SOS Top Ten: Encouraging Creativity and Innovation

Welcome to our special SOS: Top Ten series. In this Top Ten, we highlight some of the most popular ways to use Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) to encourage creativity and innovation in your classroom.

In this content-rich and technology-driven world, it is important that students become creative innovators. They need to be able to create innovative, useful, and imaginative solutions to problems.

Many leading organizations and think tanks have identified creativity as a highly desired skill. In fact, the International Society for Technology in Education Standards for Students clearly articulates the importance of creativity and innovation, and The Partnership for 21st Century Learning identifies creativity as one of four learning and innovation skills that students need to succeed in work, life, and citizenship.

Creativity and innovation can be viewed in three different strands: thinking creatively, working creatively with others, and implementing innovations. We’re excited to share ten Spotlight On Strategies instructional ideas that help foster these characteristics in your classroom.

We hope you’ll try one or more of these strategies and share your experience with us, either in the comments below or in the DEN Online Community!

Think Creatively

Make it Concrete (CDN Version) encourages students to use their creativity when demonstrating what they know and understand by having them draw concrete (shape) poems of the content they’ve learned.

Sketchnotes (CDN Version) strengthens student comprehension and analysis of new information by asking them to visually represent what they’ve learned. The creative process of hearing information, considering the type of imagery that will best convey it, and the act of doing the drawing helps students make better sense of the information.

Fakebook (CDN Version) uses a well-known social media platform to encourage students to investigate and develop a deep understanding of a person of historical significance. Students use their creativity to design a profile page for that person, requiring them to make connections to important events and individuals of a particular time and place.

Puppet Pictures (CDN Version) helps students connect with new vocabulary and concepts. Students select images that compliment content they’ve learned, write original scripts to narrate what they’ve learned and record their puppet presentation with digital tools.

Sticky Back (CDN Version) encourages students to tune in to the finer details of a topic through a game-based activity.  Students use the back side of sticky notes to record important facts and information, with the goal of using their creativity to record things they think no one else will think of.

Work Creatively with Others

Paper Slide (CDN Version) requires students to retell a story or concept by focusing on key points and supporting details or evidence. Students express these ideas through words and original images drawn on sheets of paper. After placing the sheets in the correct order, students take a one shot video of the entire sequence of slides while narrating the information that goes with.

Music Video (CDN Version) encourages students to strengthen their visualization skills which requires creativity and flexibility of ideas. Students create illustrations to represent song lyrics and collaborate to produce a music video to share digitally.

Take a Walk (CDN Version) fosters creative thinking through movement. Students are asked to walk and talk with one another, which has been shown to support higher-order thinking and increase retention of information.

Implement Innovations

Take a Shot (CDN Version) uses basketball metaphor to encourage students to challenge themselves to attempt—or “take a shot”—at wrestling with questions of varying complexity. Students earn points relative to the degree of complexity they choose and are encouraged to try the questions that require deeper thought, creativity, and flexibility in problem-solving.

IDEA Share (CDN Version) helps students participate in a peer review process with the goal of learning from one another and giving quality constructive feedback. Students refine their work after giving and receiving feedback and then implement the final product.


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