When our Students say they are “Bored” ….

Miss….. Sir… I”m done my work… what should I do now?

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. –   Ellen Parr

When our children are feeling bored at school, we start by working with them on how THEY, themselves, can ENRICH and add DEPTH, BEAUTY, and DETAIL to the work they are doing in class. We try to put the responsibility on them.  We remind them that, even if it seems “done”  they can tap into their imagination and find ways to add more depth, more creativity, and different possibilities. This does not mean that us Teachers and Parents do not ALSO have a responsibility to offer enrichment and help them find ways to be creative. But it is helping the STUDENT become better able to self-regulate, to advocate for themselves and to deal with that feeling of “not knowing what to do” – a skill they will always need. Always. 


In Math: Can they write a story that is based on the math work they were doing?  Can they create another question (more difficult or complicated) but ends up with the same answer?

Have the students create a TEST for the other students that is based on the work in class. Can they find different patterns in the question?

In Writing:  Can they add more detail or try to use cursive? Can they write a different ending?  Can they create another piece that is a continuation? Can they be challenged to go through every word and add a different word? How can their writing be put into an oral medium (podcast)?

In Reading: Can they create a character sketch or comic based on the book? Can they create a script? Can they find a similar book? Can they add another medium such as art or music?


Have student and parent agree to a Learning Contract

Learning Contract link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mA86t0wdFK3iQZP_3ovIOsbkYDFe7r_swdkrrzPYCH4/edit

Have student make a list of things to do when they are bored (challenge them to make a list of things that are both “disruptive and not disruptive’ to help them better understand their own needs as well as how they can advocate for themselves constructively (when is a good time to talk to the teacher? When can they ask parent?)
Student “News” board. The news is never ending – the student could take charge of creating a news board that shows the THIS/THAT of news. Suggestion: Students could show a “bad news” item and then search for a “good news” item – the “This → That to demonstrate that often ADVERSITY can lead to positivity
Students could have an ongoing project to work on (a knitting project, something they are designing or building, a book to read, math puzzles). This might mean that the teacher or parent has a bin of supplies and activities set aside.
Can students research what it means to be BORED and create a slideshow or powerpoint  This might help them understand that “Feeling” and how they can resolve it on their own?
One of the best strategies is using a BULLET JOURNAL. We suggest that students “add” a page of what they are doing (in math, in science, in language) and use their Journal to create further questions, themes, quotes, topics

A few Additional Resources that might help….

Suggestions (in the classroom or small groups)





Organize LOCKER, Binder and Books

*have students empty locker, empty desks. Bring everything into an area away from others and help them sort. Have labels ready, page dividers and a trash bin!



Dyads/Listening Exercises

From: https://oneminddharma.com/mindfulness-exercises/

 This can help them understand the practice with a relatively simple question. You then can dive into any topic you want. A few examples of questions we use are:

-What is something that brings you joy?

-What does happiness feel like?

-What brings you anxiety?

-What are your hopes?

-What’s a quality you like about yourself?



Brain Break

Read a Story together

Squiggly Story,




Allow / Encourage  students to work on a bullet journal page

List of Bullet Journal Ideashttps://kalynbrooke.com/life-and-style/time-management/bullet-journal-collection-ideas/


Allow students to explore a specific topic of interest and chose a specific related activity.



Digital Break Out Room

In Breakout EDU games, players work collaboratively to solve a series of critical thinking puzzles in order to open a locked box. Each Breakout EDU starter kit can be used to play hundreds of games. Sign up for your Breakout EDU account here.


“To Do”

Maker Bins

Bins can be set aside for sewing, art, poetry, origami, crafts, puzzles.

Take A course of interest

Online Courses! Why not

Free online courses: https://www.edx.org/professional-certificate/microsoft-introduction-to-computer-science

Create Music

Chrome Music Lab is a collection of experiments that let anyone, at any age, explore how music works. They’re collaborations between musicians and coders, all built with the freely available Web Audio API. These experiments are just a start. Check out each experiment to find open-source code you can use to build your own.


Experimentation and Play

AI Experiments is a showcase for simple experiments that make it easier for anyone to start exploring machine learning, through pictures, drawings, language, music, and more.



Word Work

Etymology & Greek and Latin Roots

From Birdeed: “My class studied Greek and Latin word origins by developing names for spells, new Pokemon, and strange inventions. Each creation had to be constructed with at least two Greek or Latin roots, prefixes, or suffixes.  Some examples included: Acubible – a sharp bookAquacrat – a person who lives  in water

Here are 111 Greek and Latin word parts to use in class


list of English idioms.

From: http://www.byrdseed.com/vocabulary-skills-for-gifted-students/


http://www.byrdseed.com/vocabulary-skills-for-gifted-students/ “Comparing vocabulary, grammar, and even writing systems can give students a new point of view about langauge arts”. Cognates are an interesting way to find parallels across languages. Some examples (taken from Wikipedia):

Night (English), nuit (French), nacht (German), natt (Swedish)

shalom (Hebrew), salaam (Arabic), and selam (Amharic)



Antagonyms are words that have the two opposing meanings. Definitely look at the link, but “bound” is an example since it means moving (“My train was bound for Portland”) and immobile (“I was bound and gagged.”).


Weekly Circles

(from a teacher)


Every Friday, I had a Weekly Tea Party (Circle). We used this time to wrap up the week, discuss major learnings, major setbacks and what is in store for next week. We also used this time to say “sorry” or “thank you” so that students could start the following week feeling fresh.


Research what it means to be ‘Gifted’ focusing on benefits and struggles


Have students submit a writing reflection on one article.

To Do Lists – Clipboards


Students each had a clipboard (hung on wall in classroom) where they would keep and regularly update their “to-do” lists, learning goals and sometimes important information.  This helped me (homeroom teacher) know how much they were getting from other teachers as well. It also helps students take responsibility for what they had to do in the short and long term.



Have a “Bin” Set up. Students can practise their spacial reasoning and math skills by finding different patterns to fold/create.



(Brain Break)

Have an on-going puzzle in the room

Research on using Puzzles: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1C_klVIDCCM704e9YmvZhYIP9rBku0oyLIig6gYOegBA/edit

Online Logic Puzzle

(Brain Break)

Choose an online Logic Puzzle


Online Chess Game

(Brain Break)

Have students spend some time out by playing online Chess.


Why Chess (Research) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1C_klVIDCCM704e9YmvZhYIP9rBku0oyLIig6gYOegBA/edit (CC ZPipe)

Math Challenges

Have students write down a few challenges to present to their classmates.


daVinci Program Update! daVici as an Inventor!!

(Grade Five Gifted Program Update November 15, 2017)

daVinci as an Inventor

Big Idea: How do past and present inventions impact our world of today?

During this session, we focused on Leonardo daVinci’s Notebooks and talked about why he documented in such a wide variety of ways – and differently from how we all think of “note taking”. We spent some time as a class discussing the value of writing notes and carrying around a personal “Notebook”  to jot down ideas, information and to help stay organized through lists and calendars.  We were pleased to have been given a donation from Staples. Some students chose to trade in their Journals for some of the books we acquired through this donation.

Students were very receptive to using Journaling in this way. Even some of our “non-writers” told us that they would keep this way of documenting going as they move forward in their learning journey. We reminded them that this type of journaling is also good for their mental well-being, reducing stress and anxiety and suggested they add a mood tracker. We have asked the students to keep up their Notebooks and to use this as a strategy to “avoid boredom” and to practice their creative skills in an off-line way.  


The attached link is slides of examples and information that we shared with the students. These were simply used as prompts throughout the day.


We continued our day by looking at how and why Leonardo documented his inventions and recognized that many of  daVinci’s inventions came to fruition hundreds of years after he died.


In this inquiry, we also reviewed the concepts behind Design Thinking.  https://www.ideou.com/pages/design-thinking


Students used this model to help them design their own invention and used the Global Goals to guide their thinking: http://www.globalgoals.org/outcomes/  Here, we focused students on Problem Solving through an Empathy lens and looked at both local and global issues.




Briefly, we discussed the concepts behind developed and developing countries. Here is a link to investigate further: https://data.worldbank.org/products/wdi-maps



A large part of this inquiry day was spent helping students understand their identification as “Gifted Learners”. Many students expressed feeling stressed about this identification due to having higher expectations put on them. Others expressed that they felt “different’ and didn’t like being “labelled”. Some students told us that knowing that they are “Gifted” helps them understand themselves better. Others said that sometimes they felt bored or not “inspired” to learn at school.

The Journal/Notebooks are only ONE way to help students on a day-to-day basis because it allows students to record their feelings, thoughts, and ideas as well as extending their knowledge about specific topics – like da Vinci did. We also encourage students to pay close attention to the foods they are eating, how much exercise they are getting each day (even if it is only a walk), how much sunlight they get, how much sleep they get each night.

Feel free to contact the Enrichment Team if there are any questions or ideas that you would like to add that help us enrich the lives our our students,



Zoe Branigan-Pipe, Jenn Deans and Gerry Schaefer.


Grade 7/8 Teaching Critical Thinking Through Sewing

Let’s Sew! We are pleased to announce we are using sewing machines at the Enrichment & Innovation Centre! These machines have assisted us in expanding our Maker space to include designing and making with textiles.They were first used to our grade 7 students and due to the tremendous amount of fun and learning that happened simultaneously, we are using the machines with our grade 6 students too!
On first glance, it may appear that we are teaching students how to sew. Although not incorrect, there is a whole other level to the learning as well. It is our goal this year to address critical thinking while making!
Our grade 7 students were asked to consider the concept of re-purposing throughout their day at the Centre. Students were asked to bring old shirts and other articles of clothing to use as the fabric. T-shirts were turned into drawstring bags, pant legs turned into neck pillows and old pockets re-purposed into ipod cases. While the skills of hand sewing and machine sewing were addressed during the day, students were given an opportunity to ponder how the skills involved in making could help address the United Nations Global Goals. Students pondered what else they could re-purpose instead of sending to landfills.
The classroom was busy! Students were measuring, cutting, designing (sounding like Math to me!) while critically thinking about environmental and social issues! It was fabulous! The conversations and thinking that occurred transpired in such an active way! At the end of the day were we all expert sewers? – NO WAY! However, the pride that occurs from having a completed project was tremendous. Students felt empowered. Instead of just talking about how we could solve World Issues and creating a lofty list of things that we may never do – we did! We made! We created! We re-purposed!
This lesson addressed re-purposing, but that is not the only critical thinking that can be addressed through sewing. Our grade 6 lesson was much different, yet visually if I took a picture of the class during the two grades they would look exactly the same. Students were moving around the room doing!
During our grade 6 sessions we used sewing to address media issues. We focused on how logos and branding impact individuality. Students were asked to design a logo that they could cut out of fabric that represented them. They were asked to think about what others would infer from that image. These logos were then hand sewn onto a piece of fabric that became one side of a pillow that was later sewn in a sewing machine.The conversations that occurred during this lesson differed from the re-purposing conversations that occurred during our grade 7 classes! Here are some of the questions that were pondered while making:
Are logos truthful?
Why would corporations and institutions choose to use logos that have no words?
Do logos control the message or expand a message’s possibilities?
Who decides the meaning of a logo?
What informs the meaning of a logo?
Does everything need to be represented with a logo?
How might logos work for or against the UN Goals for Sustainable Development?
Wow! These questions require such deep thinking. Yet, instead of just just talking we made while we talked. Again, our students left with a finished product and a sense of pride that comes from making. It is no wonder that I had a nightmare that I came to work and had no sewing machine in my classroom!
We are only just starting to explore the potential of the machines in our classroom. We have just touched the surface of learning by addressing re-purposing and logos in media. The rich Math that would come from making or following a pattern has yet to be fully explored. Not to mention further exploration of Social Studies issues such as Child Labour (the textile industry plays a large role in this!) or exploring the textiles of other cultures.
If I haven’t yet convinced you of the power of a sewing machine, and even if I have, check out the video below of an amazing young boy who sews teddy bears for children who are sick and at the hospital. Warning – have your kleenex ready, it’s a tearjerker!

Start of the YEAR information

By now, the Special Assignment (Gifted and Enrichment) teachers have visited or spoken to almost all schools at HWDSB who have students that are identified Gifted according to the HWDSB Criteria.

Permission and consent forms were provided to the schools to hand out to students. These forms must be returned to the school in order for the student to participate in the Gifted Program Enrichment activities.

2017/2018 Information

Students: 551

Classes: 30
Grade 7/8: 14 Classes (252 Students)
Grade 6:  9 Classes (147 Students)
Grade 5: 7 Classes (152 Students)

The format for the program:

Along with regular visits to the Enrichment and Innovation Centre, as well as field trips, the Special Assignment teachers will be visiting the schools where they will provide support to teachers, students and parents.