Teacher Voices: We’re Getting Creative

As we all know, August brings high temperatures along with the opportunity to prepare for a classroom structured around high standards.

Take a look at the four pieces below, which just might spark some creativity in your lesson plans and make this year the best yet!


1. Meet a Teacher Who is Using Plants to Change Students’ Lives
Sometimes serendipity finds you in the strangest of places—like under a radiator. It was there, in a classroom in NYC, that the “discovery of a flower growing beneath a radiator” led to educator Stephen Ritz’s classroom development of a science curriculum aligned with high standards.

2. New Ways to Learn
Like many of you, teachers in Orange County, CA are committed to teaching students real-world skills and critical problem solving. Check out the creative ways these teachers are engaging their students – proof that high standards and creativity are not mutually exclusive.

3. How a Journalism Class is Teaching Middle Schoolers to Fight Fake News
Ed Madison, a journalism professor at the University of Oregon, points out that journalism curriculum aligned to high standards helps students develop skills in research methods, content creation, and media literacy. Leveraging journalism lessons to help students grow intellectually is just one more example of how high standards don’t stifle creativity in the classroom, they encourage it.

4. Resource: Factitious
This “fake news” game, created by Maggie Farley at the American University Game Lab, asks students to swipe left when they think an article presented to them is fake, and right when they believe it’s real. The game then provides feedback on the student’s response, pointing out clues to the article’s credibility, like coming from recognizable websites or including direct quotes from named sources. This kind of critical thinking exercise is aligned to CCSS ELA Anchor Standard 8 for Writing.