Did you ever wonder how the people at Google come up with so many innovative ideas? What is creativity? Can it be taught? Tina Seelig is amazing at bringing clarity to the subject of innovation.
Ms. Seelig explains that we need to have a basic understanding of creativity - a working definition. She clarifies how to present our students with questions that have more than one answer, give them time to think and discuss, and explain the results. Many elementary teachers in my past have spent so much time on fact fluency, and not enough time asking open questions.
For example, the equation 3 + 7= ? has only one possible answer. But Seelig posits that the next level would be to ask ? + ? = 10. In that case there are many solutions, including positive and negative numbers, fractions, and decimals. Watching this video sparked an "aha moment" for me, as Depth of Knowledge (DOK) is part of teaching to a level 1, 2, 3, 4 of difficulty for CCSS mathematical standards.
I had the pleasure of hearing Robert Kaplinsky speak at the Asilomar NCTM 2015 conference. He dedicates his website http://www.openmiddle.com to DOK level 2, 3 math problems,where you can browse by grade level (kindergarten-grade 12) or DOK level. Kaplinsky is gathering projects by standard and by grade, and he shares this lesson plan spreadsheet as a work in progress.
For Inquiry problems I really enjoy 3-Act Math by Dan Meyer, who advocates for improving mathematics education on CNN, Good Morning America, and in his TED talk.
TeacherDesmos.com infuses technology with collaboration, and Meyer has been their Chief Academic Officer. I also met the Founder and CEO of Desmos at the Asilomar 2015 conference, where he explained how teachers could build their own activities too!
Seelig also explains that more is involved in creativity, motivation, and innovation - for example attitude, confidence, and working in an environment that allows creativity to flourish. (growth Mindset). These insights gave me my second "aha moment" about MakerSpaces, and now I need to redesign my classroom!
Designing Spaces?? What to do?? I needed Ideas! Link to video and Ideas.
You know those reality TV shows that do make-overs...I wish I could win a total classroom make-over!
I love the flip model because it allows the class-time to do more of these "right thinking" types of problems, and all of the other activities that spark innovation in our classrooms.
Creativity is one of the 21st Century skills of education. Why? What does this mean for educators? How can there be innovation without creativity?
Fostering Students' Creativity through Van Hiele's 5 Phase-Based Tangram Activities
By Siew, Nyet Moi; Chong, Chin Lu | Journal of Education and Learning, June 1, 2014 | Go to article
"Mathematics teachers should reflect on their practices and beliefs in order to optimize opportunities to develop opportunities for children to develop their creativity."
Siew, Nyet Moi; Chong, Chin Lu (2014) in the above mentioned article.
The activity Game Factory - Unit on Probability really inspired me. I used it for a culminating project in which I had students create their own games while working in collaborative groups. They presented their ideas using technology presentation tools, and most chose Google Slides.
Next, students played each others' games to determine whether they were fair, and had to explain their reasoning in notes to the game designers and in class discussions. I adapted the activity to align to our textbook and materials.
Game activity linked to Design Thinking.
My fellow 6th-grade colleague asked her students to do a Tangram Project. She had them use their imaginations to create their own tangram design, and then to calculate the total areas. My class was invited to hear her class present their projects. They were given questions to ask the presenters, and were required to log their answers. The teacher also made modifications to align to her textbook and the materials available.
You can see the pride they took in their work and the joy of learning mathematics in another video I created featuring Shakira's song "Try Everything"...how fitting!
It is time to change our pedagogies for the 21st Century. Teachers need to adopt a growth mindset, and develop it in our students.
Another example of activity. The design thinking in action.
My Students took the Kahoot Challenge and created their own test reviews. They worked with a partner, and then had three groups check their Kahoots.