How Do We All Find Our Creative Niche?

I recently finished reading John Spencer and A.J. Juliani‘s book, Launch: Using Design Thinking To Boost Creativity And Bring Out The Maker In Every StudentI believe strongly in the fact that every classroom can (and should) be a Makerspace, and that there’s value in providing real world problems and authentic audiences for student work. These ideas are further supported in our finalized Kindergarten Program Document, and as I read Launch, I made numerous connections to Spencer and Juliani’s ideas and our Kindergarten expectations. It’s clear that Spencer and Juliani have the same view of the child that’s highlighted in our Kindergarten document: as “competent and capable of complex thinking.” There’s so much “wonderful” in Launch that it’s hard to just blog about a single idea, but it was this point on “defining creativity,” that really had me stop and think the most.

Until reading this book, I think I had a narrow view of creativity. I think of the children I’ve taught in the past that I saw as the most creative.

  • They were the artists.
  • They were the musicians.
  • They were the dramatists.
  • They were the builders.
  • They were the book writers.

They were not often …

  • the math thinkers.
  • the problem solvers.
  • the collaborators.
  • the organizers.
  • the readers.

But were they? Spencer and Juliani are helping me realize that we’re all creative, and “creativity” does not always mean making something new, but sometimes, “mashing up ideas” to solve problems or view things differently. 

I can’t help but think of our Board’s new vision: Curiosity. Creativity. Possibility. When I first heard of this vision, I wondered about a student that might be like me. I struggle to express myself through The Arts. More well-known forms of “making” and “tinkering” are not my thing. Am I — and others like me — “creative?” And then I read the book, and I realized that this blog is my creative outlet. It’s how I put together ideas, question continuously, and bring my thinking to an audience. I may not create with my hands, but I do with my mind. Our students can too.

With this new thinking, I’m left wondering, how do we allow all students to develop their creative niche? I can’t help but think about more opportunities to inquire and problem solve in all subject areas and represent thinking in various ways: recognizing the value in all of these waysIs this how we help all children recognize their creativity? What might this actually look like in a classroom environment? I would love to know what you do.



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