>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
challenging >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. > >A NEW WAY OF THINKING > >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
exactly, >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
creative >idea measures up. > >Students can associate the third word, "modify," with a modified car
engine, >like at a racetrack. "Modify" means change, change for the purpose of
improvement. >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.
Retaking >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
sentence" >in order to do better > >w h e n they retake the test. > >MEASURING CREATIVITY > >The teacherled critique will consist of comments on the tests, focusing >on the four ways of measuring creativity: fl Zu e n cy, flexibility,
originality, >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
awarded >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
once-in-the-world, >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,
adding >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 >tests. > >Experiencing these creativity techniques, and learning to understand,
recognize, >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. >