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8 thoughts on “Creativity”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I was talking with a really nice, handsome, sociable college biology student who was thinking about teaching. He observed the teacher, respected in her school, doing the same lesson 6 times a day. (This of course if way more than the non-creativity I think you’re alluding to Ben). It killed his desire to teach. Totally killed it. Until he went to India and lived in a community where the kids were “unschooled” through elementary ages, where I’m sure the creative process of learning/teaching thrives.
    Another example to support your argument here Ben: Unexpectedly, yesterday, a poster fell off the wall. I didn’t see it falling, but the class did and they looked like the roof was going to fall on me. So I reacted in kind, almost falling to the ground. I moved like a surprised ninja, really surprised! Anyway, one kids said, “can we make a story out of that?”. This is a level one class, we haven’t done a whole story yet. And this didn’t become one, but I said to myself, “yes, let’s do that”. I wrote up on the board, “was frightened” “fell” and “saw” and “poster”. They already knew “fell”.
    I got so many reps out of those structures, and the story just flowed. It stayed in the real for quite some time while I cirlced the first 2 structures, then went into the fictional as we talked about one of the girls in the class who “didn’t see” the poster fall. She “was looking at” (a known word) a student in class with her left eye and the window with her right eye. That’s why she didn’t see the poster when it fell. I couldn’t have planned a better story/situation if I tried!
    Here’s the story if anyone would like to see/use it (though it probably won’t work as well for others as it did in our creative moment)
    El Profe Miedoso
    Profe Tripp estaba hablando con la clase en español. De repente, algo se cayó. El cartel se cayó. El cartel amarillo se cayó. Se cayó lentamente al suelo.
    Profe Tripp se asustó mucho. Profe Tripp se asustó porque no vio el cartel. Miraba la clase. Cuando el cartel se cayó, Profe Tripp casi se cayó también.
    Julie se asustó un poco. Julie no se cayó cuando el cartel se cayó. Julie saltó encima de la silla rápidamente. Julie se asustó porque no vio el cartel tampoco. Miraba a Kendra.
    Emily no vio el cartel, pero no se asustó como Profe y Julie. Emily no se asustó porque miraba a Will Ferrel y la ventana. Miraba a Will Ferrel con el ojo izquierdo. Miraba la ventana con el ojo derecho.
    La clase no se asustó. La clase rió mucho.

  2. I had only structures in mind today – the 3 that I PQA’d yesterday. A great story started using Susie’ tried and true ate, went, was. Someone always vomits at the end – fabulous. You are so right about doing the discipline along the way – organically. Kids who would normally not be engaged became so. We were cooking with gas! This was a good TPRS day. I see an embedded reading in my future. A good day. Having this experience leads to the aha moment. Sticking to the simplicity of narrow vocabulary in the story, lots of reps and circling – follow the spiral down until it runs out of steam. Laurie would say riding the roller coaster to the top of the mountain. Blaine’s system is so pure. When it works well in class, it’s a true recipe for success. Random thoughts from a day in my classroom!

  3. I love the creativity! Since we’re doing random thoughts on creativity… today I was surprised to find emotion in an innocent statement about a girl’s favorite restaurant. It led to the emotional chant: “Chicken Express no es un restaurante!” “Si es!” The class chose their line based on their belief. The were all so emotional about it. The best they could do in Spanish was to repeat the chant to express themselves. But when the bell rang, they debated each other in English into the hallway.

  4. So the answer is that the creativity comes from the students – specifically the personalization. One first year freshman student drew something on her card and I couldn’t tell what it was. After class, knowing that I wanted to use her card the next day, I asked her what she drew. She is painfully shy. Sheepishly she told me that she was a superhero. The class was a amazing. Every student hung on every word…. We talked about her powers, her suit, etc.
    Never could I have come up with that. After class I thanked her!

  5. In my 19th year of teaching, I have discovered that the more I plan, the less my classes flow, and the more boring they are. If I put my energy into planning, that’s where my energy goes. I try now to keep the planning to a minimum skeleton. I save my free time for myself, and I therefore have more energy to bring to the classroom and to the kids. It took a long time to get here, but I’m so much happier!

  6. Exactly, Diane!!
    I am in a twitter here…I am headed off to a Russian AP workshop very early tomorrow morning. Part of the workshop requires us to present a lesson plan (I found out today). I am really having trouble even thinking about the old-fashioned lesson plans I used to do, and I certainly don’t intend to waste time creating one of them. I am not too intimidated by the folks I’ll be seeing, and I’m not taking the syllabus they asked us to bring, but if anyone has any ideas about what I could do for the fourth day when we have to present something, I’d sure appreciate it. I am thinking that I want to find some kid-friendly stories on Peter the Great or Catherine the Great. Maybe I would use those for embedded readings. The stuff in the curriculum is as dry as it comes.

  7. I think heading for an embedded reading is a great idea. It’s not as exciting to do them on articles or other “drier” work but it can be very successful if you can connect the material to the kids in discussion!! Have a great time in the few hours you get a day after the workshops tee hee
    with love,

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