Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer 2014 Session 1 - Question 1

Session 1 = Introduction through Chapter 4 (pgs. IX - 54)

What was a new thought/idea for you from this reading section?  Remember to give the page number(s) as to where this idea was generated.

55 comments:

  1. Some new thoughts from reading this book is from page 38. " Some of the negative aspects of emotional intensity, aside from the mood swings, including excessive fear in seemingly normal situations, high critical self-talk, extreme guilt and shame related to perceived imperfections, and the feeling of being out of control." In teaching gifted and talented students I never considered their emotional being as one that is a factor from their gifted and talented intellect. Having read this chapter has put new perspective in how these gifted students experience emotional intensity. That their belief combined with their intensity of how they feel can inhibit their performance. As a teacher, it's important to learn about these emotional so that we can sympathize and support them.

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    1. I agree with Sarah when I think about my gift students I only think intellectually- I forget about the emotional part. The first section of this book has opened my eyes to the many emotional aspects of our gifted students.

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    2. Response to Sarah Chu:
      I agree that I was surprised to that Fonseca (2010) pointed out that high critical self-talk is one of the factors of negative aspects of GT emotional intensity. p. 38 I have reflected on how GT hold themselves to such a high standards when it comes to producing something whether it's a project or an essay. They will invest so much time to make it perfect.

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    3. Response to Sarah Chu:
      Yes, I agree with the importance of learning what intense emotions a GT student may have in order to better support them. I agree because I was able to understand and help his emotional intensity when it came to other students "not doing the right thing." I guess you could say as on page 16, he had "early moral concern" right vs. wrong. I knew this and helped him get through the everyday rights and wrongs of other students. He was very concerned when someone was not following directions and became fixated until that student was corrected. Instead of telling him to "not tell" I accepted the fact that this was an emotional issue for him. I affirmed his emotions as opposed to not.

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    4. Your comment regarding "not doing the right thing" brings me to one of my favorite students years ago. He was constantly reporting to me about classmates. Now, after reading this book I know it was all related to his GT intensity and rule following was one of his passions. I will post more about this young student further in the comments. I am having a huge "ah-ha" moment!!

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  2. A new thought I had about gifted students can be found on page 20. Fonseca writes that sometimes gifted students try out for a sport to be considered "cool", Maybe this is more the case with g/t students in middle school and high school. My experience with gifted students has been that, for the most part, they are confident and comfortable with themselves.

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    1. I agree with Judy B-song from June 30th. I do not find GT students to try out for a sport to be considered "cool," as well. My experiences with GT students in high school is that they are confident in their own skin. They do not care to fit in. As a result, the lack of social connections is difficult. In chapter 1 (page 192 of my kindle) it states the lack of friendships can lead to sincere pain for both parents and children. As teachers we tend to focus on the academics which come so easily to GT students. However, if we address the needs of the WHOLE child, we shouldn't ignore these social needs, too.

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    2. Response to Mrs. Timmreck's Kindergarten Class: I completely agree that the needs of the whole child need to be addressed in order to make any worthwhile academic progress. Students need all the support they can get, and if you have a kid with few, if any friends, at least a quarter of that support system is gone.

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    3. response to Judy B-song; I also have met many G/t students who have been very comfortable with themselves; perhaps we force them into situations they don't need to be forced into. Are we still trying to fit them into a mold and make arbitrary decisions about "what is good for them"?

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    4. I agree with Judy B in that I have found that the majority of my g/t students are very comfortable and confident in their giftedness and their ability to not only participate in sports but often excel. They don't appear to participate in order to be considered cool but in some cases show that they are more than just a gifted student but ASN athlete as well.

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  3. Response to Sarah Chu:
    I agree that I was surprised to that Fonseca (2010) pointed out that high critical self-talk is one of the factors of negative aspects of GT emotional intensity. p. 38

    A new thought for me came to under the assumptions part of Chapter One. Fonseca (2010) found that "a growing number of these students share a different reality when it comes to traditional learning." p. 16 While high-achieving bright student might be motivated to get good grades, a gifted student might be motivated to dissect, question, and further research the actual knowledge. Sometimes gifted students do not do well with repetitive process and underachieve the learning goals set by the teacher.

    Fonseca, C. (2010). Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings.. Naperville: Sourcebooks.

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  4. A new thought I had from reading this section is found on pg. 47, "gifted introverts learn differently, often needing to observe the world in order to gain meaning from it." I have noticed that the gifted introvert appears to be an outsider who are usually voracious readers and like to work alone. increasing social contact will only frustrate the child. I have experienced this with gift introverts I have had. Parents are concerned so I try to encourage more social interactions no realizing we are frustrating them. I noticed after a week of working on a group project I heard "explosions" from this student and I was shocked...he just became so frustrated.

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    1. Yes, I agree. The GT students I have come across have worked alone and it was by choice. Although, I always provided the option of working with a group, the GT students chose to work alone.

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    2. I agree with Jeanette Choy's blog on June 30th because I have experienced a gifted introvert as an observer rather than get involved in a group recess activity. They seem shy but are rather very keen on what's going on and do not feel alone. They like to just look at things from the outside, like a person looking at a snow globe.

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    3. In response to jchoy's comment, i must say i agree. Teaching science requires lots of groups labs in order to share supplies to have enough for all my classes. The gifted introverts do prefer to work alone. They want to do the experiment themselves and see the results at their own time. They want to try different hypotheses and see what will happen if i change this..Often times i assign students groups and in a few minutes, my gifted introverts will find me and ask to work alone..i will allow this if i have enough supplies. i know that if i force them to work with the group, i will have to intervene because they will some be arguing about how best to do the lab activity..

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    4. I agree with Jeanette Choy's comment. I have had several gifted introverts, especially when I have been teaching an intermediate grade. It does become a problem when group projects are involved. I have learned that if I always give an option to work alone, that it helps me to avoid outbursts or emotional intensity from my gifted students that want to work alone.

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    5. I totally agree with Jeanette Choy's comment! I have had many GT kids over the years that absolutely hate group projects! I too always give them the option to work alone. It saves them so much grief!

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    6. Jeanette Choy brings up an interesting point. I too have had similar experiences. In my high school history class we often read passages and then have small group discussions before answering the critical thinking piece. Often kids (not always introverts) do not want to participate in the discussion part and just want to write their own reflection. I, myself as a student, would probably choose to skip the discussion as well. However, upon reflection, I think I would gain from hearing others thoughts and verbalizing my own. I agree with Choy's point so long as opting out is only an option for those students like whom she describes.

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  5. A new thought I had which I think sums up how to deal with emotional intensity in gifted children (pg. 32) is the importance of giving the students the message that their "emotional intensity" is not something bad. Instead, teaching them that is it part of their personality. Also, realizing that the "reaction" to a situation is the problem and not the emotion itself. Teaching these children the correct way to react would be the best way to help these kids deal with their intense emotions.

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    1. I agree with C Tatro from July 1st comments because it's not about how they have these " intense moments, " but rather how they decide to deal with these explosive emotions that bombard them. It's important as an educator to become " creative problem solvers in the extremes. "

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    2. I also agree. Teaching these children some coping skills as well as positive self talk can help them learn to regulate their own emotions.

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    3. I agree with C Tatro. Teaching coping mechanisms, and helping them work through their emotions helps them to realize that being intensive isn't necessarily bad, especially when they learn how to deal with it properly.

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    4. I agree with C. Tatro on helping the gifted students identify that their intense emotions are part of their
      personality. What a much needed lesson!

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    5. I agree with C. Tatro that students need validation in order to learn how to better react to a situation. I too found it interesting that it is in fact the intensity that enable talented students to achieve at such high levels as long as it is channeled appropriately.

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  6. A new thought for me was found on page 47 where the author mentioned that "gifted introverts learn differently, often needing to observe the world in order to gain meaning from it.:..I have many gifted students who prefer to read any time they can..They get so "into" a book that they can't put it down..I once thought this was an escape mechanism that some of my students were using so as not to have to interact with their peers..These same students are the ones who constantly are asking me to work alone, instead of in a group..they are trying to see the experiment in their own way instead of being influenced by peers who want to do it "their way"..these same gifted students are the ones who like to try new hypotheses in their experiment while the other groups are happy with the results of the lab and are ready to move on to the conclusion/closure of the lab. Even though i encourage group work, i guess i need to realize the importance of working alone for some students and allow them the opportunity to do this.. T

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  7. On page 38, Fonesca mentions that emotional intensity may include a propensity for a strong affective memory and that gifted children may experience extreme guilt and shame and highly critical self - talk as they relive the emotional experiences associated with past experiences which generate negative emotions and their own perceived imperfections which may be associated with the experiences. Something to keep In mind if a gifted child seems to have difficulty moving past an event or is missing school or has a change in grades.

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  8. A new thought I had is from the very beginning of the book on p.4 in the section "Gifted Children and School." Just this year, I had a student who fell into this exact category, the student was simply so bored and uninterested with the "mundane and repetitive processes" found in the classroom. My student could have cared less about getting good grades, and it was a constant struggle. The student's grades did drop significantly because they still had to complete the minimum requirements in order for me to be able to take grades and be able to try and challenge him. It was extremely difficult to meet his needs, and I recognize that so much more needs to be done to be able to meet the needs of these students in the classroom.

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    1. I completely understand where Lucy Davis is coming from. I have struggled with at least one GT student per year with these same issues. Most times, the breakdown comes when they are asked to write. If they are given a reading comprehension exercise (multiple choice), they can complete it accurately within minutes. They do not mean any disrespect, but they are struggling with reasoning that their time is worth the assignments. No amount of zeros really matters and their grades are not indicative of their knowledge.

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    2. I've had the same experience. At times I wish I knew what went on inside the little head. Both parents at home were just as worried and frustrated. The ability to engage the student becomes so much harder but not impossible.

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  9. I found pg. 7/8 very interesting. GT students often struggle to get along socially. I have seen this so many times within my classroom. At times they do seem to be arrogant but other times they try to blend in with their peers; but they have different interests and ideas so this is very difficult to maintain relationships with other children.

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    1. I also found pg. 7/8 to be interesting. I have witnessed G/T students struggling to get along well in social situations. Often times, they come across as bossy and arrogant. It makes their peers not want to play with them. Then it leads to a major meltdown for the G/T child b/c they feel rejected. It seems like an ongoing cycle at times. I also found pg. 12-13 to be informative. These pages dealt with the assumptions and myths surrounding G/T children. "Overall, the many assumptions regarding the true nature of giftedness serve only to misrepresent the joys and problems of being gifted. True challenges in academic, social, and emotional arenas are overlooked and misunderstood, resulting in the negation of the difficulties really faced by teacher, parents, and children".

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  10. I agree with Helen Brasher in regards to the way the GT students interact with the general population. On page19/20 (on my kindle) it states that GT kids struggle greatly in social settings...it states that this is due in part to their intensity and their unique personalities. I have witnessed many times in my own classroom a GT student having difficutly relating or interacting with another student. The GT student early on demonstrates unique interests rather than the typical interests of their peers.

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  11. I also agree with Sarah ...I am guilty of overlooking the emotional side of my GT kiddo and focus way too much on the academic side. The GT kiddos really need their emotional side addressed as well. I hope this book will help me with ways to become more involved emotionally with teh struggles that GT students faces on a daily basis!

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  12. After reading this section, my "new thought or idea" was as follows; "If they believe that school or a specific subject is of little value to them, they will become very resistant to the class and may decide it is not necessary to learn the subject at all." (page 28 or 11% on my Kindle) I find this very enlightening and explains a few specific students I have encountered. I was not aware that this was a personality trait of giftedness.

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    1. In response to Mrs. Demeris: I, too, have to work on getting some of my GT kids to buy into the importance of daily assignments in class. Projects tend to engage them more deeply, but the reality is that a classroom is a balance of both. The understanding that this is a personality trait of the gifted child helps me to better take a different avenue when holding children accountable in class. The 'underachiever' may be not nearly as complicated as I have thought before now.

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    2. I believe that you can be gifted in one subject and not another. In school I was labeled GT as a child, and I know that I wasn't GT in Math. It makes sense to me that a student could have an interest in one subject over the other. Especially since GT students want to be perfect at everything, if they "fail" at a subject, they could be "done" with that subject for good.

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  13. I agree with you Mrs. D. When I read that statement one g/t student came to mind. I am always having to visit with this student about why assignments need to be completed or why it is important to do your best on tests. I found that once this student made some social connections to others in the class the student did better.

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  14. The emotional aspects of individual personalities are expected for all children, but it was good to read about the gender equity of GT students. Another interesting idea was to focus on how extroverts and introverts differ in GT students (p. 33-39). These considerations make a difference as to how gifted children engage with others. P. 42 was helpful to me as I focus to become more sensitive to the hidden messages in the classroom.

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  15. One thing that struck me was on page 10: That research indicates that gifted children are more resilient than their non-gifted counterparts. I guess it struck me because I mistakenly assumed resiliency went along with emotions.

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  16. My first wow moment occurred on page 35. I was shocked to learn that open ended assignments made GT students uncomfortable. I would have thought the opposite was true and their creativity would appreciate the open ended assignment. I guess to balance the emotions, a teacher could set expectations, but not give a direction students had to go. Maybe?

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    1. Such an interesting idea to me, too, Anne. Perhaps offering specific examples of possible outcomes would help offset this stress? I often give my students open-ended assignments because I feel it aligns well with their ability to look at many different solutions to a problem, but those are the assignments that also had students confused about the outcome, asking questions for clarification, and brought a lot of students in for tutoring because they were anxious about them. When I showed them exemplary work from students in previous years, it made them feel much more comfortable with the assignment.

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  17. Third times the charm I guess (have lost my post twice - ugh!). While agreeing with many of the premises of the author concerning the need to address the emotional and social needs of the gifted child, I am distressed (to say the least) on how she does this. The use of a fictitious child, Andrew, (pg. 6-7, 18-19, 28-29,36, 39, 48, 59, 62, 65, 71, 84, 88, 93, 104), who is a "composite" child(pg. 6-7) brings into question all the other case studies listed - are they real and to be trusted or not? Such tactics appears to be like the "Global Climate Warming scandal" where computer model data was changed to manipulate the conclusions being drawn and the trustworthiness of the conclusions is therefore questioned.
    The debate over what "giftedness" is, is what is being called into question. Which expert is to be believed - the one who believes all children to be gifted in one way or another; the expert who would identify Albert Einstein as gifted in math and science only and either autistic or schizophrenic in other areas of life; or Ms. Fonseca who implies (chapters 1-2) that giftedness encompasses all aspects of the child's life.
    If Andrew Rotherham (NY Times 2013) has any credibility it would appear that the problem lies in the proper identification of and support for all children who are GT.
    My wow moments included not only the "moral" arguments on page 16 but also the recognition on pages 38ff that even in the gifted, gender roles, as defined by society, have a major role in the development of these children.

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    1. I personally don't believe that ALL children are gifted. (If everyone is special then no one is). In our nature and needs courses that are required I have heard the speakers express this point of view as well.
      Also, students can be gifted in some areas but not others. In SBISD we identify the area that the child is gifted and don't just say they are gifted across the board.
      Great post Roger.

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  18. The new thought that hit was one page 15- the very first page. It was as if I was reading about my own child! "Parenting your child often leaves you frustrated..." Welcome to my life!

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    1. I know!! Mine isn't even GT and I found myself being thankful for that. She is intense enough and I can't imagine what parenting would be if she was anymore intense with other things in life.

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  19. There were 3 specific ideas that were new to me. First on p.ix,
    …”and the school looking for help...but the same misguided assumptions about giftedness abound”
    I was surprised that schools and school personnel had the same assumptions…we should be past that
    And setting the examples for the “other family members, friends…”

    Second on p.5 “seldom is the problem recognized as a mismatch….routine tasks.”
    This makes sense-a reality we may not recognize or label correctly.

    Third onp.10- “Recent research indicates that gifted children are often more resilient than their nongifted counterparts.” I never considered this concept as the emotional intensity or outbursts clouded the issue.
    And the fourth one on p. 32- “It is time to give these children the message that intense emotions are not bad….Gifted youths need help recognizing that their reaction-not the emotion-often is the cause of the problem.
    This struck me as significant….similar to the concept that it’s not the person that we don’t like, but the behavior.”

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  20. The idea that many gifted kids have a strong affective memory (p.26) where they "relive the feelings associated with the event" which can lead to difficulty transitioning was enlightening for me. This passage helped me rationalize emotional intensity.

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  21. Many thoughts come to mind just within the first few chapters of this book. At first, I compared what I was reading to my personal child--that quickly changed as I read further into the book. No, my personal child is not GT, just some of the information written in the book reminded me of her. As I continued reading, 2 former students kept creeping in my mind. Snip its from the book including; "strong need to understand world, resistant to take risks, overly critical of himself/herself, perfection in school results in no risks" all relate to past students of mine and most definitely anyone who is a teacher. Just reading the first part, makes me want a do-over as a teacher and teach with the knowledge gained thus far. Parents/teachers need to remember that "being intense isn't a bad thing" pg. 32, WE just need to learn what message to send these students that makes their intensity positive instead of negative. I've enjoyed the case studies and the notes to teacher. This book can be an excellent resource for future teaching.

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  22. Truly, one of the most complicated things to shoulder for a GT kid is that awesome brain, and it is that brain which is so complex that it not only takes things in and analyzes them in a complex fashion, but the output of that brain, the behavior is pretty complex as well. While "being intense isn't a bad thing," (52), I imagine that it makes being a kid in a classroom very hard. And as teachers, it's easy to forget that your classroom needs to be a safe place for every kid, and that the GT kids are no different than any others in that respect, regardless of that brain they have. They aren't self sufficient by any means.

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  23. Emily on pg. 11 was very interesting. What comes to mind is work overload. Since GT students are more emotionally intense and Emily is under a lot of stress due to school, tutoring job, piano classes, staying up late doing homework. I think about the many tasks that some GT students set themselves to do and it becomes a ticking bomb of emotions.

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  24. An interesting point, that I needed to be reminded of, was the gender difference in G/T students. As mentioned in other posts, all gifted kids are not alike and cannot be lumped into one category anymore than other students we have in our classrooms.

    Middle school students struggle a great deal with acceptance and fitting in based on many criteria. I have a niece who pretended to be "not too smart" in high school so that she could fit in with the popular crowd. It was a horrible experience for her.

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  25. My first "wow" moment was only a few pages in (I'm on the kindle version because amazon couldn't ship the hard copy to me in time to finish this book study; therefore my citations will be in percentages...I know, an English teacher should know better). In Part I (4%), the author states that 5% of GT students fail or drop out of school. This is a mond-boggling figure to me and suggests that our current educational models are not meeting the needs of all our gifted learners. Differentiation is key, as are real-world assignments that peak a student's interests and abilities.

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    1. I thought the 5% was high as well, but I wonder how many more drop out because they are never identified as G/T. We definitely need to be sure we are testing a WIDE variety of kids, not just the ones that do really well in school. Sometimes a G/T kid, especially if he/she is twice exceptional, does not get tested because he/she doesn't do as well in school--there may be many reasons why not, including boredom. I would think this type of student would be most at risk for dropping out.

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  26. My wow moment occurred on pg 60 (eBook). I was surprised that during their teen years, gifted girls struggle more with their giftedness than boys (Reis & Hebert, 2008). I thought that boys would struggle more because of the pressure to be cool, popular and athletic, they wouldn't want to be seen as smart and 'uncool', and girls would be more comfortable because they are expected to be smart. On pg 63 it stated that girls struggle more with peer pressure therefore they are more apt to succumb to pressure and fall into fashion, dance and music and suppress their giftedness. Even more significant to me is, I've always attributed succumbing to peer pressure to my struggling students not my GT student.

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  27. I loved the section on introverts vs. extroverts. So much of my classroom instruction is really set up for extroverts--group work, Socratic Seminars, and lots of class discussions. I found the part about introverts needing time to themselves to "recharge" particularly interesting from both a teacher's and parent's perspective. I do question my introverted daughter sometimes when she seems to be going through an "antisocial" period, but looking at it from her point of view she probably needs to be away from friends in order to be able to be a better friend. From the mind of an extrovert, what we might tell parents about an introverted student would be counterintuitive.

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