Creativity Guidebook - 6-9 (Middle Years) Sun West

Creativity Middle Years 6-9


Creativity is widely acknowledged to be a key 21st century skill and included in many countries’ desired college & career ready outcomes for students. Humanity has been fascinated by the creative process for millennia. But what do we know about creativity?

  • Creativity has been well defined
  • Numerous models have been developed to help enhance creativity
  • Neurological workings of creativity are widely understood
  • All students have creative potential
  • Creative competence can be developed and supported by thoughtful interventions
  • Methods of assessing creativity are well defined
  • Instructional models to enhance creativity exist but are not widely used in schools

Creativity. P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Web. May 7, 2018

Why is this important?

Creativity is a key 21st Century skills that students need to embody in order to create and share unique and original ideas. Having the skills and abilities to imagine, make connections, elaborate and transform, and task risks, allows students to be successful participants in the planning of their learning and assessment.

Key Steps in Teaching Creativity Strategies

1.       Isolate the skill needed to be taught.

2.       Provide students with direct teaching to learn strategies and practice self-awareness.

3.       Provide and allow opportunities for students to practice the skills and strategies, and reflect often.  This takes time at first, but students are rewarded for their efforts once they are able to master their practiced skill.

4.       Revisit strategies and skills often. 

Explicit Teaching

To be able to learn and grow in 21st Century Competency understanding, it is important to teach each skill and let students experience what each skill looks like as well as how you can grow in each area. Caution: by simply saying the word "communication or collaboration...etc" students may not get a full understanding of each skill. Explicitly teaching and utilizing skills in different ways is what will ultimately promote deep understanding and growth in 21st Century Competencies.

Download: Sun_West_Lesson_Plan_Template.docx

Timeline Suggestions for Explicit Teaching

The document below provides a year plan to teach each of the 21st century skills. It is beneficial to have an explicit teaching plan to ensure each skill is taught; however skills should also be reinforced as much as possible throughout class time. 

21st Century Skills Year Plan

Lesson Plan Ideas

Creativity in Practice from the P21 Website:

Imagine (Generate Original Ideas)

Language in this rubric includes comparing things by relating them to something similar, explaining their importance in the world, designing original performances, ideas, models, or solutions to a problem. Opportunities for students to do such activities can be provided through:

  • Genius Hour / Passion Projects/Wonder Time 
  • Maker Spaces
  • STEAM/STEM activities 
  • Breakout Boxes or Breakout EDU provide excellent opportunities for students to compare and relate, explain, design, and find solutions to a problem. 

Providing assessment choices for projects that include performances, models, etc:

Make Connections

Students can be explicitly taught to make connections in their own lives by first learning how to make connections in their reading.

Picture Rubric for Making Connections

Teach students about schema, what there's is, and how they can use it! 

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Schema Web
Schema Web
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Schema Web

Elaborate or Transform

Teaching Students to Elaborate in Their Writing

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The Dot Breakout EDU

Take Risks (Entrepreneurship/ Innovation)

Caine's Arcade Lesson (Creativity & Imagination)- This lesson helps define imagination and creativity and explain how it helps us learn and about ourselves and the world. Caine created a massive cardboard arcade and is the inspiration behind this lesson. 

14 books to teach children about Risk Taking

7 Tips for Moving Students to a Growth Mindset
7 Tips for Moving Students to a Growth Mindset
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7 Tips for Moving Students to a Growth Mindset

Graphic Organizer for Risk Taking

Integration of Skills

Intentional integration of 21st Century Competency language in all day-to-day activities supports the development of routine reflection, skill use, and growth in support of curricular knowledge acquisition.


If we do not intentionally integrate 21st Century Competency connections into our learning environments, it is easy to forget about them. As the language becomes routine, growth in skills can and should be explored regularly. Ultimately the 21st Century Competencies are the skills needed to be successful in all day-to-day activities as well as future career opportunities. By being intentional in integrating the language and skill use in all aspects of learning, understanding of the skills can be applied and reflected upon to look for areas of potential growth and application.


Once skills have been explicitly taught, integration of 21st Century Competencies can be achieved by connecting skills to all curricular areas, participating in pre-and post reflections (allowing students to predict which skills will be needed and subsequently which skills need to be worked on) and the use of 21st Century Competency rubrics to track growth. Example: by using learner profile data, students can reflect on which skills they need to employ for a particular activity and based on this information, choose group members that have strengths or challenges in those skill areas.


When integrating 21 Century Competency language in all areas of learning consider the following curricular connected resources. As you use similar resources in your own learning environment, how can you relate them back to growth and understanding of the 21 Century Competencies?


This will likely be your focus area with creativity.  Be sure to included regular lessons on the following topics, and providing ample opportunity to practice, share and reflect. 

  • Being imaginative can be demonstrated throughout ELA in any variety of Compose and Create outcomes. 
  • Explicitly teaching how to make connections links to ELA Comprehend and Respond outcomes.
  • Have students practice their elaborate and transform skills by adding details and other's perspectives in their ELA work. 
  • Teach students take risks and encourage their innovation in ELA assignments. 

Assessing Creativity with Word Matching (RAT Test):

In Math

Creativity is important in all areas of school and life, and should also be discussed, modeled and used in Math. Be sure to include the following opportunities for your students: 

  • Teach students how to generate original ideas for solving problems. 
  • Students should take creative approaches to and apply unique ways of learning to their math.  
  • Teach students to take risks and explore different ways of thinking to solve math problems. 

Teachable moments

Whenever a question, situation, comment or activity that involves a connection to a 21 Century Competency arises, take a moment to talk to students about it. Discussing skills, how they integrate into everything you do in life makes the reflection on the importance of skills a habit. This habit will instill a growth mindset around developing skills to their fullest potential. Teachable moments can be as short as 20 seconds. Make it your habit and it will become theirs!

Tracking Growth

When considering 21st Century Competency application, it is essential for both the teacher and the student to track growth. There is clear potential for growth in skill use throughout our lives. To ensure growth and understanding of application is taking place, we can easily track progression using rubrics, checklists, and self-assessments.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessments of 21st Century Competencies include anecdotal documentation, self-assessments and rubric check-ins. These formative assessments provide snapshots of growth throughout the learning process and allow goal setting to take place.

See below for Self-Reflection and Goal Setting Documents:

Download: CreativitySelfReflection.docx

Download: CreativityGoalSetting.docx

Assessing Growth

Reflection Document:

Summative Assessment

Exemplar Rubrics

Creativity 6-9
Capture_FsKb1CU.PNGCreativity 6-9

Creativity 6-9

Creativity Exemplar Rubric 6-9


1 2 3 4 5

 Imagine (Generate original ideas)  

I can use someone else’s ideas to make sense of something. I can use someone else’s ideas and add to them. I can come up with ideas and then work out which one is the best.  I use my imagination to predict how each solution will work I can come up with ideas and then work out which one is the best. I use my imagination to predict how each solution will work and test these ideas. I consistently think “outside the box”.  I regularly imagine and carry out completely new ways of doing things.

Make Connections  

I am unsure how new learning relates to my previous learning, other subjects or the real world yet.  I can sometimes connect a topic with myself.


I can connect topics and apply it to my life.


I can connect various topics and apply it to my life and to others.


I can connect new learning to past knowledge or other subjects and create new ideas.

Elaborate or Transform  

I am not able to elaborate or transform my work yet.  I have trouble, and need support when elaborating and transforming my work. I am able to elaborate and transform my work.  I am able to elaborate and transform my work in a variety of ways effectively. I am consistently able to elaborate and transform my work in a variety of unique ways clearly and effectively.

Take Risks (Entrepreneurship/


I can make my work different from everyone else's. I can do something that may go wrong.  I can display my work for others to see. I value the unexpected.  I can present something that may be uncomfortable. I value the unexpected.  I can present something that may be uncomfortable.  I consider other’s ideas. I push boundaries.  I innovate and encourage others to take chances with me.


Download: 7C_6-9_Rubric_Creativity.docx



Co-creating Rubrics

Exemplar rubrics have been developed for K-5, 6-9 and 10-12. To connect fully with students in their understanding of skill application and growth, a recommendation would be to re-write the rubric with the students to include their understanding of the skill, goals for integration in learning and commitment to the skill development.


Sun West Resource Bank Elementary Creativity Resources

Print based

Teaching Creatively and Teaching Creativity 2013 Edition

Let the Elephants Run: Unlock Your Creativity and Change Everything

Canadian Character Education- Bartier, Janet & William Young 


Example -Don't Eat the Marshmallows

“Don’t Eat The Marshmallow” Ted Talk - Joachim de Posada about delayed gratification.   Lots of replicated activities developed for classrooms


Sir Ken Robinson - Can Creativity Be Taught?

How can we foster creativity in the classroom?




Book Creator


Educational Articles'-Creative-Skills-for-21st-Century-Success.aspx

11 Benefits of Encouraging Risk Taking in Your Children

Maker Spaces Article


Partnership for 21st Century Learning:

Creativity and Arts (moving images):

Breakout EDU

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