Archive for category Creativity

No Playground? Time for Creative Play!

Our school district is currently in the mist of a large renovation project.  This isn’t your normal, “Get new doors and sidewalks” type of project but a, “gut the entire school to the beam structures” kind of project.

There is a vision, a brilliant one, to consolidate our resources and place our elementary student population on one campus, our Middle School population on one campus and our High School population on yet another campus, making a total of 3 campuses.  And now construction started on the elementary school and boy is it being gutted!

As we moved classrooms and redistributed our student population so we can still conduct school, little did we know that our elementary playground would be dismantled due to gas and electric lines running under the playground and detouring them to the building!  Oh, the horrors for our UPK-2 kiddos!  No playground to play on!

Ah, but here is the best part.  Since there isn’t a playground, our kids are now forced to use their imagination!  Out come the kickballs, the bouncy balls, the footballs and hula-hoops.  Sidewalk chalk is used to draw on the pavement and group games are being incorporated.  But no playground equipment you say?  Yep, it has been a blessing in disguise!  Now, kids are being taught how to play creatively and purposefully. Maybe we should do away with the playground?  Oh no,  did I just write that????  Oh, what joy, wonder and imagination, our students  will encounter!  I love it!

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(Looking down one of the wings in our school during renovations.  Looks like a warehouse.  Who would have thought!)

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Wonder

Our #PTCamp PLN came up with a one word challenge, a resolution for 2015.  I choose WONDER.  Why wonder? It’s a word that sparks imagination.  It’s a word that can enhance creativity.  It is a word that has us thinking.

WONDER

I had the privilege to attend the 2014 NYSCATE conference in Rochester, NY in November, and they had the fabulous Jason Latimer as a keynote speaker.  He had over 2,000 participants ‘wonder’ about wonder, imagination, creativity using magic and science, but also reminding us, how to spark wonder in our students by asking questions.  Asking questions is a lot more significant than receiving answers, isn’t it?

We just came back from two week hiatus trip to Colombia and traveled the region of Antioquia, the coffee region where it is very mountainous and very rural.  We ended at our gracious host, Ana’s house above the town of La Ceja.  My husband and I always love to be in the communities, learning the way of life and I am fortunate to have experienced many trips like this where we stay with folks or with my family and experience the way of living in a different country.

We were working around the house of our host when neighbor children came by.  They love Ana and they were curious with these visitors who speak English.  They were typical boys, curious to what was happening.  They were 4 boys, from 7, 8, 9 and 10 years old.  They were wondering, what is my husband doing reinforcing the shed roof?  What is growing in the makeshift seed starter kits?  How can we play “helicopter” with the 1950 metal lawn chairs?  This is wonder, creativity, imagination, something that is a natural curiosity in our kids, not just in the US, but worldwide.

Unfortunately, some kids in our world don’t have that opportunity of wonder.  They are stuck in poverty, trying to survive, trying to help their families, and at worst, trying to stay alive, working in child sweatshops because their hands are small and can weave carpets (like in Egypt carpet sweatshop factories), or worse, in worn torn countries like Syria, Iraq or fighting Ebola in West Africa.  Then, some kids, like my nephew, are privileged to have high school courses called “Wonder” where they are taught in the Socratic method of questioning and discussion where his assignment over the holidays was to come up with a wonder.  (That was a lively discussion!)

So, in the US, how do we develop “wonder” in our kids?  I challenge you to develop this in your students!  Place it in your lesson plans and ask wonder questions.  Spark wonder in your students and develop imagination and creativity.  It is our duty as educators to instill this in our students!

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How A PLN Got Us To #ISTE2014 – The Flats

Using Voxer as a tool for professional development really has been a game changer for me in communication, connections, and is helping me form wonderful relationships to grow and enhance my PLN. I have two fabulous book chats that I belong to, one with a groups of 100 educators throughout the world using the book Beyond the Bake Sale (which I will blog about often) and another using Eric Sheninger’s book, Digital Leadership.

It is through the Digital Leadership Voxer group that I met Ashley Hurley.  Christina Luce, a NY educator and friend in the Syracuse NY area and I wanted to go to the ISTE conference but couldn’t this year and we were lamenting on the vox thread that we would love to go but it wasn’t in the cards for us.  Ashley, in her bright, brillant, creative mind, came up with flattening our images, asked us for permission and used us as a Flat Stanley Project for the conference.  I totally couldn’t resist and I knew Christina would be up for it, so we gave her our blessing, and voila, Flat Vicki and Flat Christina were created!

Here is the beauty of social media at it’s best.  I haven’t met Ashley as of yet, face-to-face.  I can’t wait to cross paths.  Too have someone who is so creative to think outside the box and take us “virtually” to an International event says that there is a belief that we are all linked to a common thread, and that is for kids.  Thank you Ashley for taking us on your trip.  Even though I wasn’t there physically, I was there spiritually and learned so much throughout the tweets!  Your the best!

See the Flats on their trip here!  Isn’t it great?  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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