Introducing the Creativity Ideal
to Students

The Creativity Module aims to develop students' capacity to think creatively and to see the creativity embedded in things and ideas around them. Uncovering what ideas students already have about creativity is a good way to start: It helps them articulate their ideas and build awareness of creativity, and it helps you see where they are starting out. Plus, provides a starting reference point: toward the end of the module you and your students can dip back into students' initial ideas as a way of reviewing and assessing progress.

Thinking about Thinking Activities

These initial activities ask students to identify their current ideas about creativity. In general, students are familiar with the idea of creativity. Depending on their past experience, they may associate it with inventiveness, with artistic production, with thinking outside of the box. These ideas are good starting places, but you'll probably find that students' ideas about creativity aren't yet highly developed. The following activities will let them bring these and other ideas to the surface for reflection, group discussion, and your own instructional pre-assessment.

You can use one or all of these initial Thinking about Thinking activities. While the order isn't critical, many teachers like to start with the concept map activity to uncover students' ideas before any discussion. Others like to begin with a whole class discussion to warm students up first. Some teachers have casually tried out a Creativity Ideal routine once or twice even before these Thinking about Thinking activities, just to get students going.

A Concept Map of Creativity What is creativity? What kinds of things do you do when you're being creative? When is it important to be creative? How do we know when something is creative? This introductory activity raises such by asking students to construct their own concept maps of creativity individually. These then feed into class discussion and/or the construction of a larger, whole-class concept map.

The Creativity Thermometer The activity asks students to generate examples of when it could be important for them to think creatively and explain why. While this probe can involve writing, it can also be done very successfully as a class discussions or a one-on-one interview with a student. Although interviews are very time consuming, primary teachers might want to consider doing a few interviews to see what they reveal about students' thinking.

A Creativity Discussion: Sometimes it's hard... This activity is designed as a way to collect information about students' thinking about creativity, including their strategies for being creative and for seeing the creativity in things, and what questions they might have about creativity through the an open-ended discussion. This works well with younger students or when you don't want to use a written task. The challenge is to create a record of the conversation to refer back to it later and reflect back on what kinds of things students brought up in the discussion.

Introducing the Creativity Map

After you've uncovered students' initial ideas, questions, and understandings, you can present the Creativity Map to the class. The map includes three areas of creativity and their associated mental moves. The areas are: (1) think beyond the obvious; (2) uncover the creativity in things, and (3) hunt for occasions to use your creativity. 

The map is a visual and conceptual anchor for you and your students throughout the module; it helps all of you keep in mind the big challenges of creativity and ways of addressing them. The Creativity Routines all relate to the Creativity Map.

A good way to present the Creativity Map is to introduce it by connecting it to students' ideas about creativity that emerged from their own creativity concept maps or a class discussion about creativity. Tell students that these three areas represent some key actions people take when they face a creative challenge or when they are looking for creative opportunities. Naturally, not every relevant creativity strategy and approach is represented on the map. You may want to ask students to think about how their ideas link to the three areas of the creativity Map, and perhaps even write them in.

Tell students that they will be using their own creativity in future lessons, and that the map will be posted on the wall so that they can refer to it often. Many teachers and students have made their own classroom-size version of the creativity map for easy reference.