Creativity has long been a big part of what we do in gifted education. When I was a teacher of the gifted, we spent a fair amount of class time each week devoted to creativity activities. I enjoyed seeing them wrestle with a problem, think deeply, and ultimately come up with interesting solutions. When you ask kids if they are creative, the answer is almost always a resounding YES! However, if you ask a group of adults if they are creative, they are not nearly as willing to say that they are creative. In working teachers, I can not tell you how many times I have heard, “I am just not creative.” It really breaks my heart every time.
So, how did you do? I have done this activity with dozens of groups. In every group about 75% of the participants come up with 3 or fewer responses. Yet as we saw on BrainGames, kids younger than 5 tend to come up with significantly more responses than adults. This leads to an interesting discussion as to why are kids so much better than this than adults. Quite simply kids are better at this because they have no rigid rules for the task. They are no afraid of using their imagination and coming up with ideas that are frankly quite absurd. As adults, we are so afraid of getting the wrong answer or being judged for what it is that we might say that we filter our ideas and limit our creativity. I have actually seen adults erase and scratch out things that they have written in this activity because they think that it can not be right.
While young kids tend to be able to produce the most ideas, as they get older, they tend to limit their own thinking as school has conditioned them to search only for the right answer. To overcome these creative blocks, we need to give ourselves permission to think like a kid. Go ahead, try it. Channel your inner five year old. Ok, now that you are thinking like a kid, we are going to try this again. Remember you have 1 minute to come up with as many different things that the image could be. When you are ready CLICK HERE.
How did you do this time? I bet you did significantly better. People who got 3 or fewer in the first round are usually able to get 5 to 10 after giving themselves permission to think like a kid. This type of thing gets easier the more that we practice. Here is a link to a collection of Droodles found online. You might also ask your students to create their own Droodles. When they create their own, have them come up with a creative title just like Roger Price.
The TTCT is scored on four scales:
Sharing this with your students helps them to realize that there are a variety of ways to be creative and depending on the situation and the task you may have to adapt your creative thinking. For example, in the Droodles activity, the primary goal is fluency. In the first round, there is a tendency to produce more elaborate responses and therefore produce fewer responses. With the drawing activity, the focus is on elaboration. Both activities have ample room for originality. By having students share their responses they will be able to see that many of their ideas were similar to what others have come up. Once they see this, they may try to produce ideas that are more original.
In the many years that I have been using these activities, I am always surprised by the responses that students come up with, and it is usually the students that I am not expecting the response from that come up with the most original ideas. More than a few times it has helped me to gain a deeper insight into what is going on in the minds of the students that I am working with.
I would love for you to try out these ideas with you students and share your experiences here.