The ability to be creative is one of the most powerful gifts that a teacher can possess. Being creative means that you can create new and exciting lessen plans that can capture the attention of the most attention deficient students. Since the attention spans of some of your students will be close to nonexistence, you must design lessons plans that grab the immediate attention of the classroom.
If creativity is not your thing, it must become your thing. You must develop a repertoire of creative strategies in order to be successful in today’s classrooms. Successfully competing against social media and other trends will demand that teachers implement the most innovative methods to keep the students interested in learning.
Students love a creative teacher. When you design lessons plans that inspire them and keep them oblivious of time, they will look forward to seeing you in the mornings. Otherwise students will create their own brand of excitement, which usually results in the need for constant redirection. Many beginning and noncreative teachers don’t realize that today’s classroom environment needs an atmosphere excitement in order to thrive academically.
One creative technique that I use regularly involves co-teaching with students. I give students an opportunity to come up to the board and teach parts of the lesson. Of course, I give them the ideas of the lesson plan a day before they are to teach. Usually, I choose a small group of three or four students to present different parts of the lesson. By allowing student to take part in the teaching process, I am able to spark the interest of other students. Students normally pay more attention to their peers than to teachers.
This creative process can be implemented in any classroom setting to a greater or lesser degree. By the end of the school year, every student will have gotten a chance to participate in the teaching process. Students will often have more respect for teachers after getting an opportunity to experience what it takes to teach effectively.
The result of this creative method inspires students to pay more attention. The criteria for coming up front and presenting a lesson includes respecting others who go before them, paying attention and encouraging the student teachers by participating in questioning. In addition, I may present a hierarchy of rewards, ranging from tickets to see their favorite movies to granting free afternoons for outdoor pizza parties and games.
I got the above ideas by applying the elements of John Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence-one of the most impactful discoveries I have ever used. The theory consists of seven intelligences, including Body-Kin-esthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intra-personal, linquistic and Logical-Mathematical. Accomplished teachers can use this repertoire of knowledge to define the learning style and preference of each individual student.
In a Multiple Intelligence classroom the sky is the limit as far as creativity is concerned. For instance, I have enjoyed the privilege of educating students two levels above their normal grade level. Students become excited about learning when it is active and fun.
Strategies for creative lesson planning
Adapt the philosophy of Active Learning
Students in today’s classrooms have a hard time staying in their seats. So you should attempt to integrate each lesson plan with interesting activities or exercises using Multiple Intelligence or some other active learning theory. All subjects, including reading, language arts, social studies and math must be presented in such a way that the student are not just sitting passively without participation. Play such games as popcorn answers. In this game, student who knows the answers to questions you ask can pop up out of their seats. The student who pops up first gets to answer the question. This is an alternative to hand rising and works well with a cooperative classroom.
Play Soft Background Music
In order to create a focused learning environment, you may want to consider playing soft background music. Studies show that soft background music provides a relaxing and calming effect upon students, allowing them to focus more effectively. When I first started teaching my emotions would become unraveled due to the stressfulness of getting students to calm down and focus after Physical education and recess periods. I didn’t know that soft background music could have played an important part in helping to calm the students down. However, I learned how effective this method was by observing accomplished teachers who often used this creative, musical skill to create a peaceful learning environment.
Encourage and Inspire Project Learning
Designing your lesson plans around group projects is a great creative approach to sustaining student interest and motivation. As been said, students have a tendency to learn better from their peers than from adults. Group projects that require discussion and problem solving keep students engaged and focused during the learning process. During project times, teachers can act as facilitators, helping out where needed. I have seen great academic progress as a result of implementing this type of creative group project. Academically, I was able to get some of the best, collaborative work out of my students.
Other Creative Resources
Teachers with weak creative skills can find a wide range of interesting ideas by searching the internet for creative educational procedures and projects. Many educational sites will offer ideas and resources that teachers can implement right away. Although some of the resources my cost a small price, the investment will be well worth it upon seeing positive change in the classroom. A small list featuring some to the top educational sites includes thinkfuinity.org, rlum.usu.edu, smithsonianeduation.org and teachertube.com
Don’t be afraid of designing radical, creative lesson plans. In the beginning your approach to creativity may prove chaotic, which may lead to a degree of nervousness. Hang in there. Be patient. Students may appear out of control at first, but as you perfect the creative process, you are able to enforce absolute control once the students understand the process and adapt to your creative learning patterns. Use firmness and discipline to perfect the process.