Fostering A Creative Learning Environment

Character Lesson-Creativity

Photo of Christi Collins
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Providing a supportive work environment that fosters creativity, increases employee motivation and leads to innovative work habits.  Organizations that provide opportunities for growth, employee suggestions, and professional development can successfully boost the morale in a workplace.

Optional: What are some character strengths you’ve worked on with students in the past? Why did you focus on these?

Creativity and Persistence. I feel that it is important to provide students with opportunities to unlock their full potential by encouraging creativity, individuality, and growth. In addition, it is of equal importance that students learn the value of working hard to achieve their goals through persistence and determination.

Optional: How comfortable do you feel incorporating character education in your curriculum? (1-10, where 10 = very comfortable!)

10

Optional: Tell us more! What's one thing you wish there was more of / less of when it comes to character learning in schools?

More emphasis on meaningful, relevant events that are applicable to real-life situations.

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Photo of Kim Vinh

Hi Christi, I'm also interested in how adult employees are encouraged to be creative and stay motivated. We always talk about giving students some creativity, but it's always a little limited -- like choosing 1 of 3 options for a project, or choosing your research topic. Any thoughts on how to really allow students to pursue their own projects or interests, like supportive workplaces do? I'd love to keep exploring this a little more in the next phase, Ideate!

Photo of Christi Collins

Hi Kim,
I think there are several ways we can gradually provide students with more choice-based learning opportunities that foster creativity.  For example, last year our elementary school offered monthly club activities that students participated in by grade level.  The teachers paired up and offered 3 clubs per grade level that were STEAM based.  Students then chose which club they wanted to participate in each month and an hour was set aside for them to enjoy this participate.  One of the activities that I provided exposed them to the wonderful world of augmented reality, using the Quiver app.  I have to say, it was amazing seeing their little faces light up when their coloring sheet came to life before their very eyes.  They were able to see volcanoes come to life, the earth's rotation, cars driving and more.  In my own classroom, I would provide hands-on, choice-based activities aligned to the objectives/skills for the week.  My students would then choose the activity they wanted to complete, and had the option to work alone or in a small group.  We did app smashes, created and designed learning games, designed posters and visual guides in Canva, they completed coding/programming activities and more. These are just a few ways that I have tried to encourage choice and creativity.  On the flipside, I was often limited in the amount of time I could spend promoting creativity and choice.  I felt like 80% of my time was devoted to test-taking strategies and standardized testing.  This saddens me because I feel like testing demands have become unrealistic, and they are draining the creativity and motivation out of these poor children.

Photo of Kim Vinh

I agree about the ever-increasing time spent on test-taking, Christi, but it sounds like your students are getting awesome opportunities to develop their creativity. And I think teachers sometimes run out of the time to compile multiple options to offer. But I'm so interested in your list ("app smashes, learning games, posters and visual guides, etc."). Where do you find all these activities/apps/resources? 

Photo of Christi Collins

Hi Kim,
The best place to find new apps and extensions is in the Google Apps for Education platform.  I eat, breathe and sleep Google because I teach online recertification courses to educators,  Lol!