If you are a teacher in grades K-3 chances are you have often heard the words, “Can I show you something?” There is something in the hearts and spirits of young children that they love to share! They want you to watch them dance, sing, draw, build, act, do, and on and on. Mostly, they want someone to pay attention to what they have created, and then give positive affirmation of their creation.
A group of girls in my class started asking if they could share their skits, songs, dramas, cheers, and funny handshakes with the class after the lunch recesses. After sharing one of their skits, they asked me what I thought. I told them I thought it was, “Interesting, definitely dramatic, and random.” They wanted to know what random meant. I explained, “Something that is without a direction or a goal. Something that happens without any real reason, or connection to anything else.” They loved the idea that they were random, and named their group The Randoms. As the weeks have turned into months of performances by The Randoms, I was intrigued today by the development of their cognitive, social, and performance skills. The Randoms really are not so random anymore. Their skits contain interesting story lines, clear organization, creative ideas, and no fear of public performance.
I read an article today called Developing Creativity in Every Learner by Doug Johnson. In the article he listed ways that human beings demonstrate creativity: As writers, presenters, storytellers, dancers, artists, athletes, musicians, problem-solvers, inventors, leaders, humorists, collaborators, etc. I thought about my group of Randoms. Every day they are developing their creativity collaboratively, in a grassy field, during lunch recess. As their teacher, all it it took from me was a willingness to let them share. As long as they still have an avenue to share their creative performances, they continue to create. But what if I no longer gave them an opportunity to share? Would they still be spending their lunch recesses creating? Would they be developing their cognitive, social and presentation skills to such an advanced level? Chances are they would stop creating.
When children ask me now, “Can I show you something?”, I always respond with, “Absolutely! Let’s find a time to make that happen.” Creating a climate where students can develop creativity often starts with just a willingness to give them time for random creativity.