Creative License

For students to understand the idea of “creative license” and to feel comfortable taking risks during the residency. In this activity, students will generate creative licenses in which they are introduced to the idea of creative risk taking.

Creative License

Creative License

Contributed by Elizabeth Argelia Leonard


In this activity, students will generate creative licenses in which they are introduced to the idea of creative risk-taking. 


  • Early in the residency, give each student a folder for all of the work they create, any notes they make, and any other residency materials.
  • Explain the meaning of creative license and the idea that when we make art, sometimes we “break the rules.” We might come up with ideas that seem silly, or we might make up words or stories or songs or dances that seem weird, and all of that is OK.
  • Each student will be “granted” a license to create. Model the image of a license and the following statement: “This creative license gives me permission to use my words, drawings, feelings, and body creatively.”
  • Each student will add this license to their folders with their name and an image they create of themselves in the photo square. Students will be invited to draw images that represent them, things they love, that make them happy, etc.
  • Give students time to share their licenses at the end of the activity. Students can share what they have created, either from their seats or at the front of the room.

Transition Into Activity

Share a silly line of poetry that doesn’t follow the rules of grammatical construction and then explain creative license.

Transition Out of Activity

When everyone has shared, the group can celebrate the work they have seen by dancing, applause, high-fives, making silly faces, a big group “woo-hoo,” etc. to close out before moving on to the next activity.

Classroom Arrangement

Explain the terms and model at the front of the room, with students at their seats. During individual work, circulate to support students. Students can share their work from their seats or, if this is available to them, at the front of the room.

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • For younger students, check for understanding of the words license and permission.
  • Drawn or print out an image of a license beforehand for students who are not able to draw one because of restrictions of movement, and/or for students who need more encouragement and might feel like they’ve “failed” if they don’t draw the license “correctly.” This can then be stapled/glued to the folders afterward.
  • For students who are not able to write the statement, that can be printed beforehand as well.
  • Provide stamps, stickers, emojis, etc. for students to use if drawing symbols and images is unavailable.

Possible Roles for Classroom Professionals

  •  Support students with drawing and writing as needed.

Adjustments for Remote Instruction

  • Lead this activity for the first slide of a Google slideshow and create a slideshow for each student where they can create/gather their work. Then screen-share to model the activity and have students work on their own slideshows.
  • Place students in breakout rooms so that Classroom Professionals can support small groups of students.
  • Students can share their work by sharing their screens, and classmates can support each other using the reaction buttons and/or by writing shout-outs in the chat.


20 mins