Engage Creative Learners

Think Outside the Box

Can college students be similar to elementary students?

  • Anxious on first day
  • Unsure if they will get along with their teacher
  • Will the class/subject be too hard
  • Excited to talk to friends
  • Not enough sleep the night before
  • Disruptive classmates
  • and the list continues…

The reasons for the items listed above may be different, but many of the symptoms are the same. After watching my daughter’s 1st grade teacher prepare young minds for learning, I wondered if I could use some of her strategies to prepare my adult learners. Every Tuesday was Think Outside the Box Tuesday, the first graders would come into class, take a random shape from the teacher’s desk, and get to work. They would transform the shape into some type of masterpiece. It was amazing what these young minds could think of at 8:15 in the morning! Then, each of them would share their drawing with the class. Once all drawings were shared, the students were ready to start the rest of the day.

Could it work in my classroom?

This semester will be my 3rd semester using Think Outside the Box. Some students love the activity, others have a difficult time “thinking outside the box.” Regardless of the effort individuals put into the activity each week, students know what to expect when they arrive. A new shape and markers are set out each week. The first five minutes are set aside to complete the activity, students share, and then we are all ENGAGED and ready to start the rest of the day’s activities.

One student stated, “I love Think Outside the Box Thursdays! They really help me wake up at such an early hour and get me thinking.”

Another advantage is the activity gives the instructor five minutes at the beginning of class to get organized!

Want to use the activity with your learners? It is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/95720141/Think-Outside-the-Box-Thursday.

4 thoughts on “Engage Creative Learners

  1. I do something dry similar and was going to post about it! You might like this book, “Caffeine for the Creative Mind.” It is gears more toward designers, but the activities will get anyone’s mind going. I use it in writing, photography, and audio classes!

  2. For the past 8 years I have been beginning my thinking critically and creatively classes with brain teasers which engages the students like no other methodology. In fact, I have gathered statistics over these past 8 years as to what methodologies do the students find most effective, energizing, and challenged by – here are the results:

    The thinking critically and creative class was given 11 criteria that are used in the class and to rank each criteria on a scale of 1=ineffective to 10=effective. Here are the results from highest to lowest. It is interesting that the text book comes in dead last.

    a. Brain teasers – 9.34
    b. creativity prjects – 9.04
    c. 20-30 minutes shifts – 9.00
    c. weekly e-mails – 8.95
    d. comprehensive final review – 8.78
    e. small groups – 7.82
    g. videos – 7.82
    h. in-class activities – 7.73
    i. assignments outside of class – 7.56
    j. SEA = self-evaluation assessment – 7.08
    k. text book – 6.34

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