Sunday, November 3, 2013


So I have been absent from this blog lately. I have been processing many changes in my school district and limiting my writing to just my classroom blog where I could stay in my comfort zone. All of that began to change for me last Friday during our professional development day. As a staff we took a day long course on creativity that happened to be taught by our own Art teacher. It was a very inspiring day. It made me think a lot about the ways that I currently ask my students to be creative and how I can improve upon that. It was interesting to learn that there is a defined creative process.

The Creative Process
  • Observe and analyze
  • Generate and select
  • Discover and apply
  • Revise and refine
  • Apply and evaluate
What we ended up noticing and talking a lot about is how this process is basically the same process as the writing process, the problem solving process in math, the scientific method and the inquiry model. It is also similar to the process of using reading strategies that we teach readers who are just beginning to decode text. It is a way to describe many processes. It is all about thinking. I want to use this new knowledge to help my students begin to see at a much deeper level all of the cross-curricular connections. The creative process is a learning process and can be applied in many areas. If they learn the basic process using whatever labels are developmentally appropriate for them, my students will have learned how to learn. For me this is exciting and I can't wait to dig in.

The Creative Process in my Room Now
Currently we use this general process in all academic areas but it seems to stand out the most in our Writer's Workshop, Math Exchanges Workshops, Number Sense Workshops, various apps on our iPads (ShowMe, Tellagami, etc.) and in our Social Studies and Science Expeditions.  I have worked hard to add short times to our days where students can also use this process. One of these is the Build and Create Station. At this station, we rotate through collections of various building toys - blocks, gears, pattern blocks, dominoes, marble towers and a new version that we call a Maker Station. The Maker Station version of the Build and Create Station is when we gather lots and lots of recyclable materials and the students can make anything they want. It has been very popular.

New Challenge
The day ended with a challenge from our principal. She asked us to dive into the creative process ourselves as learners. She asked us to think about our "perfect" classroom and think about what we would see there. She challenged us to take one idea from this thinking and try to implement it using the creative process. She encouraged us to think big and be willing to fail and try again. Her question to us was, "What matters enough to me that I'm willing to fail while trying?" She also asked to let one thing go that is currently on our plate to make room for this new thing. I am now pondering what I will try. I know that I am excited to try something new - I just have to choose one thing. So I would like to throw this question out to you. What would you try? How would you choose? What matters enough to you? I really want to know.


  1. Because I'm an artist, I'm always trying new art forms. What troubles me in schools is that kids most often focus on trying to get the "right answer" (and bless their hearts--they're trying to do the right thing.) But in creativity, we need to value the process of *being creative* as the goal above "getting it right." Because, let's face it, it's in the trying something new--thinking outside the box--and not really knowing if it will work or not that drives creativity. Going down the known path tends to lead us most often to the "right answer." Those things can sometimes be opposite things.

  2. I love the ‘build and create’ station! Will definitely pass that on to some teachers I know.