Washington, DC, USA
Meet Meleah Campbell, a preschool teacher who brings creativity and fun to her students in the classroom.
I always said to myself, "I'm going to be the teacher that I wish I had when I was younger." I want to be that fun, energetic, exciting teacher. When my students see me, I want them to know that we're about to have fun, but we're going to learn at the same time. Having the ability to create learning opportunities that are pretty much magical for them, I think it is such a gift. I can't see myself doing anything else.
How did you discover Cricut?
I got introduced to Cricut machines by one of my colleagues. They are pretty popular in the teacher community. At the beginning of the year I was given a little water bottle with my name on it, Miss Campbell. And I was like, "This is so cute. How did you make this?" And she said, "Oh, with my Cricut machine." I ended up getting one, and there were just so many things you could make with it. I found ways to make puppets out of felt. I found ways to personalize things that we use in the classroom. It has been such a great way to incorporate special needs in my classroom – I can create a learning tool based on whatever my students need.
How do you integrate Cricut creations into your curriculum?
Throughout my years of teaching, I realized that creating learning experiences individual to each student is really important. It allows them to grow in the areas that they need support in. I definitely believe that using a Cricut machine helps my students interact with the material, mainly because it helps them to grasp skills. A lot of students don't learn with just pencil and paper. It allows them to be more hands on. When I create learning boards, it really just gets them excited about learning.
One thing my students love is when we use Cricut stencils that I've created on canvas. They can use the stencil to help them create a masterpiece, and that creates confidence. It allows them to want to explore art even further. Not just art, but we use it for math, or reading. The Cricut machine is the hub of creativity. You can seriously make anything. There are no limits.
Do students know that you made their learning boards?
I don't think that my students know I make any of that stuff. They think it's this professional learning tool that I bought, but I actually made it for them, which makes it cool. When they learn that I create things on my own, they get inspired. They're like, "Wow. Ms. Campbell can do that? I can probably do that, too." That's the message I want them to have, that they can really create anything that they want.
Why is creativity important?
Creativity is super important because it allows us to exercise our brain. If we're not being creative, we're not spending time trying to think of ways to be innovative. Then, our imagination gets stifled.