The responses I receive when students find out we are doing a creative project are wide and varied.
Some (probably obvious) observations:
1. Some students, no matter how much time you give them, will always waste it and become enraged on the actual due date, when there is a consequence for not being done. That could speak to many things — engagement, learning difficulties, distractions that have nothing to do with your class, distractions that have everything to do with your class …
2. Some students have no desire to tap into the creativity that I know resides in all people. Some just have no desire to do so in English class. These same students probably exhibit creativity in other areas of their lives or could if they tried. In fact, I’m certain of it. They might not even recognize their creativity as creativity at times.
3. Because some students don’t demonstrate creativity in an English class, many of them grow up believing that they are not creative. How can we change that? For example, my husband used to say he wasn’t creative, but after watching him repurpose thing after thing after thing that another person would probably throw out into something useful, I had to convince him that he was indeed creative. He might not write a poem, but he IS creative.
4. Some students are project-ed out. Teachers today, overall do a good job of trying to mix things up for their students, so much in fact, that students are often bombarded by projects–sometimes all at once. This is one piece of evidence that may help in proving the value of co/intercurricular projects. Why not kill two (or more) projects with one stone?
5. Sometimes I think teachers (myself included) are not as creative as we could be in offering different ways of allowing students to demonstrate creativity in learning. (Confusing! And ironic!)
Questions for other educators:
What are some ways you have allowed students to demonstrate their learning creatively?
Have you ever allowed your students to go “free-range” on how they demonstrate learning? If so, what were the results?
What are some things that you’ve seen students do that might not be recognized as “creative” but are creative?
How can we tap into EVERYONE’s creativity, or at least give them a fighting chance to do so?