Classroom Celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated today in my 1st grade classroom and the students got extraordinarily creative when we asked them to create traps in hopes to capture a mischievous leprechaun. It was great to see how they used household items to build something that they designed. After building their traps they each had the chance to explain the process to the class. We all offered compliments and questions. It was really fun to take the time to have them explain their thought processes in making something that they felt so proud of. Afterwards we set the traps in hopes that they would catch a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day Eve. Below are just some examples of the creativity that was celebrated.

This student used mirrors and shiny items to lure the leprechaun into his trap.

This student used mirrors and shiny items to lure the leprechaun into his trap.

All this leprechaun has to do is climb up the ladder to find his gold.

All this leprechaun has to do is climb up the ladder to find his gold.

No leprechaun can resist the temptation of Skittles!

No leprechaun can resist the temptation of Skittles!

Inviting messages will surely capture this little leprechaun!

Inviting messages will surely capture this little leprechaun!

Popsicle sticks were cleverly used to devise this trap.

Popsicle sticks were cleverly used to devise this trap.

A colorful rainbow path leads this leprechaun into a  trap!

A colorful rainbow path leads this leprechaun into a trap!

Unfortunately those leprechauns were too sneaky to be fooled by our traps, but they were kind enough to leave behind a small note and a chocolate treat for everyone. IMG_0064 Although he did leave behind a small mess… IMG_0072 Classroom celebrations are great opportunities for students to demonstrate their creativity and imagination. Let’s continue to foster those skills that captivate the eyes, mind, and heart of others. Disclaimer: No leprechauns were harmed during this classroom celebration. 

Schools and Creativity

SirKenRobinson

Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms

It’s time to go back to the drawing board. The critical time has come for a much-needed overhaul of the education system to take place. The education reform movement has created a period of disillusionment for parents, students, and educators. Rather than praise, the education system has taken some very hard hits from all arenas in an attempt to figure out what works best for students. Ironically, we are not reforming education, instead we are moving towards a more standardized view of what learning means. Rather than reform we conform.

Educators are being reduced to a label in regards to yearly evaluation practices and as a result our teaching practices are being watered down. The expectation to be excellent is defined by results on yearly student exams in only reading, writing, and mathematics. There is so much more to school than these three academic areas, albeit important ones. I find all of this so puzzling. Within the existing paradigm of education, is there a way to change the culture of the learning organization to value creativity without functioning exclusively away from learning standards? It may seem unlikely to foster creativity and innovation in a world surrounded by assessments and standardization but I like to think that anything is possible.