Creative educators!

We always talk about creativity in regards to the learners in our schools. But what about educators? Of course most educators are creative in many ways, but what about fostering and nurturing that creativity? 

And what happens to educators that find their creativity is not thriving in their current environment? I recently discussed this with some friends and this is what they said:

  • look for a new post/school
  • move into a more creative job
  • aim for change from within
  • start your own school/place of learning

And the latter, yes, that has been on my mind for so many years. And even more so since I moved back from international schools to the state system. 

Create your own…. that’s just such a wonderful thought. But where to start?

Writing stories (in a different way)

As a follow-up to the post Perspective and Stories, I am going to tell you how I used the video of Frederick to facilitate story writing, to think about perspective and diversity. The current unit of inquiry is How We Express Ourselves and the central idea is “The arts help us to discover and appreciate diversity”. The lines of inquiry pre-define the arts as language, visual arts, dance, drama and music.

I used “Frederick” for the language elements, but instead of having all the kids write their own story, I made it a real challenge: Group-writing. This was the first group-writing experience, and the beginning was difficult. We had kids sitting back and not knowing the story, we had others writing the whole things, and we had a lot of fights. But with patience and discussion (and some reflection and guidance), we finally got there. Everyone shared their ideas and they melted together, really nicely.

Recently the students also used another story in music to create soundscapes together. They didn’t make much of a connection between the two, so I was wondering if I should have used the same story to start with.

But “Frederick” worked well. The stories were very different, but common in other ways. It really helped us to make initial art connections to the central idea.

Once the stories were written, we shared them on the interactive white board while the groups read out there stories. I was amazed that one group broke the sequence and moved back and forth in the video, creating an even more individual story. The experience was great, it took them over 6 hours to get there, but it was worth it!

Try it out with your students and tell me how it went!

How we express ourselves update

The focus question for the week was How do we communicate our creativity? It led to interesting student questions, such as:

  • What is creativity?
  • Is everyone creative?
  • What is communication other than talking and listening?

After brainstorming way of our the students express themselves, and making personal connections this way, they thought about how other people are creative.
This, we then categorized into: Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Writing/Language Arts. A provocation was needed to extend the thinking beyond those arts. Where else are we creative? was a good starter. It also helped that I was deliberately using the terms “be creative” in about every possible situation for the last few days. Good ideas were mentioned, including problem-solving, sciences, mathematics, industries, etc.

It gave us the opportunity to see a BIG picture of self-expression and creativity, before we then “zoomed in” on film.

We also moved slightly into What is film? Looking at the form of this type of communication, we are looking for recognizable features. As a bit of an incentive, we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory….. to be continued in 10 days.