Written by: Dina Ghalwash
Did you figure out the title yet? Did I grab your attention? Gain your interest? Well, in case you’re still wondering- TVIREVITCA- is actually the word CREATIVITY all jumbled up. Why did I do this? To show you, that being creative can be easy, simple and very effective for engaging students in your classroom.
The first thing I learnt when I became a teacher is that children need to be consistently intrigued, as do many adults. They don’t want the same boring class routine everyday, with the same monotonous tasks to do in class. They want change, they want mysteries and they want novelty. But then comes a teacher’s schedules and workload, paperwork and duties and absolutely no time to plan a creative lesson. Well, I’m here to tell you that being creative doesn’t necessarily have to take up a lot of your time. Here are some simple yet effective creative ideas I have tried in my classrooms that have worked wonders with my students.
1- Jumble things up and make them guess!
Creativity in the classroom can be simple; as simple as jumbling up the letters of your objective for the day and asking your students to try and figure it out, together. This simple activity will get your students to think, cooperate and get out of their seats to shuffle letters around. And, there you have it; in less than five minutes you’ve already set the tone for a more interesting lesson!
2- Dress up as a character!
Creativity can also mean you dressing up as a character from the novel you’re studying with your students and pretending to be that character all through your lesson. Or for History, if you are studying Napoleon, you can dress up as him and sit on the Hot Seat, where your students get to interview you and ask you questions about your life. So, with a simple costume you have created an informative, innovative and engaging lesson.
3- Assign roles and get them in the Hot Seat!
Want to make things even easier for yourself? Assign the students themselves roles from your novel or history book and get them to sit on the Hot Seat. Their friends will interview them about their lives and once again, you will have easily gained the attention and interest of all your students with one simple approach!
4- Get their attention, creatively!
How about a creative way to gain your students’ attention, without shouting or screaming or counting down to five? This is what I do. I play “All hands on deck”, where I say that statement and wait for the students to slam their hands on their desks in unison. And then I start counting: One- where they would slam their hands once on the desk. If I then say three, they are then to slam their hands three times on the desk. I continue saying random numbers until I say zero and try tricking them into slamming the desks. If no one slams the desk when I say Zero, I reward the students by giving them possibly 2 extra minutes at break time or any modest reward I can think of at the time. If they lose though- well it was just a fun and a guaranteed way to get EVERYONE’s attention all to myself!
5- Tweets, exit slips and poems for assessment!
Finally, what about creativity when assessing your students understanding? Let’s face it; all students get bored of the typical question and answer technique we use too often in class, so how about mixing it up a little bit? Ask your students to summarize a lesson in a Tweet (only 140 characters)! They can include any hash tags if they want. Also, you may use Exit slips! Hand each student a small slip of paper, at the end of the lesson, and tell them that to be able to leave your class they must answer whatever question you put on there. The questions you use for your classes can vary each day. You can use questions like: tell me what made learning easy for you today? Write down three new pieces of information you learnt. What would you still like to know about today’s topic? What made learning difficult for you today? Write a four-lined poem describing today’s lesson. Really, the sky is your limit!
So, there you have it: creativity in a nutshell and as Einstein said: Creativity is intelligence having fun!