Friday, April 19, 2013

The Creativity Assessment Wheel

In my teaching, I ran into a problem.

You see, at my school, we are piloting a provincial curriculum called CTF - Career and Technology Foundations. I wrote about it briefly before when I showed the beginnings of my 20% Time. CTF, in many ways, mirrors the current shift from curriculum content to competency-based learning. It focuses on four processes: design, create, assess, and articulate. It is also meant to expose students to many of the different options they might have in high school and beyond in the areas of technology, human services, business, communication, and resources. In high school, these would be classes like legal studies, cosmetology, automotives, foods, video production, and so on. In middle school, it's more of a taste of some of these things.

So my problem was in this 20% Time project. I was trying to figure out how to assess how well my students were working on these processes. I was also trying to figure out how to help my students understand exactly what I was asking them to do. If I believe strongly (which I do) that the 20% Time, as well as other creative endeavours, teach them important skills that transfer to other areas in their learning, then I should devote some attention to assess it, right?

Serendipitously, I was in the middle of the last course of my grad studies program, Creativity in Educational Practice, and my classmates and I were asked to tackle assessment. A tough challenge, that's for sure, and there were many different approaches in my class to this task.

I went away and thought about it for awhile. I wanted to figure something out that would link the learning I've been doing in Creativity with the CTF curriculum. Here's what I came up with.

These graphics were designed by a former student of mine, Miranda, who's going to post-secondary right now for graphic design. You can download them here for your use:

Colour PDF
Grayscale PDF

Here's how I use this tool. Each class, at the beginning of their 20% Time, the students come into my room, where they each have one of these wheels up on the wall of my room. They then mark on their wheel, with the date, which of the skills they'll be working on that day. I have felt that this has made them more able to discuss their learning with me and each other.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Speed Dating

Speed Dating is a concept that came from my professor, Robert Kelly. He wrote about the process in his book, Educating for Creativity: A Global Conversation. I highly recommend this book, by the way.

Speed dating isn't for romance, it's for ideas. Its purpose is to grow ideas and collaborate with others to increase the amount of ideas everyone has.

Step 1: Have your students brainstorm ideas around a topic. When I did this the other day, my students brainstormed a list of things they could write about in a book review.

Step 2: Set the chairs in your classroom up in two rows, facing each other. There should be an equal amount of chairs. If you have an odd number of students, you could join in the speed dating too!

Step 3: Have your students choose a chair, bringing their original brainstorming list with them.

Step 4: Set the timer. Depending on what the topic is, the timer could be set for 2 minutes or even 1 minute, or as much as 5 minutes. We did 2 minute intervals the other day.

Step 5: Have the two students opposite each other share their ideas. If one of them brings up a good idea that the other person doesn't have, they should add it to their list. The objective is for each student to grow their list.

Step 6: When the timer rings, have everyone move one seat to the left. The ones at the end of the row will go across to the other side. Continue the idea exchange until you feel your students have enough ideas or they have "dated" everyone.