Students who participate in the gifted pull-out program are offered a variety of opportunities to develop their creative problem solving abilities and thinking skills in language arts and math, as well as a greater awareness of global issues. Students are exposed to activities in convergent, divergent, evaluative, and visual thinking throughout their TAG experience. Vocabulary and writing development are areas of focus for language arts. Future Problem Solving culminates in the participation in the FPS competition as fourth & fifth grade students. Additional real life applications of knowledge are provided through The Stock Market Game and special projects.
Future Problem Solving
Created by the late Paul Torrence in 1974, Future Problem Solving is a yearlong educational program as well as an international competition that enhances creative problem solving and futuristic thinking while focusing on current global issues. During fourth and fifth grade, students are introduced to the six steps required for the completion of a team booklet. Students analyze futuristic scenarios to determine challenges, identify an underlying problem and create solutions. They then utilize evaluative thinking skills to determine the best solution and create a detailed action plan. Throughout the process, students focus on fluency (the number of ideas), flexibility (variation of ideas), and originality, concepts that comprise the foundation of creative thinking. In grades K-3, the same steps are used in various ways.
Students read and discuss Time for Kids, a weekly magazine that introduces students to current global issues, as well as science and geography topics. Students use critical thinking and reading skills to analyze situations detailed in the magazine.
Many students in the elementary gifted program have an opportunity to expand their vocabularies through an in-house vocabulary competition that focuses on word definitions, usage, and analogies. Additional vocabulary study may be provided through the study of Latin and Greek roots, Power Point presentations, and novel study.
In language arts, writing is a focus through the Studentreasure program. Students in some grade levels have the opportunity to practice and improve their writing skills in a unit that culminates in the “publication” of their book.
Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS), published by Pieces of Learning, serves as the foundation for the development of thinking skills in grades K-3. Students learn and practice convergent, divergent, evaluative, and visual thinking skills. Opportunities to develop thinking skills are provided through an assortment of activities and educational games. These skills are applied in the Future Problem Solving competition in fourth and fifth grade.
Students may have the opportunity to participate in novel studies using a variety of materials, including those available through William and Mary Gifted Education. Book study groups, including face- to- face and blogging groups, are offered at various times throughout the year.
The elementary gifted program seeks to meet the goals of fostering responsibility to self, others, school and community by providing opportunities for positive character development through team work, discussion, the setting of personal goals, and exposure to global concerns.