Monday, February 15, 2021

Creating Risk Takers

I was in a conversation with a colleague recently and he was asking how I can get my students to write the way they do. All his students write the same thing and often that is copying his example. I wanted to share how I do that.

The first word we go over in the beginning of the year is creative. The 2nd is unique. We read stories about characters who are unique and I set the expectation from the get-go that I expect creativity in their work. I share work products from students who do this effectively-this is what I am looking for.

I do activities with them on a weekly basis to practice creativity. This is one-divergent art-giving them a shape or a squiggle and asking them to turn it into something. The more often I do these activities the more creative their answers are.

Here is one we did last week for Valentine's-I asked them to use the heart to make something.
sunset in the mountatins




We play a game where I separate them into groups and they have to come up with answers to a question. My favorite is to give them letters from the alphabet and each group comes up with a food or an animal that begins with that letter, but the catch is that they only get a point if their answer is unique. If 3 groups say apple and one says artichoke-the artichoke group wins. They can also do word association. "Snow __________". Snowman is the first instinct but I encourage them to dig deeper-what else can you come up with.

Lastly, I use literature. There are so many books about characters who are different but who still save the day. Here are a few:

So all in all it takes work, it takes clear expectations, but you can teach students to be more creative in their activities. I LOVE seeing 20 different answers to a question.

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