Talking about Creative Process

Talking imageMiddle and high school students (and younger, more self-aware or advanced students) are developmentally ready to see themselves as creative people, but more often channel this experience outside of school, and often using technology tools. They rarely have the opportunity or vocabulary to talk about themselves as creative people, reflect on their creative process, or connect it to what they do in school. Help them to notice and highlight their own process in rubrics and in class. See the links on the Overview of Creative Process page for more ideas to helps students explore their own creative process. Follow up with creative process debriefing/reflection when students complete projects.

Creativity Interview
Here is a hypothetical "Creativity interview" you might have or role-play with students to get them started thinking about their own creative process.

Teacher: Think of something you wrote, made, created, built, or did in front an audience (real or imagined) in the last year that you felt good enough about to share with a friend.
(adjust which suggestions you make, depending on the age/make-up of the class. There are some possible responses you might receive in italics)

Something you made out of stuff you found
A tune you invented and sang or played on the piano or an instrument
Something you painted or drew
Something you built
Something you wrote that people liked
A combination of things you put together
A new recipe you invented
A new set of words you wrote for a song
A new outfit you combined that nobody else thought of
A Halloween costume you put together
Graffiti you painted
A clever video you made
A cool picture you took
Maybe you found stuff and a hose and made a sprayer to cool you off like the ones at Hershey Park
Maybe you built something from Legos that was not on the box or directions
Maybe you invented your own game from stuff in the trash
Maybe you played with a site online and made a comic that was funny
Maybe you made a funny card with pictures and captions


Don’t even tell me what it was. Just think back to that day.
How did it happen?
   I don’t know.
Yes you do, you were there.
   I don’t remember.
What was happening just before you did it? …Just before that?
   Nothing. I was doing something else and just got the idea.
What were you doing when you got the idea?

Are you saying it kind of happened when you weren’t really thinking about it?

Did you try before that? Why did you stop?

Where were you? Who else was around? Were you talking or listening to anything?

What did it feel like when you shared it?
   This is lame
You liked it enough to share it. Maybe think of something else that you did that your friend thought was cool.


Think back again to that day and what you did or made. What did you do with it? What would you like to do with it?

Have you made or done anything since that made you feel the same way?

What were you doing when you got that idea?

Was there anything similar about the way that happened?

Have you ever asked anybody where they get their ideas for creative stuff or how they do it? What would you ask -- and who would you like to ask?

Pretend you are an interviewer talking to an important creative person. What would you ask them?


Try interviewing your best friend from this class. You be the interviewer, trying to find out how they do their favorite creative things, what helps them do it, and how they feel when they are doing it and afterward. Stop and write down together what seems to be their creative pattern. You can write it or draw it, but figure out their pattern. You don’t have to tell anybody else.
   This is lame.
You think your friend is lame?
   I ain’t no ---- creative person.
Do you ever just make up stuff? Maybe for not so good reasons?
   Just excuses and comebacks
How did you get good at that?
   I dunno. I just do it.
Do you ever think of better ones later?
What are you usually doing when you think of them?

What do you do with them?
   Save em up.
Where do you save them?

Do you wish you had someplace to keep them so you wouldn’t forget?

Do you tell your friends?

What do they say?

Did anybody ever tell you that humor is one of the most difficult forms of creativity?
   I’m not doin this.
You’re not being creative or not talking about it?

What do you want to do with it instead?

... and the dialog goes on. If you have a successful (or unsuccessful classroom experience with students conducting Creativity Interviews, please feel free to contact us to share the story (subject line "Creativity interview") or include details about it in our teacher sharing form on the Tools page. You might even want to conduct Creativity Interviews as a series of podcasts and share the links with other Thinking Teachers at TeachersFirst.