Sunday, January 15, 2012

Creativity Training for Gifted and Talented Kids

Introducing Creativity

I'm working on creativity training for Gifted and Talented preparation.   I'm working it into the vocabulary section and am going to acquire materials in the coming months for it's own Gifted and Talented test preparation series, which with all of my home schooling training, I'm making available for free on this site's curriculum pages.

I read a few research papers on meta-cognition and creativity.   It appears that creativity is not correlated at all with giftedness, but I think it is worthwhile to introduce these concepts as part of gifted and talented training, and also gifted and talented test training.

This is not based on much scientific research, but here is my reasoning.
1.  The purpose of the test is to present the child with a novel problem and have them solve it, thus demonstrating reasoning ability.  I think a child who is used to novel problems might be more comfortable with these tests.
2.  I think creativity is a learned trait, or at least one that is more conducive to nurture than nature.  I studied innovation in my MBA program (ok, I just lost academic credibility), of which creativity is a key part, and it can definitely be fostered if not taught outright.
3.  A "creativity" approach to test prep or learning is a lot more fun for the child than other approaches.
4.  A "creativity" approach to learning opens up different parts of the brain.
5.  From what I see, a GAT program requires a high degree of creativity, for the projects and writing assignments if nothing else.  

So here is an example of questions on a creativity quotient (CQ) test:  Name things that are red.   1 point for each item, 1 point if 90% of the test takers didn't mention it, 2 points if 97% didn't mention it, 3 points if 99% didn't mention it.

This is opening new doors in our preparation.   Here are some example questions along these lines:  Name things made out of glass, metal, wood.   (Science).   Name things that are round, circular, cylindrical, etc. (Math).   What are the similarities and differences between a dinning room and a car?   Name parts of the tree, or things on a tree.   What are the things that every room needs?  This last one was a lot of fun.  The answer is a ceiling, a floor, a number of walls (arguing between 1 and 4), and a door or doorway (another argument).  I like these questions because they open the doors to classification, comparison, differences, vocabulary, and other fields of learning for a small child.

My 3 year old and 1st grader are both having fun and responding to this.  I'm looking for them to transition from things they can see to things that they can't see, and also from standard answers to silly answers.  After day 1, not much yet.

Here are some other questions?  How would a tree walk?   How many ways can you get a used cup into a garbage can?  These are fun, but the above questions have dual purpose so I tend to stick with them.  

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