your biggest fan, Suzanne
You know THAT kid- the one who is always willing to volunteer. The one whose hand flies up after "Any questions?". The one who is quick to remind you of upcoming events. Yep, that's the one.
This kid is often one of the first to drive you the most crazy. It's easy to be short with them or try to ignore them all together. But what can be done in the classroom environment to meet the emotional needs of this student.
Polish psychiatrist and psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski studied five areas of overexcitability in gifted learners and how their needs can be met in instruction.
1. Psychomotor- Bouncing, fidgeting, and often out of their seat- sound familiar? This is your energetic, kinesthetic learner. To help this student be successful, build in opportunities for students to get up and move around. Consider the Musical Shares and Stick it to Me activities described here. Even small tasks can be turned into ways to release energy- store books on the shelf and give students the opportunity to get up and get a book and return it when needed. I always make this into a race to make sure we are not wasting instructional time on transitions.
2. Sensual- They are great observers, noticing each detail. This is the student who is quick to touch, smell or listen intently to stimuli. This learner might also get overstimulated by too much light or noise. For this student, plan for delight. Whenever possible, bring in props that enhance learning- food, clothes, music from the time period. Know that these students will be particularly pleased and allow them time to enjoy this extension because it is strengthening their learning.
3. Intellectual- This is your problem solver. They are often "in their head" and will pipe up when they've discovered a possible solution. Provide opportunities for these students to discuss big ideas, such as poverty, compassion, and respect. If students have a difficult time verbalizing their cognitive process or being respectful in their discussion with others, provide respectful sentence stems.
4. Imaginational- An imaginational overexcitability blends fiction with reality. These students might become disengaged if creativity and imagination are separate from learning. These students respond well when allows to draw or write their product of learning. Role play could be a good application that allows students to "see" a theory or idea in play.
5. Emotional- Compassionate, empathetic, and sensitive- emotional learners show strong emotional attachments to people, places, and things. These students might have difficult coping with change and practice self-judgment. Whenever possible, provide a service outlet so that students feel that have a meaningful contribution. Allow students to spearhead their own project that stems from their passions.
For more information about overexcitabilities, click here.