As an elementary school teacher, you have a unique opportunity to shape the minds and imaginations of your students. While traditional teaching methods, such as lectures and textbook lessons, can be effective, they may not always engage your students or foster their creativity.

Instead, consider incorporating unconventional teaching strategies to help bring creativity to life in your classroom. These curated ideas and suggestions from the web offer a fresh and innovative approach to learning that can inspire students to think critically, collaborate, and explore new ideas:

Place-Based Learning: The Classroom Beyond the Walls

Place-Based Learning: A Multifaceted Approach
Connecting learning to students’ surroundings—the buildings, the landscape—covers content goals and builds community pride.

Place-based learning ignites creativity in students by immersing them in their community and surrounding environment. This approach to education encourages students to explore the unique culture, history, and people that make up their community and see their work's impact on the world around them.

Through place-based learning, students develop essential skills such as communication, inquiry, and environmental interaction while gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and their unique place in the community and the world. The key to successful place-based learning is tapping into the inspiration within each student's community and using it to spark their imagination and fuel their creativity.

Place-based learning engages students in their community, including their physical environment, local culture, history, or people.

Classroom Tip:

  1. Start small: Pick one or two accessible areas in your community to focus on, such as a park or historical site, and use that as a starting point for your learning activities.
  2. Get to know the community: Research and learn about your community's history, culture, and resources. Involve students in this process by asking them to gather information from people they know.
  3. Foster partnerships: Reach out to local organizations, businesses, and community leaders to provide further information.

The Flipped Classroom: Maximizing Learning Time

The Definition Of The Flipped Classroom
The definition of a Flipped Classroom is to preview new content at home & practice it at school where teachers & peers are available to help.
Flipped Classrooms
For some the flipped classroom has become synonymous with active learning. There are many ways to incorporate active learning into your courses, and the flipped classroom is but one of those methods. A flipped classroom is structured around the idea that lecture or direct instruction is not the best…

The Flipped Classroom approach to education is a creative blend of in-person interaction and independent study. By introducing students to course material at home through pre-recorded videos and other technology-based tools, the Flipped Classroom frees up valuable in-person classroom time for hands-on exploration and creative problem-solving.

With background knowledge and questions already in hand, students can delve deeper into the material, collaborate with peers and teachers, and apply their newfound understanding in exciting and innovative ways. This dynamic approach to learning fosters greater creativity and critical thinking as the face-to-face interaction is focused on observations, investigations and discussions.

A flipped classroom is structured around the idea that lecture or direct instruction is not the best use of class time. Instead students encounter information before class, freeing class time for activities that involve higher order thinking.

Classroom Tip: Make sure the resources to be used at home are accessible to all of your students. Also provide basic guidelines on note-taking and perhaps providing them with a "driving question" DQ.

Challenge-Based Learning: Fostering Creativity Through Real-World Challenges

CBL in the Elementary Classroom - Challenge Based Learning
Most importantly for me as an Elementary/Middle School teacher, Challenge Based Learning provides connections. First, kids can connect to the content.

Challenge-based learning (CBL) offers a unique and engaging approach to learning by solving real-world challenges. This hands-on, collaborative framework involves identifying big ideas, asking good questions, discovering and solving challenges, and gaining in-depth subject area knowledge. By working together, students develop 21st-century skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration and can share their insights with the world.

CBL involves experimentation, failures, and successes, leading to a deeper understanding of the subject matter and the consequences of actions. Urgency, creativity, passion, and ownership are often missing in traditional school environments. However, when integrated through CBL, they result in a dynamic and engaging learning experience for all participants.

The CBL framework fuels collaboration to identify big ideas, ask thoughtful questions, and identify, investigate and solve challenges.

Classroom Tip: Encourage your students to identify and brainstorm potential challenges in your community or the wider world. Consider topics they can relate to and care about, such as the environment and education. Here are some online resources on big global problems:

The World’s Largest Lesson
What are the 10 biggest global challenges?
Here’s a guide to the World Economic Forum’s 10 key global challenges, and why they matter to our future.

Game-Based Learning: Play, Explore, Study, Build

Game-Based Learning: Preparing Students for The Future - EdSurge Guides
One of the most effective ways to nurture the 21st century’s trademark skills is by creating opportunities for kids to do what kids do naturally: play. ...
Playing Games Can Build 21st-Century Skills. Research Explains How. - EdSurge News
As anyone who’s ever spent hours hunched over Candy Crush can attest, there’s something special about games. Sure they’re fun, but they can also be ...

Game-based learning has become an increasingly popular approach to education in recent years. This teaching method utilizes the inherent appeal and enjoyment of playing games to engage students in learning. By incorporating game elements such as competition, challenge, and reward, students are motivated to actively participate and learn in a fun and effective way.

Video games are not the only form of game-based learning. For example, board games can also teach math skills through dice, while card games may teach historical facts using trivia-style games. Game-based learning allows students to practice and reinforce skills in an enjoyable, low-stakes environment, making it an excellent method of building confidence and developing 21st century skills, such as collaboration, problem solving, communication, and critical thinking.

Games can kickstart learning, but students need to learn how to apply those skills to the analog world as well. 

Classroom Tip: Choose games that align with learning objectives. In terms of digital solutions, this often means selecting the type of platform which allows sufficient customisation to align the gaming experience with your learning objectives and curriculum. Here are some options for you to consider:

Top 5 Game-Based Learning Websites
Hey EDU Friends! I hope all is going well with you in your education world. I have definitely been behind on my posts because…Well, to be honest, the world of education is a bit discouraging …

Project-Based Learning: Student Centred Hands-on Experiential Learning

5 Steps to Keep Engagement High During Project-Based Learning
Taking students’ interests into account when designing project-based learning helps ensure that they stay engaged throughout the unit.
How to Scaffold in Project Based Learning
Both student outcomes and scaffolding will look different in a PBL classroom.

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching approach that centers around students actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. The program empowers students to learn by doing and provides opportunities to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills.

Students are more likely to engage in the learning process and remain motivated when they work on projects relevant to their interests and passions. In addition to exploring complex concepts, PBL provides students with opportunities to connect those concepts with their lives and the world around them. The result is that students are more likely to retain information and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Classroom Tip: Make it fun: Projects are meant to be enjoyable, so try incorporating play, humour, and creativity into your projects.

Here are some fun project-based learning ideas for elementary classrooms:

School Market Day Product Development: Creative Printable Worksheets for Kids
Bring your product from concept to market.
Junior Entomologist: We Love Insects
Let’s dive into the incredible world of insects.
Design Your Own Zoo: Creative Printable Worksheets for Kids
A fun way for your child to design a zoo of her dreams.
Write Restaurant Reviews: Creative Printables for Kids
Get started on the world’s tastiest profession.
Dream Job: Toy Tester - Creative Printable Worksheets for Kids
Apply for the dream job where work is actually play.
Start Your Own Explorers Club: Creative Printable Worksheets for Kids
A club that supports curiosity, exploration, play and creativity.
The World’s Next Big App Idea: Creative Printable Worksheets for Kids
A printable app design pack for kids who love technology and want to build their own app.
Project Based Learning - IDEAS @ PiqoloKids
Our printable “project based learning” worksheet packs for 6 to 9 year old children.


By embracing unconventional teaching methods in the elementary classroom, you can create an engaging and dynamic learning environment. These methods can help students build confidence, expand their creativity, and develop important life skills. So if you're ready to bring creativity to life in your classroom, start exploring these innovative teaching strategies today!

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