Sunday, September 25, 2011

Breathe Life into your Sketches!

"Be Creative Every Day"

I love this motto!  At our school, we truly try to focus on the creativity that students naturally possess.  Bringing this energy out and teaching children how to make their abstract ideas into a tangible reality is one of the greatest gifts a teacher can offer to a child.  

I'm a huge fan of Sir Ken Robinson; click here to view his full Ted Talk.

Being a technology advocate, I'm always careful to not focus on the fun bells and whistles that technology offers but rather the sound pedagogy that technology can enhance.  Dear friend, Eric Simons, had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Bennett, who truly believed in his creativity.  Now, he has created his own technology company while still in high school!  Simons is now twenty years old, living in Silicon Valley, CA developing some of the best technology platforms for education.  Thank goodness for teachers like Mrs. Bennett who cultivate this inner creativity that students possess.  

Compare Bloom's Taxonomy prior to 1990 and the current version.  
Creating is now at the top.

Image Credit: Overbaugh and Schultz

In Sparks of Genius, Robert and Michelle Root Bernstein discuss the thirteen tools that some of the most creative people possess.  After hearing their presentation and exploring their book, I began to wonder how many opportunities I was offering my students to stimulate their creative minds.

I asked myself the question:
Knowing that creativity exists in pedagogical frameworks, does it exist in my actual classroom practice?

Then, I began to wonder what these thirteen tools were that creative individuals possess... 
and - how do I teach my students to strengthen those tools?

Let's examine a few examples... failures or success?
you be the judge

Trying to create a heat pump, invented the Super Soaker (+200 million in retail sales)

Painter turned Inventor

Painter turned Inventor

"The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them."  -- Sir Lawrence Bragg

Do you support arts and creativity in education?

Mae Jemison has a great Ted Talk on integrating the arts into the sciences.  

Make your Sketch come to Life!

When I came across "Draw a Stickman," I was so excited to bring this back to my classroom.  I love the creative minds behind this site!  This wonderful interactive can me used in the classroom in a variety of ways.  At first, I was just excited to play around with the site.  Then I began to think how what I was doing was just for fun... this had no use in the classroom.  Luckily, I came to my senses - why not?  Even if this had no application for education, why not bring a fun brain break into the classroom?  Why can't we pause in our day for two minutes to integrate a smile?

Of course, I was smiling and waiting in anticipation for the next adventure of my very own stick figure.  I found that not only had I created something, but I was invested and had a sense of ownership.  Naturally, I began to predict what would happen next.  Not only did I begin to naturally use comprehension strategies for real-time learning, but I was also activitaing my kinesthetic smarts through fine motor movement as I used my keyboard and mouse.  

I also couldn't wait for my husband to try this out so that I could see what sorts of tools he would use.  My daughter couldn't resist from collaborating with me on how to draw my creations.  Our family was becoming a natural learning community that was collaborating in an interactive manner.

As a teacher, I began to see how I could use this activity for sequencing events, retelling a story, main idea and details, and even creating a small moment story for our writer's workshop.  Additionally, I thought this could be a great anticipatory set for introducing my class to navigating away from drawings and beginning to sketch illustrations for the stories they would be creating.  

Regardless of the application or entertainment value, I encourage you to always think outside of the box when planning your lessons.  That certainly was my inspiration for creating Kleinspiration.  I was enjoying all of the wonderful tools available online that I wanted to share these great finds with other people.  If you like the ideas shared on this site, please click here to get our free newsletter!

Draw your own stickman and watch him or her come to life as you create your own story.  
Click Here to begin your Fun!

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