By Teachers, For Teachers
Whether you have your students complete a traditional project or one that is considered project-based learning, if they lack creativity, then they are boring to read and watch. In order for students to hand in better-quality projects, you will need to prepare a few teaching strategies first. Here are five teaching strategies to help your students achieve creative-worthy projects.
The first step to getting your students to produce a more creative project is by allowing them to choose it. When you give your students a voice and a choice, they will more likely be motivated to complete it. This will happen because they will be invested in the project, because it was of their own choosing. Find out what interests your students have, then encourage them to use their strengths (you can find out how they learn best by using the multiple intelligence theory). Step back and give them the reins. You will have to most likely guide and mentor them through the process, but the overall concept and how they carry out the project should be all them.
When it comes to making projects better, then think the more the merrier. The more brains you have discussing an idea the better the concept will be. Encourage students to take on different roles within their groups -- this will make for great collaboration. Try not to give out individual roles where the students have to work alone, but give them a role where they must work together on each part of the project. Use their strengths to determine which role they are best suited for within the group.
Just as working with their classroom peers can make for a more creative project, working with peers that are not in the same class can also be an effective way to make a project better. Try teaming up with other classrooms to collaborate with them on a project. You can even utilize technology and have students use Skype to collaborate with peers from another school, state, or even country.
Give the project a purpose by connecting what they are creating with the outside world. For instance, have the project reflect what is going on in the community. If your community is need of an environmental cleanup, then have the project be based upon what ways students can help clean up their environment. If your community needs better roadways, then have the students create a project that will better their streets. By giving them a purpose (knowing they are actually helping their local community), you are motivating them to create a better project.
Sometimes a better project is just giving your students the option to present it in a new, fun way. Instead of just having the students display their projects, or read from an index card what it’s all about, try something new and unique. Students can utilize technology and create an iMovie or a video. They can use an app or make it on the computer. Their a million different ways they can present their projects then the same old traditional, boring ways.
The best student projects are the ones that come from the heart. These are the ones that students are passionate about creating. They use the students’ most inner strengths and the best ways that they learn, and they have very few interventions from the teacher. While the teacher acts as a guide and provides clear instructions, the best student projects are left up to the student, and presenting to the class in a unique manner. By giving students free rein to be creative, you will find that your students will produce a better project.
How do you get your students to create better projects? Do you have any tips or tricks that you would like to share? Please leave your thoughts and comments in the section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.