Updated: Sep 5, 2019
I was recently asked how teachers can assess the creative efforts of learners. This is a question there is much to explore about in order to create tools. Yet I came across an essay offering a simple and effective strategy.
Angela Naomi Webb and Audrey C. Rule relate about a creative literacy task weaved with science. Students were given information about life-cycles, invited to research more themselves, and brainstorm with classmates. Then they transformed simple figures into parts of life-cycles together with adding a title or a label. They learned more vocabulary than another group of learners that only drew life-cycle figures with less of a creative effort. And their motivation and participation were greater.Transforming a figure into a drawing about life-cycles enabled the students to express their understanding of the learning material. Labeling their drawing gave them an opportunity to connect their learning to new vocabulary.
The students coped with a creative task new to them. What’s important is that they were instructed before beginning the task about how their creative endeavors will be assessed. That not only enabled them to do better, but also in fact fostered their creative thinking skills.
The assessment was to be conducted based on the measures suggested by Guilford:
Fluency – generating many ideas before deciding on one figure and how to transform it.
Flexibility – thinking of ideas for different stages of life-cycles, from different parts of organisms, or transforming the forms into drawings of life-cycles that included diverse components.
Originality – making drawings that no other student has thought about
Elaboration – adding details to their drawings to make them better.
I hope this assessment strategy and creative task gives you ideas on how to engage children in meaningful learning. You can find the full essay at:
Webb, A.N. & Rule, A.C. (2012). Developing second graders’ creativity through literacy-science integrated lessons on life-cycles. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40, 379-385.
The task of transforming figures opens the door to visual metaphors as a pedagogic tool, which as this essay shows is very effective and rewarding. You’ll find more about how to use metaphors for creative meaningful learning in the books I am at the process of writing: The Creative Teacher Handbook and The Creative School Handbook. The books are due to be published by June 2019.
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