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Stav Papadopoulos : Creativity in the Classroom the Whole Year Round!

Creativity in the Classroom the Whole Year Round!

By Stav Papadopoulos

The winter holidays have come and gone and upon returning to school you may find the magic is gone. The festive mood, the rising excitement, the anticipation, the energy produced for the occasion-all of what inspired and motivated us to turn our classroom into a stage for fun and creative activity seems to have come to a halt.

Holidays provide a great cause — and for some of us an alibi — for celebration. Why wait for the occasion to come along? When the circumstances don’t exist, we teachers can create them. Going wild with projects, crafting, decorating, singing, reciting poetry, staging theatrical productions, gift-making and exchanging, hosting parties to name but a few creative activities are not exclusive to any one holiday.

Fellow teachers, take heart. Festivities in our field last throughout the year. Keep up the enthusiasm in the classroom by incorporating a parade of melodic, colorful, tasty and imaginative activities into your daily curriculum. To get you started here are a few suggestions you can add to your ideas:

  • Each and every day can be a holiday in the classroom.
    You don’t need to resort to the calendar to discover a special day. Make one up as you go along or ask your group for ideas and mark them on your own class calendar. Set aside a special ‘acquaintance’ day for each and every student in your classroom and why not for every teacher in the school.
  • Start the year off with a surprise!
    Announce plans for a purposeful project which will necessitate everyone’s input and active participation. A recital, a play, a sports event, an experiment, a mathematics competition, a chess championship, a language festival, a good-bye party for a retiring teacher for the end of the school year — and why not — a welcoming party for students and teachers joining as of the coming year.
  • Discover local culture and events.
    Read the local free press along with your students. Take an interest in the neighborhood or community your school is situated in. Bring some local traditions into the classroom-legends, songs, food, crafts.
  • Honor the pioneers in every field.
    Whether you teach language, math, chemistry or home economics there are opportunities for your students to appreciate your science further. Take advantage of references to people, places and events in your text books or during the lessons. Start a mini or a mega project with intent to learn the facts and invite the class next door so as to share your findings with them.
  • Build some suspense.
    The incentive can be some question a student raised. Bring in a box or cover an area of the wall in your classroom and keep them guessing. Plan an activity around it. Set a day and prepare for the uncovering.

What if it is the middle of winter? Gradually bring spring into the classroom-one item, one story, one flower at a time. Looking even further than spring? The research, the planning and the preparations for the summer luau will have you all working like busy bees.

We welcome the holidays for the delightful break from the routine they offer. When they come along we eagerly allow creativity to take over and transform our classroom and our teaching. The spirit of holidays touches us all — students and teachers alike and we all become so involved as we prepare to celebrate. Winter holidays may be over but you and your students can keep the momentum going; creative teaching turns every day into a special day for your learners. •

© 2013 Stav Papadopoulos. All rights reserved.

Stav PapadopoulosStav Papadopoulos is a life-long learner and teacher of foreign languages. She conducts creative language teaching workshops, travels for inspiration, and writes e-books and school plays. More »

Updated 1/9/14