Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cultivating Creativity

Creativity - Definition:
"[Creativity is] the process of sensing problems or gaps in information, forming ideas or hypotheses, testing, modifying these hypotheses and communicating the results. This process may lead to any one of many kinds of products - verbal and nonverbal, concrete and abstract." ~ Paul Torrance (Scholar of creativity, developer of The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking).

Observe and Collect Ideas to serve as Springboards for Further Development: The best way to foster new ideas is to look around.  What are people doing and thinking?  How might you be able to take those ideas and observations and tweak them just a bit- tweak them in a way that adds or changes them?

Brainstorm: In order to create and innovate, one must not only observe gaps, but redefine and reframe questions that help shape and direct original thoughts from existing ones. To do this, one often needs to find and/or create "safe" environments to bounce ideas off of others.

Learn how to Evaluate Resources and Take Risks: Creativity involves learning how to connect with others, feel comfortable exploring, making mistakes, and learning both form additional resources and the mistakes we and others make.  This in turn, further develops higher-order thinking, encourages collaboration, and allows us to brainstorm and grow.

Creativity in the Classroom/Home: Here are some ways parents and teachers can foster and promote creativity at home and in the classroom:
  • Encourage project-based learning - where kids search for, define, research and resolve "questions" or pressing issues they find in their world around them;
  • Encourage Creative Team Building by grouping and regrouping assignments with different partners so they learn how to create 'safe' thinking environments with many different partners.
  • Create 'safe' creative spaces to foster brainstorming, risk taking, and idea sharing.
  • Build in open-ended 'Brainstorming Time' into your curriculum.
  • Model creativity through creative, multi-modal lessons, discussions, and projects.
Classroom/Home Resources:
  • Book Creator  (for iPad, androids, and Windows - from empowers students (K-12) to create and share their own ebooks, PDFs and iBooks. This app gives students just enough options to make it friendly for young learners and dynamic for older students.
  • Shadow Puppet Edu (for iPads- from - empowers students (K-8) to create videos combining photos, videos, maps, narration, and music, and even overlay text drawn on the screen as a means of creating and relaying content information and creative story ideas.
  • Thinklink (for iPhone, iPad and Android - from empowers students to create greetings, interactive photos and slides by adding video, music, notes, and text to images and maps.
  • Pixton (for Macs, iPhones, iPads, Androids and Windows from empowers kids and adults to create comics, graphic novels, and sequential art stories and presentations. Pixton for Schools even has grading and assessment tools and has a 'record voice-over' option to enhance learning.
 With all this in mind, I want to leave you with two things.
  • Additional links (below); and 
  • This zenpencil rendering of James Rhodes "Is that not Worth Exploring." In addition to providing means and channels of creative exploration, we have to model and inspire.  Here's a clip that will hopefully inspire you to do just that (from Kevin Smith via ZenPencils):

 Additional links and resources:

As always, thank you for your visit.
Please leave your suggestions on creating creative moments, spaces, and opportunities in the comments below.


  1. Amazing apps! Tried some already and pixton is so amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Art & I were divorced very early, unfortunately.


  3. The comic strip story gave me goose bumps! I know that I always found something positive in each child's work, whether it be art, math, writing, etc. and I watched their self-esteem expand and their effort in everything improve! What an amazing post!

    abcw team

  4. Enjoyed that comic strip. Will get down to checking out the apps. Thanks for sharing.

    BeatAboutThe Book

  5. Great post, - a most important quality to cultivate - creativity!

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