Monday, December 30, 2013

Creativity 3.0

I've been thinking a great deal about creativity. How do you inspire creativity? How do you find it yourself? How do you teach in creative ways, allowing others to stumble upon their own creative venues. For years I've lacked hands on creativity. I went from writing a book, yet unpublished, to then throwing myself back into the daily teaching grind and all that it encompasses. Creative teaching takes time. It consumes my thoughts. My creative teaching process never shuts down. All of my energies go to creating content, anticipating behaviors, managing behaviors, creating content that will reap the most success for the majority of my students. Oh, how it would all work better if they were all on board and knew the cost of their actions today. They will never have this intense structured reading and writing instruction again. High school, their next hurdle, will not provide them with this small group, catered instruction. They will not be able to ebb and flow getting this level of intense instruction designed just for them to improve their reading, and writing skills. They will not get another teacher who scans the news, finding the best and most relevant articles with topics that literate young people should know about, creating reading and writing activities for them to bust out of their reading and writing challenges. Some students don't regard this instruction as special and important. Perhaps years down the road they will find and discover what they once had and didn't embrace.

Can I make every student happy and creative in this learning environment we call school? No, and I am aware that the best that I can offer them is opportunity. I can offer them opportunity to improve, develop, learn, create, and embrace knowledge. I can offer them opportunity to use these 21st century tools of ipads, apps, smartboards, digital learning Haiku-LMS. I can offer them creative outlets and some choice in learning. I can offer them a path that they don't presently have in other parts of their daily educational experience. Of course I am trying to engage them, because only engaged and ready learners will be available to learn. Test scores are like shadows that they don't even realize are following them. Any school in the future will be looking closely at these new test scores. They will be scheduled into their high school classes, levels, by these test scores. They will have opportunities come and go based on these test scores, in this new era of testing. Unfortunately, there is little that I can do about that big picture of test, test, test. 

However, I bring to them my desire to help them learn. I create and use all my digital resources to make that happen. I teach then using digital images, videos, examples of writing, and engaging topics. I use art whenever I can to connect their learning. Creativity is never found in a closed box or a closed classroom. Creativity is unique to each of us. That two day activity of creating a visual image and key words connected to their novels produced the most dynamic and creative images. I love that they hung them all around my room and they stand there today, duct taped onto my walls for me to see everyday. 

Creativity, 3.0, that is my desire. Connecting learning, to creativity and engagement. Learning is not static. Learning should ebb and flow. It moves and it's quite alive. Learning is awesome and watching it happen is a grand gift that I get to see and feel everyday.