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Tapping into creativity from day one

Posted on August 22, 2014 by Rafranz Davis
Creativity - paint cansCreativity is one of the most under-used ideas in most classrooms.

In my district, we have some classes with enough devices for each student as well as others that are void of such access. The good news is that creativity, while exciting with a device, can be a part of your class culture whether you have devices or not. 

Below are a couple of ways that any teacher can start adding creative snippets from day one.

Get to know your students through their creations!

With technology - Create a digital story about yourself. Include images, text, video and even links from around the Web. This can be quickly done with a digital poster platform like Tackk or with a number of video creation apps like Animoto, Adobe Voice or even 30hands. Kids may have their own apps of choice. Be open to using them. You may learn a thing or two! 

Without technology - Create a poster to hang. Give students options like using magazine cut outs or  reating a coat of arms. Posters are definitely fun to create, but take a bigger gamble and begin with an arts- and crafts-makerspace! Grab some yarn, beads, glue, glitter, construction paper, markers and more. You will learn a great deal about your kids through what they make as they gladly share with you and their peers!

Bonus: Turn what students share into a game! Use Kahoot to create a game based on your kids and play throughout the week to help kids get to know each other. 

Turn any assignment into a digital story! 

With technology - Don’t just solve plain math problems. Write a short story in which the math is used. It doesn’t have to be long at all. A few sentences is all it takes to make a Paper Slide Video or any video using a number of apps. One of my favorites is Movenote because students can use images, PowerPoints or Google Slides to build their story, record and share. 

Without technology - Grab construction paper and create a comic strip. Make a flip book. Draw on poster paper or on the dry erase board. The goal is to get kids applying their learning in new and creative ways. 

Bonus: If using technology, post creations to student or class blogs to share. If not, take pictures with your device and post to your teacher blog. Always find a way to display student work. They will appreciate you even more for it. 

If you are wondering about the time investment of creativity … don’t. What you will learn is that when students are able to create, they are building skills that lead to them becoming more innovative thinkers. You are setting the stage for building a community of engaged learners.

Rafranz Davis

Rafranz Davis is an instructional technology specialist for a Dallas/Fort Worth area school district. As an advocate for passion-based learning, Rafranz uses her experience as a secondary math educator to help teachers integrate technology using innovative teaching strategies aimed at empowering students to be autonomous learners.

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