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Summer Enrichment Blog

Creative Thinking Skills

by Teagan Taylor


Summer Enrichment Blog Series


Summer is the perfect time for your gifted student (and the whole family) to foster creativity, brush up on some academic skills, and try something new and fun! Check out our Summer Enrichment Blog Series this summer for interesting virtual, in-person and at home gifted centered ideas that will inspire and invigorate. Each post focuses on a unique topic, so be sure to keep coming back; and don’t forget to save these resources for an arsenal of ready-to-go activities!


Topic

Creative Thinking Skills


To Ponder

“...Creativity is elusive precisely because like intelligence it has many different manifestations, conceptions, and interpretations…Traditionally, creativity has been viewed as an easy process, something that people with certain traits were able to do while others without those traits could not…Osche’s work is instructive in this regard. After reviewing all of the literature on creativity, she decided the single criterion that mattered the most was the willingness of creative people to work hard and put in the extra time necessary to turn out a quality product in a given domain…In life, it is useful, as Steven Covey suggests, to find those activities that help us center ourselves, that help us learn, and that help us develop our humanity and its potential. Understanding creativity, it would appear, can assist with both of these tasks if we approach it with an attitude of commitment, curiosity, and caring.” (Van Tassel-Baska, J., published by College of William and Mary School of Education)


Tidbits

Creative Writing: Let’s face it, we do not write enough anymore. Pen and paper writing may soon go the way of the dinosaurs, but it is still important to expose students to the writing process, even if it’s digital. Some gifted students shy away from writing or some may not have the patience for it. This summer, help inspire your student to take pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard) with creative (and fun!) writing prompts that will be sure to spark interest and writing endurance. See below!

  • Magnetic Poetry started as a way to beat writer’s block. Now the company has numerous themed Magnetic Poetry kits that each come with over 100 interesting magnetic words for the user to manipulate and create creative sentences with. There are also online versions as well. Check them out!

  • Have your student use the Writer Igniter to generate random writing prompts under the guidelines of: character, situation, prop, and setting. I tried it and got: Lab assistant, finds something valuable amid junk, old photograph, and water fountain…fascinating!

  • Similar to the Writer Igniter, but with only one (often strange and exciting) line, the Squibler’s Most Dangerous Random Prompt Generator provides such writing starters as “the footsteps were moving away” and “bacon sandwiches always reminded her of…”!

Creative Math: Math problem solving has a reputation of being strict, decisive, and inflexible. How boring does that sound?! This activity is for our gifted students who struggle with enduring the mathematical thinking process, or even for our students who have extreme math strengths but could have a more open mind about how truly creative math can be. I simply call this activity,“Creative Math”, and I have used this with students of all grades and with good success (and success doesn’t always mean getting the correct answers; it is more about the math process!). Check it out!


Creative Making: S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is a design and inventing technique that helps students expand their minds and see all of the amazing possibilities there are for creating new and exciting ideas! The best part about S.C.A.M.P.E.R. (besides that it is an acronym, because who doesn’t love those??), is it you can use it to “S.C.A.M.P.E.R” anything in the whole world; from a pumpkin, to the word “ant”, to rules and laws, or to a cardboard box. Find out how to use it with your student here, here and here!


Creative Questioning: Questions matter. How we format questions, in what ways we ask them, and in our intentions behind them, all matter. If we ask the right questions, not only might we get the right answers, but even more importantly, we will get the most interesting answers. Asking questions may seem simple, but when you are having conversations with your gifted student this summer, using great questioning techniques will come in handy and keep that conversation going! Ian Byrd, creator of Byrdseed.com and ByrdseedTV, is a gifted educational expert and his “Ask Better Questions” page is a great go-to!Also, Looking to ignite curiosity in your gifted learners? Check out Byrdseed’s Puzzlements! Each Friday, you will receive 5 curiosity-provoking videos/questions in your inbox.


To Extend

See any ideas you love? Ones you want to tweak? Questions you have? Other creativity-geared activities you think others would benefit from? Share your ideas below!


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1 Comment


Kathie Huff
Kathie Huff
Jul 25, 2023

These are great ideas, Teagan! Thank you for sharing. If you have a high school student that is a gifted writer and/or artist, you might want to consider entering work created this summer to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Check it out here: https://www.artandwriting.org/


Also, for public school students of all ages, check out the PTA Reflections program. Summertime is a great time to work on projects to be entered. Here is information about the different categories and winners from last year: https://ncpta.org/programs-events/reflections-arts-program/. The 2023-24 theme is, “I am Hopeful Because…”


Something else to think about might be a science fair project. When my boys were in elementary school, we had a required science fair project. One summer, …

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