In my classroom, creativity has always been welcome, encouraged, and appreciated. Based on the research I studied on gender gaps in the classroom back in the 90s, all students and especially females retain content more successfully when given the opportunity to process that content creatively. So why, when it comes time to prep for the inevitable testing window, do teachers often step back from allowing creative expression and resort to lecture or paper-based reviews? Don't do it!
- Assign students topics from your course. Allow them to choose a method of presentation, whether it be written, drawn, sculpted, or performed. Hold a Class Presentation Show to cover all of the topics without the boredom!
- Create an Illustrated Timeline Wall covering all of the content you need to review. Let your students shine with their individual talents, with some organizing the dates, others writing the concise descriptions, some illustrating the main points, and others adding creative elements to draw attention to significant themes.
- Graffiti a Wall with illustrations and bubble letters on all the key topics covered in class. Have students discuss the topics as they create the wall, reviewing the key points.
- Turn your classrooms into a Living Museum with students dressed in characters from your content (Historic figures, book characters, important scientists or mathematicians). Hold a meet and greet for interaction and discussion of themes or significant events.
- Step back in time or into a book where students Build the Scene and models of significant role-players to recreate the past or the story. Wrap-up with topic reviews or a graphically organized overview.
- Play Games! Charades, Pictionary, and student created games can allow students to review the content while creating the game and while playing!