Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Creatively Speaking…

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm

My hand is the extension of the thinking process…the CREATIVE process. (Tadao Ando)


Creativity pre-exists schooling. Creativity pre-exists textbooks. And even knowledge, as in academic knowledge.

How do we nurture it? How do we make kids aware of their power? How do we do that if we start suffocating them with textbooks, test scores, rules and …and…

Can creativity really bloom in a classroom where everything is set at a specific time and all students are required to do the academic “work”?


My 2nd grade students and I tried to change our perspective on creativity. I think it is important, from time to time, to make things more explicit – especially for young learners…So how did I do that?

  1. Presentations/videos to start the discussion

Use the “I used to think…Now I think..” strategy (from ProjectZero)

I used more ways to create the platform for discussion – see below.

*My PPT – I used Mike Oldfield’s track Tubular Bells 


VIDEO that inspired me (also shared with the kids)  : 

The student answers below…


2. Powerful quotes

Encourage kids to express their opinion. I used the 4 corners strategy – I strongly agree/I agree/ I strongly disagree/ I disagree.


Some answers here…


3. Ask KIDS about their own creative process


They share what inspires them…and that can enable others to use the same sources of inspiration.


*A student of mine created a Storybird on inspiration and invited me to collaborate. I wrote a single page so she could come up with her  own answers. 🙂

4. Challenge kids’ creativity

Use language, art, science, mathematics…basically, any area of human endeavor.


More specific strategies and tips:

1.   “Do  X …as…”  

Example:  Do a poem as a …line/ dance/ collage/ drawing

                Do the addition as a…diagram/drawing/craft piece

 2. Use the “What if?..” question

Example: What if ice cream grew in trees? What if you became invisible? Here is a 1,000 idea-list for what-if strategy!

3. Use the BAR strategy : 

Make an item Bigger, Add something to it or Replace something. 

4. Use Combination 

List the attributes of two dissimilar objects. Combine all the attributes to make a single object

5. Different uses

Find 10 uses for empty plastic yoghurt containers. (You’ll be amazed at what kids can come up with!)

 6. The prediction 

Predict what X will be like in 10 years. (X being anything at your choice)

7. The Picture

Draw a simple diagram and let students work out how to link it to your topic.

8. The Ridiculous 

Make a ridiculous comment that would be impossible to implement and provoke students to substantiate it .

Example: Houses should be build without roofs.

Possible argument: Indeed, because you can see the beautiful night sky. 

9. Step inside: Perceive – Know- Care about

Students imagine being “inside”a character, object, abstract thing (e.g. the sword on a battlefield, the numerator in a fraction, the window in a story etc)

10. Color, Symbol, Image

Ask students to use a single color, draw a symbol and then an icon for a topic (e.g. global warming).

11. Headlines

Ask students to come up with newspaper headlines to summarize, in a creative way, what they are learning. 

12. Reversed brainstorming

Instead of asking students to come up with solutions (like in any regular brainstorming session), challenge them to do the opposite.

Example: How can we increase pollution? 

By looking at things from an opposite perspective students actually enrich  the pallete of solutions…

13. Combine the arts with language

Use Storybird, comic creators, photo tools, videos in your language-related classes.

Use music as a background to enhance creativity.

Use everyday objects that might go with a story. Show them at the beginning and let kids discuss what they might be for.

Use web apps like One word

14. Change your classroom space

How much does your classroom space invite to curiosity and creativity?…

*Angela Maiers asks that more eloquently…

If you are on this path…below I want to share some links that might help you:

Inquiry, Creativity and..Fun

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Some of you who read my previous blog entry ( know that my students and I inquire into the arts, music and writing as tools for self-expression. Some of you also gave me ideas and links to use – a warm thank you to you!

Reminder: My students are second language learners. They are second graders (7-8 year olds). 


I promised I would share our learning journey…So here is how I tried to accomplish my goals:


Change the classroom space – so it would look like and feel like an art room.

  1. Image2133Copy_of_image2094Copy_of_image2099Copy_of_image2116Copy_of_sam_0353Graffiti2

Mission accomplished!

         we painted the furniture

         we created a graffiti wall

         we painted the window glass

         we will hang painted fabric on the walls

 The focus was on the PROCESS & COLLABORATION rather than the final product.


     Create an Inspiration Board – so kids would share and get inspired in return.

Mission accomplished!

Kids brought books, pictures, photographs, quotes, toys, jewelry and whatnot J! They also offered an argument for their choice (How does this inspire you?)


 Turn the kids from CONSUMERS into PRODUCERS of artwork

Mission accomplished!

As I am the English language teacher, I focused on Web applications that combine illustrations and writing. We created comics, posters, drawings, stories on We will also create poetry and photo shows using the links in our class wiki (


    Johny the Young Pirate on Storybird


    Take field trips to art galleries and museums – so students would get to see authentic artwork and meet artists in their workplace

Mission accomplished!

The kids went to 2 art galleries, to a museum, and (wohoo!) to the Institute of Belle Arte where they could actually see college students CREATING art pieces! Seeing artists at work was a powerful experience for them. They will also go a web designer studio and see how technology can impact our notion of art and beauty.


       Integrate TECHNOLOGY

Mission accomplished!

Out of our 3 hours of English daily 2 were spent using Web applications and the blog. Wallwisher, SpicyNodes, Wordle, Scribblar and others (aside from art-related web apps) were used to record student thinking, their creative process and encourage reflection and collaboration.

Wordle: Art *Wordle by Andrei


Bring in guest speakers

We invited the Arts teacher to answer to our questions!

Goal: I would love to Skype with an artist from another part of the world but none has offered so far…(Need to work on my social skills, maybe? So I can motivate people to collaborate…)


Create Reflection Journals – a new, more creative approach

Zoe Elder (@fullonlearning on Twitter), a terrific teacher AND my remote resource of inspiration, was kind enough to let me use her very own journal and I shared it with my students. The kids were all “wows”and “ahas” when seeing that our thinking is more powerful when we “translate” it graphically! Unfortunately, I need to take a new set of photos of their reflection journals because my US drive was in coma L. I also created my own journal which I share with students!

*Zelda’s journal – thinking visually 


*My journal – I know, I still need to use more colors 🙂



We have our Wonder Wall and student questions are recorded there. They have personal questions that are pursued until the end of the inquiry unit. I also challenge them with my own questions from time to time (see below).




Aside from the very process of creation (of a story, comic, poster etc) I would challenge students in other ways. I posted videos and photos in the class blog and gave students various tasks:

         make your own quote about art

         give us tips on what inspires you to create

         imagine a new scene for the video you watched etc.

Some of the videos and pictures can be viewed below. 

A SHORT LOVE STORY IN STOP MOTION from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

let yourself feel. from Esteban Diácono on Vimeo.