January 15, 2016 by

Promoting Innovation in the Creative Classroom


Promoting Innovation “If you want to become more creative, surround yourself with creative people and seek out creative environments,” says education consultant and researcher Patti Drapeau. In her book, Sparking Student Creativity: Practical Ways to Promote Innovative Thinking and Problem Solving, she encourages educators to take a proactive approach to creative lesson planning and develop classroom practices that will prompt and support innovative thinking among students.

While it’s important for students to engage in creative activities in school, it’s also important for them to think of themselves as innovators of an idea. Throughout her book, Drapeau provides 40 “grab-and-go” ideas to help teachers explore creative instruction and motivate students to learn in innovative ways. The following ideas target the five steps of the innovative process: identify the need, evaluate, identify steps to produce innovation, identify the enablers and disablers, and reflect. Each idea allows students to use one or more of their creative thinking skills to decide up their best idea.

Grab-and-Go Ideas

  1. Nervous Nellie—Have groups of students generate many different worries about a situation and many different ways to resolve these problems.
  2. Eliminate and Defend—To help students identify and choose their best idea, have the class generate criteria to use in making a logical decision.
  3. Creating Consensus—Ask students to visually develop their innovation, collaborate with one another, and identify steps to move innovation from an idea to full conceptualization.
  4. Talk Show—Have students work in pairs; one student is the talk show “host,” who will ask preset questions about the partner’s innovation, and the other student is the “guest.” This allows students to assess their innovation and talk through the process.

Want more “grab-and-go” ideas that will help spark creativity in the classroom? Pick up a copy of Sparking Student Creativity.

Mary Melvin is a communications specialist at ASCD.