Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!
Pelting rain is drenching the windows near my desk as I write this week’s blog in the middle of a thunderstorm on the last day of February.
What an attention-getter – the sound of thunder – made more ominous by lightning in an otherwise quiet thick black sky! Would that teachers could call up thunder and lightning once in a while in our classrooms to catch and keep the attention of students whose minds may be wandering away from work. Well, it’s a creative thought, at least.
Creativity – how do we define it? How can we use it to foster focus in class? Creativity is the ability to be inventive and imaginative. Much discussion is underway in different parts of the world about the growing importance of creativity in education, because to be inventive and imaginative is directly linked with critical thinking – a much desired skill in today’s difficult times.
More than one school of thought today suggests that the twenty-first century global economy requires workers who are capable of using their imaginations to think critically and collaborate on projects toward mutually agreed-to goals. Teachers who believe this premise can contribute enormously to their students’ success by modeling creativity in their classrooms. This includes engaging students’ hearts and minds by using tools and tricks that catch and keep kids’ attention. When children get to spend time with creative teachers they get to learn by osmosis.
Check out comparative statistics for student achievement levels in different developed countries worldwide and you’ll likely find that science, technology, engineering and math take center stage. Look closer, as many respected educators have done, however, and you’ll find that this specific curriculum quartet comprises a set of tools – very important tools – but not the complete makings of a positive end result.
Along with science, technology, engineering (in the upper grades) and math, more and more educators encourage the inclusion of skill-building in the areas of critical thinking, the ability to communicate and the ability to work together on project development.
Finding and using creative ways to catch and keep K – 5 students’ attention is an important step in this skill-building process. It’s important to start the process early in children’s lives to help them achieve later success. I believe that it’s especially important to develop an appreciation in elementary school students for the importance of strong communication skills in our global community.
Mixing up predictable patterns is one way to model creativity, but this needs to be done carefully, of course, to maintain good classroom management and balance, particularly for students with special needs. We’ll look at more ways to achieve this goal in upcoming blogs.
Please comment with your ideas on how to model creativity in the classroom and gain and maintain students’ attention in the process.
The storm outside still rages and rain is predicted to continue, but I plan to take sunshine indoors tomorrow when I’m teaching. That’s what I always tell my students when I enter a classroom on a rainy day. I simply say, “We’ll just have to make sunshine indoors today.” Hope that’s one example you can use of modeling creativity for attention.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings.
Talk with you next week,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet