Teddi K. Valeski

Teaching Blog and Portfolio

Why is Creativity Crucial in the Classroom?


“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.” – Edward de Bono, the father of lateral thinking and creativity.


Everyone has creative capabilities as a natural result of being human. The challenge, as Ken Robinson states in his book Out of our Minds: Learning to Be Creative,” is to challenge and develop a culture of creativity which has to involve everybody not just a select few.

Why is Creativity Crucial?

  • It allows students to unleash their imagination, and discover things that make them come alive. Simply put, creativity is fun and can inspire individuals.
  • Creativity prepares students for a life in a rapidly changing world. With the technology revolution, there will be more jobs that will have to be created, and new ways of conducting everyday life.
  • It enriches peoples lives, allowing for personal and societal discoveries.
  • Creativity allows for visions to be shared, and dreams to be shared.
  • It can create inventions that are can become valuable contributions to society.
  • Creativity awakens the student to become critical thinkers.
  • Creativity enlightens students, and can give them more opportunity.
  • Creativity allows the mind to be free, and produces lifetime learners and free thinkers.
  • Creativity builds confidence. 


How can Creativity be Promoted in the Classroom?

Below are links to articles that describe the different methods in which creativity can be used in learning.

Odyssey of the Mind: an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college.

Activities for Social Studies Classroom that Promotes Creativity Skills:



How Ancestry.com can Bring History Alive


November, 2011:

How Students can Learn from using Ancestry.com 

The Addicting Nature of Ancestry.com…

This month I am devoting all of my time on Ancestry.com. I was able to take a liberal studies course this summer on family genealogy and I am still hooked! If anyone is interested in their family history, or in history in general I would recommend trying out this website. There is a ton of information on here, from census data (in which you can view that actual document), photos, family trees, stories, and so much more. This website has a price, but it is definitely worth it.

The events that  students learned in class can come alive for the students as It did for me and thousands of others. What better way to relate history to the students than placing history in the context of their lives, and in their families. If students know the names of their grandparents, they can find out the rest by using this incredible site. They can find actual documents of census records, draft records, photographs, and more. Students will be able to see these primary sources first hand, be able to relate to it and it forever leave a mark on them. Ancestry.com has United States records and World records, so first generation Americans will be able to use the site and find just as many records.

The downside is that not all students know about their family history. Also, the cost of the program, and privacy rights with the students is also a concern.

Regardless, history for the students will come alive for them, they will be able to place themselves and their family in the events that they learned.


Example of my Research and How American History Came Alive Before my Eyes.

 Native American Genealogical Research – The Trail of Tears

I am currently using Ancestry.com and other genealogical methods to prove the Cherokee in my family. I did not realize but a lot goes into researching Native American family members! I was told that there is Cherokee on my mother’s side of the family…and it was seen in my Grandma (she looked Native American). However, I can’t just base the proof on word of mouth or on looks, I mean everyone is different and sometimes false memories may be passed down. I had no information on this alleged Cherokee member in my family tree..but by using Ancestry.com I was able to find out her name and find a photo of her! It is complicated because I cannot necessarily prove it based on a picture and a name.

Cherokee Ancestry: Where Do I Begin?

How do you prove that you have a Cherokee ancestor? Well, a lot goes into it. You do not only have to know how to research genealogy, but you have to know your history.  The Cherokee’s were not included in the census date (in large quantities) until 1817 and it only included some of the Cherokee Tribes. There were many Census records taken for Cherokee’s all that occurred between 1817-1914. These Census’s are called rolls and they do not necessarily represent the whole Cherokee population. Some of the data for the rolls were only taken in certain areas. There are Western Rolls, Eastern Rolls, Rolls from the Trail of Tears…etc. Here is a list of them, the rolls official names, and when the date was collected: http://www.allthingscherokee.com/articles_gene_070101.html

However, If you want to be admitted to the Cherokee Nation the Dawes Rolls must be used. There is a database on the Dawes Rolls and books as well.

This is When History Plays a Big Role…

Okay, so history bluffs you will enjoy the next stage in conducting Cherokee research. You will be able to use investigating skills and history all in one. It’s exciting and very fun! Those that are not into history, well it is still a lot of fun! You will be able to relate your ancestors to American history. The events that you learned in history class in high school will come alive for you, I guarantee it.  It will have a greater meaning knowing that your ancestors were part of history…and you get to see proof!

The Power of Place

First things first, where did your ancestors originate from? Ask your family members or research their names on Ancestry.com. Census data will appear and so will their location. If you think that they might of been Cherokee, you have to first know where the Cherokee’s lived and when. They were relocated different times in history.


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