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Prompts to Pump Up Creativity, Imagination, and Concentration (Part 2)

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Check out Part 2 of my previous post, "Prompts to Pump Up Creativity and Imagination." The upcoming "sparks," all crucial areas in education, don't get enough time in our classrooms. They can be used in various ways: a "wake-up call" in the morning to get students thinking and feeling. The prompt can be written on the board or said orally to students. Give them a minute to understand what the statement, question, or "equation" means. Add another minute for reflection-and-thinking about their interpretation. Follow up with a class discussion about the prompt and all its associations, connections, meanings, and practical applications in everyday life.

You might want to add writing to this mini-lesson. Instead of just discussing the prompt with students orally, ask them to write a short paragraph response to it. Follow up with kids reading their responses to classmates and discussion. They would think about and reflect on the prompt's meanings, associations, connections, as well as their practical applications in everyday life, and write out their answers. It all culminates with students' oral readings and a class discussion.

Note: The mini-lesson should not exceed 30 minutes. Scan the different prompts and see which ones would be suitable for your students. This would work for upper elementary/middle school to high school students. 


1. "To be creative is to keep moving on and changing: to empower..."

2. "Make things happen: create."

3. "The power of creativity..."

4. "Creative thinking leads to critical thinking."

5. "The best way to get a lot of ideas is to brainstorm, word-storm, and picture-storm and then take your best shot."

6. "The courage to create is the courage to be."

7. "Creation means contemplation, meditation, and reflection."

8. "To create means to take a trip in the dark and grab some light wherever you can find it before you get to the end of the tunnel."

9. "Creatvity is a roll of the dice..."

10. "Creative power leads to self-motivation, self-discovery, self-education, and passionate readers and writers."

11. "What's so difficult about creativity? You create your life everyday."

12. "Creativity = free self-entertainment"

13. "Creativity = mind magic"

14. "Creativity = magic shows"

15. "Creativity = search me?"

16. "Creativity makes the imagination go round." 


1. "An open mind leads to a creative imagination."

2. "Imagination rules reading life and real life."

3. "Lost? Dial 1-800-IMAGINE."

4. "Imagine the feeling of peace...and world peace: How does it feel?"

5. "The first step to change is imagining it...and the second step is creating it."

6. "Open up your mind and imagination and live the good reading and writing life."

7. "Imagining = hanging looser and looser and looser..."

8. "Dream inside your imagination..."

9. "Let your imagination go and see what happens: Who knows? You could wind up in paradise..."

10. "Read and imagine...and imagine...and imagine..."

11. "When I look inside my imagination all I see is black: Why?" 

12. "Imagination is always going somewhere, even in sleep, it moves inside your dreams."

13. "Imagination = devil or angel?"

14. "How do you get a good imagination? Practice, practice, practice..."

15. "What is the longest journey you ever took in your imagnation?"

16. "Which is scarier: the pictures you see in your imagination or a horror movie?"

17. "Imagination = creation: the roots of reading and writing.'

18. "Imagination is the unreal life that makes your life real."

19. "Which sees further: your inner eye or your real, outer, physical eyes?"

20. "Imagining is self-empowering."

21. "Imagine, dream, and be..."

22. "Imagination = inner space magic shows"

23. "Imagination works fast, but what if you made it go in slow motion? What would you see?"

24. "Go fly a kite in your imagination and see where it takes you: So where dd you go?"

25. "What happens if you mix reality wth imagination?"

26. "Did you ever feel like you were an imaginary being?"

27. "Nonsense makes sense to your imagination." 


1. "When concentrating, concentrate."

2. "Once you lose your concentration, you're not there."

3. "Concentration, patience, effort, energy, and perseverance = self-motivation."

4. "Concentration keeps the distractions away, everyday."

5. "Concentration means clearing your mind to be in the present moment."

6. "Concentration = Presence"

7. "Simple formula: Concentration = Work. Work = Concentration."

8. "Inner concentration leads to self-discovery."

9. "Concentration shuts out the world so you can see the point."

10. "Inner concentraton leads to self-improvement and self-empowerment."

11. "Self-powered and self-motivated concentration leads to inner resilience."

12. "Inner concentration leads to inner-motivation."

13. "Concentration power means being in the (K)NOW."

14. "Inner concentration leads to emotional intelligence."

15. "Inner concentration and contemplation trigger self-awareness, self-motivation, and self-education."

16. "Inner concentration integrates psychological, emotional, and mental worlds in that moment." 

17. "Creativity, imagination, and concentration lead to self- and other-awareness. 


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Jeffrey Pflaum has been an inner-city elementary school teacher in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, for thirty-four years (NYCDOE, retired in 2002). He worked as a creative writing, whole language, social studies, gifted/talented, physical education, and mentor teacher in grades K – 6 and special education. Pflaum coached middle school boys and girls basketball teams and one of his players became coach of the Pace University team. Tennis was also taught on the elementary school level to lower grade kids as part of the NY Junior Tennis League Program founded by Arthur Ashe.

Pflaum considers himself a teacher-developer-researcher experimentalist who created successful education projects in emotional intelligence, social and emotional learning, reading, writing, poetry, thinking, creativity, vocabulary expansion, concentration, and intra- and interpersonal communication skills. He has written articles for professional newspapers and publications about his curricula. Various programs appeared on web sites such as ERIC and CASEL/Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning (“Experiences, Reflections, and Insights”).

One program was featured at the International National Council of Teachers of English at NYU as one of the best examples of English Language Arts in the NYC Public Schools, K – 12. His students’ poetry and prose have been published in college, writers’, gifted secondary, and children’s literary journals, magazines, newspapers, and by major commercial book publishers; read on public radio (Poetry-In-The-Morning, WNYE-FM, sponsored by the Teachers & Writers Collaborative/NYC); and, won honors and awards from PBS, Channel Thirteen/NYC. One student, Noel “Speedy” Mercado, became a top NYC disc jockey on WKTU-FM.

Pflaum published an inspirational book about adolescent reading lives titled MOTIVATING TEEN AND PRETEEN READERS: HOW TEACHERS AND PARENTS CAN LEAD THE WAY (Rowman & Littlefield Education). For book reviews, go to http://www.examiner.com/review/motivating-your-kids-to-read to see Kecia Burcham's response to the book, and also, The Teachers College Record for Karen Polk's insightful article. For Karen Polk's review (8/24/12), from the Teachers College Record, google "MOTIVATING TEEN AND PRETEEN READERS - Teachers College Record."

Go to www.JeffreyPflaum.com for more articles on "Contemplation Writing," Meditative Writing Ideas, Internet radio interviews, published student poetry, and newspaper articles about his book on motivating adolescent readers and Inner Cities Arts Project. His recent interviews on Contemplation Writing can be found at these "Pure Imagination" links: http://prn.fm/2012/07/14/pure-imagination-071312 and Pure Imagination - 07/13/12 | Progressive Radio Network. A second interview on "Connect With Julianna" (Toginet Radio Network) about "Contemplation" or "Music" Writing can be found at these links: http://bit.ly/iTFbk7 and http://bit.ly/t5FA0W; or, Connect with Creative Educator and Author, Jeffrey Pflaum.

Pflaum is currently a regular blogger on The BAM Radio Network's blog, ED Words, where posts about a plethora of his projects can be found at: www.bamradionetwork.com/edwords-blog/blogger/listings/jeffpaul. Also, he is a contributing writer for EDUCATION VIEWS at: www.educatnviews.org/author/jeffreypflaum/

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