Tools to Foster Creativity

Creativity (noun) cre·a·tiv·i·ty \ˌkrē-(ˌ)ā-ˈti-və-tē

The process of using imagination and critical thinking to generate new ideas that have value (Columbus Museum of Art definition)

Together, the museum and classroom educators of Making Creativity Visible explore creativity in learning, through careful documentation and discussion of learners engaged in the creative process.  From this, they develop concrete tools designed to support teachers to 1) nurture creativity in their own settings; 2) engage teachers, colleagues, and families in conversations about the role of imagination, critical thinking, and making in learning and life; and 3) advocate for creativity as essential for life now and in the future.

 These resources are designed to help educators better understand and support creativity in learning. They fall into three interconnected categories:

Sparking Creativity

These tools are intended as “things you could try now” – with embedded suggestions for taking them further. We encourage you to test them out, to tailor them to your context, and to use them as springboards for imagining something new. We would love to see what you try, hear how you adapt them, and share your discoveries with other teachers.

Creativity Challenges | What, Why, How

This page goes deeper into a type of resource included under Sparking Creativity.  Creativity Challenges are one of the accessible, flexible, and popular tools we use with teachers. This page responds to some of the questions we often get, and shares examples and tips from the classroom to support success and extensions.

Assessing Creativity and Making it Visible

These tools are designed to help you get started making students’ creative processes visible to yourself and others.  Documentation can help you plan for deep learning and support understanding of creative thinking habits for yourself, students, families, and others. This section also includes assessment rubrics aligned to the creative thinking dispositions of CMA’s Thinking Like an Artist rubric. These rubrics and the use of documentation are both strategies for assessing and deepening the creative process (rather than simply products.)

To Try With Your Team

These are tools for teacher learning groups, such as PLCs or informal study groups.  Here, we combine artifacts of the learning process with open-ended questions about teaching and learning.  Based on the documentation work of Harvard Project Zero’s Visible Learning initiatives, these tools are grounded in the belief that when teachers carefully study learners’ thinking, they can come to new insights about their practice.  These tools are best used as springboards for conversation with other educators.

As you will see reiterated throughout the site, the work of Making Creativity Visible continues to evolve.  The Columbus Museum of Art is a hub for spreading ideas for looking for and nurturing creativity in learning.  When you try and tailor these tools, and make new discoveries through your own investigations of creativity in learning, share feedback, insights, and ideas with the Making Creativity Visible team.

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Something missing? We want to know.

Like you, we are learners, and we want this site to evolve along with our learning.  Email us at