What if we had CREATIVITY bellwork?


What if we had CREATIVITY BELLWORK? | What if, instead of forcing students through dull worksheets everyday, we created bellwork that allows them to flex their creativity?

I’m working through Austin Kleon‘s amazing Steal Like an Artist Journal (Check out my review of his book Steal Like an Artist here).  As I’ve been working through the various exercises designed to boost creativity and help you get new ideas, I was struck by how beneficial these types of exercises would be to our students.  ALL of our students, not just those who visit the library or come to the makerspace.  And then it hit me…

What if we had CREATIVITY bellwork?

What if, instead of just answering dull questions about the current unit or filling out a worksheet, students could draw a picture, write a poem or tell a story.  What if, when studying Moby Dick in Language Arts, students created blackout poetry with a selected passage as a way to engage in close reading of the text? (this one is in the book by the way).  And then students could share out what they’ve created (great way to practice presentation and speaking skills.)

What if we created bellwork exercises that flexed students creativity muscles? Click To Tweet

Think of how that could change the beginning of class for students.  Instead of their brains being numbed by boring busy work the minute they step into the classroom, students would be activating and engaging their brains, expressing themselves, sharing their passions.  And it could be so doable in every subject area.   It could be a way of activating students’ prior knowledge on a topic that’s actually FUN.

If you’re interested in coming up with some creativity exercises, I highly recommend The Steal Like an Artist Journal and How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum.  Or really anything by Austin Kleon or Keri Smith.  I think you might find these exercises fun for yourself too 🙂

What are some ways that you could incorporate creativity bellwork into the lessons you teach?  Tell me in the comments.

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. Hey Diana. I love these ideas. If you would like other ideas like this, check out Jeanne Muzi’s website at: http://jmuzikidkits.weebly.com/about.html. I saw her speak at a conference last year and she had a lot of great ideas and many of hers can be adapted up and down grade levels. She starts off her lessons with an artistic video and has the students explain what they think it is and why they think the artist created it. Videos such as the following:

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