Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Being Creative

This morning I went into the Grade 3/4 classroom. We began yesterday by setting up a wiki for the kids to create and post their ideas and reflections about what they are doing in class. In planning for this session I had a chat with Tanya, the class teacher and she told me that every Tuesday afternoon she challenges the students to be more creative by having them design, create, problem solve and produce an article or plan that addresses a particular problem or issue that she poses. For example she has asked them to design the best handbag for a teacher, or a farmer or a carpenter. They have designed and planned the best holiday for their family. They have designed the ideal spot for them to spend three hours relaxing and thinking.
As she was telling me about this I firstly thought- what a fabulous teacher- someone who values creativity and expressive thought and gives it the due time that it needs. It's no surprise to me that Tanya was once a pre-school teacher. But I also thought about how we could use the wiki as a repository for their ideas. We could scan the ideas that the children draw. We could have students descibe and explain their plans and upload the audio files. We record students demonstrating their inventions. I'm really excited about what we could achieve with just a little bit of effort and imagination.
Serendipidously I was reading a blog entry from Cherie Toledo this evening and she commented on a video presentation by Tony Buzan on creativity. He says "creativity is the engine of all curricular" That it's not about what we learn but HOW we learn. and that is the challenge for us as teachers. Not to teach facts and knowledge (although he says we have to do that) but to teach HOW to learn. By teaching and allowing for creativity we are unleashing the potential of every student, every brain.
check it out here:

8 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I think creativity is one of the most underexplored idea in the classroom. So often creativity is separated from the subjects that require more logic or fact based knowledge, like math and science. Art classes are a break in the day from standard subjects, creative projects are delegated only to English classes. As a creative person myself, I could have been far more engaged in classes that allowed me to learn facts and formulas, but in a way that was "outside of the box." Creativity allows for a different way of thinking that should be incorporated into the logical ways, not isolated. Creativity is one of the post important aspects of problem solving. I completely agree that allowing students to be creative can allow the teachers to better understand their students as well.

Anne said...

Do you think that perhaps the idea of creativity is something that scares teachers and educational institutions because it cannot be measured or assessed in the same way as say an understanding of history or the writing on an english essay. Perhaps there is also the fear for the teacher of letting go and not knowing where an idea might head. I agree with every thing you have said and I think we should be asking and challenging our students (as you should have been asked when you were at school} to think about the best way they could learn and think.

Allison Fishbein said...

I found the final part of this post, when Anne says “It is not what we learn, but HOW we learn” to be very interesting. Currently in my child development class we are talking about the importance of understanding issues of development for teachers. One of the aspects that I found most interesting was about a child’s development of perception. A student will take in information differently depending on the way in which a teacher interacts with him and the way in which the information is presented to him. For instance, the use of color and a lively voice can help capture most anyone’s attention better than plain-looking visuals and a monotone lecture.
I believe that a child’s perception preferences not only change with their age but also with the generations. When my parents were in grammar school during the 1950’s, what types of presentations were considered attention-grasping in the classroom was much different than today, since they didn’t have so many technological resources. Since the vast majority of today’s students are involved with technology on computers, on the internet, with videogames, televisions, cell phones, iPods, presently on a daily basis, going to school would naturally be boring for them if their classes consisted of old-fashioned teaching techniques composed of lectures given only by the teacher and chalkboard work as the most advanced form of interaction.
I think it is great that you are finding innovative ways to incorporate fun technology into actually benefitting today’s students. It sounds like your classroom is one in which students will be excited to learn.

Sarah said...

Wow! I think it's great that in a 3rd and 4th grade classroom, students are already being introduced to wikis and are taking part in creative activities like designing handbags. I'm continually amazed by how much younger students are when they start getting exposed to technology. I also think it is so important that as teachers we do not focus on the facts and knowledge we are teaching students, but focus instead on how they are learning and the skills they are acquiring. If we do not allow room for creativity in the classroom, if we do not encourage it, then we will never see the great potential in so many students. When I become a teacher, I hope to promote creativity in my students by incorporating more hands-on and interactive activities in the classroom. I think that interaction with other students and the compilation of ideas really can help students who struggle with letting their creative side out to formulate more ideas and to see that they really are creative.

Sarah said...

Wow! I think it's great that in a 3rd and 4th grade classroom, students are already being introduced to wikis and are taking part in creative activities like designing handbags. I'm continually amazed by how much younger students are when they start getting exposed to technology. I also think it is so important that as teachers we do not focus on the facts and knowledge we are teaching students, but focus instead on how they are learning and the skills they are acquiring. If we do not allow room for creativity in the classroom, if we do not encourage it, then we will never see the great potential in so many students. When I become a teacher, I hope to promote creativity in my students by incorporating more hands-on and interactive activities in the classroom. I think that interaction with other students and the compilation of ideas really can help students who struggle with letting their creative side out to formulate more ideas and to see that they really are creative.

Sarah said...

Wow! I think it's great that in a 3rd and 4th grade classroom, students are already being introduced to wikis and are taking part in creative activities like designing handbags. I'm continually amazed by how much younger students are when they start getting exposed to technology. I also think it is so important that as teachers we do not focus on the facts and knowledge we are teaching students, but focus instead on how they are learning and the skills they are acquiring. If we do not allow room for creativity in the classroom, if we do not encourage it, then we will never see the great potential in so many students. When I become a teacher, I hope to promote creativity in my students by incorporating more hands-on and interactive activities in the classroom. I think that interaction with other students and the compilation of ideas really can help students who struggle with letting their creative side out to formulate more ideas and to see that they really are creative.

Anne said...

Much of it Sarah depends on the attitude of the teacher and their willingness to embrace and nurture the creativity of their students. This is what I love so much about the work that is happening in this Grade 3/4 class. My meagre contribution is to observe and participate in what is happening and to see and encourage the possibilities that ICT can enhance and add to it. I must admit it's heaps of fun. In fact I think I get just as much fun out of it as the kids do.