Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Creativity is Key

Don't even get me started on how academic Early Childhood has become! We are required to teach these kids things that were reserved for 1st and 2nd Grade. 20 years ago about one-quarter of students graduating from Kindergarten could read. Now it's expected that 100% of kids are reading, and reading a minimum of 40 words per minute. Many teachers have used that as an excuse to limit their students' creativity. You don't have to paint or sing for a standardized test and I have all these objectives to cover, why would I do an art project? I believe it's important for all children, but especially GT children to learn how to express themselves creatively. We do art projects often-it's tied into the curriculum and usually the kids are required to write about what they have made, but they are given opportunities daily to use their imaginations and invent.

We do many different kinds of self-portraits-using even food and nature. My students make dioramas and trioramas to show what they have learned about rainforests or compare 2 stories. I am always searching for ideas of interesting ways to have the children apply what they've learned. Doing an insect unit last year (and I can't take credit for the idea, a colleague I very much respect and admire came up with the lesson). The students invented their own insects using pasta of all shapes and sizes. I think it was an exciting activity for them and also allowed me to see if they could apply what they had learned-6 legs, 3 body parts and writing about the life cycle.

Creativity is so important, we can't allow it to fall by the wayside. Where will the future inventors, artists and architects of the future come from?
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