Teaching Creativity in the Classroom

How are you teaching creativity in the classroom?

Years ago, I picked up a book titled 100 IDEAS FOR TEACHING CREATIVITY by Stephen Bowkett, in his introduction he explains that establishing a creative classroom is an approach to educate, not an add-on to the curriculum.  I like how he uses the term “brain science” and that “if you ask 100 people what they mean by “creativity”…you will get 100 different answers.

I remember as a young teacher trying to incorporate creative projects in class…and having them become a chaotic, with students finding no real purpose other than to play and make a mess. Each of my years in the classroom helped me understand more and more of how to teach these critical thinking skills and develop young brains.

I switched school districts and content areas.  As a science teacher, I was trained in using the hands-on kits that arrived in my classroom. Yes, the kits came with materials and lessons, but to have someone demonstrate how to guide the students in their learning was crucial to understanding how to teach using these “discovery” kits.  I remember on of my colleagues who was new that year getting frustrated, saying “all the kids are doing is playing“, “they’re not learning content this way”, and  “I don’t know what to teach them.” Developing young brains is a hard job, and yes, we can learn how to teach kids to think creatively.

Stephen Bowkett‘s book provides the background knowledge of creativity, broken down into each type of thinking skill.  Some are associating, brainstorming, hypothesizing….some terms we know. He provides a toolbox of ideas and explains how to teach the skills in games, etc. I just loved this book and often refer to it when making plans. And, I’ve since changed content areas again- I am still finding ways to incorporate these skills in the classroom.

Another resource I’ve had tucked away inside this book is a list of skills written by Deborah E. Burns.  I also refer to this list when preparing to teach. Mine is a typed / copied version, but I found an online version here. This is such a thorough list of skills, I love how it’s organized.

And, lastly, one of the leading experts in teaching creative thought is Michael Michalko. You can find his books here. Explore some of his titles yourself and see what new ideas you come up with on your own.

Some years ago, I recall one of our opening day presenters (whose name is escaping me right now) saying that teachers are in the business of brain development and he wished society would recognize that fact. I do too! This statement made me think about my job in a different way. Our brains are complex, are different from person to person. and have so much potential…so teaching our children is just as complex and different from child to child.

I have loved rising to the challenge to incorporate creative thinking and activities in my classroom so that my student’s brains can develop. I love those lightbulb moments- you can see and hear when it happens. And I’m happy to share the activities that promote these moments with you.

I’m going to step away for a little while to get myself organized. The next project will take several posts, is something close to my heart, and I want to make sure I don’t forget anything.

See you soon!

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SIOUX CODE TALKERS OF WORLD WAR II

by Andrea M. Page

Pelican Publishing Company 2017

Order on your copy at Pelican’s website click here.

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Read the Kirkus Review here.

School Library Journal Review

03/01/2017
Gr 7 Up—This well-documented title vividly brings to life the story of John Bear King and other Sioux code talkers during World War II. What makes this nonfiction text unique is the painstaking detail the author, the great-niece of King, took to research actual coded messages in military archives and transcribe them into the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota languages. Page consulted not only scholars in this field of research but also native Lakota speakers. The perspective of the Lakota and their cultural values are carefully woven into the narrative, which recounts their history with white settlers from the 1800s to the advent of the Second World War. Page provides a balanced account of the Lakota, who, in spite of numerous broken treaties with the U.S. government, always fought to defend their homelands and the United States. The book is engaging from start to finish, with a well-written text that is enhanced by period photographs and reproductions of significant documents. VERDICT A valuable work for teens studying code talkers and American Indian contributions to the U.S. victory in the Pacific theater.—Naomi Caldwell, Alabama State University, Montgomery

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