I recently read a book that I thought I would share with you. It is a book written by Imagineers from Disney on how to create an environment that fosters creativity. This is an amazing book for teachers. Here are my top 10 tips.
1) "The formula is that there is no formula." The number 1 rule: you cannot be fearful of failing. Fear should not even come into the equation. Be confident.
2) Be a "yes" teacher. Children are naturally so much more creative than we are as adults and so many times they have much better ideas than we do for a fun lesson. Inspire them to make their own rules and come up with their own ideas. You will really be surprised with the results.
3) Don't be afraid of visual aids. Students of this generation need to see things. I have found that the more visual aids I provide, the more understanding there is. Blank walls are the enemy!
4) Ask questions instead of providing the answers all the time. I love to respond to a question with another question. It irritates them so much! I think though that it really prompts a conversation that helps them learn.
5) Don't be afraid to find someone who is really creative and learn from them. They will be flattered and your job will be easier. On the flipside, don't be afraid to find someone who is really, super boring. They will inspire you to not want to be like them.
6) Tell stories. Your students will remember more and they will see you are a human too.
7) Think of your class as your "team." If you respect them as somewhat equals, their talent will amaze you.
8) Take the path less traveled, knowing full well you're going to get into trouble for doing it. Not everyone is going to agree with your creative classroom (especially the person whose classroom is near yours).
9) Be more optimistic - it's more fun!
10) Maintain a clear vision.
And one to grow on! Have a life! So many times I gain inspiration for an "out of the box" activity just enjoying my life and not reading "how to be a better teacher" books!
Yesterday was a great day. We found out two days ago that my class placed 3rd overall in the school for the toilet paper drive for the needy. (Cindy's class placed 2nd, of course!) So, naturally I brought them doughnuts to celebrate....and celebrate they did. I've never seen students be so excited about a round piece of fried dough. With all that excitement, I decided to take them outside to play a review game. This past week we have been discussing the Cold War and every year I do a simulation activity on McCarthyism so they can understand how irrational the paranoia of Communism was at times. I needed to play a game with groups to do the simulation activity, so we went outside to play the crossing the river game. I set up traffic cones (10) in two seperate lines down the field. Then, I divided the students into two groups and made them hold hands (they thought they were playing "red rover").
The two groups had to cross the traffic cones (the river) to get their entire group across the river. I would ask a review question and the first two people in the line had to answer it. The first group to answer the question correctly got to advance to the next cone. If the group had not successfully gotten at least one student across the river, then the two people in the front of the line had to go to the back of the line as the groups advanced. Here is the fun part: if they answered my question with something ridiculous, (I got Douglas MacArthur as the North Korean leader in the Korean War....) I would kick out one of the cones making it extremely difficult for them to hold hands to get each other across the river. It was hilarious!
So, how did I tie McCarthyism into this activity? I told them at the beginning of the game that I had chosen two traitors (one from each team) to try to get that team to lose the game. When the game was over, I asked them which two people were the traitors. This inspires much paranoia into the group and gets them to pick people for silly reasons. One of the students got picked as the traitor for wearing a hat. (Please note that I work all year on them being respectful of each other. This activity has the opportunity to be hurtful so teach them up front to not say rude things.) It turned out to be the perfect way to introduce McCarthyism and I doubt it will be something they forget for a while! By, Kathleen