Education Opinion

Think It Off

By Tamara Fisher — October 08, 2008 2 min read
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One morning last week, I was working during recess in the Computer Lab at one of our elementary schools when one of my third graders popped in. “Oh! Ms. Fish! I want to come in here during recess and do some research about space and astronauts, but my teacher said I could only do it if someone was in here with me. Will you be in here for a little while?”

“Sure thing - come on in. You can use this computer next to me.”

He opened up a browser page and headed off to his first destination. A moment later, he looked up at me and said, “I don’t like recess,” and followed that statement with a grin: “I like to LEARN! My favorite classes are GT, Library, Music, and regular class.” (He listed them off on his fingers.) I could really do without PE and recess.”

My first reaction to hearing him say “I like to LEARN!” was “oh, cute!” But I quickly became surprised... This little guy is *very* active. He oozes energy from every pore. He’s the kind of kid that some would refer for an ADHD evaluation. He has one speed (fast) and one volume (loud) and his middle name must be “Wiggle.”

I was suprised because I had figured he was the kind of kid who loved recess, the kind of kid who needed recess. I had thought that recess was his way to “run it off.”

But he apparently doesn’t feel that need.

And then a couple days later, I thought to myself... “Maybe he needs to think it off...”

So I asked him this morning... “What gets rid of your extra energy?”

“Learning! Learning helps me get rid of energy. Sometimes learning even wears me out if it’s hard enough. I like the harder problems better than the easy ones.”

I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. This is the same little guy who, back in 1st grade, had trouble walking down the hall with his class without getting his hands into everything along the way or spinning in circles while walking. What was his teacher’s strategy for helping him learn how to manage himself in the hallway? As the kids were lined up in the classroom by the door, before leaving the room, she would tell him a three-digit math problem. He would figure it out in his head while walking down the hall and then tell his teacher the answer when they arrived at their destination. By figuring out a challenging problem along the way, his energy had been re-directed to thinking. This little strategy worked consistently with him!

Is there a brilliant but extra-energetic little one in your class? Maybe there’s a way you can help him to think it off.

A special “hello!” to everyone that I met in Kansas this past weekend at the KGTC conference! I look forward to seeing many of you again in Tampa. :o)

The opinions expressed in Unwrapping the Gifted are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.