August is in sight; the Rio Olympics are about to start. That means school cannot be far behind. In some states, educators and students still have the luxury of beginning school after Labor Day, but in states like Texas the first day teachers report is August 8th! So tax-free days for school offer savings on piles of new spirals and fresh school supplies, organizing crates, pens and pencils, crayons and map pencils. Classroom decorations to fit the theme for the new year are on every teacher’s must have list!
But the most important MUST HAVE is the plan for starting this year off more creatively…to spark the innate creativity in each student that research proves makes better, more engaged learners.
In order to do this, both you as the teacher and the students have to know what you all agree is a definition for creativity, a starting place, a baseline from which each of your awarenesses can grow.
Plan the very first day of class to spend five minutes asking each student to define creativity. There are a number of ways to do this.
List descriptors, pattern a simple poem like Blue by Mary O’Neill, or pattern a simple prose selection like Shel Silverstein’s “If You Want to Marry Me” from Where the Sidewalk Ends. Most simply, just have them write a one-sentence line that explains what the essence of creativity is.
Collect all the responses and make a bulletin board for the hall, a “Wordle” from wordle.com, or graphs and charts, or a radial display from a brain, or whatever graphic organizer you like to best show a compilation of ideas. Share and discuss these over the next two to three days of class. By Friday of the fist week, you and your classes will have set a fairly clear description of What Creativity Is.