Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Integrate Creativity into your Curriculum


Last week, Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook wrote a blog post that included a YouTube video that asked the question, "Is creative work REALLY worth the time in the classroom?" After reading this and watching his video, I felt not only validation for what I believe, but wanted to share a few ideas that assist with this. Each of the following ideas were completed at a session led by Jed Dearybury at Matt's Ditch That Conference conference in Indiana. The ideas he provided can be adapted to fit several curriculum areas and skill levels, and are surprisingly simple ways to bring out the most creative skills of all of your students.

The Ruler Activity

For this lesson, each pair of attendees was given a ruler. The activity was for each group to develop a list of purposes for this ruler other than the two obvious ones: measurement and a straight edge. The typical fixed mindset was challenged and it was entertaining and thought -provoking to listen to all of the various responses. There were some that ranged from a ramp, to an axle, to a diving board for action figures. Imagine the answers your students would provide!

Classroom Use: This is a fantastic idea to introduce creativity in the classroom. Or, if you have students who are in need of a confidence boost, this can be used as a realization that they, too, can be creative!

Use Tape Art

Instead of designing a poster or presentation, tape art could be used to explain a concept. Provide students with a roll of masking tape and a larger sheet of paper. For our activity, we were to illustrate a piece of Indiana history with our tape. We created a ski slope with a skier using the tape based off a suggestion from an educator in our group. It wasn't the best image of a ski slope or skier, but we enjoyed creating it and expanded our mindset with attempting the create something with tape.

Classroom Use: With masking tape, students could create the setting of a novel, an outline of an historical location, or something unique to the student.

The Dot

Another activity was based off The Dot, a children's book about a young girl who discovers her artistic talent. For this, she gets frustrated in art class, then jabs a piece of paper to show her displeasure. This results in that realization. As attendees, we drew one shape on a sheet of paper and then exchanged with others in the session and they added to it. The purpose of it was to demonstrate how unique perspectives can vary a piece of art. Once we received our original papers back, it was enjoyable to see what others had added and what the one simple shape had become!

Classroom Use: Again, if students are struggling with creativity, this activity could be used as a showcase of their creativity and confidence. Imagine what your students can create based off a tiny shape!

Aluminum Foil

Each person received a piece of aluminum foil that was about two feet long. Each of us had to construct something that represented us. Some people tore theirs up and made two or three items. Others quickly created something with the one piece. One benefit Jed noted was that it's pretty easy to determine when everyone is finished because the crinkling noise stops! We then shared what we had created and it was a nice way to get to know someone in an engaging way.

Classroom Use: This would be a great activity to use in place of a "Get to Know You" worksheet as students can share out their creations. Or, they could create 3D representations of the projects they mastered with the tape art.

Less Direction, More Creativity

These activities were extremely enjoyable to complete as adults and I can imagine students would enjoy them just as much. The most powerful thing to note in all of this is how simple and short each of the directions are. The biggest takeaway was the tip that the less direction you provide for students, the more creative results they will produce! So, go ahead, insert a creative activity into your lessons that allow students to think outside the box and really showcase their unique mindset!

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