Fostering Creativity

Book Summary of "Fostering Creativity in Gifted Students" by Bonnie Cramond, Ph. D.

This is a fast and powerful read for teachers looking to implement more creativity in their classroom, and is applicable to ALL students, not just gifted learners. It can be overwhelming to define creativity, let alone teach it, but this book makes it doable! Here are a few tips from the book:

1. Creative People: all people have creativity, and although it cannot be created or diminished within people, people can be taught to better harness what they have. One of the best ways to do so is to create a place that is safe for kids to explore, learn from failure, and try new things. This alone is an incredible, simple thing we can do to help our students foster their creativity.

2. Creative Process: there are many quick activities that can be used throughout the week to help students think more creatively. One example is the "force fit". You give students a random list of objects (acorn, book, friend, city, etc) and have them randomly try to "force fit" two of the words, stating how they are alike or related. Another great example is the "color hat discussion". During a student discussion, each is assigned a role and corresponding hat (black-negative, white-neutral, yellow-positive, red-emotional, etc) and students must participate from that point of view only. The book has TONS of other great ideas to implement, so I highly suggest picking it up for this section alone!

3. Creative Products: the last section of the book discusses how the way we "judge" a creative product can encourage or discourage creativity. It points out that many creative people where not honored for their perspectives/products during their lifetime, and suggests that we think carefully about how we critique creative products. They give two guidelines; one, to remember that creative products should be unique and useful; two, to involve kids in creating any rubrics that will be used when grading or giving feedback on a creative project.

I hope these simple suggestions help you better ignite creativity this school year!

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