Maestro Creativity Challenge

Mary Mitton
Big Walnut High School
Sunbury, Ohio

Ohio Academic Content Standards

  • Communication: Oral and Visual
    • Present a clear and distinctive perspective on a subject
  • Use appropriate visual materials (e.g.: charts, diagrams, photos, illustrations, etc.) and available technology to enhance presentation

Generative Topic: Encourage creative design and story ideas through Maestro Teamwork
Generative Object: This lesson is to be used with journalism students near the beginning of the year once the basic ideas of Design and Maestro Teamwork have been presented. By participating in the Maestro challenge, students can get hands-on experience working as a Maestro group and will be forced to think creatively about layout, design and story ideas; a mock experience of their actual work on the newspaper. This will allow them to work out any kinks as a Maestro group without the pressure of actually putting out an issue.
Goals for Understanding

  • By participating in the Maestro creativity challenge, students will be able to work collaboratively as a Maestro group.
  • Students will extend thinking and creativity in regards to story ideas, design, and layout.
  • Students will understand why teamwork is crucial in producing a newspaper.

Critical Engagement Questions

  • What role does each person play in publishing the school newspaper?
  • How can we best work collaboratively to produce an effective paper?
  • How can we create story ideas out of every day, mundane events/items/occurrences?
  • How can we revitalize the appearance, layout and style of our newspaper?

Performance of Understanding, Rationale and Timeline
Students will be responsible for working as a group to create a page that focuses on an item that has been chosen at random out of a hat. The students must use this object or item (the more random, the better) to think creatively about how they can incorporate it into their Maestro piece. It must stimulate creative thought and challenge the students to see the potential for creative story ideas and design in the mundane. As a group they must figure out how to utilize the concept in their page. Students will be allowed one day to work on the creativity challenge: to plan their maestro story. If students and instructor assess that the plans are well-done, they could use material for the school newspaper. The students should meet with the teacher on day two to determine the group’s progress to assess where they should go from there.


  • Divide the class into Maestro groups of 3-5 per team.
  • Have a box with an assortment of random items and have each group pick out one item that will “inspire” their maestro project.
  • Handout scrap paper for brainstorming, as well as large post-it paper that the students can draft a mock page.
  • Explain the assignment and highlight the importance of teamwork, creativity, and layout/design in the assignment.
  • Let the students work for most of the period. Monitor their progress and only help groups that seem to be totally stuck.
  • Give the students five minutes at the end of class to reflect individually on how their group performed.
  • The next day, present ideas to class to see how creative they were with the random objects.


  • Personal reflection about how their team worked together
  • Quality of maestro through presentation the next day