The Creative Classroom with John Spencer
Summary: John Spencer is passionate about seeing schools embrace creativity and design thinking. In this podcast, he explores the intersection of creative thinking and student learning.
When we think of innovative companies, it’s easy to imagine an open-air tech startup with ping pong tables and free drinks and huge windows and chairs so modern you’re not sure how you’re supposed to sit in them or look at them. Sometimes I look at those spaces and think, “Man, I wish schools were more […] The post What can food trucks teach us about project-based learning? appeared first on John Spencer.
The world is unpredictable. The corporate ladder is now a maze, which means our students will need to think divergently. In this article, we explore how to integrate divergent thinking into our everyday classroom practices. Listen to the Podcast If you enjoy this blog but you’d like to listen to it on the go, just […] The post 7 Ways to Inspire Divergent Thinking in the Classroom appeared first on John Spencer.
Over the last month, we have been taking a deep dive into project-based learning. One of the most frequent questions I hear about PBL is “how do we get all of the members to participate in group projects?” Both elementary and secondary education teachers ask this question. Teachers in private and public schools share this […] The post Seven Ways to Boost Collaboration in P.B.L. appeared first on John Spencer.
In the 1980s, somebody decided that haircuts were way too messy. So, they combined a hair trimmer with a vacuum cleaner and we ended up with the Flowbee. I remember begging my parents for a Flowbee and they said “no,” because they thought I would use it on the dog. And they were right. But […] The post Students Need to Solve Real Problems appeared first on John Spencer.
Assessment is everywhere. Visit a basketball court or a skate park or a rock climbing gym and you might just miss something happening all around. Assessment. The same is true of that group of kids huddled around their devices building a shared world in Minecraft or maneuvering around a kitchen experimenting with a new recipe […] The post How Does Assessment Work in a P.B.L. Unit? appeared first on John Spencer.
Last week, I stepped off the train and walked into the bustling streets of Eindhoven. I had never been to the Netherlands, much less Europe, so I became the obnoxious American taking quick snapshots, attempting to soak up the feel of the city. My first thought was, “Man, every dude here is 6 foot 4 […] The post What the Netherlands Taught Me About Design Thinking appeared first on John Spencer.
We know that kids learn at a deeper level when they do meaningful projects. We’ve seen how it increases engagement and creates memorable experiences. However, let’s be real. Project-Based Learning can feel daunting at first. How do you make it fit within the standards? How do find the time for it? How do you make sure […] The post The Seven Biggest Lies that Keep Teachers from Implementing Project-Based Learning appeared first on John Spencer.
We want students to be makers and designers. But there’s a surprising source of inspiration for design: the natural world. This is the key idea behind biomimicry, which encourages engineers to pay close attention to nature in order to improve their designs. The following post is an exploration of what this idea means for classroom […] The post How Nature Inspires Better Design (and What This Means for Students) appeared first on John Spencer.
My daughter looks up from her cereal and says, “You know what day I can’t wait for?” “Um, your birthday?” She shakes her head. “Next Christmas?” She shakes her head again and then says, “The first day back to school. I can’t wait to see my friends and my teacher. I don’t know what projects […] The post 10 Creative Risks to Take with Students This Year appeared first on John Spencer.
Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to download the Ten Creative Ways to End the Semester Resource Pack. Let’s just put it out there. December is exhausting for teachers. The days are shorter. The weather grows colder and (at least here in Oregon) wetter. Students are anxious — whether it’s a […] The post Ten Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break appeared first on John Spencer.
If we want students to develop a maker mindset, we need to empower them to hit a state of creative flow. Flow Theory explains what happens when we hit that place of “optimal experience,” where you are fully engaged, present, and focused. The following blog post explores what it means to help students reach a […] The post Five Ways to Boost Student Engagement with Flow Theory appeared first on John Spencer.
Content curation is a vital part of the creative process. In this blog post and podcast, we explore why curation matters and how we can help students learn how to engage in the curation process. Listen to the Podcast Just click on the audio below to listen to this Creative Classroom podcast. You can also listen […] The post Getting Started with Content Curation in the Classroom appeared first on John Spencer.
Student inquiry is at the heart of student choice. When students are able to ask their own questions, they can chase their curiosity and tap into their own interests. They can build on their prior knowledge and build a bridge to new information that they are analyzing. But how do we actually do this? Listen […] The post How to Help Students Ask Better Questions by Creating a Culture of Inquiry appeared first on John Spencer.
This is my final post in the series on creative collaboration and so I’d like to explore the idea of global collaboration. Listen to the Podcast Just click on the audio below to listen to this Creative Classroom podcast. You can also listen to it on the go by subscribing on iTunes (ideal for iPhone users) or Google Play and Stitcher (ideal […] The post What a Trip to China Taught Me About Global Collaboration Projects appeared first on John Spencer.
Collaborative projects can easily fall apart in the classroom. You start with a great idea but next thing you know, you have half of your students checked out. So, how do we fix this? Listen to the Podcast Just click on the audio below to listen to this Creative Classroom podcast. You can also listen […] The post Designing Group Projects So That Everyone Participates appeared first on John Spencer.