Curiosita Teaching Texts: A Framework For Creativity . . . by Ian Byrd 

Written by Patti Garrett Shade and Dr. Richard Shade, the Curiosita Teaching texts develop a system for teachers to use to build students creativity. Creativity and curiosity are dear to my heart, and I was encouraged by the large number of ideas offered in these books, especially the variety of sizes: quick ideas to implement immediately as well as big ideas to build a whole year around. If you’re new to thinking about how to bring creativity into your classroom, these books will bring you up to speed on many concepts in the field and give you structure for incorporating creativity into teaching. The books are built on a collection of great ideas from many great thinkers including Edward de Bono, Carol Ann Tomlinson and Sir Ken Robinson.

 

Taking Inventory

Curiosita Teaching opens with a newly designed inventory to give to students. This is called a “Creative Multibilities Inventory,” and looks to evaluate the various levels and types of creativity across a classroom. This would be helpful to establish an early under- standing of your students’ present levels. The “multibilities” part of this inventory also reveals what’s to come next: analyzing creativity and breaking it down into instructional elements.

 

Models of Creativity

The text, Curiosita Teaching:Integrating Creativity Into All Teaching & Learning unpacks the abstract idea of creativity using a variety of models. The authors explain the Elements of Creativity: fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration. They also introduce an innovative model called the Creativity Fan, which breaks creativity into seven components. I appreciate the multiple models offered in this book for analyzing creativity and separating it into understandable chunks. As a teacher, these frameworks provide structure for an otherwise nebulous concept. I can see these also helping those students who shudder when asked to think outside the box. It gives them specific ways to stretch their thinking.

 

Specific Supports

The authors then dive into specific ways teachers can support creativity in the classroom. This includes developing a classroom expectation for “Knock-My-Socks-Off” products. There is also a list of questions to help promote creativity, rules for successful brain- storming, and a list of “Kreativity Killer” phrases to avoid. I found this section of the book the most useful as a grab-and-go resource for teachers. Ideas are segmented nicely, making it easy for teachers to implement one set at a time. I could easily see teachers developing a list of “Kreativity Killers” with their class while also collaborating on a list of phrases to encourage creativity.

 

The Bigger Picture

The next section of Curiosita Teaching looks at the larger picture of integrating creativity into instruction developmentally. While focusing initially on lesson planning, the authors go on to define a “Creativity Scope and Sequence” to help teachers purposefully introduce the many concepts outlined in the book. In defining this scope and sequence, the authors continue sharing a wide variety of creativity ideas, including: A "Think Tank" story-writing activity using dice, a PMQ: Plus, Minus, Question and a complete Creativity Product Based Learning Unit. The book wraps up with a discussion on assessing creativity, including both self-assessments, product assessments, and teacher observations.

 

The Curiosita Teaching Handbook of Instructional Strategies and CD

My copy of Curiosita Teaching also arrived with a matching Handbook of Instructional Strategies. While Curiosita Teaching is about looking at a larger framework, the Handbook delivers pre-made lessons, assessments, and activities:

    Four “Learning and Thinking Style” Activities

    Seven flexibility and perception activities

    Entire Units on: Animation, Brains (Anatomy & Creative Products) and Passion-based Learning

    Activities to developmentally grow brainstorming abilities

    Four activities for creative and critical thinking

Plus, all of these activities come as PDFs on a CD! There are over two hundred PDFs to print and use in your class. This is a pretty awesome resource for teachers looking for specific ways to begin integrating creativity. It also includes samples of real student products - a great beginning of a teacher portfolio to use with your students!

 

Conclusion

The Curiosita Teaching texts are ideal resources for someone beginning or already on the journey to integrate creativity into all teaching & learning. Drawing upon many works, these books synthesize information, arrange it into practical frameworks designed for teachers and offers resources for further research. The frameworks developed by the authors were my biggest takeaway, and the specific activities included in The Handbook are priceless for a busy teacher who wants to help their students increase their creativity.