Creativity and innovation - they get our attention. Students in classrooms want to be engaged and see creative and amazing lessons. Adults in meetings yearn for presentations that are more than a PowerPoint presentation being read aloud. Consumers are looking for something different that will catch their eye. Young women are hoping for a creative invitation to prom or for a proposal that is unexpected and breathtaking. Yet, if most of us were asked, we would say that we’re just not that creative.
While some may be more creative than others, I believe that everyone can become more creative. Being creative may push you out of your comfort zone and your idea may flop. Erase the fear of failing. When a creative idea works, it is like igniting a spark and watching it turn into a blazing fire.
Many years ago I served in a school as a learning support strategist. One of my responsibilities was to share instructional strategies and encourage teachers in their profession. I was preparing my weekly newsletter and decided to focus on creativity. I started by encouraging teachers to choose a common object and think of all the ways it could be used instructionally in the classroom. Since it was October, I chose a pumpkin and came up with twenty ways teachers could use a pumpkin for instruction. In case you have an inquiring mind, here were the ideas:
- Design a face for the pumpkin that uses multiple geometric shapes.
- Estimate the number of seeds in the pumpkin and then scoop and count.
- Write a creative story where a pumpkin is the star of the story.
- Estimate the weight of the pumpkin and then weigh it - how would the weight change once the pumpkin was cleaned out?
- Measure the height, width and circumference of the pumpkin.
- Research the history of the pumpkin and how it became linked to Halloween.
- Locate the closest pumpkin farm. Investigate how and where pumpkins grow.
- Learn how to say the word pumpkin in different languages.
- Cook the seeds.
- Make a pumpkin pie.
- Carve it.
- Paint it - then donate it to a business partner or nursing home.
- Change its face to demonstrate different emotions.
- Write pumpkin riddles, jokes and puns.
- Dye the seeds and use them to make a picture.
- See how far you can roll the pumpkin (this could get messy)!
- Divide the pumpkin into equal parts.
- Set a timer and see how many other words can be made from the letters in pumpkin.
- Use the pumpkin to teach about prepositions. Put the pumpkin on, under, behind, etc.
Take a marker and use it to write adjectives that could describe a pumpkin on the pumpkin. If you are recycling the pumpkin for another class, put the adjectives on post-it notes and attach them to the pumpkin.
Let’s deal with the thought that enters our minds convincing us that we are lacking in creativity. You won’t become more creative without making an attempt to do so. Where in your life can you be more creative? Sometimes it is easier to start practicing creativity with your family members. When my husband and I were dating, he told me we were going on a date at a future time and gave me a clue per day about what we would be doing. Even though I am a planner, I had a great time trying to figure out what we would be doing. When my son was young, his favorite game to play with me was a modified hide-and-seek. I would write a clue that led him to another clue and so on until the last clue led to the location where I would be hiding.
In your work environment, could you add a dash of creativity? If you are the person who does the hiring for your organization, look for creative people. They will be the ones who suggest things that will keep your company fresh and growing. Encourage your workers/staff to collaborate. Creative people feed off of one another and come up with more and better ideas to infuse into your organization. I know that when I am trying to come up with ideas, there are specific people that I have worked with over the years that will fuel my creativity and brainstorm right beside me for better results than I would have gotten on my own.
Finally, if you just feel you have no creativity, find something you like and copy or modify it. We have such resources at our fingertips today! Sites like Google, Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers provide an abundance of resources to help you be creative. I love to garden and every spring I plant annuals in planters outside of my garage. This year, everyone that saw them commented on their beauty. Was I creative enough to coordinate the flowers in the pots? Absolutely not, but flipping through a magazine, I saw flowers that looked beautiful in planters similar to mine. I tore out the page, went to the nursery and bought similar flowers. Creative people find things they like and copy and/or modify to make it as good as the original or better.
Light your creative fire! I’d love to hear about how you are trying to be more creative. If you have other ideas about what you could do with a pumpkin in the classroom, leave a comment and we’ll grow our creative list!