Literature and History
Literature and history classes are perhaps the most conducive to teaching creativity in the classroom. For the gifted, creative exercises in both of these classes can not only help them relate to the material they’re learning, they can also help them stretch their minds. Here are some examples of ways of teaching creativity in the literature classroom:
Have students pretend that they are part of a story, or live at a certain time in history. How would their life be different than it is now? How would they react to the events going on around them? They can write a short story or a journal entry about their answers to these questions, or they can simply have a discussion in class.
Skits are great ways to get kids to use their creativity. Have students act out certain historical events or scenes from a book they’ve read. You can also have them give a “speech” to the class, pretending to be one of the characters in the book or a historical figure. (Acting out famous speeches, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech or Mark Antony’s “Brutus is an Honorable Man” speech are excellent ways to help students imagine how the speeches actually sounded.)
Science class can seem dry and boring to some students, even those who are gifted. In terms of science, teaching creativity in the classroom for the gifted depends mostly on the teacher using his own creativity in developing activities for the students. For example:
Have students write a story from the point of view of a piece of food being digested, or of a red blood cell circulating in a person’s veins. Make sure they include the scientific terms discussed in class or in their readings.
Have students develop their own hypotheses instead of giving away the answer. For example, rather than teaching them the parts of a cell, have them make a list of different functions that a cell probably needs to do (through lesson plans like this one on mitosis), and have them infer from there the parts that a cell must have.
Math class seems to be the least likely candidate for teaching creativity in the classroom for the gifted. After all, many students think of math as a series of equations to be solved. Some of these ideas can turn math class into a more creative place:
Instead of teaching a math concept and having students replicate it, allow them to figure out the concept for themselves. Teach through discovery by giving them a problem and asking them to figure out how to solve it, possibly in groups.
Encourage students to ask creative questions (such as “I understand how fractional exponents work, but how would decimal exponents work?”) by writing the student’s question on an “Excellent Question” board. Periodically stop and encourage students to ask out-of-the-box questions about what they’ve learned so far.
This post is part of the series: How Teachers Can Help Gifted Students
This series of articles discusses techniques teachers can use to help gifted students learn, both in an integrated classroom and in a classroom specifically for the gifted. Gifted students have a lot of potential to contribute to society, so teachers have a responsibility to educate them well.