All of man’s solutions and innovations sprung from a creative mind. Inspiring that creative, innovative mindset is one of our top objectives as educators. Unfortunately, we don’t always have a lot of wiggle-room in our curriculum.
In the first part of this two-part blog series, we provided 7 Ways to Create a Creative Learning Environment in your classroom. Now, as we conclude the series, we present 20 ideas for imparting the required knowledge through creativity-oriented classroom activities:
20 Ideas for Creative Classroom Activities
For Any Subject
Here are a few ways to stimulate and reward creativity, regardless of the subject you teach:
- The “Passion Project” – Step 1 of this on-going activity is to ask students to name the topic or activity they’re most passionate about. It doesn’t have to be scholastic in nature. It might be travelling, or sketching, or sports or… anything. Once they’ve identified their top interest, challenge them to devise a project that somehow ties their passion into the subject you’re teaching. For example, if your subject is History, and their passion is building, perhaps their project could be to design or construct a building from the historical era you’re covering in class. If your subject is science and their passion is art, their project could be to create an impressionistic painting that depicts a scientific principle. Once everyone has submitted a suitable project idea, devote one hour each week to letting them work exclusively on their own project.
- Achievement Boards – Create a display in your classroom that provides a showcase for student achievements and creative projects. Ideally, your students will help design and create the Showcase display. Both you and your students are then eligible to nominate achievements to honor, which may or may not have happened within the classroom. Students can also have fun thinking of creative ways to depict the unusual achievements of their classmates.
- Visible Timelines – As we discussed in Part 1, visual tools both aid retention and creativity during the learning process. Create visual aids and props whenever possible (or ask the students to do it!). Whether you’re teaching about a series of historical events, the components of a proper essay, or simply depicting the schedule and goals for this semester, work with your students to create a tangible and visual depiction of the process.
Students can also learn and create simultaneously when they:
- Design an ad for a play, political cause, science fair, Civil War reenactment – or anything that relates to the subject you’re teaching
- Write a blog about the subject they’re studying, as it relates to modern life
- Create motivational posters and taglines that reflect your class subject in some way
For STEM Subjects
These student assignments tie in well with subjects like Math, Science, Physics, etc.:
- Create homes or buildings out of geometric shapes
- Build paper airplanes and calculate their predicted speed
- Write a song about basic math principles
- Create an obstacle for American Ninja Warrior and explain the physical forces at work as a competitor moves through the obstacle
- In a version of Science/Engineering “Show and Tell,” students bring in everyday objects (butterfly, wristwatch, tree sap, coal, toaster – anything!) and verbally explain a scientific feature of that object to the class
- Using a variety of chemicals, substances, and utensils (Bunsen burners, etc) that you have provided, students create their own experiment or chemical reaction, and explain it verbally
- Students make up stories about photos or paintings that you display
- Hold group reading sessions, in which students take turns reading excerpts from material they selected themselves
- Recreate a scene from the current book assigned, writing from the point of view of a minor character (rather than the protagonist)
- Write letters from the point of view of a historical character
- Write a scene of dialogue between a historical character and a modern-day personality
- Create a story about a historical event, from the point of view of an average citizen of the time
- Create a role-playing scenario, in which one student portrays the psychologist and the other portrays a patient with a disorder
For Media/ Design
Whenever possible, teach theory and application through hands-on projects. Starting out with creative work on Day 1, will help your students stay engaged throughout the semester.
- If you’re teaching Web Design, use handy tools such as Squarespace or Wix and let your students start building a website
- If you’re teaching Broadcast, let students make a movie or film a mock interview
Did you realize that we slipped in an extra idea? Free bonus!
Resources and More Ideas
If you’ve tried the ideas above and are ready for more, check out these links:
6 Ideas for Creative Math Projects, from The Guardian
10 Creative Lessons that Incorporate Technology, from Getting Smart
Videos from the TED website that will help inspire curiosity in your students
A learning module from the American Psychological Association about Creativity in the Classroom: “practice-based strategies to help you employ creativity every day and enhance academic outcomes.”
Creativity in the Classroom blog from Edutopia
20 Ideas to Promote More Creativity in Your Classroom, from Fusion Yearbooks
These tech tools are useful, creative additions to all kinds of lesson plans:
For note-taking and idea-jotting:
For visual organization:
Now it’s your turn. Share your most successful creative idea in our Comments section below.