Thursday, April 23, 2015

Creativity part two

Now it is time for part two of my creativity post. You can check out the first part HERE. Most of these tips are tips that can work either for a classroom teacher or ideally, for a specials teacher who sees the same children year after year. This is definitely a process for building creativity. 

Start early

If you are a core teacher, start fostering creativity early in the year. If you set a precedent that creativity is acceptable, then students will be much more willing to continue being creative throughout the year. Students are always more willing to try new things at the beginning. They like to please their teachers early on. If you wait until later they will be much more concerned with their friends and looking "cool". 
For specials teachers, begin fostering creativity in kindergarten. I am always amazed at what Kindergartners can come up with when given the opportunity. This also helps set a precedent in your classroom. Student know that they must be creative in your room. This year is the first year that my 5th grade students will have spent all 6 years with me (they started as kindergartners in my program). Their creative ability is beyond any I have experienced before this. The fact that they have been being creative since kindergarten has really given them the confidence to push their limits. Their improvisational skills rival some 9th graders. So PROUD of them!

Start easy

Just like you scaffold core subjects like math and reading, you need to scaffold creativity as well. When you begin teaching creativity start with very simple tasks. Check out my creativity brain breaks for some ideas. I love to start off with games because kids think of  it as "fun" and not "learning;" it makes them much more willing to try new things. Once they have had some success with creativity, start assigning small assignments for them to get creative with. Make sure you work with them and encourage students to go farther. After they are good at small assignments, try a huge project. I love the bunraku assignment we use. Check it out here. This is a great assignment for students to be creative both in their writing and art. 

Give lots of opportunities

the more opportunities and ways to be creative, the more likely students will try. When creativity becomes part of their daily routine, students are more likely to integrate creativity. Try to make sure every day/week has at least one or two creative assignments. This does not need to be intense projects. It could simply be a simple game or writing assignment. But practice makes perfect, even in creativity. The more often they are creative, the more creative they will become. 


Students need confidence. When you are creative, you are very vulnerable. Students want to make sure they what they are doing is acceptable. The more praise you can give, the more confident they will become, the more likely they will be to become more creative. Students love praise. When they are really creative give lots of praise. Let them present/perform for the class or school; they will get tons of praise from the people who matter most (their peers). Find creative ways to praise the students. Have them display artwork in the building. Praise them in front of other teachers. Let them go and perform for another class. Try to do anything you can to get them excited about creating.

Have fun

Creativity happens when you are having fun. Don't be so serious. Sit back and relax!

It amazes me how creative my students are. I love teaching creativity in my classroom. I firmly believe that the jobs of the future rely on workers ability to be creative. If we do not take time to be creative now, students will never learn how to stretch their minds and push their limits. Even though creativity is not a specific common core standard, it is still one of the most important things we can teach our students. 

How do you teach creativity? Link up to this post in the comments and we can create a database of the best creative projects for students! 

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