Creativity Every Day
published on 7/31/2023 by Keith A. Howe

Creativity is a way of thinking that gets better with practice.

With Moving Beyond the Page, your child will practice the elements of creativity every day. These elements include originality, flexibility, fluency, risk taking, and persistence. Today I am going to show you that creativity is more than a buzzword we use to make our curriculum sound more appealing. Creativity is a thread woven through the very fabric of our curriculum.

My Side of the Mountain

To do this, we will look at the literature unit for the book My Side of the Mountain in the Age 9-11 level. The story of friendship and survival is universally loved. I finished this book with my ten year-old daughter, Piper, just a few months ago. She loved the book so much that she asked me to read the sequel with her just for fun.

What I want to do is go through each day and point out the elements of that day that reinforce creativity. I won't be touching on every activity in the curriculum but will instead be focusing on the ones that do the most to reinforce creativity.

Lesson 1: Preparing for Adventure
  • Before reading a book about survival, students create a plot diagram for their own survival story. The diagram includes the setting, list of characters, and the story's problem, events, climax, and resolution.
  • Students learn about the flora and fauna of the Catskill Mountains before choosing to either draw a picture that depicts the Catskills in each of the four seasons or describing events that a tourist might participate in during each season.
Lesson 2: Learning to Survive
  • After reading about the importance of fire safety in the book, students must summarize a list of campfire rules into an attractive and effective poster, using color and graphics to highlight the important points.
  • Students create a leaf-art project that can be hung in the window.
Lesson 3: Making a Home
  • Questions about the reading develop fluency by asking students to brainstorm reasons that Sam ran away from home.
  • Students create five forced analogies between nouns related to the deciduous forest biome and surviving in the wilderness.
Lesson 4: A Baby Falcon
  • In the story, Sam is making friends with forest animals. Students select any ecosystem and imagine making friends with an animal there. After selecting an animal, students describe the animal's personality as well as the relationship the students would have with the animal.
  • Students create a natural birdfeeder.
Lesson 5: A Stranger
  • Students and parents discuss the importance of Henry David Thoreau and how his work is still relevant today.
Lesson 6: Autumn
  • Students complete a creative thinking activity called a RAFT. At the conclusion of the activity, they make a presentation or speech for their family.
Lesson 7: Newspaper Reporter
  • Students spend two days writing and revising a three-paragraph newspaper article and picture about a boy living on his own in the woods. Students focus on the using effective descriptions and transitional words as well as varying sentence length. 
Final Project: Think-Tac-Toe
  •  A Think-Tac-Toe exercise is one in which students choose three projects to finish based on their interest and learning style. Five of the nine options include some sort of creative exercise like creating a game, writing a journal entry, creating a cover for a new book, or drawing a picture to represent a friendship.

Practice Creativity, Every Day

Enhancing creativity is a core principle that we incorporate into our curriculum. We want kids to learn to think creatively, and we have designed our curriculum to do just that. The lessons outlined above represent 3 weeks of language arts from a 36-week school year. With Moving Beyond the Page, your child will experience 36 weeks of creative language arts in addition to hands-on and creative science, social studies, and math curricula. 

Creativity is a way of thinking that gets better with practice.

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