Category Archives: Creativity

A New Year

It’s a common tradition for people to come up with a new year’s resolution regarding their personal lives, but have you ever thought about creating a resolution for yourself as a teacher?

For me, 2013 has been a year filled with learning – more than I could ever have imagined! Someone once told me that once you think you know everything as a teacher – you should retire. On that note, I hope that 2014 teaches me even more than 2013 has. It wasn’t until the very end of this year that I truly realised how much of an impact I had on my students. The little comments they wrote in their Christmas cards and their notes revealed the difference that I made in their lives without truly realising it. Written in their Christmas cards were the small words of encouragement that I said to them or my small actions throughout the year which I had long forgotten.

My goal is to create a classroom where students can feel free to learn and take risks, feel inspired, confident, safe, heard, welcome and happy. I ultimately want my students to want to come to school and to enjoy being in their classroom.

Inspired by this post by Mathew Green, below are 5 things that I aim to achieve in 2014.

1.       Radiate Positivity

I want to be a positive teacher. It is really important to me that I begin and end the day on a positive note. I want to make my students smile and enjoy learning. My students will feel welcome and safe within their learning space and they will know that I believe in them with all of my heart. I would like to remember to have more patience and remember how much they look up to me and the difference I am making in their lives.

2.       Be a Facilitator

I want to be more of a facilitator and let the students jump into the driver’s seat. Inspired by Thoughtful Learning, I want to be continually thinking about how the students can question, plan, research, create, improve and present. I don’t want to lecture and provide the students with the information they need, instead I want to be a collaborator and encourage the students to help themselves gain the information and skills they need to succeed.

Facilitator3.       Encourage Students to Take More Responsibility For Their Own Learning

I want my students to feel responsible for their own learning. I am going to set up a Google Site which clearly outlines the expectations at the beginning of each term. The students will then be expected to access their homework from the site and upload assessments and tasks by the provided dates. The students will not be spoon fed and they will be continually encouraged to find the answers to their questions through research and not by simply asking a teacher. They will also be encouraged to ask non-Googleable questions and think outside the box. Their curiosity and creativity will be fostered, not squashed.

4.       Encourage Students to Learn From Their Mistakes

I want my students to know that making mistakes is a good thing and encourage them to learn from their mistakes. I really love the acronym below.

FAILI want my students to know that just because they made a mistake, it doesn’t mean that they are stupid; it simply means they made a mistake. I won’t be afraid to show them that I make mistakes, too.

5.       Cater to the Variety of Students  

I want to ensure that the students who need assistance don’t feel worried, anxious or stressed. I want them to feel supported and know that I believe in them. I want to encourage them to take risks and believe in themselves.

I also want the gifted students to be challenged in creative and purposeful ways so they do not become bored and both, use and develop their strengths.

Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m so lucky to work in a school where students are inspired and encouraged to dream. I couldn’t agree more with Mathew Green as he stated “classrooms are wonderful places … they provide a place of refuge and encouragement, which they may not have elsewhere … places of unlimited possibilities … that should encourage students to dream and be more than they could have ever imagined.” I really believe this also applies to all who work within schools and within education.

With that thought, I wish you a very happy new year and ask – in 2014, what dreams will you believe in?

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Filed under Classroom, Creativity, Goals, Teaching

Inspiring Creativity in Our Students

Children are naturally curious, so where does it go as they grow older and what can we do, as teachers, to inspire it? Mathew Green wrote that classrooms and schools should be the most innovative, creative and, in many ways, ‘non-realistic’ places in our society. Click here to read more.

This is a great YouTube video about how Bates Middle School made a difference by incorporating the arts across all subject areas.

It is our job to foster the curiosity of our students and not squash their imaginations. So how do we do it? Take a look at the list that I have come up with to integrate art and creativity into education.

Provide the students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning as they complete the following.

  • Take photos of their work and annotating it (e.g. take photos of angles around the school and label them).
  • Drawing (e.g. draw a treasure map with directions, including a right angle, acute angle and obtuse angle).
  • Painting (e.g. research the layers of the rainforest and the animals that live in each layer and paint it).
  • Creating a comic strip (e.g. illustrate what you just read using a comic strip).
  • Devising a play (e.g. devise a play about a Bible story).
  • Writing and performing a rap (e.g. devise a rap of a multiplication table that you need to practise).
  • Creating and recording an advertisement (create an advertisement for a product and include its net mass and product mass).
  • Writing a creative story (e.g. write a story involving the planets).

Tony Ryan’s Thinkers Keys are a great resource to inspire creativity and encourage students to use their imaginations. There are 20 different keys which encourage students to think about what they are learning in different and creative ways. I use the Thinkers Keys as warm ups in many of my lessons. Click here and here for more information and resources.

The YouTube video below sums up why integrating art into education is important.

Creativity

 How will you integrate art and encourage creativity in your classroom?

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Filed under Creativity, Teaching Strategies