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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in creative teaching
Posted by on in Student Engagement

creativity

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. 

CREATIVITY PROMPTS 

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Posted by on in General

LEARN TO TEACH isn't a declarative or imperative. I'm not slamming your approach or telling you I've got the goods on classroom management, pedagogical mindset, or a million other things you probably have a better handle on than I do.   I'm lucky enough to do the work I do and so are you.  LEARN TO TEACH is my way of reminding myself to keep questioning and learning from the world around me-- to turn exciting and mundane experiences alike into ones that I can find truth and knowledge in, so I can share them with students and turnkey them into project-based programs. Simply put: I LEARN TO TEACH. 

A DAY ON THE LOWER BAY

The Lower Bay is the body of water that runs between New Jersey, Staten Island, and Brooklyn.  Every once in a while I'm lucky enough to go out on a friend's boat and explore the water with a knowledgeable group of fisherman and a legit sea captain. For a lot of people, this is a day to relax, to shut down the brain and take in the sun.  For people like us, those obsessed with finding new ways to turn the content we are expected to teach into something great, a trip on the ocean(or anywhere) can inspire a thousand lessons we can bring back to our classrooms. More importantly it can inform who we are as learners, so that we can better serve our students.  Here are 3 lessons I learned about how to become a better teacher:  

INSIGHT #1:  IT'S OKAY TO NOT KNOW STUFF

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Posted by on in Teaching with Rigor

Grade 3 Concert Oct 28 2013 009 Wiki 5

Twenty years ago, Arlene Croce, writing in the New Yorker, declared that she felt that Bill T. Jones' work exploring his own AIDS diagnosis and the terminal illnesses of his performers made his work "undiscussable" - beyond the reach of criticism. She coined the term "victim art" and vented her frustration at the way she felt manipulated by art that seemed more about issues than it was about aesthetics.  Now, I don't agree with Croce, but I'm finding myself this morning sympathizing with her frustration.

I'm frustrated because I'm struggling with another type of performance that we do treat as undiscussable, performances we don't dare to critique, not because the performers are victims but because they're just so darn cute.  I'm talking about performances that are so far away from Bill T. Jones as to hardly be in the same universe.  I'm talking about the school concert.

I have been part of school concerts as a music teacher, classroom teacher, director, and parent.  I've spent long hours rehearsing kids for all sorts of shows, some good, some bad, some cringe-worthy.  I've toiled in the trenches of recorders, boomwhackers, and box steps.  I know how much work it is to put on one of these shows, even the worst of them.

So, I'm reluctant to criticize, really I am.  But, I just can't hold it in any more.  We need to take a hard look at this ritual and ask ourselves some big questions.  Like, why in the world are we doing this? What's the value? What's the point?

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Posted by on in Student Engagement

My twitter handle will seem a bit strange to some readers. 

I am @perfinker.

The premise of this term—coined by David L. Krech—is that human beings never just think. They are not best described, therefore, as “thinkers”. Rather, human beings are emotional beings. Our emotional responses are the primary way in which we make sense out of our experiences. We have bodies that influence how the world is experienced. We have the capacity to envision the possible—we are an imaginative species.  What we most remember and understand are topics/events that have evoked our emotions and imaginations. 

We always perceive, feel, and think at the same time; we perfink.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

A good story often contains some kind of dramatic tension.

We see freedom and oppression play out in Cinderella. We see the idea of known and unknown worlds play out in Jack and The Beanstalk. We see safety and danger play out in Hantzel and Gretel. Dramatic tension is not only the stuff of children’s stories, myths, or fairytales however. Read an engaging news article and there will be some tension within it that you feel. For example, I just read a vivid account of what can happen when an underwater oil pipe ruptures; I was captivated by the sense of potential explosiveness that can occur. The hidden is revealed. The silent suddenly screams.

Imaginative teachers shape their lessons and units in ways that evoke a source of dramatic tension or, what we call in Imaginative Education, an Abstract Binary Opposition (ABO). (Check out the YouTube video about this teaching tool at the end of this post!)

Some examples for primary/elementary teachers:

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