This page contains ideas, information, and materials for fostering creativity in the world language classroom.

Creativity Tests

(in English)

Creativity Test (Associative Flexibility)
School of Art & Design Creativity Test (General Page) (Creative Uses of the Test)
How Far Does Your Creativity Go? (Os)
How Far Does Your Creativity Go? (Xs)
How Creative Are You? (Diamonds)
2-minute Creativity Test (5-question self-assessment - one for individuals and one for organizations)
Art Institute of Vancouver's Right/Left-brain Creativity Test (Reports results in a useful format with excellent explanations)
Creax Creativity Test (Provides a spiderweb results on 8 different metrics)

Creativity in Education

Calvin & Hobbes Cartoon located in Castelein, Jep. (2010, January). Tips for creating better lead nurturing content. Connected Marketer. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from

Flowers are Red (Poem)

- Harry Chapin's Flowers are Red

Dare to Wonder - Oreo
- This 30-second video asks what would happen if we dared to wonder, dared to try, dared to share ourselves, dared to stop worrying who we are "supposed" to be, dared to use what is inside of us to overcome our fears and doubts.
I am creative (Tips on brainstorming creatively)

C and the Box: A Paradigm Parable

I am creative (Tips on brainstorming creatively)

The Little Boy - A poem by Helen Buckley about the impact of teaching on creativity
Cuento--Un niƱo (Poem in Spanish)

Reynolds, Peter H. (2003). The dot. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from

Creativity v. Critical Thinking


Classroom Activities

Creativity Brainstorming: Type with Me
File Not Found
File Not Found


File Not Found
File Not Found



Cheshire, Derek. (2010). Creativity through the metaphor of food. Tickled by life. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from

Examples of Creativity

Ariston Aqualtis

Cello Wars

Depende by Jarabe de Palo, set to images by famous artists

Depende - Original music video by Jarabe de Palo

Fresh Guacamole

50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World


Framing the Issue

Arnzen, Michael. (2005, August). Shifting the paradigm: Transformative learning theory. Pedablogue. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from

Babauta, Leo. (n.d.). Education needs to be turned on its head. Zen Habits. Retrieved November 4, 2010, from

Jakes, David. (2012, January 29). What if schools created a culture of do instead of a culture of know? The Tempered Radical. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from

Waiting on the World to Change - From Continuum by John Mayer

Creativity as a Shift in Perspective

How we usually think about creativity. Stay Out of School. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from [located in King, Elizabeth. (2010, May 7). Creativity: What is it anyway? Stay Out of School: Advocating Critical Thinking, Creativity, & Teaching Both In and Out of the Classroom. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from]

What creativity really is. Stay Out of School. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from [located in King, Elizabeth. (2010, May 7). Creativity: What is it anyway? Stay Out of School: Advocating Critical Thinking, Creativity, & Teaching Both In and Out of the Classroom. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from]

I'll be happy to give you innovative thinking. What are the guidelines?

Key Concepts & Principles

What research-based concepts provide the foundation for this session?

  • Creativity - Creative self-expression supports knowledge integration (Vygotsky, 1978; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Eisner, 2002)

  • Flow - Key principles for keeping students engaged and "in the zone" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996)

  • Motivation - The whats, whys, and hows of breakdowns in learning (Deci & Ryan, 2001)

  • Multiple Representations - Changes what students can see & understand (Ainsworth & Loizou, 2003; Ainsworth & Van Labeke, 2002; Boland, et. al, 2001; Minsky, 1974; Mishra & Nguyen-Jahiel, 1998)

  • Networks of Conceptual Associations - Critical implications for approaches that are likely to facilitate language acquisition and vocabulary development (Bransford, 1999; Ma, 1999; Siemens, 2005; Siemens, 2008; Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobsen, & Coulsen, 1991; Holden & Von Kortzfleisch, 2004)

  • Transfer - Recontextualization increases students' ability to transfer their learning to new situations

  • Transliteracy & Transformative Learning - Carefully crafting multifaceted, layered learning environments and experiences empowers students to change the world (Thomas, et. al, 2007; Thomas, 2008; Cazden, et. al, 1996; Leu, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004; Thomas; Burbules & Callister, 2000)

  • Visual Cognition - Supports memory, problem-solving, representation, self-expression (Anderson & Woodill, 2004; McLoughlin & Krakowski, 2001; Moore, Cohen, & Ranganath, 2006)

File Not Found
File Not Found

Quickfire Challenges

What is a "Quickfire Challenge?"

Quickfires Explained (Blog post by Leigh Graves-Wolf)


How do the key elements of a Quickfire Challenge work together to produce a meaningful learning experience?

  • Purpose (drives the content, process, tools, and final product)

  • Constraints (support creativity by establishing specific limits re: "ingredients," theme, time, tools)

  • Content Creation (a critical element of synthesis and personal integration of content knowledge & skills)

  • Social Sharing (promotes sharing of expertise with authentic audiences, along with expansion of personal learning

What does this diagram teach us about the elements we should consider when constructing Quickfire Challenges (and when evaluating the content of student-created products)?

  • Content
  • Process
  • Tools
  • (All anchored in a meaningful purpose)

Used with permission from Punya Mishra & Matt Koehler

Demo Challenge

What does a Quickfire look like, feel like, and sound like in practice?

Creativity Quickfire - Great for developing students' communication skills

File Not Found
File Not Found

Key Principles for Making Quickfires Work

How can tweaking our pedagogical practices improve the quality of students' work during Quickfire Challenges?

1) Talk less, plan for students to do more

2) Simplify instructions (Words, words, words!)

  • No more than 5 steps
  • No more than 7-10 words per step
  • Model FIRST
  • Write key words on the board or on a ppt slide
  • Use images to support comprehension

3) Scaffold

  • Where is the activity likely to break down?

  • What supports can you add into the structure and processes of the activity to maintain "flow" for students?

4) Don't pre-teach vocabulary--let students learn it through the activity

5) Activities should build to a final creative product that invites self-expression

Quickfire Examples

(Note: Most of these Quickfires were generated by instructors in Michigan State's Masters in Educational Technology Program (#maet) as tools for helping students to develop skills with particular technologies. Look at the diagram above and brainstorm how you might add linguistic and cultural content and your knowledge of second language acquisition and pedagogy in order to repurpose these activities for use in a world language classroom.)

Abstraction Quickfire (Digital Camera) - How could you turn this into a language learning activity?

Acrostic Quickfire (Photography, Copyright) - Great for getting to know students at the beginning of the year (Sample)

Album Cover Quickfire (Image Editing) - How might you continue the pattern established by these instructors in order to add language and music elements to this assignment?

Capture a Concept (Video) - Click here for more ideas for implementing a challenge similar to this one in a language classroom

Demotivational Posters (Images) - Would your students enjoy doing this activity?

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (Article + Video ) - How has the teacher structured this task to increase students' engagement with and understanding of the reading?

Disney Dilemmas (Variety of tech) - How do each of these challenges promote different kinds of language development?

Explore, Create, Share (Video) - How might videos like this assist students in developing conceptual networks around verbs in the target language?

Feeling Hot . . . Hot . . . Hot (Image Manipulation) - What ideas does the first example give you for your classes?

Google Teaching Academy Quickfire (Video) - This Quickfire offers great practice in creating "instructional" videos with conceptual depth

IgniteLansing: Clearing Hurdles in a Wheelchair (PowerPoint & Screencast) - Compare this example with the next one. Note they both follow the same format (1 topic, hobby-based, unique personal insights, life lesson, 15-20 slides, rotate automatically every 15 seconds)

IgniteLansing: Food Photography (PowerPoint & Screencast) - What did you learn about teaching as you watched this presentation? (1 topic, hobby-based, unique personal insights, life lesson, 15-20 slides, rotate automatically every 15 seconds)

ISTE Tech Skills Challenge: Remixing Anew (Audio clips) - How could grounding a quickfire challenge in audio support students' language learning?

MAET Jing Off Quickfire (Screencasts) - Could your students pull off 6 screencasts in 60 minutes? (Inspired by Jing Speed Series)

Quickfire Stop Motion (Stop Motion Video) - What could YOUR students do with a poem in the target language?

Remix, Reuse, Recycle (Video) - How might you use an assignment like this to help students gain a deeper understanding of cultural practices and perspectives?

Sean & Leigh Take on the Quickfire (Remix, Reuse, Recycle Video Example)

Remixing, Recycling, & Reusing to Create New Visions (Video, Conceptual Reinforcement) - How might you use a similar assignment in your classroom?

Storybook in 5 Items - How might you repurpose this activity for a language classroom?

TeensNTech List of Projects (Variety of Tech) - How might you repurpose some of these for your own classroom?

Quickfire Templates

How can I create my own Quickfire Challenge?

(Templates are provided in both PDF and DOC formats so you can adapt them for use in your own classroom)//

File Not Found
File Not Found
- Designed to help you plan a Quickfire Challenge in a very short amount of time

File Not Found
File Not Found

File Not Found
File Not Found

File Not Found
File Not Found


Example of creativity




Abbott, Andrew. (2004). Methods of discovery: Heuristics for the social sciences. NY: Norton.

Bizior, Piotr. (2007, March 3). Laced banana. Stock Xchng. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from Used under a Standard Stock Xchng License. Photographer notified and credited.