Thinking Critically And Creatively

Step Two: Ranking and Prioritizing Next, tell students to consider the items on their list and, without any discussion or sharing, to rank them in order of most significant to least significant (they may determine “significance”).

They must be prepared to explain and justify their top two or three choices. When students have completed ranking at least through their top three items, have students volunteer to share their top one or two items and explain their reasons for those choices.

When thinking skills are taught in relevant content, students practice higher order thinking skills to the point of developing creative thinking habits, while at the same time playing with ideas and processing content information in multiple ways.

They find personal meaning and relevance in the learning. APPLYING TABA’S STRATEGIES FOR CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT One sequence of critical and creative thinking activities that incorporates some of Taba’s strategies for concept development can be effectively applied to many different content topics and purposes.

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.

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These, of course, are the higher order thinking skills of Bloom; these are the thinking skills necessary for meaningful learning in all disciplines.We also know that, in order to develop these critical and creative thinking skills as thinking habits, students must engage in these kinds of thinking activities frequently, in meaningful, appropriate contexts. Are gifted students being given opportunities for exploring ideas and developing skills of critical analysis, evaluation, and creativity in classrooms today?Not so much, according to a study reported in Newsweek (2010) by Bronson and Merryman.The findings of this study indicate a significant decline of creativity among American students in recent decades, which the authors describe as a “creativity crisis.” They attribute this decline to overemphasis on standardization in curriculum, instruction, and assessment in American schools—with emphasis on acquisition of information, facts and details, and finding “the right answer” rather than critical analysis and evaluation of content or creative exploration of ideas and innovative thinking.The answer to this crisis, they say, is teaching critical and creative thinking skills in context of content instruction.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.Keeping the time short for this initial listing of data keeps students on task.When time is called, ask for a show of hands for students who achieved the goal that was set, and then tell students that from this point on, they are encouraged to add to their original list if they think of any new ideas or if they hear any good ideas they hadn’t thought of.In general, the process includes these steps and thinking processes: Depending on the complexity of the concepts and/or data to be used as a basis for the activities, all of these steps could be used in a single lesson, or the sequence could be broken into several subsequent lessons over time, with more time for reflection, sharing, and elaborating on first thoughts with more complex ideas and more time for creative incubation as the content demands.Consider how this sequence of critical and creative thinking activities might be applied with math content in a study of percents.

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