Summer of Learning 2019 #6 Creativity (Unlocked) – blending @katiewhite426 and @perfinker #ILLG

Summer of Learning 2019 #6 Creativity – blending @katiewhite426 and @perfinker #IILG

I love thinking about creativity. I have been identified by others as a creative person and thinker (which has been likewise identified as both a strength and weakness). I was asked to take part on a provincial team looking at how creativity could be seen as it gets added as a key competency in our provincial curriculum. I have been asked to sit in on thinktanks involving creativity, and proudly declared (a couple times) that creativity as an objective cannot be defined as “by age/grade 6, all learners will demonstrate creativity by….

So it was with great excitement when I saw a book called Unlocked by Katie White – with the subtitle: Assessment As the Key to Everyday Creativity in the Classroom. @katiewhite426 is one of my Twitter go-tos (educrush?) because her thinking, reflecting and doing in a range of areas from #caflnchat to #atassess and provincial chats like #saskedchat have prompted my own work. So when I saw she had created a book blending two of my passions…I was looking forward to getting it!

Assessing creativity ain’t an easy topic to talk about – yet Katie does it. It is well researched yet also has a variety of useful reproducibles and even more important: deep questions for self reflection as well as to prompt others…especially the creators! Especially as the imagination question for June #ILLG was nice timing for me reading Unlocked by @katiewhite426

“What are specific facilitative skills, “moves”, and strategies that are the MOST effective for cultivating leader imagination” was the #ILLG wonder this month.

As Katie challenges us to reimagine assessment as a tool to help develop a learners creative potential, especially with some great AFL strategies such as:

  • Daily formative assessment
  • Self assessment
  • Peer assessment
  • Constructive and targeted feedback
  • Goal setting
  • Long term reflection and criteria setting

All of these blend with my own love of eportfolios which document ongoing descriptive feedback loops and my own interest in focusing on the learning journey rather than just end products (highly influenced after reading Walter Isaacsons bio on da Vinci….

But Katie also spends time delving into what the creative process “is” including: exploration, elaboration, expression, and reflection. As well as looking at differences between “Big C” Creativity (magical and new to everyone) and “little c” creativity (new to self as part of a complex world ). And tying in creative feelings to that state of “flow” when time becomes meaningless (as opposed to those times when every second seems to slow down….just me in some of my classes as a student? Okay!

Katie does an amazing job showing how assessment is not an enemy to creativity, including talking about some myths about assessment such as:

  • It is always done just by the teacher
  • It is one dimensional
  • It happens only after learning
  • It only measures written products
  • Assessment is objective while creativity is subjective (I love it when people misbelieve that the % is never in error!)
  • Students do not accurately self-assess (which is sometimes true in that many are harder on themselves, but I have also had conversations with secondary teachers bragging about how well their students self and peer assess – which is a reminder that in elementary, we need to focus on a gradual, guided release of responsibility of self/peer assessment so that they do get good at it!)
  • Feedback should be immediate (which does not mean take two weeks, but it does mean be timely with the feedback, which may be different for different learners…)

Again, Katie goes into an amazing amount of depth and description and I can only share some highlights that have so much more to them!

Such as,

Roles of teacher (eg actions in elaboration stage)

Listener/observer and feedback agent

Facilitator of reflective process

Knowledge enhancer

Skill enhancer

She has pages of questions – for self-consideration and to ask creative learners! There are reproducibles for self and others. There are guidelines and directions, such as some of her “Ingredients for Creativity”

  • A willing partnership and a desire for productive conversation
    A trust and relationship between the participants
    Strong listening skills
    Shared purpose

And so much more within this list (page 137) and one share directly from the book to share how detailed a Katie is….creativity is not something that happens by chance 😜

As she goes into details such as those around the “creative stages” of exploration (generate questions, visualize possibilities, confer with others etc) elaboration (prepare a plan, consider feedback, experiment with technology, make inferences, etc) expression (consider possible audience, consider impact, refine details, etc) reflection and response (examine feedback, generate new Qs, document ideas, reflect on criteria, etc) and a valuable reminder to choose a reflection method that is useful and relevant to you, both in format and in time commitment!

I love that Katie expands in ideas such as “the role of the teacher”, some actions such as self reflection and actions to consider when reflecting. Qualities of “creative people” – so many scaffolded levels to better understand this wonderous term: creativity.

Needless to say I have many dog-eared pages in this book for quick reviews, and have been passing the on the title to other educators, though my usual passing along my copy of the text may be a bit delayed while I soak it in a couple more times!

Inspiring me to continue to:

think different.

About technolandy

Principaling on the Pacific in Powell River BC Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback to personalize learning!
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