Going Full STEAM Ahead due to Creativity Anchoring in the Ocean of Change and Stress

Updated: Apr 26

How can teachers anchor themselves to the withered floor of the classroom with reforms blowing the wind, demands for scores waving constantly, while parents, the principal, the superintendent, and the most demanding clients – the students, swamp their course?

Ironically, the solution is embracing creativity, since it praises change, even invites it.

Creative people navigate their behavior drawn to opposite shores. On the one hand they like their stability, on the other they seek novelty. One minute they examine a new idea subjectively, the other they step back to observe it objectively. Their adult conduct serves for balance when they ride the sparkling waves of childlike behavior.

They are like children, aren’t they? And it makes life more interesting. You’d think that clinging to old habits provides stability. But it is creativity that stimulates us to exhibit superb living and educating.

Here’s something to think about: The Aurora Borealis and Australis present their beauty in the poles interacting the energy of the sun with Earth’s magnetic field.

SANCTUARY painting by Michelle Korenfeld from Raising Creative Thinkers (c) image for blog post about STEM to STEAM

My painting “Sanctuary” illustrates a dark night at the ocean. The waters reflect the festivity of lights from up above. On top of a mountain a lighthouse stands bright.

Drop your anchor at the creative sea to serve as lighthouse for your family, friends or students.

Use the 5 E’s:

1) Explore – Creativity manifests itself in a new idea, thought, or lesson plan, but it needs nourishment. Seek to enrich yourself, becoming a life-long learner. Knowledge nowadays is dynamic. And that is the beauty of things. Students may exhibit knowledge we don’t possess. At those times they need our reassurance based on our life-long experience. Send them back to exploring what they came up with, to tell you more about it. When you do that, you’ll be amazed to see how thirsty they have been for your guidance and confidence in them. Raise world explorers from the coziness of their web device. And raise yourself as their mental captain.

Explore your motives by reflecting on what’s driving you to educate bright young minds into the 21st century world. When that is clear, connecting with children to facilitate the delivery of meaningful learning in all subjects will be easier.

This article’s art coalesces with scientific facts to ignite connecting the mind and the heart. That is to inspire towards STEAM teaching, which leads us to the next step…

2) Experience – Try to use art to activate thinking while learning science. Find a painting, or poem to make children curious about a scientific phenomenon.

STEM subjects have been the core of our curriculum for long. Yet there is dissatisfaction with students’ scores. What do we do?

Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize laureate due to his breakthroughs in physics, yet he was a talented painter. A man of polarity, and in the midst humor, curiosity and playfulness serving as anchor. He said: “…the physics teacher has the problem of always teaching techniques, rather than the spirit, of how to go about solving physical problems.”

Adding A for Arts to turn STEM into STEAM, means infusing the creative thinking processes into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Practicing the 5 E’s serves to light the spark of interest in students eyes. Explore – discovering the world. Experience – playing with the information we drew in. Examine – checking the ideas we drew on. Elevate – taking those ideas to the next level. And Express – conversing, presenting, writing and sharing.

3) Examine – Teachers should check the lesson plans they have been using. They can try beginning a lesson presenting the information to be explored, then consider the following learning process. They can write down the following creativity skills on cards beforehand, and read them one at a time to drive experiential interaction.

* Enjoying Challenges – Invite children to envision what educational product they are going to make based on what they just learned.

* Emotional Intelligence – let’s talk emotions. How do the children feel about the product in mind?

* Diversify – Invite children to jot down ideas on how to develop the product.

* Tolerating Ambiguity – Help the kids or youth make friends with the discomfort of not having ideas. Direct them to use the phrase: “I’m thinking”. We’re in the process.

* Open-Mindedness – having accepted ambiguity we’re back to open-minded thinking

* Curiosity – what would make our peers curious about our educational products?

* Look at it another Way – is there another perspective we’re missing?

* Identifying the Essence – Sorting the ideas according to relevance and applicability.

4) Elevate – The children now have a raw educational product. Invite them to refine it.

5) Express – Invite children to present their products. Express your fascination.

Final Tips:

  1. Be prepared that when we present the next card, the children gape at us for a moment. Then they dive back into the process.

  2. The more we put effort into conversing whole heartedly with the children, the more they will give us feedback feeding our drive to do our best work.

  3. You don’t have to be a science teacher or an art one to teach STEAM. Multi-disciplinarity is beautiful. No one expects you to master a subject. Just prepare yourself by understanding the concept of the scientific matter you’re going to introduce. Watch a YouTube video about it.

  4. It may seem like you’re not the center of the interaction, but you are its pillar of stability as facilitator. That’s powerful.

  5. Remember that thinking goes together with movement and sound. Tolerate the mess. It means you are on top of things, delivering 21st century educating.

Need help getting a new feel as an educator? Check out the Raising Creative Thinkers' Academy to learn more about our stimulating teacher training. Become the teacher you always wanted to be building 21st century learning professionality.

Good luck!

Michelle Korenfeld

Raising Creative Thinkers - 21st Century Project-Based and Social-Emotional Learning lesson plans, stimulating teacher training, teaching tools, and best children’s STEAM book