One of the great points I got out of Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon was that of your creative genealogy. Who are the people that inspire you, whose ideas have added to your creativity; whose ideas can be seen remixed in the work that you do?
So here is my attempt at a creative genealogy in the form of an A-Z of people inspiring me on twitter lately (with some tired Friday night liberties taken on how it works): Continue reading →
This sentence irks me ridiculously – whether a student or teacher saying it, it just irks me. I know the pain of looking at a blank page and how the hardest thing in any creative pursuit is to get started. In fact I have even blogged and run workshops based upon ideas to help teachers (and help them help their students to) get over that initial blank and get started.
Yet, the biggest mind shift for me was realising that there is no such thing as a blank page. I don’t have to be completely original. I read and see creative ideas all the time – online and in person. I see inspiration in front of me every day – landscapes, my children, students, colleagues, books… Every single one of these ideas and inspirations that enter my head mean that I will never face a blank page. Continue reading →
I first came across the idea of enabling constraints when investigating Complexity Theory for my thesis. The book Engaging Minds gives great examples of how the right level of constraints are required to truly cause creativity to occur. This was echoed recently in a post by Tom Barrett in his post about setting the right level of constraint for learning in your class.
As this school year started, Hobsonville Point Secondary School was entering it’s 2nd year of operation and that brings new levels of constraints. 2 Year levels to plan for so double the students and some (nowhere near double) new staff on board. So, how to evolve our structures.
First of all, the 3rd generation timetable:
Specialised Learning Modules are co-taught by 2 teachers and last year had 2 teaching blocks, we wanted to deepen this so worked a way for each to have an extra hour this year. We also wanted to leverage teacher-student relationships more to enable learning so students will stay with the same teachers for a semester (2 terms) even though the focus concepts shift in the 2nd term from Culture and Diversity to Relationships. Continue reading →
One of my favourite lesson starters is to give students a What If question and give them a few minutes to generate multiple answers. This serves a couple of purposes. 1) they immediately have something to do when they enter class rather than waiting for everyone else to arrive. 2) it gets the brain working in a creative, divergent fashion to start the lesson.
I have spoken about this a few times online and people seem to like the idea. Natasha Low asked if I had blogged about these but I hadn’t so here are some examples of what I mean.
I try to give between 3-5 minutes and set a target of at least 7 ideas written down in that time. Some prompts work better than others of course and students do range in their generative capabilities. Continue reading →
I am a big fan of twitter chats and regularly take part in many chats based in various countries. Recently, however, I have found that they are becoming ego chambers filled with back patting and lacking critical thought. Still doing great things to connect educators, share ideas and support each other but not really allowing time or space for critical discussion to occur.
That is until the 2nd Birthday of #edchatnz last night. It was a doozy! The topic was “How can we meet students’ needs when the world changes so fast” and Rachel Bolstad (@shiftingthinkng) gave a masterclass in developing critical discussion within the fast-paced environment of a twitter chat. Continue reading →
Next week I am off to Google Teachers Academy in Sydney. I am focusing in on a moonshot around developing creativity and innovation across schools. I would really appreciate it if you could fill out this form to add to my Immersion data.
This post follows from an Ignite talk I did this morning on a Culture of Critique and has been brewing for a while. My own reflections over the past 2 terms have now been influenced by my most recent read – Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull, the Head of Disney Pixar.
We have a mantra at HPSS that we use regularly – Warm and Demanding (see this earlier post about Warm and Demanding). I feel we are getting the Warm great, the demanding happens from time to time but I question whether we utilise the warm AND demanding enough in a way that pushes us forward as a school.
For me, this links with an analogy I loved from Creativity Inc: imagine an old heavy suitcase whose well-worn handles are hanging by threads. Continue reading →