Archive for March 4th, 2023

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I teach gifted kids in grades 1-6 at two elementary schools in my district. We use a pull-out program, so I see my kids every day. Alice (not her real name) comes to me at the end of the school day, after second recess and before dismissal. Yesterday she was tired, and I could tell. Her eyes were half closed and she had very little patience for the suggestions I was making about her work.

Alice is very talented, not just in academics, but also in art. However, her perfectionism can get in the way. We were doing an art project in the form of Jean-Michel Basquiat. We watched a video from a Pace artist from the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Following the directions of the teaching artist resulted in a Baquiat-esque painting. Alice did not like what happened when she created her background. “I hate it,” she cried. And tears fell down her little cheeks.

I knew this melt down was not just about the art. She was tired. She had an idea in her head of what she wanted her art to look like, and it wasn’t happening. She’s a calm child. She didn’t tear up the paper. She didn’t cry loudly or need to take a break. I let her figure it out, and by the end of class, she had cut out one of her practice drawings and glued it to a solid background. And I think she left for the weekend somewhat pleased with how she had gathered the strength to at least have something to put in the hall display.

But before all this happened, we talked about her exhaustion. I know that gifted kids have a hard time shutting down their brains to sleep. I also know that research shows you should turn off all screens at least an hour before going to sleep.

Alice: “I’m just tired.”

Me: “Did you watch TV before you went to sleep?”

Alice: “Yes, I always do.”

Cringe on my face, “You know research says that TV stimulates your brain so you won’t get restful sleep if you use it to fall asleep.” I tried to sound logical and not degrading.

A: “I just can’t stop thinking! I need a Notes app for my brain!”

I couldn’t help but laugh! Then I explained to her how a notebook next to her bed could be her notes app for her brain.

She admitted that she would probably totally forget this conversation by the time she would be going to bed. I think we could all use a Notes app for our brains.

Basquiat-esque Art by Margaret Simon

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