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How can teachers incorporate creativity in their classroom?

Creativity can inspire students to learn new content through a creative outlet. Classroom teachers have a constant struggle between teaching content and incorporating creativity into daily instruction. Often state standards limit the teacher’s ability to develop lessons that include creation in the classroom and teachers may resort to a more teacher-centered environment. It is the teachers responsibility to generate lessons and centers that encourage students to be creative. It is vital that the incorporation of creativity in the classroom is encouraged so that students of varying learning styles are exposed to different ways to learn.

After generating a list of potential solutions it was determined that there are two possible ways to incorporate creativity into the classroom. The first option would be to designate a space in the classroom to pique the student’s creative outlet. This area is dedicated to creative activities such as a thinking table, drama station, readers’ theater or group discussion. An advantage to this solution would be that students are able to move around the classroom throughout the day and are not confined to staying at their desk. It also encourages students to use their imagination through planned or spontaneous dramatic actions. A drawback would be lack of space in a classroom which can make creative stations limited and distracting to the students. The second possible solution would be collaboration of content material with specialized teachers (art, gym, computer, etc.). By having the specialized teacher involved in the creation and implementation of lessons the student will gain a varied understanding of the material. A disadvantage would be that specialized teachers often have their own agenda and expectations. This may lead to a disjointed presentation of the material and lead students to become uninterested or confused.

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    May 13 2013: Just ask students this question and watch the magic happen!
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    May 14 2013: In a twist to your “collaboration of content material” how about school wide theme weeks that would take seemly unrelated classes (art, gym, math, reading/writing, history) and connect them.

    For example;
    History is teaching about the “Oregon trail”
    Math is planning supplies for wagon with weight limit and food and tools.
    Art is doing a hope chest or quilted blanket theme.
    Gym gathers and loads supplies in wagon.
    Students in class A could write letters to class B and then wait a few weeks before giving them to class B, and have them write back.
    Science studies wagon design.

    You could also add a designate a space, with what if they have done ______ ?
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    May 13 2013: Melisa,

    I suggest web searching “how to teach divergent thinking”, to me divergent-thinking is creativity’s foundation.
    • May 13 2013: Thank you for the suggestion. By comparing convergent learning (direct learning based off of memorization and drill learning) and divergent learning (encouraging students to take risks and exploring creative ways to learn through imaginary play) students would be using their imagination and learn creatively.
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        May 13 2013: Do you think of convergent thinking as being memorization and drill?
        Here is an alternative view from a faculty website at the University of Washington: "Convergent thinking involves combining or joining different ideas together based on elements these ideas have in common. In short, convergent thinking means putting the different pieces of a topic back together in some organized, structured and understandable fashion."

        An example of convergent thinking is the way Sherlock Holmes or Hercules Poirot solves a mystery.
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        May 13 2013: Fritzie is right, convergent thinking is more about taking seemly unrelated facts and connecting/combining them.
        For example if you ask a convergent thinker “How many uses does a paperclip have?” he/she would think paperclips are made of metal – metal can be bent, heated, conduct electrify, etc and come up with lots of uses.
        And a divergent thinker would challenge the premise that a paperclip is made of metal and its size. So for the highest and most creative number of uses, both convergent and divergent thinking most be used. Just thinking that the paperclip could be made of bamboo and is 6’ long, does not lead to additional uses.
  • May 12 2013: Learning that is like play or fun where the student loves it for its own sake occurs when the students wants to understand or is excited about something. How do we engender something like this in an ordinary classroom? Wekk, you don't really need to much when the child is young, below about 13 or 14 years old. After this age, peer pressure, hormones etc change the landscape so to speak for the student. So, the secret is to induce such a learning environment in even these older students. One way is to tell a story which draws the students in, captures their attention just when they were not expecting it. Then from it you start to ask some leading questions where interest is excited, the student then wants to know. Then, they start to play with ideas and concepts starting the creative process.
    • May 13 2013: This is true, it is generally easier to engage students in creative learning at a younger age. However, as srudents grow older, they are less likely to engage in this type of learning due to embarrassment and peer pressure. It is important as students are growing, to incorporate creative material appropriate to their age group and development. It is a great idea to explore stories or topics by asking questions that allow students to use their imaginations and create deeper thoughts to delve into the creative process.
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    May 12 2013: by being open-minded, not too quick to criticize
    • May 13 2013: Exactly, we should encourage students to explore their imagination and create ideas without being criticized. Students should be taught to develop their own thoughts or ideas, even if they are imperfect.
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        May 13 2013: also teach students how to stand up for their ideas even when they are being attacked. I get battered a lot for the ideas I put out, but I just keep patiently putting them out.
        • May 13 2013: That is so true! Along with exploring their imagination and creating ideas, students should also be encouraged to express their ideas and stand up for them, even if others do not necessarily agree with them. Students must understand that everybody is entitled to their own opinions and thoughts. However, just because someone doesn't see eye to eye with you on your thoughts, it doesn't mean you are wrong.
  • May 12 2013: There are always good suggestions that are implemented, but they never make it to us. Loiuis Mercado was head of the Ministry of inteelignce in was it Venezuela or Columbia - I think Venezuela. They used materials from Edward Debono and a harvard Project. however, impenetrable systems like American Education have never tloerated such things. Okay you can buy it off the rack, but most systems will frustrate you. It's something you have to do at home like religion.
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    May 11 2013: although it's commendable that education is attempting to promote the benefits of being a creative person, it seems to me to be largely driven by a trend coming from the IT sector (as far as I can see, digital tech has nothing to do with creativity - at best, it may allow some people to research or realise an idea if it's appropriate).

    there is also the tendency for people to treat creativity like a finite package that can be delivered if only we could figure out how. it's a bit like having the attitude of: "we try to provide each student with 9-12 kilograms of creativity per week".

    creativity cannot be taught, although asking good questions of students and promoting deep thought and discussion can lead people to alternatives and different ways of approaching an issue.

    the best thing to do is provide time and space for creativity to be fostered. this is, of course, not an easily apprehended formula and it will not necessarily conform to a time-frame which makes it difficult for schools where the day is built around bells and the clock.

    it also cannot be measured in any of the traditional ways of assessing "progress".

    best thing is to challenge ideas, provide enough time for it to be able to occur and remove all traditional assessment of the "creativity" (the only way that approaches usefulness is probably self assessment).

    while these things are relatively simple to put into place, they would require some radical changes to the average school day.
    • May 13 2013: Definitely, most teachers do find it difficult to find time to incorporate creativity into meaningful lessons. Some classrooms even lack space for the designation of creativity. However, teachers can incorporate creativity across the content areas simply by asking students deeper, open-ended questions. Teachers should also be open-minded and allow students to explore questions and topics. Rather than just providing students with facts, we should provide them with information that they can explore and utilize to develop their own understandings and conclusions.
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        May 13 2013: Yes, this is generally considered "best practice" in the profession.
  • May 11 2013: American Indian author/educator/professor, Four Arrows, offers REASONS for why schooling fails true goals AND offers ways to achieve them.

    In his new book, endorsed by such notable educators as Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, etc., entitled, TEACHING TRULY: A CURRICULUM TO INDIGENIZE MAINSTREAM EDUCATION. After exposing hegemonic basis for curriculum and standards, he offers complementary and proven teaching and learning approaches that Indigenous cultures used for thousands of years prior to colonization. His internationally recognized work and his provacative and engaging presentations make him an ideal candidate for a TED talk! Go to to see why so many major and noted thinkers say that Four Arrows book may be "our last chance.
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    May 11 2013: I think separating creative activities from "content" activities sends a message that creativity and subject matter are disconnected, which is not naturally true of any school subject. I think designating specialized teachers for a creative component does the same thing.

    Bringing out, by letting students experience, the creative dimensions of the subject at hand is, I think, part of basic teacher competency. It is part of what Bruner in his classic work The Process of Education, called "representing the field with integrity." Knowing the field one is teaching includes understanding its creative dimensions.

    Of course collaborating with other teachers in the building or with others in the building is ideal when an activity is interdisciplinary or requires extra adult hands.
    • May 13 2013: The idea of collaborating with specialized teachers was not to have them come into the classroom and teach the creative part of the lesson. However, for the general education teacher to collaborate with specialized teachers such as art, music, etc. to gather and exchange ideas in which they can implement strategies utilized by the specialized teachers into the classroom. I definitely agree with your statement above that separating creative activities from content activities sends a message that creative ideas and subject maters are disconnected.