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creative problem solving for gifted students
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Reading and Math Enrichment Activities for Early Finishers & Gifted Students K-5
Enrichment Task Cards BUNDLE | Curiosities | Gifted Independent Activities
SCAMPER Creative Thinking & Problem Solving Packet
Student Leadership: Creative Group Problem Solving
SCAMPER Posters Creative Thinking Posters
Also included in: Creative Thinking Activities
The Great Wall of China Create Problem Solving STEM Activity
CRITICAL THINKING ACTIVITY: Math Magician Brain Teasers Problem Solving GATE
Logic Puzzles Math Problem Solving
STEM Critical Thinking Warm-ups
Also included in: NEW STEM Teacher Bundle
Upper Elementary Challenging Math Problem Solving
Creative Writing Acitivities | Growth Mindset | Gifted and Talented Curriculum
Also included in: ELA Centers | Enrichment Activities for Gifted Students | Early Finishers 1
Creative Thinking Activities
SNIBBLES: REALLY Creative Problem Solving Lessons & Mind-Stimulating Exercises..
Critical Thinking Skills Bundle
Weekly Brain Teasers to Improve Critical & Creative Thinking Skills
Flexible Thinking Activities | Creative Drawing and Writing | GT Activities
Also included in: Critical Thinking Skills Bundle
Thinkercises (Level B) Logic & Problem Solving - PDF & Google Drive Versions
'School Carnival Design' - A group problem solving math project
Dr. Funster's Creative Thinking Puzzlers C1 - Problem-Solving Fun for 9-12 Grade
Spy: Codes and Ciphers and Critical Thinking
- Easel Activity
Also included in: Codes, Ciphers and Critical Thinking: Spy Bundle #1
ELA Centers | Enrichment Activities for Gifted Students | Early Finishers 1
Introduction to Creative Problem Solving
Also included in: Enrichment Lesson Bundle
Gifted and Talented - Created Creature Talents Unlimited Unit
Enrichment Activities for Gifted Students | Critical Thinking Activities
Also included in: Printable Logic Puzzles and Brain Teasers or Virtual Worksheets
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Thinking and Learning
How Do Students Think and Learn?
Principles 1-8 relate to thinking and learning.
- Principle 1
- Principle 2
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- Principle 4
- Principle 5
- Principle 6
- Principle 7
- Principle 8
Students' beliefs or perceptions about intelligence and ability affect their cognitive functions and learning
Gifted students are more likely, but not always, to attribute failure to lack of effort rather than question their ability. When students believe their performance can be improved, they are acquiring a growth mindset that can bring to bear motivation and persistence when they encounter challenging problems or material.
Tips for teachers
- Avoid generating ability-based credit when a task is easy (e.g., saying “You’re so smart” after the student quickly figures out an answer to a relatively unchallenging problem. In such a case, the teacher may inadvertently encourage that student to associate smartness with speed and lack of effort).
- Self-handicapping may reflect a student’s fear of embarrassment or failure (“If I don’t even try, people will not think I’m dumb if I fail”). This may lead to gifted children who take risks in situations in which they are sure they can excel. It’s important to reward reflective thinking as much as speed of recall.
- Help students find good ways to “scaffold” so they can learn a new skill or compensate for a weakness that can help them overcome insecurity related to intellectual risk taking.
- Focus on improving behavior by modeling and offering constructive criticism to better highlight what students are doing well and where they can improve.
What students already know affects their learning
Gifted learners tend to learn more efficiently than others. This unique academic need deserves to be addressed equitably in school. Researchers have learned that optimal learning occurs when there is a match between the challenge level of the learning task and skill level of the learner.
Teachers are instrumental in assessing what gifted students already know and providing them with opportunities to learn new material, challenge misconceptions and acquire new skills:
- To determine the academic readiness of students, teachers should administer pre-assessments before instruction on a topic.
- Design new learning experiences that are challenging and appropriate for increasing students’ conceptual growth.
- Bringing about conceptual change requires teachers’ use of specific instructional strategies that bring on cognitive conflict in the minds of students by helping make them aware of the difference between their thinking and the desired outcomes of the lesson.
Student's cognitive development and learning are not limited by general stages of development
For students with advanced academic abilities and/or achievement, optimal cognitive and talent development depends on providing them with access to appropriately challenging content that can stimulate them intellectually. It is also important to note that cognitive abilities can be asynchronous (i.e., giftedness can be exhibited within a single domain and not carry over to the same extent to other domains or to noncognitive development).
Teachers should evaluate their students’ domain-specific cognitive reasoning abilities, relevant content knowledge, and social and emotional needs and adjust what material to present to them accordingly. Teachers are encouraged to consider strategies to maximize the growth of gifted students’ reasoning abilities, such as:
- Measuring reasoning abilities and content knowledge before determining appropriate instructional levels.
- Recognizing there should not be an expectation of exceptional performance in all subjects to qualify for higher level instruction in areas of strength.
- Recognizing that students with advanced reasoning abilities in a subject may lack advanced knowledge due to lack of prior exposure, but they may be able to master material faster than other students and should be given the opportunity to move at their own pace.
- Encouraging students’ critical thinking and reasoning abilities by providing challenging opportunities for solving complex problems, particularly in areas in which students already have substantial knowledge.
- Providing students with project-based, cooperative and situated learning opportunities to encourage innovation, creative thinking, practical skills and social development.
- Encouraging discussion, discourse and debate that provoke thinking to encourage cognitive development through social interaction.
- Ensuring that gifted students have opportunities to interact with other students who are at or above their cognitive reasoning and knowledge levels.
- Making students aware of, and facilitate access to, opportunities to extend their learning and to meet intellectual peers outside of the classroom.
- Providing opportunities to students who have the potential to excel beyond their age group but who lack background knowledge to fill gaps in their knowledge base.
- Understanding that students with exceptionally advanced cognitive abilities may not be similarly advanced socially and emotionally.
Learning is based on context. Generalizing learning to new contexts is not spontaneous; it needs to be facilitated
By using more sophisticated strategies for learning, thinking and problem solving than others their age, gifted students are more likely to spontaneously apply their knowledge in contexts quite different from those in which it was learned. This ability to use previously learned knowledge and skills in unfamiliar tasks contributes to the rapid pace of gifted students’ learning. Like their same-age peers, they can learn more and better ways to transfer and generalize, but peers will need more and different instruction, support and practice.
Developing gifted students’ transfer and generalization is best done by having them engage in activities that do the following:
- Including and building on prior knowledge and strengths.
- Providing opportunities for students to learn content in multiple contexts.
- Encourage and expect students to notice and find applications of their knowledge beyond the classroom.
- Scaffolding transfer and generalization initially by guiding it, gradually reducing the teacher’s role, encouraging students to take responsibility for these actions over time until they use them automatically.
- Solving challenging, complex, real-world problems.
Acquiring long-term knowledge and skill is largely dependent on practice.
Intelligence and talent provide the grounding for more efficient and effective use of instruction and practice. Many gifted students are capable of efficient knowledge acquisition and developing innovative mechanisms for encoding new information, retrieving knowledge, and applying skills. However, higher stages of skill and knowledge acquisition will inevitably require practice, concentration and targeted experiences.
Gifted students, like all students, must practice acquiring knowledge and skills they have not mastered and practice should be designed to appeal to their goals and aspirations, which can be gaining access to more enjoyable and creative work once mastery is achieved.
Clear, explanatory and timely feedback to students is important for learning.
It is preferable that when gifted students are working on problem solving and open-ended tasks, they be given opportunities to work through the problem-solving process and evaluate their progress independently rather than rely solely on a teacher’s external evaluation of their work. Teachers can facilitate this process by providing feedback at key stages that is clear and timely, providing scaffolding for complex tasks.
- Feedback from teachers can be used to help gifted learners calibrate self-assessment of their work.
- Teachers should provide feedback at points during the learning process when students need additional support — while allowing learners to discover and learn independently when appropriate.
- Encourage students to persevere through complex tasks, independently of external evaluation to develop greater skills and self-reliance.
- With proper instructional support and guidance, gifted students can provide quality feedback to peers, and this strategy can be used to help increase motivation, achievement and metacognitive skills.
- Students tend to respond better if feedback minimizes negativity and addresses significant aspects relevant to the learning goals.
- For gifted learners engaged in long-term projects and goals, regular feedback at key benchmarks can be used to help students maintain motivation with evidence of incremental progress.
Students' self-regulation assists learning; self-regulatory skills can be taught.
Two types of learning strategies are crucial for self-regulated learning (SRL): cognitive learning strategies (e.g., rehearsal, organization, and elaboration strategies) and metacognitive learning strategies (e.g., self-assessment, goal setting and monitoring). Especially during their first years of schooling, gifted learners often achieve at high levels without relying on such learning strategies. However, when they transition into more challenging learning settings, or when they begin to work on attaining excellence in a given talent domain, SRL becomes essential for gifted learners, too.
- Start by introducing the individual facets of SRL during instruction and systematically practice using the individual SRL strategy components.
- Consider the curricular and extracurricular areas in which the individual aspects of SRL can be helpful with your students.
- SRL practice needs to be based on concrete, authentic content from the regular curriculum. Practicing learning strategies with students should not become isolated from actual classroom instruction.
- Guide your students — in a systematic, well-structured manner — to observe the connections between their own learning behavior and their own accomplishments.
- Provide all your students with learning situations for SRL that are tailored to their respective achievement levels and, thereby, create authentic opportunities for each student to experience the benefits of SRL.
- Apply SRL strategies in as many subjects as possible.
Student creativity can be fostered
The relationship between creativity and giftedness varies — with some seeing creativity as a separate but related construct from giftedness; others seeing it as a component of giftedness; and still others seeing it as a subcategory of some other trait, such as intelligence, that contributes to giftedness. However, no matter the view, creativity can be fostered and enhanced in all leaners.
- Educators should familiarize themselves with processes used to assess creativity and how to foster it through assignments.
- When gifted programs have an established goal of growth in creative thinking, teachers should advocate for the inclusion of students with high creativity in those programs, even if those students may not meet other identification criteria.
- Teachers should downplay the use of rewards and praise for students’ creative efforts, focusing instead on the value of the experience and the application of real-world criteria for creative products.
- Teachers should model the characteristics of creative individuals and in their teaching (e.g., taking well-considered risks, being open to new experience, persisting in the face of failure, developing tolerance for ambiguity).
The creative process is often misconstrued as being purely spontaneous or even frivolous, yet creativity and innovation are the result of disciplined thinking. For this reason, teachers can employ instructional strategies that can foster creativity by:
- Including prompts in assignments such as create, invent, discover, imagine or predict and explicitly instructing students in what these prompts entail cognitively and productively.
- Exploring professional literature for specific strategies or creative thinking skills models that can be used for teaching creative approaches to problem solving.
- Evaluating with students any strategies discovered for use within an academic or artistic domain.
- Explicitly teaching methods for discovering problems that require creative solutions — including awareness of world, national and local issues; openness to experience; a questioning attitude toward the status quo; and sensitivity to the bigger issues that might be represented by personal concerns.
Creative, Talented and Gifted Principles
Thinking and Learning Principles 1-8
Motivation Principles 9-12
Social-Emotional Learning Principles 13-15
Classroom Management Principles 16-17
Assessment Principles 18-20
Creative, Talented and Gifted Students
See All the Top 20 Principles
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What is Creative Giftedness, and How Can Creativity be Nurtured in Gifted Children?
Dr. Tali Shenfield | April 20, 2021
One of the most common misconceptions about gifted kids is the idea that these children automatically excel in every area. In reality, like all children, gifted kids have distinct individual aptitudes. This is especially apparent when it comes to creativity: Contrary to popular belief, not all intellectually gifted children are inherently creative , and not all creatively gifted kids are academically adept. Indeed, research indicates that possessing a high level of intelligence is not in itself a good predictor of creative ability. Most experts therefore feel that advanced creativity constitutes its own distinct form of giftedness.
How Do Creatively Gifted Kids Differ from Intellectually Gifted Kids?
All gifted children tend to be imaginative and exhibit a heightened capacity for abstract thought. However, not all intellectually gifted kids prioritize academic achievement. This makes differentiating intellectually gifted children from creatively gifted children a challenge: Parents and educators can’t simply look at a child’s grades or examine which subjects he (or she) excels in and determine whether he’s intellectually or creatively gifted. Complicating matters further, not all creative individuals demonstrate remarkable skill in the visual or performing arts. Some creatively gifted children show a philosophical bend, for example, rather than taking an obvious interest in drawing, creative writing, or acting. Instead, to identify creative giftedness, parents and educators have to examine a child’s core traits. They have to look at the way he thinks, not just where he prefers to direct his energy. Some of the primary hallmarks of intellectual giftedness and creative giftedness are outlined below:
Traits of Intellectually Gifted Children
- Curiosity: Where a bright child will focus on learning the correct answers, an intellectually gifted child will challenge the “right” answers. This love for debate is sometimes misread as defiance.
- Focus: Though intellectually gifted kids may not appear engaged at school (generally due to boredom), they’re typically highly focused on their own interests. They often take on advanced projects and prioritize completing them, to the exclusion of other obligations. They’re goal-driven individuals.
- Analytical Creative Thinking: Intellectually gifted children use their enhanced capacity for abstract thought to solve problems. They’re excellent at applying complex concepts in order to generate meaningful results.
- Advanced Processing: Parents of intellectually gifted kids often report that their child started reading voraciously very early on, sometimes even before reaching school age. These children are sponges for information and frequently display a large vocabulary, along with a penchant for memorizing facts and figures.
- Independence: Intellectually gifted children generally enjoy working on their own, at their own pace. Most can also function in groups, however, as long as they’re allowed to assume a leadership role.
Traits of Creatively Gifted Children
- Openness: Creatively gifted children live in a world of endless possibilities. Where an intellectually gifted child will debate the correct answer, a creatively gifted child will think of multiple potential answers or hypothetical scenarios. They enjoy experimenting with thought and finding exceptions to the rules.
- Inventiveness: Creatively gifted children are excellent at connecting seemingly disparate concepts in order to generate fresh ideas. They see problems and situations from strikingly unexpected angles. At times, their opinions may seem bizarre or contradictory to outside observers.
- Distractibility: Because creatively gifted kids are constantly overflowing with ideas, they have trouble staying on task—even when engaged in voluntary activities. These children tend to start a lot of projects but struggle to complete the vast majority of them. They’re also preoccupied with imaginative fantasy, rather than internalizing information. As such, they tend to daydream a great deal. (Note that it’s important to rule out the presence of ADHD before attributing these traits to creative giftedness.)
- Intuition: Intellectually gifted children tend to use a mix of abstract and logical thinking to solve problems. Creatively gifted children, by contrast, rely heavily on their intuition. They often feel like they “just know” the correct way to solve a problem, without being sure how they arrived at their conclusions.
- Individualism: Though all gifted children have a tendency to come across as being somewhat eccentric, creatively gifted kids are often radically different. They usually show a marked lack of interest in “fitting in,” preferring to pursue their own unique style of expression. This can make it very difficult for them to participate in group learning. As adolescents, these kids are often drawn to niche subcultures and unconventional modes of living.
Though all gifted kids face a risk of “falling through the cracks,” creatively gifted children are particularly difficult to identify and diagnose . If you suspect that your child is creatively gifted, it’s essential that you have your child assessed by an educational psychologist who is familiar with this distinctive set of cognitive abilities.
Nurturing Creativity in Gifted Children
Whether your child is intellectually or creatively gifted, helping him hone his creativity can improve his self-esteem, build upon his existing talents, and give him a vehicle for self-expression. Nurturing creativity at home will also counteract some of the unwanted effects of academic education: Research has shown that multiple aspects of the classroom environment suppress, rather than encourage, creativity. Evaluation, surveillance, deadlines, competition, and external rewards (like grades and privileges) have all been proven to lessen the intrinsic motivation that feeds creativity. To make your home a fertile plain for the imagination, implement the four parenting strategies below:
1. Provide your child with the tools and materials he needs to express himself.
Having access to art supplies, an inexpensive camera, costumes for dress-up, and toys that facilitate creative play (e.g., building blocks) will go a long way towards helping your child express himself. Kids also benefit from having a dedicated space where they can make a mess, i.e., a room where they can build forts, leave partially completed projects out for days, etc.
2. Encourage imaginative play.
While your child is still small, teach him how to “play pretend.” If your child loves dinosaurs, for example, try suggesting that you both pretend to be prehistoric creatures. Pretend play has been shown to improve a number of skills that are essential for creativity, such as language skills, abstract thinking, and various social and emotional skills.
3. Make free time part of your child’s schedule.
Though it’s true that gifted kids need routine, it’s equally important to make sure your child isn’t perpetually occupied with homework and extracurricular activities. Our minds require unstructured time in order to generate new ideas. To cultivate creativity in your child , provide him with regular blocks of time where he’s free to pursue his own interests.
4. Help your child explore his ideas.
Feel free to debate concepts with your child and challenge his views, but don’t shut down his ideas—no matter how strange they seem. Instead, you should prompt your child to look at the same problem in different ways in order to generate multiple solutions. Your child should know that it’s okay to disagree with you; doing so won’t make him wrong or foolish.
Actively nurturing creativity will help your child develop a balanced, well-rounded intelligence. Intellectually gifted children who prioritize creativity feel more personally fulfilled and are less prone to perfectionism and “tunnel vision.” Creatively gifted kids who are given an enriching environment in which to explore their skills become more focused and goal-oriented. Regardless of your child’s intellectual status, self-expression and self-exploration are key components of happiness.
 Wellesley College (2005). The Study of Giftedness and Creativity-Two Separate But Parallel Trajectories. https://nrcgt.uconn.edu/newsletters/fall052/
 Amabile, T. M. (1983). The Social Psychology of Creativity. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.
Psycho-educational assessments: guidelines for parents, how to choose discipline methods that help your child grow, a primer on child and adolescent anxiety, related articles, how to tell whether your child is gifted.
How to Combat Academic Underachievement in Verbally Gifted Children
Asynchronous development: an alternative view of giftedness.
How to Foster Creative Problem-Solving in Gifted and Talented Students
Published On: January 10, 2022
Gifted and talented students might have an easier time understanding academic subjects, but these students still face their own set of challenges in the classroom. As high performers, they face heightened expectations, and when they do encounter a difficult situation, they can be prone to impatience or perfectionist tendencies.
Gifted and talented students often encounter social challenges such as trouble making friends, identity issues and even bullying. Teaching these students to problem-solve such issues on their own is a critical lesson, and a Master of Science in Education (MSE) degree with a major in Gifted, Talented, and Creative (GTC) from Arkansas State University arms educators with the necessary tools and knowledge to help students learn creative approaches and solutions for any situation.
Projects outside of routine assignments can be a way to encourage alternative types of expressions and ideas . Many gifted students do not need to be lectured to or re-learn topics that they already understand. Instead, a project can be a way to harness that existing knowledge and channel it toward a different kind of challenge. This can be a great way to further the students' existing understanding. These projects can also offer an alternative outlet for students who learn differently and showcase their creativity or understanding of a subject or topic.
Computational-Thinking Lesson Plans
Computational thinking identifies a troubleshooting style of problem-solving that many people employ every day, often unconsciously. Originally coined in the computer science field, the process of computational thinking "focuses on efficient data analysis, identification of solutions, persistence, solution implementation, and algorithmic thinking," according to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) . It's a way to combine different types of information to brainstorm wholesale solutions. NAGC suggests that the skills developed from computational thinking are applicable to any field, despite its origins in STEM fields.
In practice, computational-thinking lesson plans can also be quite simple. Data collection could be as easy as keeping track of daily weather conditions, with data analysis taking place when students are asked to create graphs or map out the weather and identify patterns. When students create directions, such as a cooking recipe, they can grasp the idea of algorithms and procedures. These kinds of active learning exercises help develop creative problem-solving as well as social-emotional skills like patience and communication.
Small Group Work
Even among gifted and talented students, no two learning styles are the same. As the Davidson Institute points out, "strategies that work for one group of gifted students won't necessarily work for all gifted students." Small group work can be a way to accommodate these differing styles by grouping together students who learn in similar manners. This can help create a more functional group dynamic.
Small groups also benefit gifted students by allowing them to work with peers of similar competency levels. Davidson Institute writes that asking gifted students to help tutor struggling students is a common mistake when teaching gifted students, as it creates a difficult interpersonal dynamic for both individuals. Smaller groups with other skilled peers can help gifted students remain challenged and engaged.
One of the simplest ways to think about creative learning is taking an open-minded approach to how we think about expression and evaluation in the classroom. Creativity manifests itself in myriad ways, so it's important to allow for those avenues. As the American Psychological Association notes in its education blog, modern experts think of creativity as a set of attributes "that anyone is capable of: tolerating ambiguity, redefining old problems, finding new problems to solve, taking sensible risks, and following an inner passion."
This way of thinking about creativity helps us understand its value on a wider spectrum. Creativity is not a fixed trait; therefore, it manifests itself in many different ways on many different avenues. Teachers have options for promoting creative attitudes: They can offer chances for unrestricted creative journaling, foster an environment where creative risk-taking is accepted and encourage autonomy. Helping students understand when overly creative approaches are not necessary is an important counterbalance to creative expression as well.
Social Learning (Discussion)
Discussing ideas with teachers and peers is a crucial way for gifted students to understand what they've learned in context. It's also an important method of social development, the chance to share ideas with others and learn from them. The conversations and questions can challenge children's views and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of a subject.
Learn more about Arkansas State University's MSE in Gifted, Talented, and Creative online program .
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Creative thinking and problem solving in gifted education [Feldhusen, John Frederick] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Creative thinking
Semantic Scholar extracted view of "Creative Thinking and Problem Solving in Gifted Education" by J. Feldhusen.
Creative Problem Solving is a great teaching strategy to use with talented and gifted students. Based on the information, in this case WWI
This study discovered that an adequate use of challenge-based learning, problem solving process, project-based learning, well-designed questions and in-depth
Students' beliefs or perceptions about intelligence and ability affect their cognitive functions and learning ... Gifted students are more likely, but not always
Analytical Creative Thinking: Intellectually gifted children use their enhanced capacity for abstract thought to solve problems.
Creative Problem Solving Program was applied to the experiment group. The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) was used to measure. Results
Many gifted students do not need to be lectured to or re-learn topics that they already understand. Instead, a project can be a way to harness
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of creative problem solving teaching program designed for gifted students on the creative thinking skills
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