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Lesson Plans

Fw: the creativity test for students

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Larry Cox (L_J_Cox)
Tue, 16 Feb 1999 10:19:52 -0700

>A creativity test can be given to students at the beginning of every school
>year to measure creativity and spark an interest in art. Teachers can
>explain to students the creative techniques of ping-pong, hitch-hiking,
>modifying, and combining.
>Educators are always looking for ways to incorporate creativity into the
>school curriculum. But a creativity test? Just how does one take-or for
>that matter, how would a teacher grade-a "creativity test"?
>Youngsters taking this test will find it to be not only a fun, creative
>activity, but an important learning experience as well. Students in my
>classes have taken the test for eight years now and I can definitely say
>that this project, more than any other, adds a definitive flavor of
>excitement as to how students approach projects in my classroom from that
>point on. I refer to the concepts learned through taking the test for the
>rest of the school year.
>The test is easy to give (see examples that I have designed: I alternate
>Versions One and Two every year). Just run off copies of the test on the
>school copier.
>The assignment is to turn the shapes on the paper into something -trying
>to fill all nine boxes with ideas.
>Allow one class period for students to fill in the boxes. Students should
>work in pencil so errors may be erased and changes made if desired. Colored
>pencils or markers may be used if time allows. Have students write their
>names on the back-not the front-of the test. If students talk and discuss
>their tests a bit that's OK, that's a part of the plan too.
>Begin day two by writing this "silly sentence" on the chalkboard: I was
>playing in -Dong and I hitch-hiked home to modi r my combine.
>This phrase, along with the creativity test, is about to help introduce
>students to a whole new wav of thinking.
>Explain that the underlined words in the sentence are actually creativity
>techniques which the students will shortly be putting to use. The word
>"pingpong" refers to the creativity technique of throwing ideas back and
>forth. Students who were discussing ideas during the test were already
>doing this. Unfortunately, as any business executive can tell you, creative
>ideas often begin-and end-at the talking stage.
>"Hitch-hiking" means picking up on one another's ideas. Copying others'
>ideas at school is often considered stealing or cheating. At first, the
>suggestion of copying at school seems a foreign and shocking notion to
>students-shades of unfairness. The idea is not to copy others' ideas
>that's plagiarism. The point is to take the idea and build on it, making
>it better.
>An example of using another person's ideas is when architects study other
>buildings of the desired style before making a plan of their own. In this
>way the architects can be sure they have not inadvertently copied an "old,
>worn" idea, and can be sure that their idea has actually been arranged
>with new variations and interpretations. Whether a source is a first-hand
>observation or secondhand from a book, "hitch-hiking" can be likened to
>research, and it is an essential component to ensuring that a truly
>idea measures up.
>Students can associate the third word, "modify," with a modified car
>like at a racetrack. "Modify" means change, change for the purpose of
>To make that point perfectly clear means that the students are going to
>have to retake the test. Yes, actually retake the exact same test on a
>new piece of paper!
>You see, one of the most important steps in taking this creativity test
>is that the students find that the first test was only a rough draft.
>the test reinforces, in a way that words could never do, the concept that
>real creativity calls for more effort than quitting on the first attempt
>and pronouncing the product "good enough."
>The fourth and final creativity step is to "combine." Students discard
>solutions they find to be unworkable or unsatisfactory for any reason,
>then use the better possibilities to come up with a final solution.
>Students now gather around in a group and lay out their "tests" from the
>previous day, finished or not, for all to see. Remember: student's names
>are on the back so that no one gets embarrassed. As students observe their
>tests they should keep in mind the creativity concepts in the "silly
>in order to do better
>w h e n they retake the test.
>The teacherled critique will consist of comments on the tests, focusing
>on the four ways of measuring creativity: fl Zu e n cy, flexibility,
>and elaborating. (I use the acronym "F.FRO.E." to remember the four terms
>as I talk.)
>Many Gifted and Talented teachers nationwide use a drawing test designed
>by Dr. Frank WIlliams as a part of their
>testing regimen for student eligibility into the gifted program. In Dr.
>Williams' test, titled Exercise in Divergent Thinking (published in 1986),
>students turn abstract lines and forms into objects and label each drawing
>with a title. The evaluator then "grades" the tests, with the points
>according to the four principles of creativity.
>"Fluency" refers to the number of ideas. Did the student fill in all nine
>boxes on the creativity test? "Flexibility" means to approach ideas from
>a variety of viewpoints, thinking in different ways. For example, it is
>a revelation to many students that they could have drawn their pictures
>upside down or sideways. Their drawing can be inside or outside the given
>shape. The object can be living or non-living, the picture can even be
>abstract in pattern and design. "Flexibility" is brainstorming at its best
>and anything goes.
>"Originality" is uniqueness. Instead of turning a triangle shape into a
>pine tree, or a 'T' shape into a telephone pole, students should try to
>think of a less obvious choice. The idea doesn't have to be a
>brandnew invention, being merely statistically unique is just fine.
>One of the best approaches to originality is to "break the rules" in a
>constructive way. Instead of filling the boxes with nine individual ideas,
>let lines break out of the boxes. For the second test, encourage students
>to combine boxes or, for a real challenge, combine all nine boxes together
>to create one complete scene.
>"Elaboration" means to take an idea as far as it can go. For example,
>a background and extra details to the picture.
>Students may now retake the test. This time, provide the class with markers
>or colored pencils, and allow more than one class period for students to
>complete their test to the fullest. Stress neatness and bright colors,
>until only a touch of white paper remains before students hand in their
>Experiencing these creativity techniques, and learning to understand,
>and measure creativity, helps students and teachers clarify and demystify
>this process we call creativity.
>Ping-ponging ideas back and forth, hitch-hiking onto one another's ideas,
>having the courage and initiative to make the effort to modify ideas for
>the purpose of improvement, and combining ideas to form the best solution
>all furnish a means to solve problems in creative and original ways.

  • Reply: Buerkle, Jennifer: "Re: Fw: the creativity test for students"