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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Getting Students Out of the Box

I know it's a cliched saying but I speak to my kids often about thinking outside the box. I thought about that a lot this past week with the passing of Steve Jobs and how many people must have thought he was crazy to even suggest a new way to manage music (among other things). I saw this political cartoon and thought how amazing that technology is considered today:


Anyway, I know that these kids are our future visionaries and with all the bubble-filling standardized education they will have to endure throughout their academic careers; one of my many goals for them is to have that foundation in creative thinking. I told my class last year about a billboard I just LOVED for the station fx--their tagline was "There is no box."  So far outside the box that there isn't even a box anymore. That class just ate it up. My kids used to quote it all the time. When I reminded them to "think outside the box"-they'd repeat back "there is no box".

Let's just say it's always a work in progress. Today I felt like I should be featured on the show "When Good Lessons Go Bad". I tried an exercise in creative thinking where they use a leaf to create something. Now we've done divergent art before with squiggly lines-so this shouldn't have been much of a stretch. And it's been successful with previous classes, i.e.  :


This group is still safe inside their box. Many of the kids turned their leaf into.....a leaf! Some made it a tree, which at least was a little more creative. At one point I had a very Homer Simpson d'oh moment when one of the kids came up with a picture they had drawn in one hand and the leaf in the other asking what she was supposed to do with the leaf. *sigh* There were a few that I really liked:






In any case, we'll keep working on it. Creativity can be tough nut sometimes.
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6 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing

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  2. I really like the idea of taking common objects and making art with them in a kindergarten class, but I can certainly see where the challenge lies. Just keep on pushing boldly forward!

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  3. First thing that comes to mind is that the shape of the leaf might have had some influence. The lesson that 'worked' used a leaf that was completely different from this lesson that didn't work. Leaf #2 was really very, well, 'leafy' looking, lol!

    The other thought I had about divergent and/or creative thinking was that the littles are still working within their sum life experience which isn't very much at 5yo. I'm also thinking that they're all fairly verbal, too? I wonder if this lesson with the 'leafy' looking leaf coupled with a less visual learning style might have been at play here.

    Still a great idea though! Maybe, instead of filling out the 'right' answers on all those tests, they'll end up filling in the bubbles to make a nice visual pattern! ;-)

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  4. Thank you very much for your suggestions. Sometimes I do think I expect too much from them and every class is different (that's what I keep telling myself anyway). I appreciate the comments!

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  5. How do you present this to the class? Do you keep your directions very open-ended? Would I err if I shared this but said "create something new out of the leaf"?

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  6. That really is how I presented it. I turned the leaf around different ways and asked them what they saw in their minds that it could be part of. You could have them do it with a simple line or shape first. Give them a circle for example and maybe take answers whole group for what it could be part of.

    I usually do keep my directions pretty open-ended (I actually just got in trouble for that because I don't model it enough). But otherwise they will just do your example and not think of something on their own. Thanks for your interest in this!

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