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Ask Christopher Nuñez ’09

How do you use creativity in the classroom?

"Elementary educators are a child’s first introduction to learning. As an elementary teacher, we have the responsibility to instill a love of knowledge for all children. This desire will then lead to future successes in a student’s academic career. Creativity is a way to connect my teaching to real-world scenarios or concepts. Every year, I explain to my students that if they can connect to their learning by applying it to their own lives, then they have truly gained the knowledge needed for their future. Using hands-on materials or activities is the best way that I can accomplish this.

One way I promote creativity in my classroom is by thinking of ways to get around the old worksheets or practice pages that are used often in some classrooms. One way I try and accomplish this is by finding an interesting and relatable topic that I can adapt to my students’ learning styles. I am able to adapt a practice page or sheet into a more interactive game or type of activity that will still follow what that sheet wanted the students to learn.”   

Nuñez is a fourth-grade teacher at Sonoma Elementary School in Las Cruces. In 2022, he was awarded the $25,000 Milken Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation, which recognizes educators across the United States who are making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities.

Compiled by Adriana M. Chávez ’19