Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Review the unit readings and resources, including the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct sections I-1.8 - Study Help
  

Review the unit readings and resources, including the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct sections  I-1.8 and I-1.10 to learn about our responsibility as educators to teach children the importance of respecting and valuing differences in others. Children are naturally curious to learn about people who look or act differently than they do. Therefore, the early childhood classroom is an ideal place to teach them to understand and care about others so they can become responsible global citizens.
In this video, two teachers balance multiple ethnicities in their classroom. Pay attention to how they work to make all students feel comfortable and at home in the classroom, including students who do not speak English.
Describe the creative strategies and activities the teachers in the video used to make all students feel comfortable in the classroom. What strategies do they use to include students who have low English language proficiency? In your opinion, are the strategies effective in creating an environment that supports the needs of all learners and build critical? Why or why not? 
Albert Einstein is famously observed that “the only serious method of education is to be an example” and for adding “if you can’t help it, be a warning example”. Reflecting on the first part of his statement, describe how teachers’ own attitudes and values can be reflected in the classroom.  Share an example where you have observed or experienced negative attitudes or lower expectations for some people based on factors such as ethnicity, gender, or culture.  What was the impact on those involved, and what are the lessons of this “warning example”?
With your peers, discuss strategies (other than the ones used by the teachers in the video) to teach a class with many different cultures represented. How would you apply these strategies using creative activities? How does the teacher’s attitude positively or negatively impact the environment in which these activities take place?
 NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct sections:
 I-1.8—To support the right of each child to play and learn in an inclusive environment that meets the needs of children with and without disabilities. I-1.9—To advocate for and ensure that all children, including those with special needs, have access to the support services needed to be successful. I-1.10—To ensure that each child’s culture, language, ethnicity, and family structure are recognized and valued in the program. 
diversity teaching in a multiethnic classroom: this is a video but it’s not letting me copy and paste it for you!!!!

NAEYC Program Standards

· 1a
Knowing and understanding young children’s characteristics and needs.
· 1c
Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments.

DAP Criteria

· 2E1
Teachers arrange meaningful experiences that are intellectually and creatively stimulating.
· 2F3
To extend the range of children’s interest and the scope of their thought, teachers present novel experiences and introduce stimulating ideas, problems, experiences, and hypotheses.
Creative thinking is not a station one arrives at but a means of traveling. Creativity is fun. Being creative, feeling creative, and experiencing creativity is fun. Learning is more fun for children in settings where teachers and children recognize and understand the process of creative thinking. Incorporating creative thinking into all areas of the curriculum contributes to a young child’s positive attitude toward learning. As one student teacher commented, “I used to think that if children were having too much fun, they couldn’t be learning. Now I understand how they are learning in a more effective way.” This chapter addresses the relationship of creativity and the classroom environment, providing guidelines for encouraging creative thinking in the early childhood program throughout the day. In subsequent chapters, the same emphasis on creativity is applied to specific curriculum areas.

Creativity is an integral part of each day. It is part of circle time, reading time, and lunchtime—it is not limited to art, music, creative movement, or dramatic play (see 
Photo 2-1
). Creativity needs to be a natural part of the curriculum and the learning environment. Children need know-ledge and skills to be creative. This unit will help you understand how to attain these goals. Throughout this unit, keep in mind that creative thinking is contagious—from teacher to child, from child to teacher, and also from child to child and teacher to teacher.

Photo 2-1

Creativity is part of each day and is not limited to art activities.

Casper Holroyd

The Relationship between Creativity and the Curriculum

LO 1

  To express their creative potential, young children need knowledge and skills. Both knowledge and skills are necessary before creative potential can have true meaning (Amabile, 1996). Children cannot develop high-level creative thinking skills without the basic knowledge and skills of a particular area, in the same way that a great chef must develop basic culinary skills before creating a gourmet recipe. The curriculum is the teacher’s choice of what knowledge and skills are important and also developmentally appropriate for a particular group of children (Bredekamp, 2009).
An example of the need for a knowledge base emerged in the early pilot testing of a measure of creative potential for young children. The researchers were trying to adapt the classic “uses” task for preschool children. In this task, the children are asked to name all the uses they can think of for a common item. The number of original (that is, unusual) answers serves as one measure of creativity (Torrance, 1962; Wallach & Kogan, 1965). The researchers were puzzled when a group of preschool children could think of only a few uses for common objects such as a clothes hanger and a table knife. The researchers realized that the reason for the limited response was that the children had little or no knowledge and skill in the use of clothes hangers and table knives. In fact, most preschool children are not allowed to use these items. Knowledge and skills, then, are a prerequisite for creativity. Later research came up with better results when the children were asked to think of all the ways to use a box and paper, items about which the children had a working knowledge (Moran, Milgram, Sawyers, & Fu, 1985; Rushton & Larkin, 2007). Creativity evolves from a knowledge base—without knowledge, there is no creation. A child must understand in order to invent.
Thus, one important goal for the early childhood teacher is to provide an adequate base of knowledge and skills for children, while at the same time providing an environment that encourages creative thinking in the use of the knowledge and skills (Torrance, 1995). The curriculum is the guide by which teachers determine what will be presented to children. Creativity is fostered according to how the curriculum is presented to the child (Runco, 2008).

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

— Joseph Chilton Pierce

Did You Get It?

· A preschool teacher trying to encourage creative thinking handed a group of her three-year-old students a rake and asked them to think of alternate uses for it. How was her activity flawed?
1. Three-year-olds lack the imaginative ability to think of alternate uses for an item.
2. Three-year-olds can only think concretely, not abstractly.
3. Three-year-olds cannot work effectively in groups.
4. Three-year-olds lack knowledge about rakes.
Take the full quiz on CourseMate.

Think about It

Creativity and Pretend Play
Two researchers studied the relationships among pretend play, creativity, emotional regulation, and executive functioning in children. They assessed pretend play using the Affect in Play Scale (APS), which measures children’s cognitive and affective processes, such as organization of a plot or use of emotions.
Sixty-one female participants, in kindergarten through fourth grade, were assessed using the APS to measure pretend play ability, a divergent-thinking task (the Alternate Uses Test), a storytelling task to assess creativity, a measure of executive functioning (the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task), and parent report on the Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC).
Using correlational analyses, they found that pretend play was significantly related to creativity as measured by divergent thinking and storytelling. Divergent-thinking ability, in turn, was significantly related to creativity in storytelling. No significant relationships were found with executive functioning.
The results of this study support theories that suggest play, creativity, and emotion regulation are linked (Hoffman & Russ, 2012). This study gives early childhood teachers further evidence that encouraging expressive free play with young children is conducive to creative thinking.

Promoting Creativity through Play and Exploration

LO 2

  Let’s take a look at a preschool classroom where computers are available and observe the process of exploration as it leads into play. At first, the computer is novel, and children engage in randomly punching keys—exploring what the keys can do. This leads to the eventual realization that specific keys have specific uses. This process of exploring the computer to discover what it can do may take several months, depending on the frequency of the child’s exposure to the computer. When the child has gained an understanding of what the computer can do, she may move on to another question: “What can I do with the computer?” Equipped with the skills gained through exploration (using a mouse, for example), the child truly begins to play with the computer.
Here again, it is important for the child to have basic knowledge of what a computer can do and the skills to operate it. But young children also need to explore the computer before any more formal experiences take place. Then, after they have acquired knowledge and skills, they can use the computer creatively.
As children explore and play with materials in their environments, they are also in a sense shaping the brain (Catania, 2008). Those who research the human brain contend that experience, particularly in childhood, sculpts the brain (Fischer, Immordino Yang, & Weber, 2007). The brain changes physiologically as a result of experience. New connections are formed every day in active interaction with the environment. Handson activities stimulate various regions of the brain, and active participation helps young children form stronger mental association with their existing understandings (Hinton, Miyamoto, & Della-Chiesa, 2008; Rushton & Larkin, 2007). Therefore, the opportunities to learn actively in an environment provided throughout life and particularly in the early years help to create unique individuals. Other researchers put it this way: “Throughout life, we are both shaped by and shaping our environment” (Fischer et al., 2007). Passive observation in the early childhood program is never enough. As the ancient Chinese proverb states, “Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Let me do and I understand.” Thus, the role of exploration and play is central to the development of creativity—at all ages.

Modifying Curriculum to Encourage Creativity

LO 3

  Curriculum may be viewed as an outline of knowledge and skills to be learned rather than as a recipe for how they must be taught. The term learn implies that exploration and play are part of the process; the term recipe denotes a careful following of steps in a specific order and amount to come up with one precise product. As we know, young children are not all the same, so differing amounts and various combinations of ingredients are necessary for each child. Each child learns the same knowledge and skills in a unique way (see Photo 2-2); therefore, the recipe is continually modified. Keep in mind that developmental needs serve as a guide to the sequence in which all concepts are introduced.

Photo 2-2

Each child approaches creative activities in her or his own unique way.

Casper Holroyd
Creativity and curriculum complement each other. The curriculum is a guide to the knowledge and abilities that are necessary to develop creative thinking skills. The curriculum provides the content around which creativity may develop. How the content is presented to the child is the means to creative development. When modifying curriculum to encourage creative thinking, consider the following points:
· The curriculum must be developmentally appropriate for young children. This means it will allow children to be both physically and mentally active, engaging them in active rather than passive activities (see Photo 2-3).

Photo 2-3

The curriculum must allow children to be both physically and mentally active.

Casper Holroyd
· Be alert to and aware of children’s interests. Choose materials and activities that are meaningful to children in your group. Children, like you, are drawn to materials and activities that interest them (see Photo 2-4). Be sure to involve them in choosing materials and activities for the curriculum.

Photo 2-4

Children are drawn to materials that interest them.

Casper Holroyd
· Provide a variety of materials that encourage children’s creative exploration. Allow children ample time not only to physically explore but also to mentally explore—think about—what they are doing (see Photo 2-5).

Photo 2-5

Children need lots of time to physically and mentally explore—to think about what they are doing.

Casper Holroyd
· In planning curriculum, consider all the types of learning styles and multiple intelligences (ways of learning) of children in your group. (More information about learning styles and multiple intelligences is found in Chapter 5.) Plan activities that meet the different needs of all learners.
· Encourage children’s divergent thinking and curiosity. Let them ask questions and search for solutions to their problems.
· Encourage older children’s curiosity by giving credit in your grading system for questioning. In this strategy, students are concretely rewarded for curiosity.
· Be sure to provide opportunities for children to interact and communicate with other children and adults in an atmosphere of acceptance.
A note of caution is needed here in our discussion, especially about choosing creative activities for young children. Remember, a teaching activity that produces an enjoyable or creative outcome does not necessarily enhance creativity unless the students have the opportunity for creative thinking. There is a difference between creative teaching (the teacher is creative) and teaching to develop children’s creativity. For example, when you examine books of so-called creative activities, you may find adorable illustrations and unusual activities, but the input from students is fairly routine. A color-by-number dragon filled with addition problems may have been an original creation for the illustrator, but completing the addition problems and coloring as directed provide no opportunities for originality on the part of students. A crossword puzzle in the shape of a spiral was an original idea for its creator, but it still requires students only to give accurate (convergent) responses to clues and fill in the correct spaces. In both of these examples, those who created the materials had the opportunity to be creative. The students did not. In other instances, classroom teachers may use enormous personal creativity in developing activities that allow few opportunities for students to be original.
Teaching to enhance creativity has a different focus: the essential creativity is on the part of the students. If the students developed a new form of crossword puzzle, they would have the opportunity to exercise creative thinking. Creativity can also be developed as students devise their own science experiments, discuss a fairy tale from the viewpoint of a character in it, or rewrite Snow White as it might be told by the stepmother. When we teach to enhance creativity, we may well be creative as teachers, but we also provide students the knowledge, skills, and surroundings necessary for their own creativity to emerge. The results may not be as flashy as the activities book, but they include real problem finding, problem solving, and communication by students.
It is also important to remember that challenges are not just for our students. We can also challenge ourselves as teachers. One way to do this is to reflect on the ways we are providing challenges in our program. When modifying the curriculum to encourage creative thinking, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
· Do I take time to observe children in action before stepping in to “teach”?
· Do I provide opportunities for children to use new understandings and skills in many different situations before moving to the next skill?
· Do I provide open-ended activities for children each day (see Photo 2-6)?

Photo 2-6

With open-ended materials, children are free to be creative.

Casper Holroyd
· Do I add or modify the materials in learning centers or stations as I perceive children are ready for change?
· Do I feel comfortable being challenged? How can I challenge myself to grow as a learner and teacher?
2-3aCuriosity: A Direct Link to Creativity
Children are curious by nature. From the moment of birth, they are drawn to new things. When children are curious about something new, they want to explore it. Because exploration is a crucial part of the creative process, curiosity is directly linked to creativity.
To ensure that children’s curiosity doesn’t fade, the following are some tips to encourage curiosity in young children.
· Recognize individual differences in children’s styles of curiosity. Some children may want to explore with only their minds, while others may choose more physical ways—touching, smelling, tasting, and climbing.
· Realize that to some degree, these differences are related to temperament differences in the exploratory drive.
· Recognize that some children are more timid, while others are more comfortable with novelty and physical exploration.
· Understand that even the timid child will be very curious; he may require more encouragement and reinforcement to leave safe and familiar situations.
· Try to redefine “failure.” In real life, curiosity often leads to more mess than mastery, but it is how we handle the mess that helps encourage further exploration and thereby creativity.
· Use your attention and approval to reinforce the exploring, curious child.
· When exploration in the classroom is disruptive, contain it by teaching the child when and where to do that particular kind of exploration. For example, “Claire, let’s play with water outside” (Perry, 2009).
2-3bIntegrated Curriculum and Creativity
  The curriculum that encourages creativity the most in young children is an integrated, whole curriculum. In an 
integrated curriculum
, the artificial divisions among content areas are reduced. Although many teachers find it convenient to think about what the child will learn as separate categories of information, the integrated curriculum is not designed in that way.
Most often, an integrated curriculum is designed around a unit of study centered on a specific theme or project. The unit of study contains a coordinated series of learning activities planned around a broad topic that involves the whole group. A unit in an integrated curriculum involves all of the content areas (reading, math, art, music, social studies, and so on). Integrated curriculum units provide the topics and framework for planning activities for children. The length of time for the unit may vary, taking weeks or months. The amount of time depends on the topic and the interests of the children.

In an integrated curriculum, children are able to experience learning as a whole. For example, they can explore the idea of neighborhood and community by reading books, hearing stories, drawing and painting a community mural, and planning and preparing foods from their neighborhood and community. In this broad approach to learning, they are able to express themselves creatively in many areas and not just in the area of the arts (see Photo 2-7). Part 5 presents many areas of the curriculum and creative approaches to each of these areas.

Photo 2-7

Young children explore their world in many ways.

Casper Holroyd

Did You Get It?

· When teaching addition, a second grade teacher gives the students small items to count and shows them how to write out the problems. Which method of modifying the curriculum to encourage creative thinking is the teacher applying?
1. Providing opportunities for the children to interact with other children.
2. Planning activities to meet the needs of all learners.
3. Encouraging divergent thinking and curiosity.
4. Allowing children ample time for mental thinking.
Take the full quiz on CourseMate.

Differentiated Instruction and Creative Early Childhood Curriculum

LO 4

 Another term associated with effective curriculum for learners is 
differentiated instruction
. Differentiated instruction is a philosophy of teaching and learning based on a set of beliefs that relate to encouraging creativity in your children. The beliefs of differentiated instruction are as follows:
· Children who are the same age are different in their readiness to learn, interests, styles of learning, experiences, and life circumstances.
· These differences in children affect what they need to learn, the pace at which they need to learn it, and the support they need from teachers and others to learn it well.
· Children learn best when they can make a connection between the curriculum and their interests and life experiences.
· Children learn best when learning opportunities are natural.
· Children are more effective learners when classrooms and schools create a sense of community in which children feel significant and respected.
· The central job of teachers and schools is to maximize the capacity of each student. (Tomlinson, 2000)
Differentiated instruction is a refinement of, not a substitute for, high-quality early childhood curriculum and instruction. Differentiated instruction is present in the early childhood classroom when the curriculum and instruction fit each child and children have choices about what to learn and how. Also, children taking part in setting learning goals is further evidence of differentiated instruction. Finally, in the early childhood classroom, with differentiated instruction, the curriculum connects with the experiences and interests of individual children.
Differentiated instruction is not a new phenomenon in early childhood education. The one-room schoolhouses of the past offered teachers the challenge of finding ways to work with students with wide-ranging needs. The contemporary approach to differentiating has been shaped by the growing research on learning—drawing from the best practices in special education, gifted education, and multi-age classrooms; recent research on the brain and multiple intelligences; and developments in authentic assessment.

In summary, the aim of differentiating instruction is to maximize each child’s growth by meeting each child where he or she is and helping the child progress from there. In practice, it involves offering several different learning experiences in response to children’s varied needs. Chapter 5 provides more specific information about activities for different learning styles and multiple intelligences.
2-4aCreative Early Childhood Curriculum and Learning Styles
  One of the components of differentiated instruction is an understanding of the different ways children learn. Children think and learn in different ways. In any group of children, a variety of different learning characteristics will always be present.
An important factor in understanding learning styles is understanding brain functioning. Both sides of the brain can reason, but by very different ways, and one side of the brain may be dominant. When we talk about a person who is 
right-brained
 or 
left-brained
, we are refer-ring to learning preferences based on functional differences between the hemispheres (sides) of the brain.
The left brain is considered 
analytic
 in approach. This means that a left-brained (
successive processor
) person prefers to learn in a step-by-step sequential format, beginning with details leading up to understanding a concept or acquiring a skill.
The right brain is described as holistic or 
global
. This means that a right-brained (
simultaneous processor
) person prefers to learn beginning with the general concept and then going on to specifics.
Children who are right-brained are those whose right hemisphere of the brain is dominant in their learning process. This is in contrast to the majority of children, whose left hemisphere is dominant in their learning style. Each hemisphere of the brain has distinctly different strengths and behavioral characteristics.
Everyone uses both hemispheres of the brain, but some may use one side more than the other. For instance, you might have a dominant right hemisphere, which simply means that it is your preferred or stronger hemisphere in which you tend to first process most of the information you receive. That does not mean you don’t use your left hemisphere. You may use your right hemisphere  of the time and your left hemisphere . Similarly, when we talk about children who are right-brained or left-brained, we do not mean they use only one hemisphere but simply that they use one hemisphere to a greater extent than the other.
The right- and left-brain hemispheres have specialized thinking characteristics. They do not approach life in the same way. The left-hemisphere approach to life is part to whole, which means it sequences, puts things in order, and is logical. The right hemisphere learns whole to part, which means it does not sequence or put things in order. Rather, it looks at things in an overall way or 
holistically
. Let’s consider specific skills and in which hemisphere those skills are best developed.
Left Hemisphere
The skills best developed in this side of the brain are handwriting, understanding symbols, language, reading, and phonics. Other general skills best developed here are locating details and facts, talking and reciting, following directions, and listening and auditory association. Children must exercise all of these skills on a day-to-day basis in school. We give children symbols; we stress reading, language, and phonics. We ask for details, insist that directions be followed, and mostly, talk at children. In short, most of our school curriculum is left-brained. We teach to the child who has a dominant left brain.
2-4cRight Hemisphere
The right hemisphere is associated with an entirely different set of skills. The right hemisphere has the ability to recognize and process nonverbal sounds. It also governs the ability to communicate using body language.
Although the motor cortex is in both hemispheres, the ability to make judgments based on the relationship of our bodies to space (needed in sports, creative movement, and dance, for instance) is basically centered in the right hemisphere.
The ability to recognize, draw, and deal with shapes and patterns as well as geometric figures lies in the right hemisphere. This involves the ability to distinguish between different colors and hues and the ability to visualize in color.

Singing and music are right-hemisphere activities. Creative art is also in debt to the right hemisphere. Although many children who are left-brained are quite good in art, the “art” they make is structured; it must come out a certain way. They are most comfortable with models and a predictable outcome. Their pictures, or the things they create, are drawings made for Mother’s Day or turkeys drawn for Thanksgiving. Children who are left-hemisphere dominant are good at other-directed art.

This One’s for You!

What Type of Learner Are You?
As discussed in this chapter, both sides of the brain can reason, but by very different ways, and one side of the brain may be dominant. Find out which type of learner you are by checking off which of the following characteristics best describes how you learn. Although you probably will have checks in both lists, you most likely will have a majority of checks in one list, which generally indicates that particular style as your dominant learning style.
Check off the characteristics that are most like you in both of the following lists.

Left (Analytic)

Right (Global)

Successive Hemisphere Style

Simultaneous Hemisphere Style

1.  Verbal
2.  Responds to word meaning
3.  Sequential
4.  Processes information linearly
5.  Responds to logic
6.  Plans ahead
7.  Recalls people’s names
8.  Speaks with few gestures
9.  Punctual
10.  Prefers formal study
11.  Prefers bright lights while studying

1.  Visual
2.  Responds to tone of voice
3.  Random
4.  Processes information in varied order
5.  Responds to emotion
6.  Impulsive
7.  Recalls people’s faces
8.  Gestures when speaking
9.  Less punctual
10.  Prefers sound/music background while studying
11.  Prefers frequent mobility while studying

Children who are right-hemisphere dominant create “mystery” pictures. They show the pictures to you, but they aren’t quite sure what you are looking at until they start talking about it. For example, they may show raindrops falling and the sun shining at the same time
After listening to a story, children who are right-brained can retell the story in their own words without any difficulty. However, they are so creative that they usually add their own details and ending. From an adult’s perspective, it may seem they are exaggerating or embellishing, but in their terms, they are simply being what they are. They change stories, add details, and alter endings to meet their emotional needs. Feelings and emotions appear to be most dominant in the right hemisphere.
Now, armed with all of this information on children who are right- or left-brained, you need to reflect on your own work with children and ask yourself if your curriculum is directed toward only one type of learner. Are you in tune with the right-brained learners? You may find it helpful to go to the library and take out books with specific curricular ideas for children who are right-brained. At the very least, you need to be aware of yet another way in which each young child is unique. And finally, you may want to find out what kind of learner you are by using the checklist in the This One’s for You!.
2-4eWorking with Older Children
  In the upper elementary grades, teachers have an even greater challenge to promote creativity because the curriculum often dominates the program. There are often state-level guidelines for what to teach, at what level, and with specific books and materials. Even in this situation, you can encourage creativity in your classroom. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.
To encourage creativity with older children:
· Use tangible rewards (stickers, prizes) as seldom as possible; instead, encourage children’s own pride in the work they have done.
· Avoid setting up competitive situations for children.
· Downplay your evaluation of children’s work. Instead, lead them to become more proficient at recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses.
· Encourage children to monitor their own work rather than rely on your surveillance of them.
· Whenever possible, give children choices about what activities they do and about how to do those activities.
· Make intrinsic (internal) motivation a conscious factor in your discussions with children. Encourage them to become aware of their own special interests and to take their focus off the extrinsic (external) rewards.
· To build children’s intrinsic (internal) motivation, help them build their self-esteem by focusing on and appreciating their unique talents and strengths.
· As much as possible, encourage children to become active, independent learners rather than to rely on you for constant direction. Encourage them to take confident control of their own-learning process.
· Give children ample opportunities for free play with various materials, and allow them to engage in fantasy whenever possible.
· In any way you can, show children that you value creativity—not only do you allow it, but you also engage in it yourself.
· Whenever you can, show your students that you are an intrinsically motivated adult who enjoys thinking creatively.
It may help to also consider these additional points on working with older students.
Time.
Give students extended, unhurried time to explore and do their best work. Stand aside when students are productively engaged and motivated to complete an interesting and creative task.
Space.
Provide students with an area to leave unfinished work to be completed later. Create an inviting workspace that has natural light, harmonious colors, and stimulating resources.
Materials.
Provide an abundant supply of interesting and useful materials, including writing and art materials that students can use freely to invent, experiment, and demonstrate ideas and products.
Climate.
Create a classroom atmosphere where students understand that mistakes are acceptable and it is appropriate to take risks. Allow a reasonable amount of noise, mess, and freedom.
Enrichment.
Introduce students to out-of-class experiences so they encounter ideas to use in classroom learning. Help students reflect on their experiences and what they mean to them.
Even when you feel burdened by state standards and high-stakes testing, it’s worth the effort to create a classroom environment that is both visually and mentally stimulating. Students need to be certain that a spark of learning—that electricity—is present in their daily lessons. Otherwise, you might as well turn out the lights and send the kids home.

Think about It

Research on Benefits of the Arts in Education
Numerous studies done over the past years have demonstrated the amazing benefits of having art as part of a well-rounded curriculum. The following research studies reveal the power of art to inspire, motivate, and educate today’s students.
In 2006, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum study on arts education showed a link between arts education and improved literacy skills. In this study, the Guggenheim sent artists into schools to teach students and help them create their own masterpieces. Children who took part in the program performed better on six different categories of literacy and critical thinking skills than those who did not.
In 2009, the Center for Arts Education published a report that suggests arts education may improve graduation rates. Taking a look at the role of arts education in New York public schools, this report found that schools with the lowest access also had the highest dropout rates. Conversely, those with the highest graduation rates also had the greatest access to arts education and resources. Although undoubtedly a number of other factors play into graduation rates, it was reported that many at-risk students cited participation in the arts as their reason for staying. Participation in these activities had a quantifiable impact on levels of truancy, delinquency, and academic performance.
In 2010, a study of Missouri public schools found that greater arts education led to fewer disciplinary infractions and higher attendance, graduation rates, and test scores. Using data submitted by the state’s public schools, the Missouri Department of Education and the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education compiled this report. They found that arts education had a significant effect on the academic and social success of their students. Those with greater arts participation were more likely to come to class, avoid being removed, and graduate. They also demonstrated greater proficiency in math and communication.
In 2011, a study called “Reinvesting in Arts Education” found that integrating arts with other subjects could help raise achievement levels. Arts education may not just help raise test scores but also the learning process itself. In this report on the Maryland school system, it was found that skills learned in the visual arts could help improve reading, and the counterparts fostered in playing an instrument could be applied to mathematics. The researchers and school officials believe that arts education can be a valuable education reform tool and that classroom integration of creative opportunities could be key to motivating students and improving standardized scores.

Did You Get It?

· On an apple-picking trip, a teacher makes sure to show the students the different varieties of apples. Which tenet of differentiated instruction is the teacher following?
1. Children learn well when the instruction is directed at their level of understanding.
2. Children learn well when the opportunities to learn come naturally.
3. Children learn well in group instruction.
4. Children learn well outside of a classroom environment.

Creative Questioning Strategies to Encourage Creative Thinking

LO 5

  Just the way a question is phrased or asked sets the stage for creative replies. For example, the request, “Describe (or tell me about) the sky …” would certainly elicit different responses than, “What color is the sky?” In the first, more open-ended (divergent) request, children are encouraged to share their personal feelings and experiences about the sky. This might be color or cloud shapes or even how jets, birds, and helicopters can fill it at times. The second question is phrased in such a way that a one-word (convergent) reply would do. Or even worse, it may seem to children that there is one and only one correct answer!

In asking questions, then, a teacher can foster children’s creativity. Let us now consider more specific examples of activities that focus on creative questioning. These activities suggest various ways of asking questions and are designed to draw out the creative potential in young children. Activities that deal directly with specific art forms and media are found in later sections of this book.

1. Making things better with your imagination. One way to help children think more creatively is to get them to “make things better with their imagination.” Ask children to change things to make them the way they would like them to be. Here are some examples of questions of this type.
· What would taste better if it were sweeter?
· What would be nicer if it were smaller?
· What would be more fun if it were faster?
· What would be better if it were quieter?
· What would be more exciting if it went backwards?
· What would be happier if it were bigger?

2. Using other senses. Young children can stretch their creative talents by using their senses in unusual ways. For example, children may be asked to close their eyes and guess what has been placed in their hands. (Use a piece of foam rubber, a small rock, a grape, a piece of sandpaper, and so on.) Another approach is to have children close their eyes and guess what they hear. (Use sounds like shuffling cards, jingling coins, rubbing sandpaper, or ripping paper.)
When doing this exercise, the children should be asked for reasons for their guesses to make the activity more fun and create a better learning experience.

3. Divergent-thinking questions. Any time you ask children a question requiring a variety of answers, you are encouraging their creative thinking skills. Here are some examples using the concept of water.
· How can you use water?
· What floats in water?
· How does water help us?
· Why is cold water cold? Why is hot water hot?
· What are the different colors that water can be? Why?
· What makes water rain? What makes it stop?
· What always stays underwater?
Divergent-thinking questions using concepts such as sand, ice, smoke, cars, and similar topics are fun for children. They also encourage openness and flexibility of thinking.

4. What-would-happen-if? The “What-would-happen-if?” technique has been used successfully by many teachers of young children to spark good thinking-and-doing sessions designed to ignite imaginations. Some of the following questions may be used.
· What would happen if everyone looked alike?
· What would happen if all the cars were gone?
· What would happen if everybody wore the same clothes?
· What would happen if every vegetable tasted like chocolate?
· What would happen if there were no more clocks or watches?
· What would happen if you could fly?

5. In how many different ways? Another type of question that extends a child’s creative thinking is one that begins, “In how many different ways …?” A few examples are provided here.
· In how many different ways could a spoon be used?
· In how many different ways could a button be used?
· In how many different ways could a string be used?
· In what new ways could we use this? How could it be modified to fit a new use?
All of these questioning strategies are intended to help an adult encourage creativity in young children. Children may also generate these types of questions once they have been modeled for them. Often, the use of these strategies is enough to begin a long-running and positive creative experience for the child as well as the teacher. They are limited only by the user’s imagination. More of these types of questioning activities are provided at the end of this chapter.
Motivating Skills for Teachers

Some children need help in getting started. The fact that the activity is labeled “creative” does not necessarily make the child “ready to go.” A child may be feeling restless or tired or may feel like doing something else. All teachers, even those with good ideas, face this problem. There are several ways to help children become motivated for the creative process.

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Preschool: Cooking Activities

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1. Consider the comments the teacher made to the children as they made their “snack bugs.” Discuss how they reflect the information in this chapter on motivating skills for teachers.
2. How would you alter this cooking activity so that it encourages more divergent thinking?
Physical needs.
Make sure children are rested and physically fit. Sleepy, hungry, or sick children cannot care about creativity. Their physical needs must be met before such learning can be appealing.
Interests.
Try to find out, and then use, what naturally interests the child. Children want to not only do things they like to do but also be successful at them. Whenever children feel that they will succeed in a task, they are generally much more willing to get involved. Parents may be good re-sources for determining the child’s interests.
Friends.
Permit children to work with their friends. This is not possible or advisable all the time, but some teachers avoid ever putting children who are friends together in working situations. They worry that these children will only fool around or disturb others. When this does happen, one should question the task at hand because it is obviously not holding the children’s interest.
Activities for fun.
Allow the activity to be fun for the child. Notice the use of the word allow. Children know how to have their own fun. They do not need anyone to make it for them. Encourage child-initiated activities and self-selection of creative materials, and emphasize voluntary participation of the children in the activities presented. Teachers are giving children opportunities for fun if they honestly can answer “yes” to these questions:
· Is the activity exciting?
· Is the activity in a free setting?
· Can the children imagine in it?
· Can the children play at it?
· Is there a game-like quality to it?
· Are judgments avoided?
· Is competition deemphasized?
· Will there be something to laugh about?
Goals.
Permit children to set and reach goals. Most of the excitement in achieving a goal is in reaching for it. Children should be given opportunities to plan projects. They should be allowed to get involved in activities that have something at the end for which they can strive. If the completion of an activity is not rewarding to a child, then the value of that activity is questionable.
Variety.
Vary the content and style of what the children can do. It is wise to consider not only what will be next, but how it will be done, too. For example, the teacher has the children sit and watch a movie, then they sit and draw, and then they sit and listen to a story. These are three different activities, but in each of them, the children are sitting. The content of the activity has changed but not the style. This can, and does, become boring. Boring is definitely not creative.
Habit is one of the worst enemies of creativity. Teachers who set the standard for valuing creativity by taking a chance on a “crazy” idea may positively influence the expression of creative potential by many children.
Challenge.
Challenge children. This means letting them know that what they are about to do is something that will be exciting to try. An example of this is letting the children know that their next activity may be tricky, adventurous, or mysterious. It is the “bet-you-can’t-do-this” approach with the odds in favor of the children.
Reinforcement.
Reinforce the creative behavior of children. The basic need here is for something to come at the end of the activity that lets the children feel they would like to do it again. It could be seeing the teacher’s smile, receiving a compliment, reaching the goal, hanging up the creation, sharing with a friend, or just finishing the activity. The main thing is that the children feel rewarded for and satisfied with their efforts.

The children’s feelings.
Try to make sure children feel good about what they are doing. Some teachers believe that if a child is working intensely or learning, that is enough. This may not be so. The most important thing is not what children are doing but how they feel about what they are doing. If children feel bad about themselves or an activity while doing it, this is a warning. The teacher must be continually in touch with how the children are feeling. This is the result of listening, watching, and being with the children in a manner that is open and caring.
2-5bHow to Inspire Creativity: Research Perspective
Although many parents, art teachers, and even politicians believe that arts make you smarter, much current research shows these claims to be unfounded. In a study by Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland (2007) of students taking art classes, their analysis showed no evidence that arts training actually causes scores to rise. Although they believe that there is a very good reason to teach arts in school, it’s not the reason that art supporters commonly fall back on.
In a study of several art classes in Boston-area schools, they found that arts programs teach a specific set of thinking skills rarely addressed elsewhere in the curriculum. Far from being irrelevant in a test-driven education system, arts education is becoming even more important as standardized tests exert a narrowing influence over what schools teach.
These researchers believe that the implications are broad not just for schools but also for society. As schools cut time for the arts, they may be losing their ability to produce not just the artistic creators of the future but innovative leaders as well.
The standardized tests we use in many of our schools today are almost exclusively focused on verbal and quantitative skills, which reward the child who has a knack for language and math and who can absorb and regurgitate information. This type of testing reveals little about a student’s intellectual depth, creativity, or desire to learn (Winner & Goldstein, 2011).
As schools increasingly shape their curriculum to produce high test scores, many life skills not measured by tests just do not get taught. In their study, funded by the J. Paul Getty Trust, these researchers spent an academic year in two local Boston-area schools to determine what happens inside arts classes. They videotaped and photographed classes and analyzed what they saw. They also interviewed teachers and their students. They watched student–teacher interactions repeatedly to identify specific habits and skills and then coded the segments to count the times each were taught.
In their analysis, the researchers found that while students in art classes learn techniques specific to art, such as how to mix paint, they are also taught a remarkable array of mental habits not emphasized elsewhere in school. They identified eight “studio habits of mind” that art classes taught, including the development of artistic craft (Winner & Hetland, 2007).
Such skills included visual–spatial abilities, reflection, self-criticism, and the willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes. All of these skills are important in any number of careers but are widely ignored by today’s standardized tests (Hetland, Winner, Veenema, & Sheridan, 2007).
Another of these habits was persistence. Students worked on projects over sustained periods of time and were expected to find meaningful problems and persevere through frustration. Each of the skills and habits they identified has a role in life and learning.
Finally, the researchers, who both have long histories in arts education, were startled to find a systematic emphasis on thinking and perception in the art classes they studied. In contrast to the reputation of the arts as mainly about expressive craft, they found that teachers talked about decisions, choices, and understanding far more than they talked about feelings.
In their summary, Winner and Hetland state their belief that while art teachers rightly resist making their classes like “academic” classes, teachers of academic subjects might well benefit from making their classes more like art classes (2007).
For students living in a rapidly changing world, the arts teach vital modes of seeing, imagining, inventing, and thinking. Those who have learned the lessons of the arts—how to see new patterns, how to learn from mistakes, and how to envision solutions—are the ones most likely to come up with the answers needed most for the future.

Summary

· 2-1Describe the relationship between creativity and the curriculum.
Creativity is fun. Incorporating creativity into all areas of the curriculum contributes to a young child’s positive attitude toward learning. Teachers who encourage children to work at their own pace and to be self-directed in a relaxed, nonjudgmental atmosphere are fostering creative development.
· 2-2Describe the role of play and exploration in promoting creativity.
The process of exploring to discover the characteristics of objects is essential to the development of a child’s creativity. As children explore and play with materials, they are acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to eventually use these materials creatively.
· 2-3Demonstrate four questioning strategies to encourage creative thinking in young children.
Four questioning strategies to use with young children include asking them to “make things better with their imagination;” using their senses in unusual ways; asking divergent-thinking questions; using “what-would-happen-if” questions; and extending creative thinking by asking “in how many ways?”
· 2-4List three points to consider when modifying the curriculum to encourage creative thinking.
When modifying curriculum to encourage creative thinking, consider the following points:
· The curriculum must be developmentally appropriate for young children. This means it will allow children to be both physically and mentally active, engaging them in active rather than passive activities.
· Be alert and aware of children’s interests. Choose materials and activities that are meaningful to children in your group.
· Provide a variety of materials that encourage children’s creative exploration.
· In planning curriculum, consider all the types of learning styles and multiple intelligences in your group.
· Encourage children’s divergent thinking and curiosity. Let them ask questions and search for solutions to their problems.
· Encourage older children’s curiosity by giving credit in your grading system for questioning.
· Be sure to provide opportunities for children to interact and communicate with other children and adults in an atmosphere of acceptance.
· 2-5List four beliefs associated with the philosophy of differentiated instruction in the early childhood curriculum.
The beliefs of differentiated instruction are as follows:
· Children who are the same age are different in their readiness to learn, interests, styles of learning, experiences, and life circumstances.
· These differences in children affect what they need to learn, the pace at which they need to learn it, and the support they need from teachers and others to learn it well.
· Children will learn best when they can make a connection between the curriculum and their interests and life experiences.
· Children will learn best when learning opportunities are natural.
· Children are more effective leaners when classrooms and schools create a sense of community in which children feel significant and respected.
· The central job of teachers and schools is to maximize the capacity of each student.

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