Creativity and the Common Core:

Creativity and Common Core Standards

Creating work environments that stimulate creative ideas necessary for crossing curriculum domains

Larry Audet, Ph.D.


School leaders and teachers may need some help understanding how work-climates - classroom and building-wide - stifle or stimulate creativity; an important skill for 21st Century living and an expectation expressed in new reform policy. Before schools spend valuable resources adopting new textbooks and learning new teaching strategies that will prepare students for the Smarter Balanced Assessments, taking time to learn how to sustain creativity from wall to wall, and across the building is becoming increasingly important.


Much of what educators hear about creativity is how a teacher organizes learning activities that engage

students in creative work. Some wonder how the teacher stimulates students to be creative. Others

become curious about creativity and question what creativity actually means.


A person thinking about the concept of creativity in schools might conjure up images of talented and gifted students engaging in music and art or the whimsical nature of students playing in the schoolyard. Creative behavior in schools, however, is more than students painting swirls in bright colors and role-playing with imaginary friends. Creativity must include both - novelty and utility - and it can occur in adult work situations when teachers collaborate with colleagues, across subject domains, as they solve important problems within the school.


A quick look inside a school, through a vignette, helps situate creative moments as teachers work together with the purpose of increasing student knowledge and their creative potential. Jillian is a teacher who works in a school that has a reputation for being highly creative. As you read the vignette, think about how the school climate stimulated and supported novel ideas, which resulted in authentic learning activities that engaged students as they encountered and struggled with complex questions and carefully designed tasks. This vignette is based on an actual interview with Jillian.


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