Elementary gifted and talented students learn and develop research skills throughout the gifted and talented curriculum by analyzing problems of interest to them and researching solutions to those problems. Through the research process, students learn how to find evidence, take notes, cite sources, determine reliability and credibility, and identify bias. Furthermore, students will develop important 21st Century skills such as identifying and impacting an audience, finding personal actions to influence solutions, developing innovative ways to handle challenges, presenting information to various stakeholders, and serving the communities to which they belong.
WISD’s gifted and talented program services a multicultural and multilingual population with diverse social and economic backgrounds, as well as different educational motivations, behaviors, and academic performances. Many gifted and talented students often experience intense emotions, high expectations of themselves and others, and deeper or more complex thought processes. The social-emotional component of the gifted and talented curriculum helps to improve the self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making skills of all students. In addition, the social-emotional lessons support the Conscious Discipline philosophy adopted by all WISD elementary campuses.
An integral part of the program is the instant challenge. Instant challenges foster the creative process and develop multiple skills students need if they are to be successful in this every-changing world. These challenges require collaboration, imagination, innovation, and concentration while working under pressure and within limits. As a result, students more readily recognize and understand problems, imagine solutions, initiate and collaborate on solutions, assess their progress, and analyze what succeeds or requires change.
Creative Problem Solving and Logic
Creative Problem Solving is a component of the program that mirrors the messy situations that happen in everyday life. Students are given a “mess” and move through a six-step process to handle it. First, they gather data about the mess. Students then develop problem statements. Next, students brainstorm as many solutions as possible that will solve the problem. Fourth, students evaluate each potential solution. Students then analyze how the solution impacts the problem’s stakeholders. Finally, students develop a plan of action to implement their solution. In addition to these more lengthy problems, students also practice problem-solving skills with logic puzzles designed to challenge students to think outside of the box to develop their resilience.