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Lesson Plans

Fw: the creativity test for students

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Larry Cox (L_J_Cox)
Thu, 18 Mar 1999 23:51:08 -0700

>>A creativity test can be given to students at the beginning of every
>>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.
>>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,
>>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
>>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.