In this episode we’re talking to one of our favourite gifted educators and differentiation coach, Stephanie Higgs, about how we can all grow our creativity muscle, especially in our gifted kids.
Memorable quote… “
“When we broaden that definition of what creativity even looks like, I think a lot more of us fit under that umbrella than we would initially think. And then even those of us who don’t feel like it comes as naturally – that’s one of the things I’m here to share today, is how we can grow and refine that area of talent.” – Stephanie Higgs
Stephanie Higgs is a passionate, energetic, and engaging educator whose colleagues describe as radiating contagious joy. She has devoted her entire professional life to education, teaching in two of Tennessee’s three grand divisions.
Stephanie earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she then taught for six years at a museum magnet school and helped students achieve up to three years’ growth in reading in a single year.
After relocating to Middle Tennessee, Stephanie became a fourth-grade teacher, which had been her dream since she was a fourth grader herself! In 2019, Stephanie became a gifted educator and differentiation coach, where the staff quickly named her their Teacher of the Year before being named a region-level semi-finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Soon after, Stephanie was honoured with the TAG (Tennessee Association for the Gifted) Horizon Award, which is given to a gifted educator demonstrating promise and leadership in the field.
Later, Stephanie was named the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Teacher of the Year. Stephanie recently graduated with an additional graduate degree from Tennessee State University in Instructional Leadership and now serves on the executive board as secretary for the Tennessee Association for the Gifted.
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Sophia Elliott: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to today’s podcast. I’m super excited to be here with Stephanie Higgs today. Now you might remember Stephanie, just from a couple of weeks ago, she was talking to us about those early years of school. And so we’re really excited to have a back. And today we’re talking about growing creativity and gifted kids.
Well, not just gifted kids, really? Anyone. Us to the parents, our creativity can grow, who knew. Maybe you feel like you are a creative person or your. You’re like now I’m not creative. I don’t play the guitar. I don’t do this. I don’t do that. Well, actually we all have that creativity inside us.
And it’s really interesting to learn that it’s actually like a muscle that we can build and grow and get better at become more creative. So it’s a wonderful episode today. Stephanie always comes along with so many tips and tricks and you walk away feeling like you can do a million things.
So if you didn’t catch our last episode with Stephanie, let me tell you a little bit about her. [00:01:00] She became a gifted educator and differentiation coach in 2019, where staff quickly named her teacher of the year before being named region level semifinalist for the Tennessee teacher of the year. She’s also honored with the tag Tennessee association for the gifted.
Horizon award, which is given to a gifted educator, demonstrating promise and leadership in the field.
She’s also been the Tennessee performing arts center teacher of the year. And she recently graduated with an additional graduate degree from Tennessee state university in instructional leadership. She now serves on the executive board as a secretary for the Tennessee association for the gifted. So she is a very, very passionate primary school teacher.
And her energy is infectious.
It’s always an absolute delight to catch up with Stephanie. She has so much wisdom to share with us.
And always comes with a bucket of ideas.
I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. If you love the podcast, you can support us in many ways. [00:02:00] Leave us a review. Just leave us some stars.
You can subscribe, tell your friends about us. And if you really love us, you can leave us a tip or join the podcast. Patron.
Take care, enjoy the episode and I’ll see you again soon.
I’m super excited today to be back with Stephanie Hicks, our like gifted educator extraordinaire with all of her energy, all the way from the US . Stephanie, how are you going today?
Stephanie Higgs: I’m great. I’m so thankful to [00:03:00] be back with you. I just felt so warmly received the last time I had to get right back on your calendar. ,
Sophia Elliott: I, I know I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation around those first years of school and, I just, your energy is infectious and I am delighted to have you on the show and your generosity at kind of just sharing your wisdom and knowledge with everyone.
Hugely appreciated. So thank you for coming back and we’re gonna talk about creativity today. How cool is that?
Stephanie Higgs: Yes. I’m so excited. This is such a passion of mine. So I’m thrilled to be able to share a few of my favorite ideas with parents of gifted learners and anyone else who might be listening.
Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. I, yeah, I have a big, a big passion for creativity myself, and it’s one of those things where folk will often say, uh oh, I’m not creative. You know, I can’t play the guitar. I can’t sing, do you know, and or I can’t paint. and have this [00:04:00] idea around what creativity is. Mm-hmm. . So I guess my first question is, let’s break that down a little bit.
What would you say creativity is and can we become more creative?
Stephanie Higgs: I love that. So I love to play MythBusters, especially in gifted education. I think there are all sorts of myths that are prevalent out there. Mm-hmm. . And I think lots of us, you know, adults, kids, all, I’ll kind of hear this, spoken over lots of different people, but, oh, I’m not creative.
Oh, that’s, that’s not really my, Space. You know, like you mentioned, I’m not good at this instrument or this type of specific fine art or performing art talent. So I must not be creative at all. And so what I would really love to kind of demystify there is the idea that creativity can be taught and it can evolve.
And so all of us, uh, can constantly be growing in that. I have a couple of theories I’ll kind of reference here in a second to, to support that a little more. You know, the opinion of one gifted educator . But what is it? What is it not? And I think when we think about [00:05:00] creativity, I think it’s anytime we’re thinking about a new way of doing something.
And anytime that we’re demonstrating, you know, kind of growth or change and so I think a lot of times, you know, when we think about the famous inventors of our time, Quite often, more often than not, they’re solving a problem. They’re looking at something in their everyday life and saying, ah, there’s gotta be a better way.
That’s really taxing, that’s really tedious. There has to be a quicker way, a more cost efficient way. And so creativity can look like that where it’s not necessarily. Splattering paint on a wall, but it’s problem solving. So I think a lot of the different models that we have for critical and creative thinking can really kind of shape the way that we’re developing, especially in our young kind of gifted kiddos and that gifted population, how we’re teaching them to think and, and kind of changing that mindset from a more fixed mindset to a growth mindset of, well, what does creativity look like?
Does it have to be pencil and paper and, and fine. Does it look like visual arts and performing arts? Does it even look like creative problem solving? [00:06:00] That might be in, you know, a company that works with map and numbers or science and something else. I think it’s important to think about too, is the idea of how many famous failures we have.
I have some lessons that I do with some of my students about either how often they were told no before they were ever told. Yes. Or how often they were unsuccessful before, finally in their, you know, 900th attempt, they found success. And so I think there’s a lot of social emotional development. Then it can occur through refining creative processes as well.
Learning to push through failure, developing stamina, developing perseverance. Grit, I think is such an. Skill in the 21st century. And so I think all of those can be developed through creativity. But I think anytime you’re being innovative, thinking about things in new ways thinking about something that maybe has never been done before, all of those can be defined as creativity.
It’s a lot more than just being, you know, strong in art, I think. And I think sometimes people immediately associate, oh, that’s [00:07:00] not really, that’s not my speed. You know, and I even hear that a lot in teachers of, oh, I’m not really creative. Here’s a secret. I don’t know, a teacher who’s not creative, it just might not be that they have cute, bubbly handwriting and they make great posters or you know, something like that.
But again, when we kind of broaden that definition of what creativity even looks like, I think a lot more of us fit under that umbrella than we would initially think. And then even those of us who don’t feel like it comes as naturally that’s one of the things I’m here to share today is how can we grow and refine that area of talent?
Sophia Elliott: I couldn’t agree with you more. And, and as you’re talking there, I’ve, I’ve got all these things popping in my head. Uh, one of the first things was a TV series that I watched last year, and I will try and find it and put it in the links because I’m so bad with names and I just can’t remember the guy’s name.
But it was all about brain training, and he did this exercise to assess his creativity. And then he had to do all of. . [00:08:00] Uh, so he did the exercise, he had this, he got a score for creativity right from this expert in the US somewhere. And then he had to do all this brain training for a month and then do another activity to, and assess his creativity and actually demonstrated, like you said, that creativity can be learnt and, and like improved upon this sort of idea of creative thinking.
And I had flashbacks to. So my first, uh, my undergrad was actually in fine arts way back in the day, and so I was a, a, a lit, you know, an artsy creative person. But, but then I went and worked in politics for most of my twenties and some of my thirties. And during that time, one of. My colleagues jokingly referred to my undergrad as the degree of paper mache and which was quite derogatory
And I think it’s clearly never quite left me, but. [00:09:00] that sat with me for a while, and actually what I realized, uh, on reflecting on what I was doing at the time, why I was good at it, actually all came down to my creative thinking and my ability to be creative in problem solving and, you know, appreciating other people’s points of view and thinking outside the box, which had all been strengthened by doing that undergrad in fine arts.
And so, Linking this idea that actually being creative is, it’s like a mindset. It’s, it’s an approach and a way of thinking. So I, I would love to hear more, you referenced some, some theories around creativity. Do you wanna share, share a little bit of those with us? . Sure.
Stephanie Higgs: So there’s really two that I’ve been researching and kind of delving into as of late.
And the first one I think is really great for parents to know about, and it’s the idea of the four C [00:10:00] model of creativity. So there are two doctors that are pretty involved in that research. One of those is Dr. James Kaufman. The other is Dr. Ronald Baggetto. And the two of them have come up with kind of this overarching model the four C model of creativity.
And so basically parents, Super, super young. I know Sophia, we recently chatted about those very early kind of gifted qualities that we’re seeing in these really little kiddos. Well that can actually sometimes be defined based on this theory as the mini C level of creativity. And so that’s basically when students are not necessarily doing anything that’s super revolutionary, but, but to them it’s new and it’s meaningful.
So for example, I recently spent some time with friends who have a little bitty, just two years old. And he took a little cup after we were finished with our dinner. And it had, you know, some kind of dressing or, or topping in there and it was empty. And so he took that cup and then somewhere else he found this tiny little ball that rolled.
It was really light. And the next thing I know, I look up and he’s taking that ball and he’s dropping it in the cup and he’s. [00:11:00] Blinging the cup up in the air and running around to try to catch the ball in that cup. So how creative is that, that he kind of made something new and meaningful? It made himself a game.
So that’s a level of creativity. We would call that, that mini C level. So for him it’s new and it’s meaningful. , but that’s that very earliest age. So that’s where a lot of the parents who would be listening might find themselves, you know, kind of working with their little with their child. So then that next level is exciting because that’s really where I focus a lot of my time.
And quite honestly, this might sound surprising, but I would find myself identifying as just this next level. So that first level is that mini C level of just kind of very new, very revolutionary. Well, that next level, that little. C level is basically where you’re still finding a lot of growth in creativity.
So you have kind of identified you have some creativity, and then there are lots of ways that we can go in and refine that creativity. And that’s kind of what differentiates between the mini C creativity and little C creativity is that idea of growth that we’re learning, that we’re [00:12:00] growing and that we’re evolving as creator.
It’s shocking to think, okay, we started that little bitty and I’m only at the very next one. Well, that’s because the next level of creativity is a pro C level of creativity. And so that’s someone who is a professional creative. You know, there’s tons of different careers that would involve that, but it could be things we’ve talked about, people that are inventors, that could be visual artists, that could be graphic design.
But people who have moved into that professional level of creativity. And then last but not least, you think, well, gosh, where do you go from there? But the last one would be the big C level of creativity. And so those are the names that we’ll remember in the history books. You and I are not even sharing the same continent right now, so are there names that that would kind of blend across all continents and be remembered well after their lifetime?
So that’s really kind of that last level that. C level of creativity. So that’s really kind of given me some vocabulary and some language to shape where I am as a creative, where my students are as creative. And then for all the [00:13:00] parents who would be listening, a lot of our gifted children that you all that you all have would probably fall under either that first level, that mini C, they’re really little and they’re just learning and starting or that next level, that little c level of creativity where they’re starting to demonstrate growth.
So that’s one. . And then the other work that I really focus a lot on in gifted education. And if you are parents of gifted children, this is probably a name that’s great for you to know. And that’s Dr. Paul Torrance. He is a hugely famous name in gifted education. And basically the work of Dr. Paul Torrance focuses on four tenants of creativity.
And so that’s fluency, flexibility. Elaboration and originality. And so I have lots of ideas kind of to help parents who are listening sort of, flush those out in your, in your child and, and practice those and again, grow those. That’s the ultimate idea here is that we would take what level of creativity we’re kind of coming to this conversation with and that we would all be able to evolve and demonstrate growth through practicing some [00:14:00] really specific exercises to continue growing and developing as a.
Sophia Elliott: a great point of reference just to understand, those levels and just. Have that broader understanding of creativity. So let’s talk about, well as parents, uh, because as you know, we’re, we’re always trying to co okay with each episode, what can the parents take away with them. Uh, Stephanie, I know that you’ve actually got some strategies that you can share with us today based on these theories, uh, around sort of.
Sparking this creativity or encouraging this creativity. Do you wanna share those with us?
Stephanie Higgs: Absolutely. So lemme elaborate a little bit more. Haha, that’s one of Dr. Halter’s four tenets, but elaboration is one of them. Uh, let me elaborate a little bit more on what his four tenets of creativity look like and how as a parent you might be able to apply that with a small child and especially a gifted learner.
So the first one, [00:15:00] Fluency. So Dr. Torrance really identified that it’s very important that our brains, of course, they’re muscles. We’re trying to train our brain to think of ideas as quickly as we can. The more ideas we produce, the more creative they’re going to become. Oftentimes, our first idea is not our best idea, and so if we can train our brain to generate ideas more quickly, that’s going to help strengthen us as a creative.
And so that could be as simple as list as many. and you could fill in the blank list all the things you can think of that are blue. You know, that could be, we’re driving down the road in the car and we’re just back and forth, you know, blueberry, sky ball, you know, just as fast as we can back and forth. So then that next step would be, okay, how could I train my brain to do that a little bit faster?
Well, partly just practice, right? We can just do that and continue to practice and get better. But what I teach my students sometimes is to think about categories within that. Okay. So, you know, I just said blueberry. [00:16:00] Let me think if I can think of any other. Foods that are blue, that’s gonna help develop my fluency.
If I can pick a category and I can go all in, I can tell you all the foods I can think of that are blue. Well then I said the sky is blue. Well, lemme think about all the things in nature I can find that are blue. All of a sudden my brain is able to. Create a lot more ideas. So working on our fluency is one way to really strengthen that specific tenant of Dr.
Torrance’s and even a game as simple as categories. I don’t know if you’ve ever played the game categories, but categories. Not only do you have to give very specific items and you’re up against a timer, but they all have to start with the same letter. So that would be even a way to kind of advance this to that next level.
Let’s think of all words that start with an s that are. And so things like that are a great way to really develop that tenant. Another one of his tenets is elaboration. So adding as many details as you possibly can. That could be going back and forth, sharing a story, and each one of you is adding the next line to the story.
You could do this [00:17:00] orally or you could even do this pencil and paper, but can you elaborate? Can each of you add on one? To the story, but it has to make sense. And then you can add a surprise twist, but it has to go along with what’s been happening in the story. It could be the same with drawing. So adding as many details as you can to a picture making that picture as exciting as possible.
Making that picture tell a story. So how c how can we elaborate both visually and then also orally. Another one is originality. And so for this one I have a favorite tool that I use. You can find these on Amazon or other places online, but they’re called doodles. And that’s the work of Roger Price.
And basically they’re very, very simple line images. So he will just have a few very simple lines. And what you could do is you could put this in a common place in your house, you know, maybe this is in the kitchen by the sink or on a board where we keep everybody’s, you know, special events. But you would put up a doodle, which again is just a very simple drawing, kind of a doodle.
And every time you have a new idea of what the doodle is representing, maybe you just keep a pad of sticky notes nearby [00:18:00] and you just walk by and you add an idea to the list. And so the funny part is the gimmick, kind of the, the saying behind doodles is that you don’t. Understand until you ask, and then it’s too late to wish that you hadn’t.
And that’s because a lot of the ideas that you and your family would come up with are even more original than the very simple idea that the creator had. And so how fun would it be to leave up, you know, just a very simple sketch or drawing and every time you walk by, that could be, you know, this or that could be, lemme get even more original than.
Gonna be and kind of slapping up a new idea there. And then one of my favorites, I have tons of ideas here. I know sometimes listening to me can be like drinking from a fire hydrant. I love that Stephanie I love that as quick as they come. But the last of his four tenets is flexibility. And so the way I define that is other uses for an item.
So that can be as simple as looking around. And saying, okay, I’m looking at some coat hangers right now. What are other uses for a coat hanger? If it’s not a coat hanger, what could it be? And so there’s other [00:19:00] kind of ways you can word that too. So like, what can you do with, I’m at my office a paperclip?
What are all the different things we could do with a paperclip? Well, if we unfolded it, we could use it to pick a lock. So it’s not a paperclip anymore, now it’s a lock picker. You know, could we use it as a tiny little. Sword, like a jousting, you know, fencing sword for a squirrel, right, because it’s teeny tiny.
So kind of really thinking in those really creative ways. So other uses for something. What can you do with something besides its very much intended purpose. Another sentence starter for that one can be, this used to be a blank, now it’s a blank. So, you know, this used to be an envelope, but now it is, you know, and come up with, with other uses for that it.
Or you mentioned kind of outside the box thinking, so that’s a fun one to use. The phrase, so inside the box, this is a greeting card outside the box, this is, and then think of other uses for that item. So that’s just kind of a fun one [00:20:00] You can play. You can always use like two pipe cleaners and say, I want you to show me the importance of creativity.
Use two pipe cleaners. Show me the importance of creativity, or use two pipe cleaners and tell me what you learned about in. Today. So how can you demonstrate that if I just give you two pipe cleaners? Another favorite of mine is forced association. So you could have just photographs, you could have them look around the house and you could say, I want you to find me an item that represents, The topic of electricity, what’s something?
And it can’t just be, you know, a light bulb, right? We know that’s already sort of a symbol for that. I want you to find something creative that represents the idea of electricity. Letting them go around the house and find something like that. Or having photographs and they have to find a photograph of an image or go online and find an image that best represents kind of that principle or that concept maybe that they’re studying at.
Another favorite of mine online is a resource called Carly and Adam. So Carly and Adam create these gorgeous pictures. If you are watching the recorded [00:21:00] video, is it recorded video this time, Sophia
Sophia Elliott: Video and Audio? So, yeah, our listeners will be listening, but uh, we have our members will be able to view.
Stephanie Higgs: Hello that so for this one you show them half of a picture. So like for this one, Carlene Adam showed half of a snowman. So it’s like the left half of a snowman. So you see kind of the half of a small circle, half of a bigger circle, half of the biggest circle. But the direction say it’s not a snowman.
And so Carlene Adam have these for every season and they are. Sloop blast because of course when you look at it, the first thing you see is a snowman. Snowman. They have ’em for a it’s not a snowflake. And so I did this with my kiddos a couple weeks ago where smack dab in the winter here in Tennessee.
And so it wasn’t a snowflake, it was a crown. And so some, one of my students took that and turned that picture into a. and so Carly and had ’em have those for every month, every season. But those have been great fun for my, my kiddos as well, and I know they would love that sometimes [00:22:00] recreationally in the home setting.
There’s also a book, it’s called Creativity Calendar and it’s by Laura Magner. And what I love about that book is she actually specifically addresses those four tenants monthly. So she, she kind of gives you a year to glance. And you could take that, you could do it as a workbook or you could make copies if you had multiple kiddos at home.
But she actually has one exercise each month of the year for each of those four tenants. And then she starts all over. So she actually has two full sets of affluency of flexibility and originality and an elaboration. And so she, you know, for the elaboration, we’ll just give you like a little doodle.
Like, it’ll just be one little squiggly line and then you have to add tons of details and kind of hide that image in your bigger picture. So lots of elaboration. So that’s great fun too. One of my friends who is a teacher, bought that for her, her kiddos at home, and she has said it has just been the biggest hit.
She’s been doing that with them in the evenings, just kind of to, to wind down, take a minute, kind of get some thoughts out on paper and, and kind of draw together. And she said she’s already seeing [00:23:00] progress. So it’s fun just to see as. Quickly as you implement these how quickly kiddos kind of catch on.
And then another one that I love this one’s actually a membership, but it’s 28 to make. But it’s the idea that it takes 28 days to make a new habit. . And so like one of the exercises they have on there is like a 30 circles challenge. So you have to turn each of the 30 circles into something else besides just a circle.
Could it be an eyeball, could it be a clock, could it be anything? You know a coin? Mm-hmm. , anything you can think of that’s small and circular. So you’ve gotta think an exercise like that is going to work on fluency. How fast can you come up with ideas? Could a circle be besides just a geometric shape and then elaboration?
Can you add lots and lots of details to each one? You know, and then kind of how flexible is your thinking When we look at that, we do just see a circle, but could we, you know, kind of get creative with what we’re doing that could we extend and break out past the circle? Have something kind of around that, that initial object.
So, so those are great fun, just really quick, easy ways. Another fun [00:24:00] one would be to take some sort of item and add it to paper. So it could be something as simple as like a piece of food. You know, it could be an m and m and you have an m and m and you put it on a piece of paper. And the m and m has to be part of the picture that you make.
It could be a pretzel, it could be, you know, anything that, that you have at home, but an object plus a pencil. Means creativity. So, so those are just a few of my favorite ones, but lots of different ways there to to think about how we can sort of, you know, encourage that creativity.
Another model of creative thinking that I love is [00:25:00] called Scamper.
And so scamper is all about kind of going back to that original, you know, meaning I shared of creativity and the idea that it’s not necessarily something that has to be visual art. It doesn’t have to be a performing art. That it can be really creative problem solving and innovation and maybe even inventing something new.
And so the Scamper model is the work of Bob Eberle and each letter, AMPER stands for something. And so basically you take something that already exists and you use the letters of scamper to change it. And so this is a great one for the home setting. And so I went to Lipscomb University here in Nashville for my gifted endorsement to teach.
And I had Dr. Emily Mok, that was who first introduced me to the Scamper model, but she had us try the Scamper model with an Oreo, so you could, again, take something that’s really basic, really classic. But then she had us go through each of the letter. Scamper and try to invent or create something. And so in Scamper, the S stands for substitute.
Okay. So when we think about just the classic Oreo, [00:26:00] can we think about a way to substitute either the chocolate cookie or the cream? Well, that’s a great conversation because it has been done many, many times, right? Our Oreos aren’t just one package on the shelf anymore. We have a whole half of a shelf full of all the variations.
So they are using, whether they even call it that or know it as that there are people, uh, you know, kind of in the Oreo world, in the Nabisco world who are using the elements of scamper. Well, we’ve done the chocolate cookie and the cream filling. How could we substitute, could we use graham crackers as that cookie instead of the, you know, the chocolate cookie?
Could we take out the cream in the middle? Could we substitute that for, I mean, they’ve done all kinds of things. Peanut butter and jelly and, you know, chocolate icing and all sorts of things. So the essence Scamper stands for sub. The C stands for combine. So is there any way that we could combine two items to come up with something new?
So could we combine an Oreo with something else to invent something that’s not been done before? The A stands for adapt. So how could we make changes there and adapt that Oreo? Could it be the M stands for [00:27:00] modify, so could we minimize it? Could we maximize it? Again, they’ve done that with the Oreo.
They’ve got the teeny tiny little Oreo. They have, you know, the jumbo double stuffed Oreos. So they, they’ve done some of that minimizing and maximizing the p is put to another use, which again, is that flexibility that we talked about. What are other uses for Oreos? You know, the first one that comes to my mind is we use those a lot to do moon phases at school.
And so all of a sudden it’s not an Oreo cookie for eating. It’s an essential ingredient for your next science project. And then the e stands for eliminator. Parts of the Oreo cookie that could be eliminated. And then last but not least, the R stands for reverse. So are there, you know, could we flip it out?
Could we do an inside out version so you can take that scamper model and you can use that with anything and your kids are, you’re gonna be blown away by the things that they create. By the way that they rearrange, reorganize, you know, just come up with brand new ideas you’ve never heard of before.
What if the calendar was reorganized or re, you know, kind of if we redid those dates and reordered or reversed, you know, for that letter R. So you can use that scamper method with [00:28:00] anything. But that’s just another great way to have your kiddos practicing, thinking about. , what could be possible, what could exist?
You know, I think for a lot of us, the older we get, the more the creativity is sort of driven out of us. I think we just kind of get in a more monotonous lifestyle. And so when we give kids these, you know, open-ended questions, the potential is just endless. Their imagination is endless. And if we foster that at really young ages, uh, I think there’s just really no telling how far this could go once they’re a little bit older.
Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. Lots of great ideas there. And so as you were sharing those, I was kind of thinking to myself as a parent, uh, . It’s like, right, how could I incorporate that one? So for example, we do, you know, a bit of commuting to and from school. Mm-hmm. , it’s not sort of in our neighborhood. And we have a few different car games that we have in the car, but I’m loving that sort of just simple as, right, right.
How many things can you think of that are blue? You know, how [00:29:00] many, and that TV show I, I watched I wonder if it was the same. Uh, Doctor that you were referring to, because some of those things were similar and he had to think of how many different uses he could think of for a shoe. Uh, and he had the doodle thing as well.
Mm-hmm. . And so it can be as simple as when you’re doing, going to and from school, having a few of those little activities in mind that you can just do, you know, driving along. Uh, we also do those sometimes. over dinner as a family, which can be really nice. And I think what I really love about all that is.
You know, we can tend to overcomplicate things. I’m speaking for myself here. I’m sure no one else does that. But , you know, overthink things and overcomplicate things. I’m sure I’m the only person listening who, who might do that. But it’s the simplicity of these activities. Actually improving [00:30:00] creativity because, and just, you know, as an interest that show I watched when he practiced for a month, he wasn’t doing any crazy kind of creativity thing.
He was literally just every day find a thing. How many different uses can I think of for a pencil or what do I go around me, uh, a computer mouse or this cup of coffee? Do you know? Like it’s as simple as that. And that can actually. improve our kids’ creativity and our creativity. If we are doing that together, it’s, it’s not sort of, This overcomplicated thing that we might think it is.
So I love this idea of incorporating those things into just our daily routines. But also I think I’m gonna have to check out that book that you mentioned, because it sounds really cool. And sometimes it’s nice as a parent because, you know, you’ll, you start off, well, maybe again, this is just me, but the first week you might.
you might remember to do it, you know, every day for three days, and then you forget. But you [00:31:00] do it the next day and by the end of the second week you’re kind of forgotten about it. And that’s when I kind of like to go, all right, where’s that book? Give me another idea. Okay, we’ll do that this week as a bit of a reminder and keeping me on track.
So that sounds like a really great resource. But you’ve, you’ve got other ideas for us as well, how we can integrate these sort of arts at home as families. So share those with us cuz these are great.
Stephanie Higgs: Absolutely. Well, and I think a couple more kind of points on that before I move a little bit more into arts integration.
I think sharing is so important, so making sure to carve out that time of Yeah, you did that. And then I got started on, you know, dinner and I, and I wasn’t paying attention. So proud of what they create. They are just bursting to share with you, to share with sibling, to share with dad, to share with anybody that’s around.
They are so proud of what they’ve created. So definitely carving out that time for them to share. And then, like you mentioned, oh my gosh, I know the, the best of intentions, you know, the best laid plans. And then two [00:32:00] weeks later, we haven’t picked it back up. So my charge is always this, could you commit to like once a.
for three minutes and that’s it. And maybe you name it, maybe you tell, tell the kids so that they’ll help hold you accountable too. Maybe it’s gonna be, you know, on Mondays like we’re gonna have marvelous Mondays and we’re gonna have three minutes of being creative and maybe that’s what we commit to at first.
Or maybe Thursdays are, are slower night, we’ll do it on Thursday evening. But what’s Im funny is your kids will start holding you to it because they love it so much. So that was my professional goal as a teacher. I really wanted to embed more creativity and daily lessons and weekly. And so starting really, really small, not feeling like you have to do all of those really fun ideas at once, but could you find three minutes somewhere in your week and say, okay, that’s gonna be it.
That’s gonna be, you know, Monday right after dinner, we’re all gonna sit at the table. We’re all going to have, you know, kind of one of these activities and we’re gonna puzzle through that together. Or during, you know, the car ride on Tuesdays, we will play one of these games back and forth while we’re driving.
So I think that’s always great too, is [00:33:00] to start really manageable, really. Size with just one little piece and then go from there. And the fun part is it becomes their favorite thing and then all of a sudden it’s not once a week. They wanna do it once a day. And it really does seem to pick up speed.
So I think that’s important. So giving ’em time to share for sure. And then also starting really, really small and really, really simple. And then letting it kind of build up and evolve from there, because I know I just kind of shared quite a few ideas, but just starting really. . Another really important piece as we are thinking about Brian Housen is a big name in gifted education and he has this idea that we wanna be sure that we are creating pianos.
Not stereos. And the first time I heard that, I mean, it was just kind of that mind blown emoji that we want to be creating producers of art rather than just consumers. So we don’t just want the stereo that can just kind of mimic what somebody else has done or just kind of see what’s already been out there and been done.
We wanna create the piano where it’s just these endless possibilities. It’s making the music itself. So [00:34:00] really the idea of producers and consumers of the arts. And so one way that can easily be done, Through really looking at your community resources, what does your community offer in terms of the arts?
Whether that’s a performing arts theater, and that can be a commitment as even once a year that we try to visit either the children’s theater or you know, the performing arts theater that’s traveling through town. That can look like going to a visual art museum. If that’s something that’s of interest to your family, one of my favorite ways to do that is you can, you could give your kiddo like cards if you wanted to, like little index cards or you could just have them kind of come back to these questions.
But I love to give them kind of these six charges. So it’s not just kind of a free for all roaming, it’s, we’re gonna do that, but at the end I’m gonna ask you some questions and so one of those is out of this entire museum, Which piece of visual art do you think is worth the most money and why?
So if you wanted to do that on an index card, you could put, you know, a dollar sign and then take that and the kiddo takes that to which piece of [00:35:00] art they think would be worth the most money and why. So kind of evaluating that level of art. Another one. Which one would they hang in their home? So which piece of visual art would they, if they could choose one to take home, which one would it be?
And. Which one evokes the strongest emotion in your child, and why does it evoke such a strong emotion? What does it make them think of? What does it remind them of? What are they connecting that to? Is it kind of the mood of the piece? Is it kind of the tone that it’s setting? What’s kind of causing such a strong emotion?
Which one do they have the most questions about? And having a few minutes for them to kind of share some of those I wonders. What are they wondering about one of these art pieces, uh, which one would they give as a gift? Which one would they, you know, they see some value in that and they would share that with someone else.
And who would it be and why? Or even, you know, which one, kind of thinking about multiple perspectives, which one would you wanna step inside and explore further? So that’s something, you know, just kind of taking, kind of, you know, using. Experiences using community offerings and then kind of leveling those up for our gifted kiddos instead of just [00:36:00] taking them to that experience, adding just a little bit more thought, you know, really valuing them.
Again, that’s being more of a consumer of the arts, but really kind of having them evaluate that and evaluate that experience and kind of make some deeper connections there. So I would definitely encourage parents to think about all of the community offerings to which they have. And how those are gonna continue to refine.
You know, again, by this point, most of us are in that little sea level of creativity where we’re demonstrating some growth. Are we able to really evaluate pieces of art and what, and speak to what they mean to us and how they move us and and those types of things. .
Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Lots of great ideas and I love it.
It’s just taking that next step of like, okay, we’re here, we’re at the gallery looking at things, but how can we now engage with and look at things in a different way, in a bit of a game? Cuz if it’s a game, then it’s always fun, of course. And, uh, engaging. Yeah, absolutely. And imagining which one would we, you know, take home, put our wolf we could.
I love that game. . Uh, so yeah, just, uh, [00:37:00] giving us permission to. Play in those spaces that, you know, feel a bit like, uh, really aren’t always play spaces, I guess , , but no, lots of lovely ideas there. I really, uh, value that you’ve given us lots of examples as parents because sometimes it’s just kind of like, oh, I’d love to do that, but where do I start?
And I think what’s really nice about this is the simplicity of it. Mm-hmm. . , , and it’s just about being a little bit consistent. , As a family and and engaging and building those creativity muscles, but it’s really very sort of easy and accessible for us. And I think what I was kind of thinking about as well as we’re talking there is obviously with gifted kids there, you know, a trait is that sort of inherent creativity and.
you know, they have that hyperconnectivity, so they tend to think, [00:38:00] have that tendency for thinking outside of the box and doing things like that. So absolutely lends itself to growing that muscle within gifted kids. Mm-hmm. . But I guess what I wanted to throw out there was something I learned that I found really fascinating was, uh, and I, let me just check what the book is called.
It’s one of my favorite books and I’m having a brain dead moment, but I will put it in the link because it’s an excellent book. I highly recommend it for all parents and. The person, the author who wrote it, is a doctor, and what they have actually done is unpacked the strengths within Neurodivergence.
And I, I kind of mentioned this because one of the things that she talked about in this book was how the A D H D brain, you know, there’s a. Part of the brain in the A D H D brain that controls impulse. And in the adh, A D H D brain, that impulse control [00:39:00] is just a little bit loose. And so it’s harder to control those impulses.
And sometimes, you know, as parents and teachers that can, uh, you know, be challenging for us to, uh, help our kids to manage. But the upside of that is creativity. So what they’ve linked that to is when we have these creative thoughts, . Often what people will do is self censor. Oh, I can’t say that or you know, but actually what they found, and this has been shown in, in the research that she referred to, was that in the A D H D brain, because they don’t have that impulse control working the same way, they don’t have that self-censoring of their creativity.
And there’s actually a little research out there linking A D H D to high levels of creativity. So you know, if your gifted kid is also A A D H D kid, Uh, just throwing it out there that maybe exploring creativity is going to tap into a potential natural strength. [00:40:00] One of the other interesting things in that book, Which also stuck with me was about the autistic brain.
And there is that tendency sometimes for autistic folk to do repetition. Uh, and within this context, what she was talking about was, and she gave this particular example of this, uh, You know, child, and, you know, the, the example went onto kind of adulthood and as a child was hyper-focused on music in a particular repetitive way, uh, during that autistic brain was, was really finding a lot of comfort.
Comfort in that repetition. But she said, what c what then can happen is you move from repetition and mimicry into, uh, morphing into their own creativity. So you start off just, uh, repeating it the same way, but over [00:41:00] time, just, uh, mimicking that can actually turn into your own expression of that. So in this example with this boy in music, uh, it started off with a very intense, uh, repetition, sort of focus on some music, but actually it grew into his own creativity.
It started there, but it kind of went somewhere else. And so I think it’s just kind. Again, uh, tapping into, uh, potential strengths and looking at that neuro divergent piece in a different way, uh, within that creativity sort of context. Uh, and because, you know, As parents, we’re always looking for ways to support our kids and help them find their strengths.
And so, uh, there’s a lot of sort of scope and things to look at. Now. I will put the details of that book and I’m kind of like kicking myself that my brain isn’t just pulling out for me because I have talked about before. It’s such a good book. And it talks about different strengths of all sorts of neuro divergence.
So there may be other things [00:42:00] in there that you’re interested in as well. But thank you so much, Stephanie. I feel like we’re all well prepared now to step into the world and work on our creative muscle. And it’s as easy as the next time I’m in the car with the kids. Tell me all the things you can think of.
That’s, that are blue. I’m just gonna start with blue. It’s in my head and we’re gonna go from there and, and sort of, and see where we end up. And so, . It’s really, it’s really great to have you sharing those theories and connecting it to these simple acts we can do. And then I think as a parent, having that, uh, confidence that actually it is this simple and it can have this much impact.
We don’t have to over-complicate it and we can do these tiny little simple things every day that can really work on this creativity muscle that can just be used. [00:43:00] Like everywhere in life, do you know any kind of, like you said, uh, you know, any kind of problem solving or, or just getting through life, that ability to look at things in different ways.
So a real gift. Uh, yeah. And so thank you for coming on and sharing that with us today. And I know that you’re an Instagram and you’ve got lots of ideas there that you share for parents and educators of gifted kids. Tell us a little bit about that and how people can find.
Stephanie Higgs: Sure. Instagram is definitely a great starting point.
So that’s at Little Miss Gifted. There’s a link tree on there that has all the links to the other things that I’ve done. So I have kind of gotten into the YouTube world and the TikTok world a little bit sharing some specific ideas and kind of some bite size strategies, but just like I did on this podcast today, that’s always my.
Can we break it down to just one tiny step? Just one tiny, yes. Can I just try this one piece tomorrow and then you can always check back when you’re ready for the next little bite size piece. But yes, I would love to see [00:44:00] everyone on Instagram at Little Miss Gifted and like I said, that will kind of direct you to some of the other resources that I’m starting to kind of put out into that space.
That’s new for me. I just started that in December and so just a couple months old at this point. But finding great success there and, and loving that opportunity and that outlet to share not just with the teachers of the gifted, but also with parents of the gifted. So I would love to, to have anyone there the more than merrier.
So all are
Sophia Elliott: welcome. Thank you so much and thank you so much for all of your energy at the end of a long day, and staying up for us. Uh, of course, hugely appreciate it and look forward to talking to you again, and thank you very much. We’re all gonna come back and next time we’ll all Bess. More creative we’ll be working on.
Stephanie Higgs: that’s, I have to hear how it goes. So please, if anyone tries any of these, I would love to hear from you. Even through my Instagram, you’ll see a tag to email me. So you can always just go there and that would even help you send me a message of, Hey, we tried this, or Hey, [00:45:00] we tried this. What would you suggest I do next?
Hey, this was kind of the pro, you know, the products that my kiddo made. What, what do you think about that? Where should we go from here? So, I would love to continue that conversation and support however I can. Like I said, could you start with just three minutes, once a week? And that’s a great starting point, and then kind of see how that goes and go from there.
But yes, I would love to, to hear back and hear how it’s going.
Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll share all of those links in the show notes for everyone so they can find you easily and, and yeah, we’ll have to touch base next time we catch up. So thank you so much for joining us today. It’s, it’s been awesome.
Stephanie Higgs: Appreciate it. Of course, Sophia, thanks for having me and anytime I would love to come back and visit the Sweet community anytime you’ll have me. So thank you so much. Awesome. See
Sophia Elliott: you soon. Yay. [00:46:00]