In the spirit of creativity in learning, we have a guest post with some ideas for the classroom.  Hope you find something that sparks your creativity!  ~EMP

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It can be fun when a teacher decides to shake things up in the classroom. Truth be told, some of my best classes were ones where the teachers’ teaching methods were anything but traditional. In fact, I had numerous teachers and professors that completely relied upon creativity and inspiration as the guiding forces in their teachings.

At first, I was a little weary of these one-of-a-kind professors – thinking that they were only going to complicate things as opposed to expand my creative learning. In the end, however, I learned more from these unique teachers than I did the rest of my traditional, teach-by-the-book teachers. For those of you who are looking to integrate creative teaching and learning into the classroom, here are four exciting ways to do so.

Host a class blog

One of the best classes I ever took was one that featured a collaborative class blog. Each day, my art history professor would go over a particular art period or movement in class and then invite students to contribute to the class blog about their thoughts or insights into the various topics we discussed. Not only did the blog allow people to explain and explore further insight into what we learned, it also encouraged them to get more excited and involved in the class itself. In case you haven’t tried them out already, blogs are a great way to get students more intrigued and active in the classroom.

Introduce class journals

Some students don’t like to publish their thoughts directly on a blog; therefore, some teachers encourage their students to have class journals instead. I’m not talking about the traditional, wire-bound journal you take notes in; I’m talking about a class diary: a place where students get to express their thoughts, insights, and concerns about the class. A few of my teachers would collect these journals from time to time as a way of assigning participation grades and gauging how students felt about the class in general. Oftentimes, teachers that incorporated class journals into their curriculum were the ones students respected and admired most. Much like the classroom blog, these diaries encouraged students to be more actively involved in the classroom.

Leave the classroom

My English teacher absolutely despised being confined to four walls. Every day or so, she’d take our classroom outside to a museum, a restaurant, a coffee shop, and numerous other places in order to introduce inspirational settings into our lessons. In doing this, my teacher exposed us to different environments that made us think in unique, creative ways. I’ll never forget an amazingly creative trip our class took to the zoo after reading “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. Even though it was anything but traditional, it was definitely something that left a lasting impression upon me and my appreciation of the class. Leaving the classroom doesn’t have to be an expensive field trip or anything; it could be as simple as going to a library or playground.

Let students take over the classroom

In a few of my classes, the professors would let three or four students take over the classroom and teach. These students would be in charge of choosing a topic and then teaching an entire one-hour class over everything about it. Sure, it was certainly intimidating for the students, but putting them in charge of teaching a class forced them to thoroughly learn the material, understand the important topics/themes about the material, and teach those things to fellow students. No, teachers shouldn’t let students take over the classroom every day, but it is definitely a creative change that students can benefit from every once in a while.

Creative teaching is something that should be integrated into every college classroom. If you’re a professor or teacher who is looking to change things up, see how these four teaching tricks can spark some creativity in your classroom.

Nancy Wood writes about colleges and education policy for among other sites. Nancy specifically covers topics pertaining to college lifestyle, creative teaching methods, and online education. Please send Nancy your comments.