Amy's Whimsical Musings
For the video of my presentation (sans slides):
To view slides:
For the Storify of tweets from my presentation click here
People have always told me I was “creative” – and to be honest, that was not always considered a good thing. “Creative” meant whimsical. “Creative” could oftentimes allude to “moodiness”. And, above all, “creative” meant non-conformist. Growing up I thought being creative had something to do with artistic talent, or, in my Middle School years, the ability to wordsmith and invent elaborate literary scenarios in my “creative writing” courses. Like many, I thought you were born with a pre-determined degree of creativity and that was it – you could either use it or abuse it. Moreover, we weren’t introduced to the concept that exploring any career in the creative industries (I’m not even sure I was aware of what those entailed), could be financially lucrative or in the least bit stable.
Our insight into Creativity has changed, and so has the world. We now understand more about the processes that make creative people productive and successful, and it is evident that the future economy will rely on innovators and creative thinkers rather than factory workers. I don’t think any educator I know has missed Sir Ken Robinson’ s iconic TED talk in which he boldly states:
But why? And if it is, then how can we go about teaching it to our future generations, if it is at all “teachable”? What kinds of opportunities and environments can educators provide that will foster and nurture student creativity? Can the process of making help children think more critically and learn content effectively?
For the past several years I’ve been deeply involved in my own creative projects, most of which have incorporated some sort of digital component – from the tools to the platforms to which I share my work. I’ve been privileged to spend the last 15 years of my 22 year teaching career working in schools that emphasize project-based learning and portfolio assessment. Now, I write curriculum based on Creativity and Innovation for EdgeMakers, with students in Brazil, Colombia, India, Arizona, and New York. As a personal fascination, I love reading about the creative processes of famous artists, musicians, authors, and thinkers as well as curating readings on the nature of Creativity itself.
What I’ve learned is that creativity is a WAY, like a “Tao of Dot-Connecting”, and that it can be, to a certain extent, “taught” so that students hone their creative thinking capacities. I am pretty sure that is what happened to me – my mother did activities with me like the “line drawing game” or “wonder walks” and designed my bedroom to be conducive to my creative exploration and expression. She was also constantly making and remixing (repurposing old clothing as newly sewn chic outfits, for example). This was a culture of creativity, and that can be possible in any classroom.
I’d love for participants to get a head start and add your responses to the Google Spread Sheet. (In case you are wondering why I made a spreadsheet rather than a Google Form, which is more aesthetically pleasing, I like the fact that in the spirit of transparency one can see others’ responses).
The overall outline for the presentation is as follows, but keep in mind we will break into partner groups or work independently to practice some different strategies.
You are also welcome to join the MakeduJour Padlet I’ve created to populate with crowdsourced ideas.
At the end you will have a reflection/ call to action challenge using a strategy I developed called “Wow, How, Now?”
You are welcome to tweet these with the conference hashtag and/or #makedujour (text, annotated images, or sketchnotes). You may also email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or respond in the comment section of this blog post. If you join my G+ community full or resources, you may also post there, in the #showyourwork section.
Looking forward to exploring Creativity with you in beautiful Vancouver! I hope you will have a tool box of practical strategies to implement in your classroom by the end of the session.
Note: Please bring a writing tool and notepad if you have one and, if you like, your device so you may tweet. I will post the slide deck to my SlideShare after the conference so you will not have to take notes.
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