Saturday, May 26, 2012

Creativity and Games - Classroom Presentation

This post about my highly entertaining classroom creativity games (in a style some refer to as class presentation games) has been one of my most popular. There are two parts here. First are links to the games, then I have a related presentation that introduces the exercises and the games.


The Two Classroom Creativity Games

My generic creativity game system can be found here:  The Classroom Creativity Game

More recently I finished this creativity game about the important elements of a great story:  Coming Soon.  In it students compete to create the best ideas for a movie trailer.  It's part of a larger work I'm developing based on Donald Miller's Storyline book and process.

If you're interested in more information on these and other styles of games I have posted on this blog, see these pages. (They are also accessible from the top menu.)



The Presentation

When I began posting about my creativity exercises and games I also started developing the presentation I use in class to introduce them.

If you want to use (or deliver your own version of) this presentation, here's the outline:
  • Define creativity.
  • Offer practice with specific exercises.
  • Give an opportunity to play fun games related to the lesson.
Effectively presenting and practicing the exercises before playing the games will greatly enhance the students' enjoyment of the games.  Written feedback from students has been positive with many expressing how fun it is to practice creativity.

Students learn that they can improve creativity by practicing certain skills.


This has been very encouraging to me and I am continuing to develop this into a unit of study or possibly a 10-week course on the subject.

The video presentation and tips for modifying it

I created two videos below that can be played for the students in class.  Normally the outline would be:
  1. Watch the first video.
  2. Play the example games I refer to.
  3. Watch the second video.
  4. Play the creativity games while they practice the skills.
Alternatively, a teacher could use my presentations as an example, but presentation the information and exercises in her own way.  If you're thinking of adapting it, here's a more detailed flow of the presentation:
  • Examples from my creative pursuits in game design - A teacher would want to substitute his or her personal examples here.
  • A working definition of creativity - "Making connections to find new, good ideas"
  • The distinction between an idea and a final product
  • Some questions for classroom response systems to measure students' own perceptions of their creativity
  • Examples that allow students to practice the skills of brainstorming and evaluating ideas and making connections
  • Sample games - Two are just examples of my own work.  The third is Why Did the Chicken...? which allows some students to compete to write the funniest answers to random riddles.
Here is the first video of the presentation. It covers the purpose of the activity and provides the definition of creativity used throughout.


The presentation leads into two free classroom games I created.  You can find information about those here:

And here is the second video.  In this part I lead a couple of brainstorming activities and I show what it means to make connections.  After those practice exercises the teacher could lead the class in one to three games, which are listed below.


Games for this part of the presentation are here, along with the rules:

Again, if you don't have ActivInspire, these generic creativity games can be played in a variety of ways on many more computer systems than the versions above:

Other things I've learned from using this in class:

  • Have a backup plan in case the riddle game is not going over well.  Other creativity games or activities can be found through the related pages linked from the header of this blog.
  • Pick yourself or another teacher as one of the nouns for the first riddle of Why Did the Chicken...?  It makes it much easier for them.
  • The games and presentation does not have to be completed in one sitting.  Break up the elements of the presentation over several days or throughout the semester.  Most of the games I have created would work well as a prompt for the end of class.  Homework could be to turn in one or more answers to a riddle.  Votes for the best one could be done the next day or even later after the teacher has narrowed it down to some possibilities.
If you're interested in the previous version of my videos, they are here:

These videos are notes to a teacher rather than the presentation that could be played in class for students.

Part 1:  Definitions, examples of my work and the questions for the class



Note:  I neglected to mention in this recording that I also talk about the need for more creativity in school and how creativity enhances one's life.  I never present these activities as a way to convince students their ideas will make them rich.


Click here to view Part 1 at Screencast.com.






Part 2:  Examples from a game of Why Did the Chicken...? and some practice exercises for brainstorming and evaluation

Note:  In this clip I'm not sure I brought out the purpose of the brainstorming practice very well.  The end result is to find connections between the two lists.  I purposely did not have students turn those possibly good ideas into answers to the riddle.  In other words, I asked them to find the first good idea, but they did not necessarily turn it into a finished product.  Some naturally went further and made a funny joke.

I tried this activity last week without the creativity exercises before the game and the responses were much more interesting from the class that did the exercises.  Based on their answers in the game and written responses after we played there is no doubt they were thinking more and they better grasped the point of the activity.

Click here to view Part 2 at Screencast.com.

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