Here’s an experiment you can conduct to check the use of creativity in the classroom. Look through the door of one classroom and you might see the students hunched over, not engaged, even frowning. The teacher looks frazzled, tired and wishing he or she were somewhere else.
You might think, “Well, everyone has a bad day.” But you might witness this scenario in this teacher’s classroom no matter what day you look through the door.
For the second part of the experiment, look through the door of another classroom, and you might see a room full of lively students, eager, engaged and participating. The teacher is full of energy and smiling. This happens no matter what day you look through that door.
What is the second teacher doing that the first one isn’t? He or she is using creativity in that classroom. Creativity makes a huge difference.
There is a common misconception that the word “creative” has to do mostly with the arts. But being artistic is only a small part of creativity. While any classroom environment would benefit from a teacher blessed with the gift of artistic talent, creativity is many other things.
Creativity in the classroom is innovation.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. If something isn’t working, then it’s broken and needs to be fixed. Come up with something else that will work for your students.
Creativity in the classroom is thinking outside the box.
Everything doesn’t always have to be black and white. Sometimes the oddball activities are the ones that work.
Creativity in the classroom is improvisation.
Things don’t always turn out the way you planned. When I’ve realized that a lesson wasn’t working midway through, I literally tossed it out and started over. I tried a different angle (in this case, incorporating a movie that my students liked), and it worked.
Creativity in the classroom is professional growth.
We don’t always have all of the answers. If you can’t figure out what to do, use your coworkers as resources. You might find some really great ideas that make sense for your students. Also, look at research and see what has worked for other teachers around the world. Use resources like KS1, KS2, hubbardscupboard.org and starfall.com for some fun engaging activities.
Creativity in the classroom is being a risk taker or mold breaker.
I have had many crazy ideas for things to try in the classroom. Some have worked and some haven’t, but I found that trying was better than being stuck in the same pattern that isn’t working.
Creativity in the classroom is passion.
Be passionate about what you are doing. You are there to inspire students to become lifelong learners. If you want them to love learning, you have to love what you are teaching.
Trisha Riche’ is a kindergarten inclusion teacher at R. L. Brown Elementary in Jacksonville, FL. The grade-level chair at her school, Trisha was selected as one of the top ten most innovative educators in the country for The Great American Teach Off and is an expert on the topic of creativity in the classroom.