WE FOSTER CREATIVITY IN OUR STUDENTS
Fostering creativity in our students opens many doors for them in all aspects of life. Students at our school learn and create in a way that celebrates, supports, and develops each child’s ideas. This allows students to feel safe to share their brilliance in school without fear of being ridiculed or rejected by their peers or teachers.
PROJECT BASED LEARNING REINFORCES OUR STUDENTS’ CREATIVITY
During our project-based learning assignments, the class is presented with a problem or a big-picture task, and students have the freedom to decide how they will go about accomplishing the assignment. They then have the opportunity to share their creations with the class, school, and/or community. Because we are not regulated by the state, our curriculum is flexible enough to give students a voice and choice in what we will study during our projects as well as in other areas of the curriculum. We also have the freedom to extend the timeline for certain projects which students continue to get inspired to add more, and to slightly shorten other projects when students become inspired to do another project, for example in response to a current event.
Many of our school events, such as talent shows, and school feasts are student directed. Seeing our students plan an event is much like watching fireworks as their individual ideas shoot up, and sparks of brilliance branch out from them.
CREATIVITY IN OUR TAB ART STUDIO
During art class, which is held in our TAB studio (TAB stands for Teaching for Artistic Behaviors - where students are considered and treated as artists!) students receive brief instruction at the beginning of each class. During this time, they learn techniques that add to their bank of ideas and help inspire new ones. In addition, they spend most of their time actively constructing works of art which they choose and are excited about.
While they are busy creating, teachers find teachable moments to work with individual students, helping them make use of techniques which will support them with what they are working on at the moment.
CREATIVITY IN THE SPOKEN WORD
When our students reach third grade, they are enrolled in speech class. In this class each student chooses a topic, designs a well-thought-out speech, and explores their own personal style of speaking as they plan and present their ideas to the class.
Students have the chance to use creative thinking in core subjects as well. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students take control of their learning in math by writing critiques for questions they answer incorrectly. First, they determine what they did wrong. Then they solve the problem correctly and submit their completed critiques. We are a content mastery school.
Our students enjoy opportunities throughout the school day to use what they have, to create something new. It is incredible to watch our kids invent new games on the playground. In a matter of minutes, they will have developed a storyline, a set of rules players must follow, and fun twists and turns throughout the game. They tend to come up with an entirely new ingenious game each week.
CREATIVITY IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION
When a conflict arises on the playground or in the classroom, we form a restorative justice circle which give students a chance to put their heads together and find a resolution. The sharing of ideas allows students to add their classmates’ perspectives and insights to their own bank of ways to creatively solve problems.