Article | Encouraging Creativity with Stories
Stories, folktales, fairy tales, and other genres of story have always fascinated children and adults too. Stories allow us to imagine without boundaries. You could imagine a knight in shining armor, running a kingdom by day and playing mad scientist by night; spending time in a basement laboratory, cooking up a chemical to turn pollen into sparkle powder.
I know it sounds absurd, but then that’s the goodness of stories, isn’t it – they allow you to imagine things and no one can say you’re wrong. Otherwise, we would’ve never gotten a chance to see a panda do Kung Fu or ants coming together to put up a fight against grasshoppers in “A Bug’s Life”.
When we see animated movies, in most cases, we are in awe of the team who made the movie, especially their creative skills. How do these people become creative? Did they go to a school for creativity?
Creativity to put it very simply, is thinking beyond boundaries.
Video: Above and Beyond – This video by FableVision illustrates the power of creativity.
Creativity can be taught, practiced and encouraged in class. In our last article we spoke about teaching to think, in this article we look at developing imagination or creative skills through the medium of stories.
Imagination knows no boundaries, hence teachers must encourage and urge students to look beyond the obvious. For example, we all know that a comb is used to comb hair, but can you think of 10 other ways in which you can use a comb? Questions like these or asking open-ended questions allows students to think without boundaries.
Questions framed around Bloom’s Taxonomy levels four, five, and six encourage creative as well as critical thinking skills. It’s a good idea for teachers to have a question prompt chart in class. After a concept has been taught, refer the chart and ask at least one question from levels four, five, and six.
Here are some literature-based creative thinking activities that teachers can do with students. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers for these activities, and all students should be encouraged to explain their perspective and should be appreciated for the same.
- Read Aloud – Read aloud a story, describe the characters (don’t show the pictures), then ask children to draw the character in their books. You will be amazed to see how each person interprets the character.
- What Happens Next: Read aloud a story, pause at the turning point and ask children to guess what happens next.
- What Would You Do If You Were: Read a story, after it’s completed ask children what would they do if they were the main character in the story.
- Write Your Story: Ask students to write a new story for the characters from a well-known story.
- Story Remix: Ask students to bring together characters from two stories and create a new story with them. Encourage them to change the personalities of the characters, the wicked stepmother can be a kind and loving stepmother in the new story, and maybe the princess can be a wicked person.
- Character Sketch: Ask students to create their own story, their first task would be to make a list characters who would be part of the story, and have them describe the personality of each character. Students in lower grades could use adjectives to describe their characters, while students in higher grades could also describe the appearance and dressing style and personality of each character.
Can you think of some more creative activities that can be done with stories? What practices do you follow to encourage creative thinking in your class?
Share your ideas in the comments box below.