Teaching and Leadership in Creative Media: Entry IV
Creativity is infectious; if you want to become more creative, surround yourself with creative people and seek out creative environments. Like mastering anything else, if you practice creative thinking, you will get better at it. The same goes for your students: practising creativity will help students extend their thinking beyond the status quo (Patti Drapeau, 2014, p. 14).
In a class activity, we had to invent a sport using a set of objects, write the directions so that anyone could figure out how to play it, and keep our instructions clear and concise. Following is a video with a more detailed explanation of our creativity challenge.
The sport that my partner and I invented was Racquet Pop. We had 15 minutes to create the sport, rules and playing instructions.
- Played on a professional tag court indoors.
- Balloons are hanging on a string from the ceiling with duck tape.
- Two teams of pairs with racquets take turns popping balloons by hitting a balloon between two racquets from opposite sides.
- 60-second rounds per team.
- Best of 5 rounds.
- Bonus points for hitting the ball into the cup
- +2 points per balloon pop, -1 per failed balloon pop, and -3 points for a balloon pop against a surface that isn’t a racquet.
- 10 points for the ‘bonus cup’, hit a whiffle ball from the tee in the middle of the court into a cup in the arena, but your round ends when the ball hits the ground.
What I noticed is creativity is catching, and once I started with an idea, it quickly inspired my partner, and then we were bouncing ideas off each other. Though with such a short creativity challenge, you do not get time to edit your ideas. With ideation, you add all ideas to the pot, and then to get the idea more concise and in context, you start editing or shaping it. Though I think this activity is more about how to teach creativity.
As individuals, our next task is to make a lesson plan teaching a creative activity to students. Patti Drapeau in Sparking Students Creativity comments “The teacher’s role is to develop a classroom environment that embraces creativity” (Patti Drapeau, 2014, p. 14). She explains the teacher
- provides an emotionally safe environment where students feel free to share thoughts and ideas. Students in the creative classroom also understand the value of representing their ideas in different ways. They are com- fortable asking questions that are unusual and challenge the status quo because they have been encouraged to make new connections that go beyond the “right” answer.
- uses novelty to spark attention in a creative environment. Lessons that promote curiosity, suspense, and interest engage students and enhance learning. When teachers provide new materi- als or new resources or utilize new strategies, the brain wakes up and pays attention. Some ways that teachers can provide novelty include dressing up as a story character or a figure in history, using props and real artifacts, playing background music, telling jokes, rearranging the furniture, playing games to review, and changing the flow of a lesson.
- provide students with choice as often as possible. Choice is essential to creativity and is motivating because it gives students a sense of control over their learning, resulting in a feeling of empowerment. Choice reinforces the teacher-student relationship by acknowledging individuality. Choice does not have to be totally open-ended to be effective; although it can be completely student-initiated (e.g., students identify a product to illustrate understanding), it can be as simple as providing two or three options for a culminating product.
- knows that a sense of community is essential in the creative classroom; by continually re-forming groups, the class develops a sense of community and students learn to value each other’s individual strengths and abilities. Although whole- group instruction may be effective in certain situations, small groups are relevant when promoting creativity because creativity is deeply social. Different types of small-group instruction include the following: Ability groups, based upon student ability in a specific content area; Cooperative groups are based upon student interest, or they may be formed randomly; and Flexible groups are formed and re-formed according to individual needs, strengths, and preferences.
- The classroom teacher provides interesting and challenging work for students and sets realistic goals and time frames to help students be successful.
- In the creative classroom, students need to feel comfortable generating many different possible solutions and answers rather than seeking a single “right” answer — divergent thinking. Providing scaffolding supports (and then gradually removing them), rather than rescuing students from frustration, encourages students to generate divergent ideas that are ambiguous.
- Coaching students, particularly with setting measurable goals and breaking down processes into discrete steps, can help them develop intrinsic motivation, which influences creativity (Patti Drapeau, 2014, p. 14–18).
Described as the father of creativity, Paul Torrance identified four creative thinking skills:
- Fluency. Theabilitytogeneratemanyideasfocusesonthekey word many.
- Flexibility. The ability to generate different kinds of ideas focuses on the key word change.
- Originality. The ability to generate a one-of-a-kind idea focuses on the key word unusual.
- Elaboration. The ability to add detail or extend ideas focuses on the key phrase add on (Patti Drapeau, 2014, p. 18).
To assess creativity, the rubric needs to include criteria specific to creative thinking as part of either formative or summative assessments; the assessment. “If students are instructed to think of many ways to change the ending of a story, then they should be assessed on how many ways they are able to change the ending of the story while maintaining the integrity of the original story. Other criteria may specify that the ideas make sense or address the quality of the responses. Student learning is guided by comprehensive rubrics that reflect all components of a lesson: the content, the thinking process required, and the product” (Patti Drapeau, 2014, p. 25).
As a teacher, teaching creativity, I came up with a creative thinking activity to create a time capsule. I feel this activity sparks novelty and student choice, I will create a safe space as a teacher and a sense of community by pairing the students up in smaller groups, with realistic goals and timeframe to complete the activity, by keeping in mind coaching the students by breaking the activity down into smaller steps, and providing scaffolding by presenting them with an example first and positiove feedback. The activity will be asessed on the fluency, flexibility, originalty, and elaboration of the description of the objects in the time capsule and the quality of the responses. Following is a Youtube video explaining the activity along with the lesson plan.
“It is important to explicitly teach creativity; that is, in addition to identifying the content knowledge being accessed or reinforced, specifically tell students that the lesson requires creative thinking, identify the creative thinking skill being used, and model the process for them” (Patti Drapeau, 2014, p. 27).
John Spencer. (N.d). Maker Challenge: Invent a Sport Using These Random Items [Youtube] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLKa2weeajI
John Spencer. (N.d). Writing Prompt: Create a Time Capsule [Youtube] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kgUs4UHVK8&list=PLzDOGMsmDvev9eeJeNUAJx7N8SOGLRwMJ&index=9
Patti Drapeau. (2014). Sparking student creativity: Practical ways to promote innovative thinking and problem solving. ASCD: Alexandria, VA, USA.