How to Teach Creativity?
Getting students out of their comfort zones can cause a bit of discomfort, but when it becomes part of classroom expectations, the growth in student flexibility, resiliency, and intellect is much greater. Creativity does not have to be about special activities, but can be a function of everything that we do. In our classrooms, creativity has to be integrated into the whole curriculum, and not just parts of it.
Instructional approaches like project based learning, problem based learning, open ended problems of the week, and design thinking can all easily marry the core subject matter standards with performance expectations that result in a product, a service or a process. Besides designing projects that bring out creativity, nurturing a culture that promotes creativity is crucial. Allowing divergent thought, creating prototypes and redesigning failures, and asking questions are essential for students to learn to take risks and feel safe.
Scaffolding for innovation furthers the creativity process. This includes understanding purposes, generating ideas, evaluation options, using a feedback or revision process, and presenting final solutions. Two common models are the seven step Project Based Learning approach (driving question, need to know, inquiry and innovation, infusion of 21st century skills, student voice and choice, feedback and revision, presentation) and the six step design thinking process from the Stanford d-School (understand, observe, point of view, ideate, prototype, test). Teachers can certainly teach these processes and others like them, both formally and informally.
Infusing Creativity with Technology
The world of websites and apps can be overwhelming, but many are available for free that extend the learning and tap into creativity. We’ve combed through those we’ve seen used in our classrooms.
Writing. Teachers can teach students how to make new contacts, conduct interviews, and turn what they learn from their interviews into a well-researched paper by making use of Google Hangouts or Skype. Some recommended apps include Sticky Notes (brainstorming), ShowMe (presenting), KidBlog (writing), Pixntell (storytelling), Toontastic (steps in the writing process), and Prezi, Powtoon, Animoto, Emaze, and EduCreations (presentations).
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