Little kid me would have loved it if history, math, and science were taught using artwork as a jumping off point. I feel like I didn't learn how to learn until high school. That's when I started to realize how to make those connections for myself. So now as a parent and educator I try to come up with ways to do that with the kids I teach.

Today it's understood that kids will need to grow into divergent instead of convergent thinkers. This video "Creativity In The Classroom" describes it as: develop from What Is to What If thinkers.

I recommend checking out this video, it's 50 min long and broken up into several smaller videos: http://www.apa.org/education/k12/creativity-module.aspx

While it's focused on teaching children in a classroom setting I think much of it applies to different settings and ages.

Through the use of interviews with renowned scholars in the field and practice based narrative, this module gives an overview of the use of creativity in a classroom context and supplies teachers with strategies to use creativity every day to enhance academic outcomes.

Some things I've taken from the video:

  • Creativity is described as coming up with something new and useful to it's situation. This actually had me questioning the different activities that our culture defines as "creative". Like are coloring books really creative? Pattern based knitting? Are the application of those qualities what differentiates art from craft? Hmmm.
  • I like the explanation of creativity as a connection of two separate things into a new idea. 
  • Only 6 minutes into the video a high schooler explains that the arts help you identify patterns and that can help you recognize patterns in science or math.
  • It also states that  "Creativity requires mistakes".  So true!! Losing is to be celebrated because it means you tried.

On school breaks I have my boys do 3 learning tasks a day. Over the summer this means finishing the library reading program, and the school's summer math challenge, but I also try to make it really engaging by incorporating art integration. I've been having conferences with the boys teachers lately and am starting to think of what projects the boys will work on this summer. Here are some ideas this video gave me:

  • Prompts that encourage creativity: "create, invent, discover, imagine if, suppose that, predict"
  • Have the kid compete against themselves, and reach for their personal best.
  • They describe a project where students were asked "if you were the mayor of your town what art would you put on display" I think I can take this idea in a few different directions.
  • They gave an example where the teacher shares two ways they were considering to teach a lesson then ask the student to come up with a third method.

I recommend checking it out!