During these shelter at home times, many have found that they have some time to be creative in a variety of ways which can have a multitude of benefits. Teaching students to think outside of the box and empowering families to be innovative in engaging their students in learning can help nurture their social and emotional well-being.
For instance, some have rediscovered their interest in crafts, painting or outdoor activities. On a recent hike, Teaching in Purple’s co-editor, Tracy Vasquez, came across painted rocks that were designed with inspirational messages. On another day, she came across a make-shift teddy bear scavenger hunt. Our other co-editor, Dr. Gilpatrick, noticed her neighbor design a very creative hopscotch on the street in front of their homes. The neighbor’s children had to complete various tasks as they hopped on each circle: jump 10 times, do five burpees, skip 20 steps, lunge 10 times, hop on one foot five times then on the other five times and jump rope for one minute.
Look for Inspiration
Educators can glean some ideas from those who have had successful businesses. For instance, Apple creator and CEO Steve Jobs reportedly encouraged employees to take time to pursue creative projects. Similarly, real estate guru and Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran empowered her sales directors to dedicate a certain percentage of their department’s operational budget to fun experiences for their groups. The rationale for these strategies is that when there is time for our brains to relax, there is a higher likelihood that we can be creative to think about new and innovative ways to make our teaching, learning and serving more meaningful and engaging.
Use the Arts as an Educational Tool
As teachers consider ways to engage their students during remote learning, it may be beneficial to consider some ways of teaching and learning that not only include technology, but also arts, sciences and physical activities. For instance, students may choose to pursue a creative demonstration of their thinking and learning. If they are learning about a specific artist, they could design a mural that incorporates that artist’s philosophies and approach to making art. If they are learning about fractions, they could draw a storyboard to illustrate how they would create their pizza or a pie using different fractions. For P.E., the students could design plays and strategies for the probability of the success of their plays in soccer, football or baseball.
These are but a few examples of ways that teachers and families can encourage creativity and positivity during remote learning days. By shifting our focus away from keeping students busy with learning packets, we provide them with the opportunity to think more deeply about ideas in their world and even come up with innovative ways to make their worlds even safer, kinder and more fun.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.