Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cultivating Creativity

I've heard groaning lately among fellow teachers (including myself) about the utter exhaustion we feel at the end of the week after answering the same common sense questions over and over for the same students who aren't willing to think for themselves. We have so many decisions each minute to process on our own, it would be exorbitant to make that same number of decisions minute by minute for each child we work with. It is our job to teach them not just content, but how to think. What good is content if you don't know what to do with it?

I loved this conversation today:
"Can you tell me what to draw? I'm tired of drawing the same thing over and over again. What can I draw??"


"Well, you could draw:
your pencil
your pencil with a face
your seat on the school bus
an imaginary treehouse you wish you had
the class you just left
the aprons you see hanging up
your route to school in the morning
a roll of paper towels
the mess that roll of paper towels could be picking up
what your pet alligator would look like if you had one
what you would look like if you had glasses
a calculator answering the phone
what the world would look like if it was flat
a crumpled up paper bag
your favorite kind of fruit
the person sitting across from you
the empty space between two people sitting across from you
the pattern you see on the floor
the inside of your locker
your least favorite food..."

"Ok, I get it. I just realized it doesn't really matter what I draw. I can draw ANYTHING!"

20 minutes later:

"I drew a rich penguin with a jet pack holding a water pistol... He's a spy."

"But that wasn't on my list?"

"I know. I figured if you could come up with all those ideas so fast, I could come up with at least one of my own."

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