When I was in the second grade I made a picture of a mushroom using string, glue and magazine photos. It was the ugliest thing ever!
Still, my mom kept it up on her kitchen wall for over a decade. My high school friends were merciless about it whenever we raided the fridge for snacks. I vowed never to torture my children in the same way.
Some promises are meant to be kept; others not so much.
As a parent, I understand why my mom kept the picture posted on the fridge, although I try to be more subtle with my own children. Their clay sculptures squat proudly in my tool room, out of sight. Drawings stay up no longer than a week. And while I attend nearly every school play, I don’t feel the need to videotape my daughter every time she channels pilgrims, rain forest animals and leafy green vegetables, even though I love seeing her in action.
We all love our kids’ artistic achievements. They may be silly and awkward, but there’s nothing like seeing your child beam about a drawing or sculpture or performance.
The thing is though, as much as we enjoy these keepsakes and memories, they rarely have anything to do with creativity.
Real creativity is about solving problems. It’s about critical thinking. As Sir Ken Robinson says, “creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.”
Building off Ken Robinson’s definition, creativity is at its height when it includes five I’s: ideas, imagination, insights, innovation and implementation. Visual and performing arts are critical, to be sure, but elementary and middle school children can and should be creative when it comes to math and science, language and history, social studies and recess.
In the weekly posts that follow I’d like to share some ideas and techniques that we’ve found at Right At School to be effective tools in building student’s creativity across the five I’s and to give you an opportunity to share your own techniques and ideas.
In addition to talking about creativity, we’ll discuss tactics to build our children’s conditioning, character, and confidence. These are the four C’s that we think outweigh straight A’s every day of the week.
Before I leave you to your Thanksgiving dinners and construction paper turkeys, I would like to share with you what I am thankful for this holiday season. I am thankful for that ugly mushroom that stayed in my mom’s kitchen longer than it ever should have. I am thankful for the sculptures, paintings and crafts that my children have made that are strategically placed around my house. I am thankful for our wonderful educators who make all subjects creative and fun. And I am thankful for the amazing children and engaged parents who allow Right At School to enrich their lives every day.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
CEO – Right At School