In curriculum supportive of creativity:
- The content is organized around key ideas and questions that can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Where possible, it includes information about the creative methods of the discipline being taught.
- The methods include instructional techniques that require students to ask questions, generate varied options, and consider multiple perspectives.
- Activities ask students to represent information in multiple forms, using varying media and points of view.
- Assessment includes multiple formative and summative assessments, including some that offer choices and use content in new ways.
But where to begin? It probably is easiest to start with the “How” of instruction. If you are just beginning to think about creativity (or maybe want to give an extra boost to your lessons), the following questions may provide a place to get started. Take a look at a lesson you plan to teach and ask yourself:
- Is there a place it would be helpful to generate many ideas?
- Would it be helpful to take a different perspective or point of view?
- How could I use a “what if” question?
- Would asking students to add detail enhance their understanding?
- How could I incorporate metaphor into our discussion?
- How can I get students to ask questions and investigate?
- How could students apply their knowledge in a new situation?
How does this apply to assessment? The same questions can be helpful in designing flexible formative and summative assessments. Assessment for Creativity, that is, assessment that is supportive of creativity. It has at least three characteristics.
- Assessment for creativity builds intrinsic motivation through a sense of increasing competence. This requires the wise use of diagnostic and formative assessments, as well as appropriate feedback.
- Assessment for creativity provides opportunities to use content in new ways, through examining multiple perspectives, solving problems, and applying ideas in original situations.
- Assessment for creativity builds intrinsic motivation through the use of choice and meaningful tasks.
If you’d like to read more, see the Assessment for Creativity page.
But what about the content?
Content that supportive of creativity will include both 1) content built around key ideas and 2) content that emphasizes the investigative methods of disciplines. A good place to begin consideration of content organization focused on key ideas is the Teaching for Understanding information of the ALPS website at Harvard. But, of course, don’t forget the investigative strategies as well.
Currently, I’m collecting lesson ideas that use the above principles to “creativize” curriculum based on the Common Core State Standards. I would love to add your ideas to the collection–and the blog. I’d particularly welcome contributions from readers of Creativity in the Classroom. It is wonderful to hear from you!