The more data students have to work with on the topic, the better.
Unique or original ideas that fit are especially valued as they reflect flexibility in thinking.
This step could be a short timed activity, perhaps 3 minutes, with no talking or sharing allowed during this step.
Set a goal based on the time allowed (eight listed items in 3 minutes, for example).
How can we encourage students to express unique and original points of view and communicate with audiences in valid and defensible ways to increase truly meaningful, personally relevant learning?
The answer is that we must incorporate effective critical and creative thinking strategies appropriately into content instruction.This sequence of activities involves students in playfully generating and examining data in a variety of ways, requiring both divergent thinking (fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and originality) and convergent thinking (evaluation, providing justification for choices, drawing conclusions based on evidence presented).The activities can be adapted for almost any content at various levels of complexity: literary or historical events or characters, contemporary or historic issues or problems (literature, social studies); concepts or operations, inventions or discoveries (math or science); or almost any other content that is a focus of study.In order to teach any skill or content effectively, we must first have a clear understanding of the nature and purpose of the skills and/or content to be taught.Employing critical and creative thinking strategies without first understanding what is involved in these skills and processes or without connecting these thinking skills to appropriate content is likely to result in missing the point and wasting time.Gifted students need to be involved with analysis, evaluation, and creative synthesis of data and information, asking new questions and generating innovative ideas, solutions, and products because of their advanced cognitive development, preference for complexity, questioning of the status quo, idealism, and need for social action.This is particularly true of the creatively gifted learner who must find relevance and opportunities for creative synthesis and expression in order to truly engage in the learning process.This idea was suggested by one of my graduate students, a middle school math teacher, to encourage students to play with the concepts related to understanding and using percents while developing recognition and understanding of many of the ways in which percentages are used in everyday life and how this affects them personally.Step One: Listing (Individual Brainstorming) Begin by having students quickly list as many situations as they can think of in which percents may be used in real life.Critical and creative thinking strategies are not merely “fun” or “cute” activities to be pulled out at the end of the week or semester, or after the state tests are over for the year in order to fill time and entertain students.They are ways of deeply engaging and interacting with ideas and concepts in meaningful context, building meaning and understanding through multiple processing of ideas and information in increasingly sophisticated levels of thinking, adding depth and complexity to the content being learned, and finding personal relevance in the learning process.