“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” Yo-Yo Ma
Some days, we just can’t accomplish everything. There are things I know we should be doing; things I want to be doing; and things we must be doing – literacy, reading and writing, math, physical education, social studies and science. Yet, there is always an opportunity to add creativity to any of these subjects. I find that using the arts to teach mandatory content is engaging and motivating. This gives students exposure to things they might normally not be able to access. When we read a book, I might turn it into an opera or musical. We can add essential 21st Century skills, like public speaking and collaboration. I can add cultural references to make the learning even more relevant. Even with something like mathematics, we can incorporate music. The combination of both enables students to count, use timing, patterns and groupings of numbers. If the stars align, I can even connect a craft or art activity to the lesson. Let’s be honest: one or two planned things will typically fall off my list each day. But if I’ve included even the smallest amount of creativity, I’ve made progress.
How can you “fit it all in?” Can you do a quick dramatic production after reading a story? Can you retell the story as a rap? If you’re studying insects, can you have the students act out the life cycle of a butterfly? Get creative: a quick walk around campus to count the trash cans will expand a social studies lesson to learnings about environmental conservation. You just might surprise yourself about much you can fit in.
(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use. The images are for personal use only. No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)