"Teaching Life-Changing Skills"
As an educator, you never get over that visceral feeling that happens when you look into a student’s eyes and they “get it.” It is an instant of emotional bonding between teacher and learner. Are you ready to exponentially multiply this reaction? You can take it to the next level by teaching your learners the skills and mindsets of creativity. The journal responses, from our Lakenheath Middle School students, give you a glimpse into the creative synergy that envelops the classroom.
"It's like bumping into blanks and using your mind loosely to come up with purposeful, not typical new relations."
- Gabriella, 7th grade
The next time you schedule a “mini conference” with this same student she comes to the session with her latest product and begins asking questions like: “What if” or “How might I”, or even better “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” When your students start asking these types of questions you have moved your classroom to another level of creative learning savvy-ness. You will see this in the ideas and products they produce. They begin to be creators not replicators of learning and will continually knock-your-socks-off with their “yet-to-be” imagined demonstrations of their innate human capacity to create.
“I like it because I get kind of lost when I’m working on my product. It’s hard to believe class is over when the bell rings.”
- Deforest 8th grade
There are so many inlets or pathways you can use to invite creativity into all teaching and learning. You can pick and choose and build your own micro-credentials in this professional learning space. An additional benefit to adopting creativity, as a platform to build all learning around, is its seamless integration into the new class of innovative programs popping up around the country: PBL, Passion-based Learning, STEM, Personalized Learning, Blended Learning, International Baccalaureate Programs, and Design Thinking. Creativity embedded into any program of study catalyzes student productivity and imaginative explorations.
Product review and asking open-ended questions may be a window that works for you. If there ever was a teaching skill set that lends itself to personalized differentiated learning (and teaching) it surely must be teaching with and for creativity. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite strategies:
- USING the Rules of Brainstorming as classroom norms.
- INTRODUCING the Creativity Elements of Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, and Elaboration into lesson designs.
- PLANNING for on-going product development in all content areas.
- MAKING creative & critical thinking (with tools and strategies) a daily requirement.
- DISCUSSING the traits & behaviors of highly creative individuals to instill empathy and understanding.
- TEACHING everyone to use the checklist tool of SCAMPER.
- REPEATEDLY HONING brainstorming abilities using specific tools and techniques.
- CREATING an ever-growing wall of people, words, and photos that inspire.
- ADDING Changing Perceptions as a content area equal to reading and math.
- IGNITING students’ interests and passions by allowing them to delve much, much deeper into content
“At first I felt really frustrated when I was challenged to think differently - then it became my favorite thing to do!”
- Beau, 6th grade
A student’s mind once unleashed by creativity will never be the same. It will remain wide open to pondering and producing in all different directions and the results are phenomenal. You are virtually changing the way they look at things, the way they think, and the way they share and respect each other’s ideas.
In essence, you are naturally augmenting their intelligence. You are preparing them with the skills and mindsets necessary to become creative leaders, engineers, parents, pilots, dentists, space explorers, drone coders . . . dreamers, makers, and “thinker-uppers” of ways to support the continuous improvement of our world.
"Originality gives flavor to ideas. Nobody wants to hear the same thing too many times.
- Raven, 8th grade
It is now more important than ever that we, as teachers, acquire the instructional tools and strategies needed to support our students’ innate creative abilities. There’s nothing that our students can’t explore without us. But these virtual explorations will never have the impact of the relationships that develop in our creative learning laboratories.
Creativity changes children’s lives.
Creativity changes the world.
“Creativity can be used even in the little things to make our lives better.
- Carly, 7th grade
Live creatively and prosper,
Rick & Patti Shade
Thanks for reading!
Our goal is to help as many parents and educators as we can. If you know of others interested in teaching and parenting with creativity please forward.