On creativity…

This week’s #edchat discussion focused on what we are doing to encourage creativity in schools. It was one of those topics that makes me wish I didn’t live in Australia!  The time difference precludes me from participating in #edchat other than during school holidays.  On the few occasions that I have, I found the conversation stimulating and thought-provoking… and fun too, because of the sheer speed and intensity of it!

I asked my class of 10-11 year olds what they thought about creativity.  They know that teachers are learners too as we value lifelong learning and I often tell them about things I have learned in different contexts.  On this ocassion I shared that teachers were having a discussion online about creativity in schools and I wondered what their thoughts would be so that I could see the student perspective too.

What is creativity?

  • It’s a strange solution to a problem, different ideas, different thinking (Matthew)
  • Imagination, thinking outside the box. (Gemma)
  • A fun and different way to express yourself. (Lele)
  • Having a dream and having imagination during a discussion. (Zac)
  • Making another way to learn something (Amy)
  • Drawing, having fun, doing it your own way. (Loren)
  • Doing something a unique way, different to others’ ideas. (Jay)
  • Getting out of your comfort zone and thinking outside the box. (Jasmine)

What were some opportunities you had in the past week to be creative (at school)?

  • Thinking creatively in class discussions.
  • When we had to think which concepts were relevant to a story.
  • Using Museum Box for our inquiry.
  • When we came up with  our own questions to explore for our unit of inquiry
  • Using ToonDoo for a Hebrew story.
  • Building a wall of information out of sticky notes to show our knowledge in a creative way.
  • Writing stories on our own topics,  at art, in maths … all the time really.
  • We are always being told to come up with different things.
  • For our book response, we created a Wallwisher out of sticky notes.
  • Using different resources eg books, computer, thinking in general.
  • Thinking of different approaches for cross country run.
  • Art, music, writing and enrichment activities.
  • At playtime.
  • All the time!

We’re doing OK! Our school provides plenty of opportunities for creativity through enrichment activities across a range of areas such as photography and jewelery making, a whole school musical, a kitchen garden and a rock band. So I was rather pleased that many of the students’ comments related to opportunities for creative thinking and inquiry as well as use of technology, rather than the more obvious possibilities like music and art.

I think that to foster creativity, teachers need to be creative themselves.  Our students need to feel that initiative is valued above compliance. They need to have choices in their learning, opportunities to try new things and encouragement to explore different possibilities. They need to know that they own their learning and be aware that it can be expressed in many different ways.  They need to know that there is not only one right answer or one right way.  We need to encourage them to use their imagination and express themselves through the arts, language, creative thinking and technology.  We need to be open to their differences and value their diverse contributions.

Series of posts related to the  PYP Attitudes:  Creativity

7 thoughts on “On creativity…

  1. What an excellent video clip. I especially like the quote that encouraging creativity leads to a future generation of critical thinkers. I also went back and re-read your previous post about initiative being valued about compliance – it should be of course, but all too often it isn’t!


  2. What great responses from your students. A real testament to the work you do on thinking skills. Love the video clip – it reminds me of a story about a little girl starting school with a great deal of creativity but having it knocked out of her by the expectations of conformity set by her teacher. It’s very sad that the 5 year olds come to us with unbounded creativity but it is often diminished by the time they get to the upper primary years.


  3. I love the idea of asking my students about their views on creativity, I might try that one too. I agree with Pam, the expectations of teachers whose idea is to set routines as paramount worries me too. I see students in upper primary who have already decided they cannot do art because their works do not ‘look’ right to them.


  4. Have you heard of Tournament of Minds? See what creativity can do and inspire in adults and children. This program has been running in Aust for 22 years with no or very little sponsorship or government funding and it still amazes and awes those who are involved.


    1. Yes, it is absolutely brilliant. Our school used to participate for years. We dropped it when we became a PYP school, partly because we had too many things going on (time commitment) and partly because only some groups of kids could participate, whereas PYP allows opportunities for ALL kids to think creatively.
      Thanks for the comment 🙂


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