Teaching Outside the Lines: Developing Creativity in Every Learner by Doug Johnson

6. List Three Right Answers: What Are Some Simple Ways Teachers Can Promote Creative Thinking Every Day?

  • There is not one set of simple rules, but there is a mindset. Creativity needs to be cultivated. Here Doug lists no less than 19 things you can do. They include: 1. Ban clip-art. 2. Encourage narrative voice. 3. Ask for multiple possible answers rather than one “right” answer. 4. Recognize design efforts. 5. Ask students for reasons why they gave the answer they did. 6. Find a role for new technologies. 7. Take advantage of students’ interests and talents. 8. Display original student work in your classroom and online. 9. Make sure that your school has a maker space. 10. Point out the creative work of experts. 11. Make creativity a criteria for assignments.

7. Just Because It’s Pretty Doesn’t Mean It’s Original: Does Technology Enhance or Diminish Creativity?

  • Although a certain level of craftsmanship is necessary to express creativity, they are not the same thing. Thanks to modern digital tools, it’s easy to make something look good. But don’t let the professional look of an end product disguise the lack of original thinking. The most important thing is the nature of the assignment rather than the tools available. Cool tech tools won’t do anything to promote creativity unless the task demands it. Modern tools allow for consumption, production, and communication. As you and your students explore and consider tools, you should take note of the tool’s ability in these three domains. Doug provides a list of tools that can be used to address each of the levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. He also introduces a method that let’s you analyze tools in terms of how they address content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge.

8. Not Everything That Counts Can Be Measured: Can – or Should – Teachers Assess Creativity?

  • If you are going to expect creativity you also need to consider who to assess it. This isn’t as easy as grading a multiple choice test and is likely to be more subjective than typical grading. Doug thinks that bad rubrics kill creativity so be sure your rubric has a column for it. Rather than assigning points, consider using comments with words like daring and unique for projects that seem creative. Creativity requires feedback that should be formative and ongoing. Think in terms of a creativity continuum that goes from imitative to ordinary/routine to very creative. If possible have multiple assessors like they do with Olympic figure skating. This can include peers and parents and should have some form of self-assessment. Keep in mind that truly successful projects have less measurable outcomes.
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