21st century skills

What Exactly is Creativity?

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Creativity has been deemed as a 21st Century Skill, because creative ideas can lead us to success in society and in our jobs. Have you ever thought about what creativity actually is and what it means? When I think of this word-I think about something unique, inspiring and eye-opening. In its most basic sense, creative means “original and of high quality.” (Perkins, 1981).

According to Wikipedia, creativity is “The use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.” Encarta dictionary agrees.

So, basically, to be deemed “creative” one must produce an original idea. Are you creative? I am not. I can easily copy someone’s painting, but producing one from my own imagination is more tricky and near impossible!

According to a recent article in Educational Leadership magazine, creativity can and should be taught. The most important key is to give our children constructive feedback. This article asserts that we teachers must first set clear goals for our students. We can’t just say “Write a creative story!” First, it is important to emphasize that the story should be original, inspiring, and imaginative. However, I like how Perkins included that creative products should be of high quality. Perhaps teachers could even facilitate a thinking session where students discover and list what creativity means. If I create a new BMW model, and it looks great yet it breaks down continually, then I was simply not creative. However, if I create a new BMW car with features unlike any other car and superb quality…well then, I was creative. In the same respect, we can teach our children the differences of “original” products and replica’s. We don’t want our students to just copy and mimic everything that is taught to them. Yes, we want them to have knowledge, but it is how they use that knowledge to create new things that is of vital importance.


1. Set goals for students products and creative works.

2. Help students see the difference between originality and replica’s.

3. Have a creativity lesson! Brainstorm what is means.

4. Emphasize the importance of original and high quality works.

I would love to hear your thoughts! What is creativity to you? How do you help your students or children be creative?



Encarta Dictionary via Microsoft Word

(Brookhart, S., 2013).”Assessing Creativity” Educational Leadership. ASCD.  http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Assessing-Creativity.aspx

Image from: http://rinskesblog.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html

Related articles

Communication Skills for the 21st Century

I have a shy child and an outgoing child and one that is in between. Sometimes they have trouble letting their needs be known-in an appropriate way. Communication is more than just speaking. It is speaking, gestures, signs, dance, drama, active listening, and written. It comes in many forms-and we should encourage each type. Why? Communication is a vital life skill that will prepare your child for school and life! Most importantly, we as adults should be good role models of communicating correctly.

Why are good communication skills important for children?

  • They help children to solve problems better.
  • For maintaining successful interpersonal skills.
  • To express oneself and reveal ones own needs and feelings.
  • They help one to develop self-confidence.
  • They are the building blocks for healthy relationships.
  • They help children learn and understand new things.
  • They encourage following directions, remembering things, staying on topic and elaborating ideas.
  • These skills also aid in having a conversation, talking in a group, taking turns and presenting a viewpoint.
  • When a child can communicate his needs, challenging behaviors decrease. Some behavior problems are a result of a child being unable to express his needs.
  • They prepare children for life and future jobs as well.

How can I help a child communicate better?

Help him to do any of the following:

  • Write a note or letter to someone-then mail.
  • Make a phone call.
  • Send an e-mail or text message.
  • Design a costume or dance move-then put on a show!
  • Make a video of himself on an iPad.
  • Listen! Active listening encourages thoughtful feedback and engaged converstaions.
  • Encourage using “an inside voice” as opposed to screaming or tugging to get someones attention.
  • Ask more questions.
  • Think before speaking.
  • Take your time and don’t rush through what you want to say or write.
  • Teach a peer or younger child or sibling something.
  • Eliminate distractions, like the t.v, cell phone, computer and video games.

What Are Some Ways to Encourage Communication for Children with Special Needs?

  • There are various apps that allow children to type what they want to say.
  • Software, such as BoardMaker, contains many printables for parents and teachers to make ABA type cards that allow children to point to their need or want. Picture schedules can also be made with these.
  • Social stories are available online and in larger bookstores, which allow a parent or teacher to teach and read about how a child can communicate.
  • Give choices instead of demands. For example: do you want to pick up the blocks or do you want to put away the crayons?

For more detailed information about the why, process and how’s of communication, please visit the following sources.






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21st Century Learning Skills-Do you have them?

By: Andrea Chouhan

“For students to succeed in the coming decades, they must also learn to be creative, think critically, communicate, and collaborate.” New literacies of information, media and technology skills are additional skills that are vital for 21st Century Learning. Young children are already self-learning how to digitally think critically.

Let’s face it-children and students crave technology. Technology grabs their attention, is exciting and is engaging in many ways. Other than handheld blinking light toys, 2- 3 year olds first technology is the iPod or iPad. Its ease of use and simple directions are learned quickly. Young children learn that if they touch the screen-something exciting will happen. Sounds and animation are a given. This interactive technology wins against watching a cartoon on t.v.

The next type of technology that young children interact with is laptop computers. Like the iPad, it is handheld and interactive but in a different way. The computer allows a child to learn by searching the internet, using the keyboard to type letters and words, and using the mouse to click and drag objects on the screen.

All the above technologies foster learning by reaching out to so many learning styles: tactile, visual and auditory. Students today are influenced by the media-rich and instant technology based environment. Technology provides immediate, fast, engaging, and dynamic learning experiences. Students’ methods of learning are different than earlier generations. Students collaborate, network and communicate via technology, like Twitter, blogs, texting and Facebook. They learn online and rely on digital media for information and socialization. They crave this technology, just like prior generations craved the radio and talking on the home telephone.

It almost seems unfair that children have such easy access to technologies that were not even created when we were in high school. This brings up the fact that these children have the opportunity to learn more efficiently, than we did as children.

“Today’s students need to be prepared for life in a world that will require new skills. That need puts schools at the forefront of technology adoption and education.” In order for teachers to meet students “where they are at” schools must create a learning environment that inspires students to attain the 21st century skills that society demands of us. The classroom should be student-centered instead of teacher centered. In a student centered classroom, learners are engaged in meaningful conversations, interactions with technology and group-based tasks. The direction of learning is facilitated by the teacher, as opposed to being dogmatic about covering specific standards. Long gone should be teacher-centered classrooms, where the teacher stands in front of the classroom and talks while the students take notes and listen. Who actually likes to sit and take notes anyway? This is not a conducive style of learning for most people. This requires tough change, which begins with the school and then the teacher. This change begins with integrating and aligning technology within curriculum, instruction, learning standards, teacher professional development and student assessment. In order for schools, teachers and parents to nurture student learning, they must learn about these new technologies. Just as teenagers acquire more knowledge from the internet than they do their parents, we adults need to follow their example. To start with, I encourage you to investigate some of the new technologies that I have discovered. A simple Google search provided me with knowledge on the following: Augmented reality learning, iStation computer assessments, Animation-ish software. By clicking on the links below, you can begin your journey towards critical and creative thinking. Can you use these new technologies? Can your child or student use them? If so, how? Enjoy your learning journey!


e-book, “21st Century Learning”: Tech & Learning Online Magazine http://newbay.ebookhost.net/tl/lenovo/1/index.php?e=41&open=1


Computer-based Reading Assessment- http://www.istation.com/Assessment/ISIPEarlyReading

Animation-ish Graphic design Software for children- http://shop.fablevisionlearning.com/animationish/fa/shop.detail/productID/2542/

Letters Alive, Augmented Reality 3-D Software for the Whiteboard http://www.logicalchoice.com/archive/archive/augmented-reality-for-teaching-learning/letters-alive-curriculum-pre-k-k/



Augmented Reality Technology Brings Sesame Street Characters to Life | Augmented Reality in Education and Training | Scoop.it


Interesting Parenting Article: http://www.psfk.com/2010/10/the-digital-birth-of-the-modern-child.htmly