The Drawing Drawer is an idea that will be appealing to teachers of all levels who are familiar with the classic, “What are we supposed to do when we’re done?” Marty Reid has provided a list of fun ideas for kids who finish their work early. They include suggestions like: “Draw a picture of something you’d like to become better at doing,” or “Draw your greatest fear.” The trick, of course, is balancing the motivational value of this concept with the expectation of quality from the main assignment. However, with a little practice and clear expectations, this could be a great way to add some creativity to the daily routine. While you are visiting Marty’s page, you might also want to check out some of the other great ideas at www.incredibleart.org!
My last post was about the concept of applying Google’s 20% Policy to the classroom. 100 Minutes of Genius is a similar idea. Tia Henriksen got the idea of calling it “Genius Hour” from another educator, Mrs. Krebs, who is referenced on this blog post. Also, there are links to how Mrs. Krebs introduced the idea to her students and a report of their progress that includes a Rubric of Creativity. This appears to be an idea that is spreading like wildfire, and I think that it can be adapted to many different types of learning situations. Giving students more choices that allow for creativity could be a way to reignite the passion for learning in our country.
You are probably familiar with the “Talking” apps. There are a variety that are available for free, and work on iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. This particular one is only compatible with the iPad at the moment, and is free (though there is an offer for an in-app purchase). My Multimedia club students had fun playing around with the app to deliver some Thanksgiving Jokes on our school news, which is a video broadcast. They recorded the jokes, then sent them to the computer, where, once the MOV file was converted to WMV (with a little help from Zamzar), we were able to add music and subtitles. If you are not crazy about all of those complicated steps, don’t worry. You can just record and e-mail it. We have not had a chance to use one of the coolest features of this app, which allows you to insert a video from your iPad on which Tom and Ben can comment. This offers a lot of learning opportunities in which students can explain some of their own homemade videos. (Example: Imagine, “This just in – Allison figured out how to solve 13 times 14!”)
Here is a sample of our jokes from our video club:Vodpod videos no longer available.
Lemelson Center’s Invention at Play is a website that encourages creative thinking. The philosophy is that, by playing, we become more inventive. Cloud Dreamer allows the students to use their imaginations to create their own visions in the clouds. Puzzle Blocks emphasizes problem-solving with tangram pieces. In Word Play the students create stories. By far, one of the favorite playgrounds among my students is Tinker Ball. This is basically a web version of the Bubble Ball app I posted about not too long ago. The students have to use various pieces in combination to get a ball into a cup. It’s fun to challenge them to find out who can do it successfully with the least pieces or the most. I love that they are problem-solving, but that there endless solutions to the problem. You could have them write a “How To” paper giving instructions, or get them to think about their own thinking and describe the process they followed to reach their final solution.
Before you click on this link, make sure you have a lot of time on your hands. I have it on good authority from several people, including my eight-year old, that this site is addictive. To be honest, I had a hard time tearing myself away from the screen once I got started. What I love about this site is that it requires a combination of creativity, problem-solving, and musical talent. Basically, it allows you to compose music by building roads, adding cars to the roads, and placing various types of waypoints to create the notes. But you won’t understand the full potential of Isle of Tune until you visit it yourself. And, while you’re there, be sure to visit the isles that have already been created. You will be amazed at the ingenuity used to recreate popular songs and to invent new compositions. Even more exciting news – they are planning to launch their iPad app this week.