Core Competencies: Thinking

Creative thinking involves the generation of new ideas and concepts that have value to the individual or others,and the development of these ideas and concepts from thought to reality


Critical thinking involves making judgments based on reasoning: students consider options; analyze these using specific criteria; and draw conclusions and make judgments. Critical thinking competency encompasses a set of abilities that students use to examine their own thinking, and that of others, about information that they receive through observation, experience, and various forms of communication.

Creative Thinking

1. Novelty and value 

Students get creative ideas that are both novel and have value. There are degrees of novelty—an idea may be new to that
student or it may be new to their peers; it may be novel for their age group, or it may be novel to a larger community. It may be new in a particular context or absolutely new. The idea or product may also have value in a variety of ways and contexts—it may be fun, it may provide a sense of accomplishment, it may solve a naturally occurring problem, it may be a form of self-expression, it may provide a new perspective that influences how people think about something or the actions people take. An idea can have an impact on the individual student, classmates, a larger group of peers, in one’s community, or on a global level.

I CAN statements:

 I get ideas when I play. My ideas are fun for me and make me happy
 I can get new ideas or build on other people’s ideas, to create new things within the
constraints of a form, a problem, or materials
 I generate new ideas as I pursue my interests
 I get ideas that are new to my peers
 I can develop a body of creative work over time in an area I’m interested in or
passionate about

2. Generating ideas

Students may generate creative ideas as a result of free play, engagement with someone else’s ideas, a naturally occurring problem or constraints, or interest or passion. New ideas and inspirations can spontaneously arise from the unconscious mind, which is why students often report that their ideas just “pop” into their heads. However, students can also become aware of, and use, ways to help their unconscious minds generate ideas—giving their unconscious minds lots of ideas and information to combine and recombine at random (e.g., by learning a lot about something of interest), providing the incubation time for the unconscious to work, and quieting the filters and censors in the conscious and subconscious minds that tend to prevent novel ideas and inspirations from rising to the conscious mind (e.g., by doing relaxing or automatic activities).

I CAN statements:

 I get ideas when I use my senses to explore
 I build on others’ ideas and add new ideas of my own, or combine other people’s ideas
in new ways to create new things or solve straightforward problems
 I deliberately learn a lot about something (e.g. by doing research, talking to others or
practicing) so that I am able to generate new ideas or ideas just pop into my head
 I have deliberate strategies for quieting my conscious mind (e.g. walking away for a
while, doing something relaxing, being deliberately playful) so that I can be more
 I have interests and passions that I pursue over time

3. Developing ideas

After students get creative ideas, they evaluate them, decide which ones to develop, refine them, and work to realize them in some way. This process of developing ideas may require building the necessary skills, sustaining perseverance, and using failure productively over time. It may also require generating additional creative ideas to come up with solutions to problems along the way.

I CAN statements:

 I make my ideas work or I change what I am doing
 I can usually make my ideas work within the constraints of a given form, problem, and
materials if I keep playing with them
 I build the skills I need to make my ideas work, and usually succeed, even if it takes a
few tries
 I use my experiences with various steps and attempts to direct my future work
 I can persevere over years if necessary to develop my ideas. I expect ambiguity, failure,
and setbacks, and use them to advance my thinking

Critical Thinking

1. Analyze and Critique

Students learn to analyze and make judgments about a work, a position, a process, a performance, or another product or act. They consider purpose, focus on evidence, and use criteria (explicit or implicit) to draw conclusions and make defensible judgments or assessments. They consider a variety of perspectives. Some opportunities for analysis and critique are formal tasks; others are informal, ongoing activities (e.g., assessing a plan they are developing to solve a problem). Students often analyze and critique their own work as a key part of their learning.

I CAN statements:

 I can show if I like something or not
 I can identify criteria that I can use to analyze evidence
 I can analyze evidence from different perspectives
 I can reflect on and evaluate my thinking, products, and actions
 I can analyze my own assumptions and beliefs and consider views that do not fit with

2. Question and Investigate

Students learn to engage in an inquiry and investigation where they identify and explore questions or challenges related to key issues or problematic situations in their studies, their lives, their communities, and the media. They develop and refine questions; create and carry out plans; gather, interpret, and synthesize information and evidence; and draw reasoned conclusions. Some critical thinking activities focus on one part of the process, such as questioning, while others may involve a complex inquiry into a local or global issue.

I CAN statements:

 I can explore materials and actions
 I can ask open-ended questions and gather information
 I can consider more than one way to proceed an investigation
 I can evaluate the credibility of sources of information
 I can tell the difference between facts and interpretations, opinions, and judgments

3. Develop and Design

Students apply critical thinking to create or transform products, methods, performances, and representations in response to problems, events, issues, and needs. They work with clear purpose and consider the potential users or audience of their work. They explore possibilities, develop and refine plans, monitor their progress, and adjust their procedures in the light of criteria and feedback. They can determine the extent to which they have met their goals.

I CAN statements:

 I can experiment with different ways of doing things
 I can develop criteria for evaluating design options
 I can monitor my progress and adjust my actions to make sure I achieve what I want
 I can make choices that will help me create my intended impact on an audience or

Revision #9
Created 5 months ago by Caitlin Village
Updated 1 month ago by Caitlin Village