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Teaching for Creativity

August 23, 2011

The beginning of another school year can be very exciting because there are many things that are “new.”  We may experience a new teacher, new students, new friends, new clothes, new school supplies, new bulletin boards, and more.  As we launch ourselves into a new school year at the DMA, we also launch a new blog series called Teaching for Creativity.  The inspiration for this new series comes from various sources, including the DMA’s Center for Creative Connections; our collaborative work with UT Dallas professor and creativity specialist, Dr. Magdalena Grohman; and the 2011 Summer Seminar: Teaching for Creativity, a professional development experience for K-12 educators.

Over the next year, look for monthly posts that inspire us to teach for creativity, encouraging open minds and creative behavior in ourselves, our students, and our colleagues. Teaching for Creativity blog posts will:

  • feature classroom and museum educators to share creative lessons and approaches to teaching that nurture observation skills, curiosity, imagination, and metaphorical thinking,
  • draw attention to great books and websites for creativity resources, and
  • highlight creative beings from the past and present who may offer us new ways to look at the world.

For this inaugural post, I am excited to introduce you to Shadan Price.  Shadan teaches art to students ages 3-5 at El Dorado Montessori in Frisco, Texas and joined us in June for the 2011 Summer Seminar.  Shadan shares with us the lesson plan that she developed during the Seminar and the results of trying it out in her classroom.

During the Teaching for Creativity seminar I attended, our goal was to create a lesson plan that focused on creative thinking. The lesson I came up with did that but was also simple enough for the young children that I teach to understand. In summary, my lesson had them discussing how certain shapes (we focused on circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles) and how they are used in artwork and the real world. We looked at a few art images (ex: Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Klimt’s “The Kiss”) and the students pointed out those shapes in the images. We then looked at images of everyday objects (ex: buttons, tables, pizzas, etc.) and the students talked about what shapes those were. The next step was brainstorming. For each shape the class thought of objects that those particular shapes could be. This was really fun for them! I didn’t want them to brainstorm for too long though because I wanted them to still have a few more ideas for the next part of the lesson which was to draw each shape on a piece of paper and then create an object (real or imaginary) out of that shape. I didn’t put any restrictions on what they could draw. I just told them no matter what it was, even if it wasn’t a real thing, they had to explain to me what the drawing was. For the most part the students really enjoyed this but I could immediately tell which students were not really comfortable making something completely out of their imaginations as opposed to something a little more guided. This was a good project to see who I need to work with more on their creative-thinking skills.  Overall this was a good project.  The students loved brainstorming and drawing their own creations!

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These are a few examples of what the students came up with for each shape:
TRIANGLE – almost all the students chose a slice of pizza….if I did this project over again I might tell them not to do that so I could see what else they came up with. A few others were roofs, mountains, cat ears, and noses.
SQUARE – iron man, robot, mirror, window, bubble machine, cage, bookshelf, frame, butterflies, purses, books, and dinosaurs.
CIRCLE – vacuum, wheels, monkey, balls, DVDs, cookies, lollipops, a “purse maker”, pancakes, rings, and buttons.
RECTANGLE – monster, table, frame, door, fluorescent lights, microwave, baskets, rocketships, and sharks.

I want to express great thanks to Shadan for sharing her lesson with us.  Follow this link to download the lesson: SHADAN_CREATIVE_LESSON.

What creative experiences are happening in your learning environment?  Share them here and look forward to the next Teaching for Creativity post in September.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Christine Miller permalink
    August 23, 2011 4:29 pm

    I’m excited about this new feature you are starting! Great idea!

    • Nicole Stutzman permalink
      August 24, 2011 9:49 am

      Thanks Christine! Send us any ideas you have for nurturing creativity. Maybe we can come visit your classroom too and feature it in an upcoming blog! I hope the year is off to a pleasant start.

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  1. Teaching for Creativity: Boundaries, Rearranging, Persistence, and Creativity « Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog

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