A Bridge to Creativity

Ask yourself this question and think about your response…….

“What are the interests of your students?”

If I were to ask myself this question I could possibly name a few interests of a couple students, but not everyone. That’s unfortunate since I am missing so many chances to engage students through their own interests.

The lack of knowing their interests can make presenting new material difficult. If you are not invested in something, you won’t really get much out of it. Students who see teachers not invested in knowing what drives their curiosity won’t show deep thinking. Our one goal should be to know student interests, to drive deep learning through that lens, and then engage students in powerful learning communities that are enveloped in student passions.

When a student leaves the classroom for the day and goes home to create a youtube tutorial, knit some mittens, write a song, draw a picture, create a movie, etc., we know their minds are engaged. We need to be bringing those same passions into their entire day.

School should not be a place students are excited to leave, it should be a place where they are excited to stay. I’ve seen so many students watch the clock, just waiting to go home. What can we do to engage their brains and promote deep thinking?

“Creating ‘equal opportunities’ requires finding a strong fit between an individual, their capabilities and their educational environments.” ~Todd Rose

If we want to build a bridge from school to their home creativity, we need to invest in their passions. Each day is an opportunity to engage students’ minds and that comes from planning lessons that dive deeply into critical thinking while at the same time allowing students the chance to showcase that learning using their individual interests.

Todd Rose talks a lot about letting go of “the average”. Students are not average and they all have different interests. Each student in a 2nd grade class is an individual who enjoys learning something.

Our goal is to find out that key, to engage the student’s mind, and provide for that student to showcase their learning in innovative ways. Students have many opportunities to be creative outside of school, the same should be happening at school.

Students are all individuals and no student should be creating the same product to show their learning as anyone else. If we want to bridge the creativity gap then students should be interacting with their learning in ways that empower their brains.

Leave with this thought from an article on the latest Ed Leadership magazine from ASCD:

“It’s a mistake not to welcome students’ interests into the classroom. They can be instrumental in building bridges to students’ rich inner worlds.

Confronting Inequity / More Than a Math and Science Teacher
by H. Richard Milner IV

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