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Ridiculously Gifted Student's behavior


Senior Member
I have a student who is so gifted, he's driving me crazy. He's as disorganized as they come, will argue you until it's not black and white, I could go on and on about the things he does.

My problem is that he argues and is scattered. I've had teh same routine in my class since August and still, he doesn't get started right away and is last to do all of his work.

Any suggestions?


Senior Member

I have a problem with students arguing with me. That's disrespectful, and isn't tolerated in my room. If they're questioning something academic, it's one thing. I like for them to be interested in what we're talking about. But I get to a point where they just have to do research on their own if they're that interested in something that they want to know more about.

What are your classroom rules? I would stick to them, no matter what the situation. If he's not on-task, he gets a warning, etc... If he's a perfectionist and takes too long to finish his work, he can take it home to finish and return the next day. If it's a test, he can finish in the hall while the rest of the class moves on.

You shouldn't be spending all your time and energy on one child. Take him aside and remind him of the rules. Then stick with them. He's not helping himself or others by being disorganized. It will be a training process. You can also buddy him up with someone who is organized, and let that person make sure he has homework written down, etc...


Senior Member
G/T Student

During my first year of teaching, I had a student just like what you described. He argued a lot, and a lot of times he was technically right but came across as disobedient. He and I butted heads a lot because he annoyed me so much.

The following year I had him again because I moved up a grade. I finally told him that if he wanted to ask me ridiculous questions and be all technical about everything, then he could write a research paper to explain all of his points, and I would be happy to grade it for him. Guess what? He quit. He only wanted to be argumentative when it got him attention and laughs.

Looking back, I realize that I should not have even put up with his arguing. I agree with the other poster about following the rules for your classroom. Talk to his parents if you need to.


Senior Member
SC, my student probably would write that research paper.

I don't put up with his arguing, I correct him, but he is insistent. His parents say the same thing about him. His parents and his teachers have the same problems. His parents said they've taken away all but 1 hr. of TV time a day and he has no video games. He still does it. I guess he'll just be the thorn in my side.

GT Teacher


I have a self-contained GT classroom with 4th and 5th graders that are all identified TAG. I probably had 15 kids that fit your description at the beginning of the year. I remember feeling in August the frustration of feeling like some of the kids were their own worst enemies. I often had to apoligize to staff members for their outbursts, antagonism, and absentmindedness at the beginning of the year.

Just yesterday though, seven months later, I was thinking about how far they had all come when I put them in new table groups and they were working together to come up with flages, team names, and anthems. Instead of the beginning of the year fights, squabbles, power struggles, and non-starters, I walked around and thought about how much they had improved. Yes, there are still occassional outbursts or questioning of authority but I am starting to get a clear vision of the well-adjusted adult leaders that they can become.

The reason that I am sharing this is to let you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know it may be easier said than done, but I ask you to keep in mind your long-term goals for this student. Don't we all know adults that are highly gifted but have no social skills- they can't work in groups, they are very black-white, and they are completely disorganized in all areas of their life? As teachers, we have the unique opportunity to help shape these students' social skills now for their adulthood.

You asked for suggestions so here goes . . .

* Try to provide open ended choices for activities whenever possible. For my reading program and thematic projects, I use contracts for almost everything. I usually give the kids 10 choices for activities and include one blank line for a student suggestion that has to be approved by me. This eliminates many debates and justifications before they can happen because the kids feel like they get to pick their activity but it is something that you want them to do anyway.

* Use as individualized a curriculum as you can with constant assessment, especially in math, and let the student know it. (TAI and Accelerated Math are good examples.) If you can show them that they are needing to work on a skill because it is the narrowed in area that they have not yet shown mastery, then they can't debate with you. They have to either work through the work that you give them, or kick it up a notch to get to something that excites them more.

* Make and use as many grids, rubrics, and charts as possible to help superimpose organization on them until they actually begin to internalize it. In my class, the kids actually tease me about all of my excel creations. In addition to the contracts, the kids also have to complete a daily planner each afternoon that they return to school the next day, fill out a self assessment for many activities, and record each math assignment they complete. Yes, the kids who struggle with organization either fight these at first or have a struggling time keeping up with them, but I don't make it optional and I think about the longterm goals instead of getting upset with a day's mistake or a lost paper.

I hope that this was helpful and not preachy. I completely understand where you are coming from but as someone who teaches a whole class of TAG kids and who got her Master's degree in TAG, I feel really strongly about this subject. You obviously want to figure out something that works, or you wouldn't have posted. I know it can be challenging, but many of the very things that make the students gifted are the things that can feel oppositional or challenging. But in the long run, the effort is all worth it.


Senior Member
Wow @ this quote

"Don't we all know adults that are highly gifted but have no social skills- they can't work in groups, they are very black-white, and they are completely disorganized in all areas of their life? As teachers, we have the unique opportunity to help shape these students' social skills now for their adulthood."

Thanks for the advice and tips.

We had a parent teacher conference and his parents came. WE suggested looking in to a magnet school that is opening up. They sounded enthusiastic because they didn't even knew one existed in our area.



I teach students with Autism and Asperger's Snydrome and find that many of my students are unmotivated and disorganized! For many of those students I have had to help them get organized and then check in every 3 to 4 weeks to make sure they are maintaining the organization. He might need a visual schedule. Even if he is a reader maybe he needs pictures with his words to help it be more concrete and predictable. I have made a million different kinds of schedules. With pictures, without pictures, in a planner and protable, on a small piece of paper just on his desk. If you are interested more about schedules e-mail me and I will e-mail you a really good web-site! I also have organized desks. Where there were pictures of what needed to be where in the desk, actually contact papered into the desk. I put velcro on pencils and crayons and velcroed them in the desk or in a pencil box for easy access!!! I have taught special education for 15 years and am just putting in transfer to make a change in general education. I realize there will be TONS of learning for me - having the higher end and trying to keep them challenged but I do believe there will be some similarities! E-mail is cathy.hayes@usd305.com