. A lot of people think I am extremely creative - especially since I am gifted and work exclusively with gifted kids. But I'll let you in on a little secret. I don't think I am creative at all - at least not in the originality realm.
Working with gifted students definitely keeps me on my toes. If you are not at the top of your creativity game, the boredom rate goes sky high with this population!
Now, I'm sure there are lots of ways to get and stay creative, but I am going to talk about how I do it to keep things fresh with middle-school gifted students.
It all comes down to exposure. My creativity comes from piggy-backing off of original ideas and creating more unique and personalized ideas stemming from the original one. I am not much of an original person, but give me an idea and I will run with it!
When I say, "exposure," I mean it in the sense of opening oneself to new experiences. I do this in many ways. One of the main ways I get ideas to spark my creativity is to expose myself to various forms of media. Reading is always a must, and I read EVERYTHING!!! I read cookbooks, magazines, newspapers, anything I can get my hands (and eyes) on. I used to read a lot of fiction, but now, I am reading a lot of non-fiction because it seems a bit more relevant to me and my students. I keep a chart of books I am reading on my classroom door so my students see I am an avid reader even as an adult. I am currently reading The Explosive Child, by Ross Greene. I also read blogs and especially social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
My students tell me Facebook is for old people (me), but little do they know, that's where I get a lot of my fun and engaging ideas. You know those little annoying videos that are scattered throughout your feed? I watch them. Those funny quotes/ posts from sarcastic friends? They turn into thought-provoking and often entertaining discussion prompts.
It doesn't end with social media and reading. Video tutorials from YouTube, documentaries, and even trending TV shows help me connect with what is relevant in my student's lives. I will even go as far as online gaming to understand the words my students use and use the content to engage my students into the activity I have planned for them. Fortnite, Overwatch, and Clash of Clans, anyone?
What is probably the most influential way I get exposure to create new lessons, have deep discussions, and build respectful relationships with my gifted students is exposing myself to real life. It is far more interesting than fiction and is always in "real-time." Seeing exhibits at museums, visiting parks to look at concrete creations for children to climb on, nature reserves, even car dealerships (that one might be more for my shopping enjoyment, but hey...) provide the inspiration for me to piggy-back off of existing ideas to create an exceptional and extraordinary climate and culture within my classroom of gifted students.
I am a former gifted child/student and currently a gifted adult and Gifted Education Specialist in the best middle school in the world!