Creativity is an important element for the Gifted Classroom.
I enjoy is giving students a task or project, and letting them go on to do what they want with it. I feel that it is important to let students be creative.
I feel that gifted students need to have the freedom to use their own ideas, designs, and interests in the projects that I give them. I do a lot of Project Based Learning projects. I like the real world aspect of this type of learning. So, in the spirit of real world learning, I don’t necessarily have a one correct answer. I do use a rubric to grade their work, but I don’t expect every student or groups of students to have the same answer to a project.
It has taken me a while to get students to trust me that there is no one correct answer to a project. I don’t guide them to what I think they should do in a project. Instead, I ask a lot of questions. I guide them by questions, or by challenging their thinking.
Here are a few other ways I have built creativity in my classroom.
- Be a facilitator: I try to guide my students when needed. I ask a lot of questions, and only give suggestions when they ask. I get out of the way.
- Know when to step in: I try not to rush to help a student too quickly. I let them struggle a bit. I feel that through the struggle they will gain more than knowlegde. They will gain perserverance.
- Value students thinking processes: every student thinks differently. I often times will have my students take the Right Brain Left Brain test to see how they think. Each student has a mode of thinking they prefer to use. I try to embrace that. It a student thinks better on their feet walking around I try to commodate. If a student thinks better listening to music (with head phones on), or they are verbal thinkers, then I try to embrace it without compromising other students thinking processes. When students pair up for a project, sometimes they want to work with their friends. Sometimes they work with students who think like them.
- Be clear / Be upfront: I give my students clear guidelines of what I expect from them. I give them a rubric that everything outlined for them except the answer. I am upfront with them that there is not a singular right answer, but multiple. They need to find the one that works the best meeting the criteria I give them.
- Know your students: Try to sit down with each group or individual students and have them walk through their project. Get to know how they learn, think, and what their interests are. When students know you are invested in them, they will begin to trust you. When they begin to trust you also begin to trust. Trust can go along way.
I know there are probably many other ways you may be fostering creativity in your classroom. I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.