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High Achiever vs. Gifted Learner vs.

Creative Thinker
By Selby Merritt
Review the provided resources (articles and videos). Study the chart
provided in the resources section. Which items have you noticed in
students or other individuals? In each column, enter a minimum of
10 items from the chart that you have seen in others.

A High Achiever...

A Gifted Learner...

A Creative Thinker...

Teacher-pleasers and get their Enjoys learning but not

work done
necessarily school

A sense of humor and can find

humor in situations that
others may not

Know the answers

Asks the questions

Willingness to take a risk

Enjoys group projects

Works independently

Can generate a large number

of ideas or solutions to a
problem or question

Top academic group at the


Has the ability to adapt,

Can lead others into negative
improve and modify ideas or

Learn with ease

Show strong feelings and


Shows intellectual playfulness

6-8 repetitions for mastery

Solves problems in creative


Doesnt fear being different

Enjoy their peers


Seem to ask questions about




Heightened emotional

Copies accurately and

conforms to models

1-2 repetitions for mastery

Criticize constructively

Enjoys school

Require services not ordinarily

Sees exceptions
provided by the schools

Good memorizer

Sometimes looks like ADHD

Pleased with their own


Find constant repetition

Want to create their own
ways to accomplish
Beyond the top academic
group at school
Can memorize without even

Enjoys creating

Consider three (3) different students that you know and/or have
taught that you considered a high achiever, a gifted learner, and a
creative thinking.
Which of the attributes you listed above (or others you didnt list)
were recognized in that student (currently or in hindsight)? Other
than provided chart, which of the resources support your thoughts?
The student that I considered
Student type


Attributes with resource

While watching Brandi Maynards
video on Gifted vs. Bright
students, one of my students from
last year, JQualin, immediately
came to mind. Maynard said that
higher achiever learners tend to
be teacher pleasers and focused
on getting the answers, not
necessarily the process of getting
there. This was JQualin.
Additionally, in concordance with
Maynards ideas, JQualin loved
group work and getting to helps
his peers and learn with his peers.
Finally, he frequently became
frustrated when he wasnt able to
understand a topic, but overall
loved school, just not necessarily
the learning process.

I was correct or
incorrect because
Since I had all on-level
seniors last year, I had
not considered JQualin
a high achiever but now
I realize that I was
wrong to limit him with
such assumptions.
Knowing now that he
was a high achiever, I
would have tried to
encourage him in
attributes that are
common in high

While reading the articles and

watching the video on gifted
learners and their characteristics,
I realized that one of my past
students, Claudia, demonstrated
many gifted characteristics in my
classroom. Brandi Maynards
discussion on gifted learners
tendencies to be more emotional
in the classroom and also want to

Again, since I had all onlevel seniors, I did not

consider the possibility
that I had any gifted
learners in my class.
However, I did always
think that Claudia was
above the average of
the classroom and
thought that her


devise their own methods for

completing assignments that they
see as more efficient or effective
than the teachers. One specific
example is when my mentor
teacher (I was a student teacher
last year) had the students create
and fill out a very specific graphic
organizer. Claudia, who has
always shown mastery of the
classs material, without
instruction, created her own
graphic organizer that she
thought worked better. When my
mentor teacher insisted that she
conform to the instructions she
provided, Claudia did not
understand why her method was
not ok and became very heated
and emotional in arguing with my
mentor teacher. I think that
Maynard would agree that this
example is an exhibition of a
students gifted qualities.

placement in on-level
12th grade English was
not particularly right.
However, she was a
homebound student her
first semester, so
entering into an
advanced or honors
class was not an option
at the school I was
placed at.

One of my students from last

year, Kieran, was a student
included in the regular classroom
but was also assigned as a
student with special needs. Kieran
only chose to participate when he
was interested in the activity, but
he was particularly invested in the
assignment if he was allowed to
create, which is a sign of
creative thinkers according to
Bertie Kingore. Additionally, he
frequently found humor in things
that his peers did not, which
correlates to Renzullis article
titled, What Creativity Looks
Like. Furthermore, Kieran

After reviewing these

articles and videos, I
definitely think that
Kieran falls under the
gifted category, but that
he is even more parallel
with the creative
thinkers category.
However, I think
classifying Kieran as a
gifted learner and giving
him the support and
attention that other
gifted learners require
would have significantly
helped him be
successful long-term in

exhibited heightened emotions in

almost everything we did,
especially when it concerned realworld situations as was outlined in
article, Characteristics of Highly
Creative Individuals.

the classroom.

Do you think the school and/or system met/meets the needs of these
students? Why or why not?
Unfortunately, I do not think that the school met the needs of these students. All
three students, but specifically Claudia and Kieran, would have significantly
benefited from being formally classified as gifted learners because they would have
received the appropriate support and modified instruction that would have ensured
more success in the classroom. Both Claudia and Kieran, according to their GPAs,
were underperforming students (Kieran will be retaking senior year next year). I
think that had they been given the proper classification and attention, the outcome
would have been different. However, not all of the responsibility falls on the school. I
had the opportunity to communicate with both students parents and I partially
blame them as well. I think educating the parents on giftedness is just as important
as educating teachers, because had the parents insisted that their children get
tested, they might have had a more enjoyable and successful school experience.