Category Archives: Creative Thinking

Creative Snowflakes

This post, from The Art of Education blog, gives some great suggestions for a simple art challenge for the students who might be so inclined.  I would extend the topic even further by having the students brainstorm other possible ideas for illustrating an entire page:  ladybugs, flowers, holiday candy, cars, etc…

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S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays

One of the creative thinking tools that my students learn is S.C.A.M.P.E.R.  It is an acronym to help people to remember different ways inventive ideas can happen:  Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, and Rearrange.  It was originally developed by a man named Roger Eberle.  The holidays lend themselves to this type of thinking, as the students are already feeling a little loose and silly – willing to take risks with unusual ideas.  Here is a link to a first grade teacher’s activity in which her students had to think of ideas for the putting candy canes to another use.  And here are some other ones I’ve used:
Substitute other materials for making a “snowman” for a place where it never snows.
Combine two holidays and draw a picture of a family celebrating them.
Adapt Santa’s sleigh to another environment – like the desert or outer space.
Modify (Magnify or Minimize) a holiday dessert.
Put flying reindeer to another use for the rest of the year.
Eliminate presents from a holiday. What could be done to celebrate instead?
Rearrange the holiday calendar. What months would have which holidays, and why?
If you prefer having pre-made sheets, you can purchase PDF’s of these in my SCAMPER Through the Seasons pack on TPT. Here are some examples from my third graders:
This student made a snowman out of globes, and the hands are from a clock!
This student asked me if Santa’s new environment had to be “real.” When I said it did not have to be real, he chose a computer game as the environment.

Rain Deer Orchestra

Rain Deer Orchestra is just a fun site that can easily be differentiated for various music levels.  I am not sure why the site designer chose that particular way to spell the title, but it’s the songs that are important.  Go to this site, and you can tap on the noses of the reindeer to play music.  There are a couple of songs that have prompts to accompany them for those students who are just learning, and there is the option to “free play”.  For the middle-of-the-road students, or as a class lesson, the teacher could play a few notes, and then ask the student(s) to predict which reindeer would make the next appropriate note.

Text Snowflake Creator

This is a neat Java-based site that allows you to design your own snowflake with text.  Teachers could have their students create short messages in their snowflakes: a sentence from a book character’s point of view, what they would give the world as a gift, their favorite things about winter, etc…, and decorate the classroom bulletin boards with the print-outs.  I found this link on KB Connected, where you can also find a link to over 100 holiday related websites.

Music in the Classroom

photo credit to kvanhorn on Flickr

This great post on Byrdseed Gifted, a fabulous resource for higher level thinking ideas, inspired me to come up with more ways to get music into my own classroom.  To extend one of Ian’s ideas even further, I would like to use music to communicate some of my expectations.  Students seem to forget, sometimes, what they should do when they finish their work.  What if the background music answered this question?  If I am playing Bach, for example, could this be the signal that they are supposed to check over their work, and then read a book?  Or, could Beethoven mean that they can find another partner who is finished and do a center activity?  Of course, this would mean the students would also have to be able to identify the pieces of music – an added bonus!  Now that our school district subscribes to Soundzabound, I should have plenty of resources for creating a more harmonic classroom environment.

QR Codes and Art

I like patterns.  This week, I started by sharing some QR Code Countdown Calendars.  Yesterday, I chose to share a link to Countdown Calendars.  So, today, I will focus once again on QR Codes.

I found an article on the Langwitches blog that gave a wonderful idea for using QR codes with art.  You should read the article here, because it gives great details.  To summarize, it explains a project in which the students created magnificent artwork.  They then made individual recordings about their artwork.  These recordings were uploaded to the web, and QR codes were generated for each link.  The QR codes were then adhered to the artwork.  Therefore, anyone who passes the artwork that is being displayed can use a “smart” device to scan the code, allowing them to listen to the student’s narrative about the art as the surveyor looks upon the masterpiece.

This generated so many extension ideas for me when I read it that I could not even begin to list them.  Think about the power of attaching another media to a bulletin board display of any type of work.  It could be an audio narrative or music.  It could even be a video!  Imagine the electronic portfolios your students could create that would co-exist in the both the “real” and “virtual” worlds!  I can’t wait to try it myself!

Countdown Calendars Continued

The past few days have included posts of various different QR Countdowns that I’ve created.  One of my favorite bloggers has collected probably the largest amount of technology-related Advent links that I have ever seen at iLearnTechnology.  They include his own Web 2.0 calendar as well as an Appvent Calendar.  The one linked to the image above will take you to the National Museum of Liverpool calendar, which will reveal a piece of art from the museum each day.  I recommend that you check out his links if you plan to do any kind of counting down in December!  I will be eager to see what his Web 2.0 calendar reveals…