Monday, January 9, 2023

Exploring Creativity In The Classroom #MakerEd #EdChat

This school year has been an important year for creativity for me and for my students. I really wanted to give them more ownership of the projects they would be creating. So far, I have seen some great examples of creative problem solving and increased engagement from my students. Here are just a few images of their work this year in the Makerspace. 

There are a few reasons I think you should explore allowing more creativity in your classroom based on what I have seen the past few years in my classes and classes of teachers who have focused on allowing more creativity in the classroom through MakerEd and Project Based Learning. 

1. Creativity supports the love of learning. It is so crucial that we get students to see learning as something that is valuable and to love doing it. You do that my letting learning look differently than the standard sit and get many classrooms have come to embrace. Sometimes students are going to need to sit and listen to information, but there are plenty of opportunities that should allow for students to explore and create. Those moments need to be embraced in the classroom because those are the memories that will be created that support a life-long love of learning. 

2. Bringing creativity into the classroom support critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students that dive into creative exploits often find their original creative idea might not work as imagined. This forces them to problem solve. I saw this with the clock assignment in my Innovation and Design class. Many students had wild ideas on creating clocks and were forced to explore their designs and solve problems when their sketched design was having trouble coming to life. The more students are tasked with exploring problems and creating solutions, the better they will be moving forward. Critical thinking and problem solving are muscles that need to be worked out in all classes from time to time. 

3. I have seen that creativity supports communication and collaboration. When it comes to creative projects, students have lots of ideas. When working in groups on creative projects, students will need to work on their communication skills as they explain their ideas and work on compromises. In the middle school, students are developing these important skills and creative projects are a great way to engage them to support these soft skills. Even if the students are not working on groups, having students work on creative projects gets them excited to share their work and get feedback. That back and forth over a project is also great for students as they learn to give and receive constructive feedback to support their peers. 

4. Creativity is great for boosting the confidence of students. So many students feel like what they are good at is not important in school. Givings students a chance to shine in different ways in the classroom can help boost their self-esteem. Giving students a chance to write a song, build something in Minecraft. paint a picture, or some other creative outlet instead of a worksheet or essay could be a great way to see what students know while giving them a platform to showcase their creativity. Over the years I have had students tell me my encouragement of their art, writing, singing, and other creative talents helped them feel seen in class as more than student in a desk. Those are the moments that remind me that the work outside of the curriculum is so vital. 

I could go on and on about the value of creativity in the classroom, but I will pause with these four reasons for now. If you are new to this idea, please do not be overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time with one lesson at a time. Bringing creativity into the classroom was something that took me time to get just right. You can do it at your pace and the students will forever be thankful for it. 

Hugs and High Fives, 

The Nerdy Teacher

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