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Creating Creative Problem Solvers, MAEA 2013

This presentation showcases a developing creativity curriculum and what I have learned so far.

September Buys

on 21 November 2013

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Transcript of Creating Creative Problem Solvers, MAEA 2013

Welcome to Creative Endeavors!
The capacity to conceive of something which is not.
The imagination applied.
Novel and useful creativity that generates value.
Try this.....
Everyone is creative
Once in their head and then to express it in the world
Highly creative people make up stuff at least twice
Writing, Painting, Drawing, Singing, Building, Dancing, Cooking, Sculpting, Problem Solving, Acting, Talking, Collaging etc... The more you do it, the more creative you will become!
Highly creative people know that you become more creative by being more creative.
Practice in a discipline is key to ensuring more and better ideas.
Highly creative people know that they have to work.
In this class you will develop these habits. :)
Highly creative people have habits that less creative people don't.
listen, have a willingness to try, display eagerness, be curious, use positive language (be happy!!!)
Be Open
images, ideas, inspirations, books, objects, things you love, things that interest you, mementos, sentimental attachments, thoughts, etc
be questioning, self questioning, ask/say the difficult thing, do not be afraid to standout, get out of your comfort zone
Travel, be active, seek new challenges, dive deeper into your environment, the more diverse your experiences, the better!
immersion, bring something closer, investigating, move/change your surroundings, notice and change your point of view
find the ability to be still, quiet, focused within
Find opportunities to be child like and to play
To be open minded, think outside the box, to collaborate with others, to look beyond the obvious, to go outside your comfort zone a little, to get a little messy, to develop your own passion, to bring something new (to yourself) into existence...and of course to follow classroom rules! :)
What is expected of my students?
Curiosity and imagination are essential skills for the 21st century workplace if we are to compete in a new global economy.
Wreck it!
Five Days on
a Theme
Brainstorm and Transform
Alteration and Transformation
Don't be afraid to make mistakes, play with materials, learn how materials work, make discoveries.
Work within a theme, select your own direction for your work, sustain your work for a period of time, reflect upon your meaning making.
Come up with multiple possibilities, notice how ideas change and evolve, develop something completely original, document your transformation.
Marking Period One, 2012-2013
Transforming yourself options
Comic book that shows cause and effect of transformation

Stop motion animation (people, clay figures, objects, drawings, etc) that shows cause and effect of transformation.

Drawing of self with transparent overlays documenting transformation.

A physical costume that shows entire body transformation. (not just a mask)
Altered Books
Wreck it, Color it with different media, Sew in it, Fold it, collage in it, make hiding spots, Make pop ups, develop a story, block out words, etc
Possible themes for future marking periods
Architecture/Place Fantasy
Service Learning Craftsmanship
Relationships Empathy
Environment Structures
Identity Community
Trash to Treasure Conflict
Innovative Design/ IDEO Stereotypes
Game Design/Gamestar Mechanics
Thank you for coming to my session. I would love to hear your ideas!

Please email at:

Visit my blog at:
Alternative Histories
Clay Hybrids
By tables students make lists of animals, appliances/machines, foods, creatures/celebrities.

The lists are cut up and put into a bag

Students draw two or more words from another tables bag and create drawings of the combinations.

Students develop their own combination to make out of clay.
Steam Punk Sculptures
Sci-Fi Movies/Posters/Scripts
Creativity Journals
Make a map of everywhere you went in one day

Define in your own words one of the following: eating, sleeping, boredom

Make a door, what's on the other side?
Science Fiction
Marking Period One, 2013-2014

Creating Creative Problem Solvers

September Buys
Greenville Middle School

2012 National Middle Level Art Teacher of the Year
NAEA Middle Level Division Director Elect
Writing Team Member of the Next Generation of National Visual Art Education Standards, work to be complete/released Spring, 2014

The beginning
WMU, BA in Art Education with a minor in Industrial Arts/Drafting

Trained in DBAE
Boys and Girls Club of Kalamazoo

Elementary Art Teacher, Vicksburg

High School Art Teacher, Mattawan
The struggle
The epiphanies
MICA, MA in Art Education

Elegant Problems/ The Big Idea

"Wow, it's quiet in here, Engaging the Middle School Art Student"

Special Population Studies

There's something else....putting my finger on it
"I'm not creative".
Creative Endeavors
(what I've seen so far)
Zero behavior issues (not kidding)

A classroom culture that cares about each other

Proven Success that can be Documented with Data

Advocacy and Parent Support like you Wouldn't Believe

All students grow and most exceed your wildest expectations!
The Journey
Middle School Art Teacher, Greenville

Students are not as engaged as I would like them to be.

What really engages middle school kids? What can I do as the teacher to make a difference?
Things I think I've learned so far....
We need to change our language
Our students should teach us
We should expect them to grow creatively
Creativity should be the most important thing (all other things naturally grow from it)
We n
Rethinking Curriculum means:

Teach for Creativity First

Stay on the Edge and Pay Attention to What Happens

Artist : Frank Wu
Fluency, Elaboration, Flexibility and Originality
Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.
Fluency Checkpoints (looking at averages among 5 classes of students)

September 9, 2013 Toothpick
Average of 2 - 3 ideas per two minutes

September 24, 2013 Brick
Average of 5 -6 ideas per two minutes

October 1, 2013 Fork
Average of 9-13 ideas per two minutes

October 18, 2013 Paperclip
Average of 15 - 17 ideas per two minutes

What I learned the first year of Creative Endeavors
When trying to make a change, timing matters.
Modeling creative behavior is important. Be silly too.
It's really important to have kids share crazy ideas daily.
Wrecking things is similar to creating things.
Starting with wrecked things helps eliminate fear of mistakes.
A wrecked beginning is different than a messy ground.
There is a lot of value in playing with materials
Limitations are helpful, "working with what you are given" is key.
It's important to learn how to "let go" of what you were planning and let the kid take over..who's project is it anyway?

What I've learned so far this year, at one marking period
I need to remember that I shouldn't be the most creative person in the room.
Creativity is measurable and skills need to be practiced and assessed regularly if we want to see real growth.
It actually really works!
Growth needs to be shared with students so they will identify themselves as creative.
When students see themselves as creative, they make cooler things.
Collaboration needs to be an option but not pushed.
Keeping your mouth shut will lead to better ideas from your kids. (sculptures vs "robots" )
Make a point to share a lot of contemporary artists work (especially if it doesn't relate exactly to what you are working on). A two minute You Tube can go a long way.
Craftsmanship = Thoughtfulness: have the kids consult each other by asking "What does this look like to you?" "If it's not easily recognizable by someone from another table, then enough thought was not put in to tell the story you need to tell with your work."
People are motivated by telling their stories, not always by making nice looking products.
If you take away the barriers, better ideas and production will emerge.

States of "Being" Creative
Be Original
Be Productive
Be Innovative
Be Inspiring
Be Collaborative
Be Thoughtful
Be Curious
Be Playful
Be Expressive
Make sure your idea is completely your own.
When in doubt, or stuck, do something!
Invent something that could be of use to someone besides yourself.
Try to inspire others to
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