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1. Why creativity?

It is easy to consider the essential role of creativity in bringing joy and meaning
to the human conditionwithout creativity we have no art, no literature, no science, no
innovation, no problem solving, no progressStudents who use content in creative ways
learn the content well. They also learn strategies for identifying problems, making
decisions, and finding solutions both in and out of school, (Starko, 2010, p. ix)
After reading only the first part of the introduction in this book, I think that this
answers the question, Why creativity?, extremely well. Creativity, more specifically
human creativity, is much of what makes up our society and our world as a whole.
Innovative, unique thinking is what creates what we have available to us on a daily basis,
and is why we are able to keep progressing as a society. While there are obvious outlets
for creativity, such as painting, sculpting, animation, music, architecture, clothing
design, writing, etc, creativity is also shown through businesses people build from the
ground up, the way people communicate and interact with one another, and the way
our minds keep evolving to create new ways of thinking or new ways of critically
assessing the world around us. Because our world revolves around creative minds, this
leads perfectly into ensuring that our schools and classrooms include creative ways of
learning and allows students to express their creativity in a multitude of ways. We teach
our students so that they can become contributive members of society, each bringing
their own skills and strengths to benefit our world in a variety of ways. Why, then,
would we not help them to grow by teaching them in a way that benefits them the
most, that helps them become their own person with their own new thoughts and ideas
that they can then bring into and share with the world?
2. What is creativity?
If a researcher at the University of Michigan works for years to engineer a gene
transfer to cure a particular disease only to discover that a researcher at Stanford
published the same techniques only 2 weeks before, is the Michigan researchers work
no longer creative?
This question from the text is one that stood out the most to me because I think
that this could be a potentially controversial topic. Some may say that because the
Stanford researcher was able to do the exact same research as, and at a faster pace
than that of the Michigan researcher, that the Stanford researcher was the creative one.
Even though the Michigan researcher knew nothing of the Stanford researcher or his
progress with the same concept, the Michigan researcher was still technically unoriginal
in his thinking because someone else in the world was on the same path as himself. On
the other hand, however, the fact that the Michigan researcher began their research
and came to the correct conclusion before having any idea about the Stanford
researcher, he was technically unique in his thinking because he had never heard of
anyone with his same idea and was able to successfully complete his project. Was he
the creative one then? Could they both be considered creative even though neither was
really original in their thinking because of each other?
I believe that understanding and allowing for creativity is huge within any
classroom setting. When students are able to think about what they are learning in new
and unique ways, creative ways, then that proves that they truly understand the
material. If knowledge is simply memorized and proceduralized, then that is as far as the
owner of the knowledge is able to get; they are only able to go as far as their memory or
as their procedure allows because that is all they know. When a person fully
understands the way something works, when they know the ins and outs and are able
to demonstrate or teach about the hows and whys of something, that is when they can
move beyond procedure and memory to create something new, something creative.
Instead of having the explanation of that is just the way it is or that is how it has
always been done, someone can move on to creative analysis when they began asking
questions such as I understand why this works the way it does, but how can I make it
faster/better/more efficient/stronger/lighter/easier/etc; in other words, how can I
take what I already know and change it?.
Creativity is when our students are able to take our teachings and move beyond
them in order to grow and continue to progress. Creativity is when our students are able
use their knowledge and apply it to new situations in order to find out information new
to them. Because of this, I believe that yes, the michigan researcher was creative.
Creativity is when something new and unique is presented to someone or a group of
people that have never seen or heard of it before; the person capable of bringing that
something new to others is then considered the creative one. The Michigan researcher
can be very easily compared to students in school; even though what they are learning
has been learned before and is old knowledge, that old knowledge is new
knowledge to them. When students are able to come up with their own way of learning
the material and are able to connect what they are learning to new ideas and concepts,
they are being creative because to them, and many other students around them, they
are introducing a new way of thinking about what they are learning.
3. How do we nurture creativity? What is the role of critical thinking in the classroom?
I believe there are at least three things we can do as teachers to help create a
classroom in which creativity can flourish: teach the skills and attitudes of creativity,
teach the creative methods of the disciplines, and develop a problem-friendly
classroom.
This quote, along with the thirteen thinking tools, caught my attention because
they add a lot of detail to how creativity is used both within a classroom setting as a
teacher and by people in general in any profession or walk of life. I was also hung up on
the example of the teacher that began instigating creative thinking in the classroom to
try and encourage students to become more creative with their artwork and writing.
The fact that the creative activities did not necessarily make any changes with the
students was very surprising to me because I would have thought that introducing
creative activities would easily open up the minds of students and allow them to
transfer what they learn from the creative activities to their own work. After reading on,
I realized that simply introducing creative lessons is not enough; the teacher needs to
take those lessons and present them in a way that shows the importance of creative
thinking. In other words, the teacher needs to apply those creative lessons to what his
students are learning and help the students understand why he is allowing these
activities in the classroom. Communication between the teacher and the students, then,
is extremely important. Students need to be able to understand not only the material
the teacher is presenting, but also why the teacher is presenting it.
How can we nurture creativity? What is the role of critical thinking? Both of
these questions I believe fit hand in hand. We as teachers want critical thinking in the
classroom because it forces students to analyze their learning and their work rather
than mindlessly rambling off the correct answers. Nurturing creativity nurtures critical
thinking. We can nurture creativity by showing the importance of being creative. We
can introduce to students the multitude of creative minds that have influenced our lives
both historically and present day. We can create a classroom environment that
promotes openness and acceptance so that students are comfortable sharing new and
unique ideas rather than being fearful of getting shut down or embarrassed by either
the teacher or their peers. We can allow for flexibility in assignments in a way that
allows students to express more of themselves and their own thoughts in their work
rather than boxing them in with assignments that allow for only one answer and one
way of presenting that answer. We can bring in the topics and areas of interest that
students already possess to keep them engaged in their learning and promote their
research into what is important to them; if what they are interested in does not
necessarily fit in with school or learning requirements, then we can guide them in
applying their research to topics related to what they are required to know and learn in
school. With so many different options available to teachers in promoting creativity,
uniqueness, and acceptance of students and their ideas, the importance of
incorporating this way of teaching is unparalleled.
4. How do we include the visual arts in the classroom?
Kekule (regardless of whether he was actually asleep) visualized snakelike
benzene rings...Some say that Einstein derived parts of his theories by visualizing
movement within a moving train. Countless artists across cultures have visualized
images they attempted to transfer to canvas, stone, paper, or sand...Inaccurate pictures
(visualized the Globe as a movie theatre, for instance) can be counterproductive.
Students will need prior knowledge and careful guidance if their images are to increase
their content knowledge effectively.
Visualization is when people picture things that they cannot see. How can
visualize something, however, without never having actually seen it? Everything we
imagine and create is based off of our own personal experiences, our own personal
ideas, things we have come into contact with, people we have met or talked to, places
we have been, etc We always have a basis for our creations. How can students be
creative, then, if we do not provide them with experiences they have never had before
so that they can branch off of those moments and make something of their own? We
can do this, of course, by including visual arts in the classroom; by allowing students to
use their five senses both in learning or experiencing something new, and when creating
something of their own.
Visual arts can be as simple as putting up posters or pictures around the
classroom that put ideas into the minds of the students, such as scenery from places
around the world, different styles of artwork created by a multitude of artists, quotes
that express emotion that someone felt in a specific situation or during a specific time.
We can include books in the classroom that put students in the shoes of people that are
doing something new and exciting; those books could do this through descriptive words
or actual pictures, both being beneficial. We can come up with lessons that are
interactive and allow students to work with their hands manipulating materials that
they may have never had access to, such as new foods, tools (scientific, mechanical,
technological, etc), earth (sand, rocks, soil, clay, etc), anything else that could relate
to the lessons they are learning. Creating lessons that include empathy or perspective
could also encourage the visual arts, such as allowing students to take on the roles of
different people during different time periods and act them out in a theatre-like setting.
Visual arts can be a part the classroom at any time and with any lesson as long as the
teacher is willing to put in the time to include them. There are many options available
that can be both extravagant and simple depending on the resources available to the
teacher. Staying mindful, as the book discusses, of the students within the classroom is
extremely important, however, so as to not allow for any offensive material, risky
activities, or parental/family disagreements.
5. How do we create art in the classroom?
Artist George Szekely...was struck with the contrast between the ways student
artists made art on their own and the ways they were expected to make art in schools.
School art usually involved tasks selected and planned by the teacher. Any deviation
from the plan was considered to be misbehavior or failure...These sections point out
content areas in which some of the strategies designed to enhance creative thinking are
particularly appropriate...Finding Art...Planning for Problems [Exploring the
Environment, Investigating Ideas and Materials, Recording Ideas, Experimenting with
Production]...Planning Lessons,.
As I began reading through the different sections belonging to Artist George
Szekelys theory, I was slightly confused because it seemed more like how to run a
science experiment in the classroom rather than how to bring art into the curriculum.
Reading on, however, I realized that they are much the same. Applying art to different
subjects is possible and is an notably beneficial to student learning. Art can be expressed
in an infinite amount of ways, thereby allowing anyone to become an artist no matter
what they are doing or what they are studying.
Teachers can create art in the classroom by allowing for our students to express
their creativity in any shape or form they are able, and across any part of the curriculum.
Reading Szekelys words about the teacher who actually cried when her student refused
to follow her strict directions belonging to her art assignment made me remember my
experiences in the art room while I was in school and also my time observing art classes
during my practicum placements. Creativity is usually less valued within a school setting,
and the only reasoning I can think of is time, resources, and grading. If teachers have no
time to spend allowing students to work on their creativity then their lessons will take
away from that. If teachers have little resources to give their students, they tend to cut
back on the creativity students are able to show. If teachers are worried about how to
grade assignments, with creativity being such a large variable, then they will try to make
their grading easier and more fair by cutting back students creativity.
All of this can be avoided and students, both with their grades and with their
learning, will progress so much more. Teachers can make time for students to express
themselves in their work if planning is done correctly. Teachers can give students the
resources they need to be creative, no matter how little or few those resources may be
(with fewer resources, more creativity is needed anyway to be able to use them
effectively). Teachers can grade assignments that allow for student creativity if rubrics
and grading scales are created in a way that assesses student learning/progress rather
than a checklist of what the student should have done or included. We can create art in
classroom if we ourselves are creative in our lesson planning.
6. How do we include music throughout the curriculum?
The key distinction between good and bad extrinsic motivation, at least in so far
as it affects creativity, may be the degree to which the extrinsic factors are controlling or
informational. Controlling extrinsic motivation is the driving force behind an activity,
perhaps the only reason it is undertaken...Praise that gives students information about
what they did well and enhances their sense of competence is less detrimental. The
more obvious the external motivation, the more problematic is is. A 3-foot trophy in the
front of the classroom for the most creative story is likely to shift students focus from
their stories to the trophy. This is unlikely to enhance creative thinking. The prize has
become the controlling factor in this situation, (Starko, 2010, p. 248).
While this quote may not be directly related to music throughout the curriculum,
I believe it is indirectly so. Music can be a large extrinsic factor within the classroom,
and, if done appropriately, can be a great learning tool year round. Even something as
simple as playing classical music at the beginning of the day to welcome students into
the classroom can help set the tone for students to begin their day. They can feel more
relaxed, awake, and focused on their studies. Breaks throughout the day that encourage
movement, such as GoNoodle, also help incorporate music; playing upbeat music that
students can dance to or be entertained by can help refresh students throughout the
day and help them refocus on their work. Music can also be very educational and help
students learn information faster and retain the knowledge for longer. Educational
songs or putting information students need to memorize in song form (ex. states song
or the alphabet) are catchy and students can sing them to remember important
knowledge.
Music can be made into a reward, but does not need to be something that
controls the classroom. Teachers can use music to motivate students and change the
mood of the classroom to the benefit of the students. Music can also be applied to
multiple content areas. It can be used throughout student learning in math, science,
history, etc and the information can be transferred to applicable everyday life.

7. How do we use movement in the classroom?


Each [learning center and interest development center] has a designated area
of the classroom designed to facilitate independent work on a particular topic or
discipline Centers may be constructed in study carrels on tabletops, on a pair of desks in
the corner, or on an easel, a refrigerator box, or virtually an structure that can store
materials and provide directions, (Starko, 2010, p. 260).
Centers can be a great source of movement in the classroom. Even if students
are not doing anything particularly strenuous at each center, having students rotate
between activities and get up out of their seats to work helps to give their minds a break
and refocus them on their studies. Thinking along the same lines as brain breaks, there
are websites that teachers can sign up for and use in their classrooms to give their
students time to refresh their minds between lessons, such as GoNoodle. On these sites,
there are music or dance videos that students can follow along with to add a little bit
more movement to their day. These videos are only a few minutes long and can be done
during breaks in lessons to help students transition and be more awake for the next part
of their day.
Movement is very important, especially with elementary school students.
Children need to stay active and have time to let out their energy in order to be able to
perform in their studies to the best of their abilities. Sitting at a desk for hours at a time
can be very detrimental to a childs health and their mental state. We have learned the
importance of play and recess to a childs progress and this directly relates to a childs
movement throughout the day.
Teachers can also use movement in their classrooms to go along with lessons
and to help students learn material. There are learning games that can be played that
also allow students to get out of their seat and move. Experiments or activities can be
performed in the classroom that also promote both learning and physical exercise.

8. How can we integrate creative drama in the classroom?


[After telling the story] What I start on is their experience of listening to and
being in the story...We talk about what it was like for them. I try [to] keep this part of
the conversation based in the senses so as to avoid anxiety about how much they
remember...In the early establishing stage I try [to] maintain the group dynamic by
avoiding competition between the kids and giving approval to whatever is said...Before
long theyre giving me vivid sense impressions of the story, (Starko, 2010, p. 189).
This is easily directly related to integrating creative drama in the classroom. By
taking this visualization one step further, students can act out how they are feeling in
the story to become more like a certain character; in other words, they can begin
putting themselves in the shoes of others and taking on the roles of different people
(empathizing with others). This can be especially beneficial in social studies/history or
language arts subject areas. Students can can learn the information through simulation
and really strengthen their knowledge of a topic by becoming a part of it.
One idea on how to make this a regular occurrence in the classroom is to make it
a repeatedly scheduled assignment. The teacher could always give students the option
of performing a skit or creating a play based around their knowledge of a book they
have read, a time period they are learning about, a specific famous or important
historical (or modern day) figure, personification of a topic such as the three branches of
government or literary vocabulary terms, etc
Creative drama is capable of serving an important role in the classroom by
helping students solidify the information they are being taught. Sometimes, especially in
the social studies/history and language arts subject areas, there is a lot of memorization
involved whether that be from dates, names, terms, rules, exceptions to rules, etc,
which means that students need to form a strong connection with the material in order
to retain it. By becoming the material themselves and learning through doing or being,
students are better able to both understand the material and remember it for a longer
period of time.

9. How can we combine content and creativity?


Many aspects of creativity can be supported in any discipline, but each
discipline has aspects of the traditional curriculum that lend themselves particularly well
to creativity, (Starko, 2010, p. 191). Examples of strategies to incorporate creativity
within each subject area:
Language Arts: As answered in question 8, creativite drama is easily associated
with this subject area.In language arts, the most obvious vehicle is creative writing.
Imaginative writing activities can provide natural opportunities for the use of creative
thinking skills and strategies...Students can write stories based on metaphorical
thinking, visual imagery, or creative dramatics experiences. They can use metaphors and
synectics techniques to enhance descriptions, plan advertisements, or improve poetry,
(Starko, 2010, p. 191-192). Creative writing is, of course, associated with this content
area and can provide a fun challenge for students through many different outlets.
Social Studies: As answered in question 8, creativite drama is easily associated
with this subject area. Historical research answers the question, How did things used
to be? Its purpose is to reconstruct the past as accurately and objectively as possible. A
magazine interview with a former politician discussing key events of his or her term, a
book on changes in 19th-century fashion, or a newspaper article on the memories of
local residents older than 100 years are reporting historical research. Students who
interview their parents about the parents school experiences, investigate the past
occupants of stores on Main street, or learn about the Civil War by examining the lyrics
of popular music of the period also are doing historical research, (Starko, 2010, p. 195-
196). Historical research is another creative option for the classroom. Giving students
independent studies, for example, on topics they are interested in and that are related
to the content area they are expected to learn can help students not only gain
knowledge of the material, but can also allow students to create an end product of all of
their research.
The Arts: Also answered in question 5. Recreation of art can be a good way to
help students empathize or gain the perspective of other people while also giving
students a creative outlet. Showing students a piece of artwork by a famous artist and
allowing each student to interpret the art in their own way can help them learn more
about the art itself, and then having students base their next art project off of that piece
can help students take on the role of that famous artist but also change the art to fit
themselves. This can be applied to any form of art, whether that be painting, drawing,
playing an instrument, singing a song, performing a play, working with photography,
writing a story, etc
Science: Beyond the obvious ties to problem finding and problem solving,
science activities can be particularly valuable in developing attitudes and values that
underlie creativity. Good science demands persistence, patience, and commitment to
task. It requires flexible thinking and the examination of new avenues when old ones
prove fruitless. Studies of scientific discoveries can help students see the value of
analogies, reframed questions, and risk taking. Experiences with puzzling situations can
help develop curiosity. Perhaps most important, good science teaching shows clearly
that scientific knowledge is tentative, often temporary. Science helps us understand the
world and also should help us question it. Students who understand that the answers
are not all in the books, that the questions change from day to day, and that the road to
understanding is muddy but exciting may see the beginning of scientific creativity,
(Starko, 2010, p. 216). PBL (Project Based Learning) is a great way to accomplish this
type of thinking from students and to help students learn the material through active
learning. Instead of giving students science word problems or formulas to solve, which
are for the most part worksheet based, the teacher can give students real problems to
solve or experiments to work with. The creativity in science is focused on the different
ways to solve the same problem; not all students think alike and because of this, there
can be many ways for students to work on the same problem and still come to a correct
conclusion. Students need to be creative in their thinking to find new ways of solving old
problems.
Math: Mathematics has natural ties to creativity: seeking patterns and beauty,
looking in many directions, solving problems, and seeking new ideas. Unfortunately,
some math instruction--always focusing on one correct way to find one correct answer--
can rob from math much of its beauty and make it difficult for students to see links
between creativity and mathematics. Perhaps the greatest service we could give to the
development of creative thinking in math is to help students understand that math does
not equal computation, and that the math problems are not all in the book. Helping
students raise math questions, discover mathematical relationships, and challenge math
assumptions can bring them closer to the creative thinking that brings joy to the lives of
creative engineers and mathematicians, (Starko, 2010, p. 228). When taking ELED 433, I
learned many different ways to make math fun and to connect different math to each
other so as to enhance student understanding. There are a multitude of math games
available that promote creative and critical thinking about math concepts. By having
student engagement with math, students are able to think outside of the box and
combat math misconceptions through their own understanding rather than
memorization or procedure.
Other: Teachers must address two major considerations when they make
decisions about teaching in the content areas. First, they must decide what to teach:
which concepts, generalizations, skills, or strategies to emphasize. Second, they must
decide how the content will be taught: what teaching approaches or organizational
strategies can best approach their goals, (Starko, 2010, p. 184). By following these two
rules, teachers are able to make ways of including creativity throughout the entire
curriculum. After knowing the content they are going to focus on, they can begin
planning fun and engaging activities or lessons that allow students to control their own
learning and that emphasize individual creativity and student needs. Creativity can be
found in anything, and teachers can use this to their advantage in their classrooms for
the benefit of their students.
10. How can we integrate the arts into the state and national standards?
One of the most important educational trends of the early 21st century is the
increased emphasis on teaching to specific state and national standards (Hollingsworth
& Gallego, 2007). This has been associated with increases in high-stakes testing. In many
areas, required content is increasing both in quantity and in complexity while test scores
are viewed as the public standard for educational quality...However, teaching for
creativity is not additional curriculum. It is a set of strategies for designing curriculum so
that both content learning and creative thinking are enhanced. Used in conjunction with
careful curriculum alignment, teaching to enhance creativity can help students identify
and solve problems, see from multiple points of view, analyze data, and express
themselves clearly in multiple genres. These are the very activities that will enhance
students learning and (assuming reasonably designed assessments) are highly likely to
enhance their test scores as well. In the current education climate, this point cannot be
made too often: Activities that engage students in problem solving, meaningful
communication, questioning, and original representations of ideas enhance learning.
When such activities are planned around core curriculum goals, they constitute effective
curriculum alignment. Good teaching is not dull, rote, or constantly repetitious. Good
teaching finds multiple ways to help students think about important content, (Starko,
2010, p. 17).
As this section of the text explains, creativity and state/national standards go
hand in hand. Even though there are teaching strategies that exclude much of the
creative thinking process and still produce successful test scores, many more students
would benefit from the added creative outlets in their learning. By including the arts
into the curriculum, students will not only be more willing to learn the content
information because they will be interested in the activities/lessons, they will also retain
the information for longer periods of time and be able to make connections in their
learning due to their increased understanding of the material. Just like creativity, art can
be a universal aspect throughout all content areas. There will always be ways to
incorporate some type of art into the subject matter, whether that be through writing,
video, photography, drawing, painting, acting, sculpting, building, etc Because of its
flexible nature, state and/or national standards should not stand in the way of this type
of learning. Standards guide teachers in the specific learning expected to occur in the
classroom over the course of a year, but they do not guide a teacher in how this learning
is to occur. Because this is the role of the teacher, art and meeting the standards can be
simultaneous during lessons and activities if the teacher is willing and able to make it so.

11. How do we use technology to enhance creativity and the arts?


It is interesting to contemplate how access to technology is changing the
opportunities for creative collaborations, and what that might mean for the
development of creativity...Increasingly, students can have access to historical material
through technology. This material can include statistical databases and a variety of
documents available in electronic formats (Murphy-Judy & Conruejols, 1993) or from
distant sources through the Internet. Many of the items listed here can be found on the
World Wide Web more easily than in traditional forms. Many government and museum
sites contain links to primary sources that can form the basis of original research for
students as well as adults...Sometimes technology can provide astonishing opportunities
for real-world learning...As Resnick (2007-2008) noted, the changes in technology all
around us can both demand creativity and flexibility in order to adapt, and also provide
tools to allow more creative activities. Certainly technology in schools can do both of
those things...Good simulations have a variety of roles that demand differing strengths
and interests. Students address complex situations from points of view that vary with
the needs and interests of their respective roles...A number of simulations also are
available on computers. Although computer simulations are less likely to involve an
entire class simultaneously, they allow students to experience the results of decisions
that would be impossible or dangerous in real life. Computer simulations can allow
students to affect their environment, travel to dangerous places, and conduct elaborate
experiments that could not be managed in a school. With computers, students can build
cities, manipulate gene pools, mix chemicals, or attempt to control environmental
disasters without danger or enormous expense. Computers also can allow students to
participate in simulations with students in other schools or countries, (Starko, 2010, p.
79, 199, 215, 229, 235-236).
Technology is forever improving and becoming more advanced. More
opportunities are available now than ever before for students to learn through
technology. This could mean using sources to find information or primary
documentation for school assignments or playing games that teach different subject
area. Art is especially affected by technology modern day with the use of tablets,
computers, and other systems that allow creation online or through various programs.
Creativity is inextricably interwoven with technology because it took creative minds to
create the technology we have today. As the text said at multiple points, there are many
opportunities for students to grow their learning through technological resources, and
incorporating these resources into the classroom is extremely beneficial to students,
especially students with disabilities that technology can help them overcome.
Just from what I have seen through my own explorations of technology, the
doings of my younger family members, and my experiences in practicum classrooms,
students are linked more than ever with learning through computers, games, videos,
apps, etc Students have access to chromebooks and tablets in their classes to take
quizzes or tests, play learning games, or take notes, and students are also given time out
of their day to visit their schools computer lab(s) to further their knowledge through
technology. Projects that students complete in schools require the use of technology
and this can help students let out their creativity by giving them more resources to
express their unique thoughts and ideas.

12. How do we create environments to enhance creativity?


Interestingly, the idea that affect matters--that creativity is most likely to occur
in a positive supportive atmosphere--is at the heart of recent research on creativity in
the business world...Amabile, Barsade, Mueller, and Staw (2005) examined the
relationship between affect (emotional environment) and creativity in seven different
companies. The researchers found that positive affect is related to increased creativity;
when employees have positive feelings about their work environment, they are more
likely to have creative ideas. Additionally, when employees have creative ideas at work,
they then feel more positive....Psychological safety requires that every child in your
room feel accepted, important, and valued. Examine the images of children and adults
found in your room. Consider those in textbooks, posters, calendars, and any other
available materials. Think about the mixture of genders and races portrayed. Will it
support psychological safety for all your students? Does it suggest you believe everyone
has important things to contribute? (Starko, 2010, p.246).
The environment that students are in can have just as much of an effect on their
learning as other variables. If students feel unsafe, uncomfortable, distracted, or any
other negative emotion within the classroom, they are not going to be able to perform
in their studies to the best of their abilities; they will not reach their full potential.
Creating a positive and accepting classroom environment can help students become
more motivated and interested in learning, as well as increasing their social abilities and
self-esteem. For schools that have limited resources in decorating the classroom, one
idea would be allowing the classroom to stay bare at the beginning of the year and
slowly allowing students to decorate their classroom themselves with the assignments
they complete and are proud of and big whole classroom projects that can be displayed.
Students will feel ownership over their classroom because they are helping to build it,
and will be constantly surrounded by their progress throughout the year. Starting the
year by focusing the majority of classroom time to classroom management can also be
beneficial. Building that classroom community right as the year starts by helping
students feel more comfortable with each other and with the teacher can help students
feel more secure in contributing their thoughts and ideas, and can help students express
themselves more creatively in their learning.

13. What are your thoughts on creativity and assessment?


My thoughts on creativity and assessment are that even though the typical ways
of assessing students usually lack in creativity, such as paper tests and quizzes, I believe
that assessments and creativity can be one in the same if done correctly. PBL (project
based learning) is a great example of this. Students are put in charge of their own
learning and create an end product to show their knowledge of the topic and their
progress with the material. By using end products as assessments, students are less
stressed and more engaged in their learning because they are put in charge of creating
something instead of being expected to silently answer questions on paper that they
may or may not understand how to answer. We have been taught to avoid
memorization and procedural teaching unless absolutely necessary and opt for learning
that engages students with the material to help them retain the information. Students
can have anxiety or other mental/physical issues that negatively affect their
performance on paper tests/quizzes; this can be avoided if students are assessed in
different ways that relieve that test anxiety so that students are able to perform well
and truly show what they have learned. This can boost self-esteem and confidence
levels of students if they can see how they are steadily improving over the course of the
year and if their learning is reflected through positive grades.
If teachers are creative in their ways of assessing their students, students can be
creative in their learning. Having independent studies or long-term projects for students
to work on that incorporate multiple subject areas and meet multiple SOL standards can
help students continually improve their skills and prepare for end of the year testing
throughout the entire year. Another way students can be assessed through creativity is
to use rubrics that grade for the individual students progression of learning rather than
a strict checklist of what is required of students. Making assignments flexible and
focusing on the needs of each student are what will help students improve individually
and are what can help prepare them for later learning and testing.

Starko, A. J. (n.d.). Creativity in the Classroom (4th ed.). Abingdon, Oxen: Routledge