Artifact 5:  CEP 818 Synthesis Paper:  Creativity in Teaching

Standards:  1, 2, 3, 4
Goals: 1, 2

Creativity in Teaching

     I have tried a myriad of learning activities that have resulted anywhere from successes to utter failures in terms of catching students’ interest. When our CEP 818 course started, I was introduced to a set of cognitive tools that have helped me think about rather plain topics in a new light. For the purpose of this course, I have used these cognitive tools to explore the theme of diversity, as it is a central topic of the social studies and an important element of my curriculum.

    This artifact is also included to demonstrate my growth in planning and designing lessons for students that are engaging, rigorous, and meaningful.  As a novice teacher, I am always actively seeking new ways to capture my students’ interest in learning. My fascination with the various social studies is not often mutually shared among middle school-aged students, most of whom feel that history is unimportant. After getting to know my mixed-ability students throughout the past few months, I came to understand that the present and the future are most valuable to them, not the past. This is not surprising to me, especially since it’s difficult for them to connect with historic figures like, Paul Revere, who lived over 270 years before they did. Even my best students seem to experience a sort of disjunction between academic work and real life.

     Thus, my teaching has become heavily dependent on creativity (in every sense of the word). I have had to find, explore, and investigate new tracks of thought about every single topic I taught, and demonstrate it to my students a way that was interesting, meaningful, and relatable to their 21st century lives.  This process helped me realize that it is my job to help my students conceptualize topics differently in order to really gain a deeper understanding and make their time in my classroom worthwhile.