibility of other 2e [twice-exceptional] students and ask what steps the school has taken to identify them.” A full transcript of the chat may be found here.

Thank you to Dr. Jim Delisle and Free Spirit Publishing for permission to reference their topic on this week’s #gtchat.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT 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:


Snappy Answers to Stupid Excuses

10 Lessons from Benjamin Franklin That Might Help Advocates of Gifted Learners via TAGT

Differentiation at Evernote

Using Design Process for Problem Solving and Education

Gifted Unschooling

Cybraryman’s Differentiation Page

Susan Brookhart ASCD Author

Dr. Diane Heacox (website)

Free Spirit Publishing


Is Differentiated Instruction a Hollow Promise?


Volumes have been written about differentiating instruction for all learners in the inclusive classroom. It sounds wonderful in theory, but how practical is it to expect one teacher to differentiate a lesson to accommodate up to 6 different grade levels in one classroom? With emphasis placed on bringing up the lowest achievers to proficiency and teachers’ evaluations on the line, who stands most to loose from this approach?

This week’s #gtchat explored the practicality of differentiation. It was not surprising the strong showing of teachers at this chat. Few thought it was a bad idea, but even fewer had seen differentiation actually occur in their schools. There was consensus on a few points – differentiation requires ongoing professional development and ability grouping to work for high ability learners. Otherwise, it is a mere excuse to save the school district money by forgoing its obligations to provide all students with the opportunity to experience annual growth. A full transcript of the chat may be found here.


Is Differentiated Instruction a Hollow Promise?

On Differentiation

Gifted Issues: Davidson Database “Is Differentiated Instruction a Hollow Promise?”

What Research Says About Differentiated Learning

All Together Now Educating High and Low Achievers in the Same Classroom

The Icarus Syndrome: Why Do Some High Flyers Soar While Others Fall?” (pdf)

How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms (Google Books Preview) Carol Ann Tomlinson

The Rationale for Differentiated Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms via @ASCD

Investigating the Impact of Differentiated Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms (pdf)

Palo Alto USD Suspends All Gifted Programing

Educating Gifted Students in Reg Classroom: Efficacy, Attitudes, & Differentiation

of Instruction (pdf)

Gifted Challenges: Eliminate gifted education (?)

The Differentiator from @ByrdseedGifted

Using Bulletin Boards to Differentiate the Classroom Environment 

Cybraryman’s Differentiated Instruction Page

A Case Against Differentiated Instruction” by Ginger Lewman

Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design (Chapter 1) from ASCD

Gifted and Talented Differentiated Instruction Livebinder from Leslie Graves

Differentiation Livebinder from Leslie Graves

Clip art courtesy of Discovery Education.

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