Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

Michael Michalko’s 7 Principles of Creative Thinking

May 28, 2014

 

creative

Courtesy of edutopia.org:

 

1. You Are Creative

Artists are not special, but each of us is a special kind of artist who enters the world as a creative and spontaneous thinker. While creative people believe they are creative, those who don’t hold that belief are not. After acquiring beliefs about their identity, creative people become interested in expressing themselves, so they learn thinking habits and techniques that creative geniuses have used throughout history.

2. Creative Thinking is Work

You must show passion and the determination to immerse yourself in the process of developing new and different ideas. The next step is patience and perseverance. All creative geniuses work with intensity and produce an incredible number of ideas — most of which are bad. In fact, more bad poems were written by major poets than by minor poets. Thomas Edison generated 3,000 different lighting system ideas before he evaluated them for practicality and profitability.

3. You Must Go Through the Motions

When producing ideas, you replenish neurotransmitters linked to genes that are being turned on and off in response to challenges. Going through the motions of generating new ideas increases the number of contacts between neurons, and thereby energizes the brain. Every hour spent activating your mind by generating ideas increases creativity. By painting a picture every day, you would become an artist — perhaps not Van Gogh, but more of an artist than someone who has never tried.

4. Your Brain is Not a Computer

Your brain is a dynamic system that evolves patterns of activity, rather than simply processing them like a computer. The brain thrives on creative energy that results from experiences, real or fictional. The brain cannot tell the difference between an “actual” experience and one that is imagined vividly and in detail. Both are energizing. This principle helped Walt Disney bring his fantasies to life and also enabled Albert Einstein to engage in thought experiments that led to revolutionary ideas about space and time. For example, Einstein imagined falling in love and then meeting the woman he fell in love with two weeks later. This led to his theory of acausality.

5. There is No Right Answer

Aristotle believed that things were either “A” or “not A.” To him the sky was blue or not blue — never both. Such dualistic thinking is limiting. After all, the sky is a billion different shades of blue. We used to think that a beam of light existed only as a wave until physicists discovered that light can be either a wave or a particle, depending on the viewpoint of the observer. The only certainty in life is uncertainty. Therefore when trying to produce new ideas, do not evaluate them as they occur. Nothing kills creativity faster than self-censorship during idea generation. All ideas are possibilities — generate as many as you can before identifying which ones have more merit. The world is not black or white. It is gray.

6. There is No Such Thing as Failure

Trying something without succeeding is not failing. It’s producing a result. What you do with the result — that is, what you’ve learned — is the important thing. Whenever your efforts have produced something that doesn’t work, ask the following:

  • What have I learned about what doesn’t work?
  • Can this explain something that I didn’t set out to explain?
  • What have I discovered that I didn’t set out to discover?

People who “never” make mistakes have never tried anything new. Noting that Thomas Edison had “failed” to successfully create a filament for the light bulb after 10,000 attempts, an assistant asked why the inventor didn’t give up. Edison didn’t accept what the assistant meant by failure. “I have discovered ten thousand things that don’t work,” he explained.

7. You Don’t See Things as They Are –
You See Them as You Are

All experiences are neutral and without inherent meaning until your interpretations give them meaning. Priests see evidence of God everywhere, while atheists see the absence of God everywhere. Back when nobody in the world owned a personal computer, IBM’s market research experts speculated that there were no more than six people on earth who needed a PC. While IBM saw no market potential for PCs, two college dropouts named Bill Gates and Steve Jobs viewed the same data as IBM and perceived massive opportunity. You construct reality by how you choose to interpret your experiences.

 

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Six Valuable Steps to Making Positive Changes in Your Teaching

January 27, 2013

change

Courtesy of facultyfocus.com:

1. Think about what needs to change before deciding on a change – I regularly lead workshops on campuses across the country and often worry that there are carts being placed before unseen horses. When I’m asked to present, I’m usually counseled that faculty attending will want techniques, new ideas, strategies that work, and pragmatic things they can do in the classroom. But that’s not where the change process should begin. It should start with a question, ‘What am I doing that isn’t promoting learning or very much learning?’ Or, ‘What am I doing that I’ve probably done the same way for too long?’ Once you see the horse, you can better pick out a cart to put behind it.

2. Lay the groundwork for the change – I regularly object to the “just do it” approach to instructional change, as if we all work in a Nike commercial. The motivation is admirable but every instructional situation is unique. Teachers are different, students are different and we don’t all teach the same content in the same kind of courses. Whatever a teacher does must be adapted so that it fits the peculiarities of the given instructional situation. Don’t just do it before having given careful thought to how the change will work with your content, your students, and when you use it.

3. Incorporate change systematically – Beyond adapting the change, teachers need to prepare for its implementation. This means considering when (or if) it fits with the content, what skills it requires and whether students have those skills. If they don’t, how could those skills be developed? It also means valuing the change process by giving it your full and focused attention so as to ensure the new approach has the best possible chance of succeeding.

4. Change a little before changing a lot – Too often faculty have “conversion experiences” about themselves as teachers. They go to a conference or read a book, get convinced that they could be doing so much better and decide to change all sorts of things at once. They envision a whole new course taught by an entirely different teacher. Unfortunately, that much change is often hard on students and equally difficult for teachers to sustain.

5. Determine in advance how you will know whether the change is a success – It’s too bad that assessment has come to carry so much negative baggage, because when it’s about a teacher trying something new and wanting to know if it works, assessment provides much needed of objectivity. If you determine beforehand what success is going to look like, then you are much less likely to be blinded by how much everybody liked it. In this giant review of the change literature I mentioned earlier, only 21% of the articles contained “strong evidence to support claims of success or failure.”

6. Have realistic expectations for success – No matter how innovative, creative and wonderful the new idea may be, it isn’t going to be perfect and it isn’t going to be the best learning experience possible for every student or the pinnacle of your teaching career. Everything we do in class has mixed results; any new approach will work really well for some students, in some classes, on some days. Know that going in, remind yourself regularly, and don’t let it discourage you from continuing to make positive changes.

Click on the link to read 10 Art Related Games for the Classroom

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Redefining Gifted and Talented

December 28, 2012

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If a school’s gifted and talented program goes no further than those who are gifted at calculations and essay writing they are limiting their scope dramatically. Creativity and the wonderfully imaginative and artistic ways children express themselves warrants some attention when it comes to devising gifted and talented groupings.

The child below may not be a writer or a human calculator but I defy you to argue that he isn’t gifted or talented:

 

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10 Art Related Games for the Classroom

October 8, 2012

 

Courtesy of Becca Swanson. Perfect for substitute teachers who haven’t been provided with work for the class:

1.) The Creativity Design Game – This art game, originally inspired from the book “Design Synectics” by Nicholas Rourkes, takes problem-solving to a new level. Students are asked to take two very different objects and create a drawing, combining these separate objects into one completely new invention.

In my classroom, I call this the “Creativity Game” and I made this activity more game-like by typing out hundreds of random nouns on slips of paper, and placing them in a bag. Two students then blindly reach in the bag and pull out a ‘mystery word’. The students are given one to two minutes to come up with an idea, sketch it out and name it. As they work, I observe their drawings and ask the most creative thinkers to share their ideas with the class when time is up.

2.) The Artwork Memory / Matching Game – Artwork memory games – inspired by the child’s matching game “Concentration” – can be perfect free-time activities for elementary art students. The “Art Memo” game comes with 72 artwork images and can be purchased for around $20 here at Amazon. However, if you have a color printer you can easily make your own Art Memory game by photographing student artwork or finding art online, printing out 2 of each image, then laminating the cards (or glue onto note cards).

3.) Art Jeopardy! – A great way to review art terms, art history information, processes or artists before a test – or simply as lesson closure – a teacher can plan an Art Jeopardy game by coming up with five or more categories, and five questions to go in each category. Depending on the art teacher’s time, A Jeopardy board can be drawn onto the chalkboard, made in PowerPoint, or can be assembled with fabric and ‘pockets’ for questions on note cards.

4.) Art Room “Win, Lose or Draw” – A great classroom reward, last-day activity or holiday treat, your classes can play the classic art game “Win, Lose or Draw” (or “Pictionary”). Simply put students in two teams, give the player a word to draw and have them try to draw it in a given amount of time with their teammates guessing correctly.

5.) Clay Wars” Game – When introducing students to ceramics — or as a way to practice recently learned skills — have students play a clay-based art game. All students will have an equal amount of clay, and compete to sculpt items, such as: the tallest structure without falling over, the most perfect sphere, the longest single rope coil, the best cube, the most realistic animal, the funniest face, etc. Students can be split into teams, or compete individually.

6.) Educational Art Novelties – When students have additional activity time in art class, they can play solo art games and puzzles by looking at hidden-picture art books (such as “Can You Find It Inside?” by the Metropolitan Museum of Art), using mosaic tiles to create pictures, working on art-based jigsaw puzzles, working on origami, and studying optical illusions. Students can easily create their own artwork novelties and games by designing tangrams (a Chinese puzzle, easily made with paper) or creating thaumatropes (a toy popular in the Victorian era).

7.) Paint Wars” Game – Similar to “Clay Wars”, this paint-based art game is also a way to practice recently-learned processes and theory. Students can compete as teams or individuals, and will try to do the following: best match their skin tone using only primaries and neutrals, most closely match the color of a flower, paint the most realistic piece of food, the scariest monster, and other ideas.

8.) Art Book / Internet Scavenger Hunts– This fun art game is going to be more effective with older students, and requires either a large assortment of art books or the internet in your library or classroom. You can either compile a list of items that students will need to search for, perhaps with a worksheet to write them down on, or give one item at a time for students to search for as a timed competition. Your scavenger hunts can be customized to whatever your students have been learning about lately (find an Impressionist painting with a dog in it, find a sculpture made in France, etc.).

9.) Art Vocabulary Word Searches / Puzzles – Word searches, crosswords and other puzzles can be an effective and fun way to review art class vocabulary. Try making your own customized art puzzles here at Discovery Education Puzzlemaker.

10.) Online Art Games – There are thousands of online art games and activities that are safe for students to play in school (some more so than others, so be sure to check them out beforehand). These can be a great educational activity for students who finish their work early. Check out the Incredible Art Department’s list of Online Art Activities for Kids for a huge list of online art games and resources.

 

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Click on the link to read the Phonics debate.

Time to Engage Our Students

January 17, 2011

It is as big a challenge now as it ever has been to engage our students.  Programs which treat children like robots and show a preference for rote skills and the dissemination of facts rather than debate, creativity and self-expression are limited, turgid and a thing of the past.

It was refreshing to read an article from The Guardian that encourages schools to get more creative:

But there is a long-standing debate in education about creativity and the need to inject more of it into teaching. Can it really be taught?

At The Chalfonts community college, a non-selective school in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, they believe very firmly that it can. As part of an “enrichment curriculum” all key stage three students spend whole days learning how to use video, animation and digital imaging with industry professionals as part of the school’s push to develop creativity across all subjects.

“The aim is to develop personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS), creative thinkers and team workers,” says Greg Hodgson, a senior leader at Chalfonts who also mentors students in the arts.

Digital technology such as digital imaging, film, animation, graphics and game-making is also a critical element in the school’s GCSE art curriculum where it has, says Hodgson, enabled otherwise under-achieving students and apparently non-creative students to blossom by harnessing their fascination with gaming.

“One student, one of the lowest ability boys I’ve ever taught, couldn’t really read and write properly and staff spent more time talking to him about his behaviour than his work. He particularly flourished when I gave him control of the tools and told him that he could actually teach himself.

“He was coding and writing action scripts using interactive Adobe Flash animation, which is a really high-level skill. One lovely piece of work featured moral dilemmas with the story of a girl who had the opportunity to steal. An angel and a devil both appear in the ether around this girl’s head and the reader/viewer has to choose: does she steal a chocolate bar or not? In fact, this is the first stage of gaming: the interactive viewer clicks and decides which line of a story to follow.”

ICT is constantly changing and digital technology is becoming more geared to assist us in the classroom.  Yes, it is difficult for teachers to learn, and I am as terrified by technological advancements as the next teacher.  But it is not just an important skill in today’s age, but also an opportunity to bring greater creativity to our classroom.

After all, students learn so much better when they are engaged and have the chance to think creatively.


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