A few years ago, my young niece picked up interesting coloring book while we vacationed in Mammoth Lakes, CA. This is no “stay within the lines” book, however. Titled Scribbles, this book is filled with nearly 400 creative, divergent, and open-ended thinking tasks.
Even the simplest game takes on interesting new twists when we alter the rules a bit. Let’s look at ways our students can modify checkers and turn this children’s game into something new to explore.
It’s easy for science instruction to linger in the bowels of Bloom’s Taxonomy as we try to cram everything into the tiny time allotted. However, isolated facts don’t inspire our students. Let’s set up units that invoke creativity but demand knowledge.
Let’s tackle Torrence’s specific elements of creativity and build up students’ confidence in their creativity through vocabulary games, drawing games, and the alternative uses task.
It’s essential to teach our students to think flexibly and consider multiple points of view. Flexible thinking leads to product innovation, diplomacy between nations, and advances in science. School, however, often encourages students to settle into a “one right answer” mindset.
Now, a typical classroom would woosh onto a new topic after this half hour of “fun.” But. we’re building a classroom culture that’s comfortable with fuzzy problems. It is now, after failures, that students can learn the most, so let’s break down their results…
Creativity and curiosity are dear to my heart, and I was encouraged by the large number of ideas offered in this book, especially the variety of sizes: quick ideas to implement immediately as well as big ideas to build the whole year around. If you’re new to thinking about how to bring creativity into your classroom, this book will bring you up to speed on many concepts in the field and give you structure for incorporating creativity into teaching.
I came across these drawings by Adam Watson. They’re scenes and characters from Star Wars, remade in the style of Dr. Seuss. What a fascinating way to extend a typical writing assignment: ask students to recreate a story as if it were created by another author.
Symbolism, a mainstay of literature discussion, seems too abstract and ephemeral to teach to younger students. However, with a well-constructed lesson, students will quickly get the hang of symbolic representation. We’ll finish this unit up with some great pixel-art and computer painting.
This week, we’re tackling the comprehension skill “story structure” featured in the Houghton Mifflin reading program. It’s absolute nuts and bolts (identify setting, character, and plot) and is part of the reading program beginning in Kindergarten. A quick pre-assessment verifies that my sixth graders have a thorough understanding of this material.