Defining Creativity

imagine-creativity-16636424-400-300Module 3: Assignment #2

I chose to interview my friend, Christen, an art teacher in Rockford, Michigan.  Last year she taught art to students in grades K-12th.  This year she is teaching Pottery 1 and Design 1 at Rockford High School.  Design 1 is a pre-requisite art course that offers a mix of experiences with clay, drawings, painting, and sketching.

Christen believes creativity is the ability to make something, our human instinct.  Since the beginning we have been makers and creativity is us expressing ourselves, “adding our own flair or originality”.  Christen’s creative process involves drawing a series of sketches before painting, drawing, or making a ceramic.  For her students, Christen allows for this “planning” part of the creative process.  Students are expected to create 4-8 sketches since this brainstorming of different ideas may uncover a better idea.  She has conversations with her students in order for them to think their ideas through.  Communicating ideas before starting with clay or another material may spark something new.

Christen said that, “planning and thinking are more important than doing and making” which echoes Mishra’s value of the process not the product.  There are requirements for assignments, however students are encouraged to make their project their own and go above and beyond.  She uses a rubric, pictured below, for almost every assignment in her classes.  This echoes the idea that “as educators we have to develop better measures and rubrics to speak coherently and systematically about the creative products that students develop” (Mishra and Henriksen, 2013).  Rubrics allow for flexibility, self-evaluation, and improvement.


Photo Credit: Christen Woodruff

She also enjoys photography and watercolor painting because you go with the flow and make your mistakes fit.  Christen thinks outside of the box when planning events and uses different perspectives when working with people, especially her.

After our interview I think creativity has a larger role in my life as a teacher than I had realized before.  I consider myself a very logical, mathematical thinker most of the time.  With that said, I enjoy art, calligraphy, and other crafty projects where I can be inventive.

I could relate to Christen when she spoke of bringing new ideas and perspectives to a situation in her personal life.  Working with the special education population, especially in math, I am constantly trying to figure out new ways to teach unclear concepts.  I look at it from different angles, write it different ways, and draw pictures until I find something that makes it click for them.  Similarly, as the “problem solver” in my group of friends, I put myself in other people’s shoes to see different perspectives.  You may need to be creative to find a solution to an issue.  It never dawned on me that helping students solve problems (math and personal) would connect to creativity.

I am starting to view creativity as more of a skill that everyone possesses.  It is not something you have or don’t have, but something that can be developed or improved over time.

Mishra, P., Henriksen, D., & the Deep Play Research Group (2013). A NEW approach to defining and measuring creativity. Tech Trends (57) 5, p. 5-13.


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