About Joanna Best
Posts by Joanna Best:
right in your building.
Daily, the custodians collect empty rolls from paper towels. . .and these are the really awesome, thick ones that can lend themselves to all kinds of projects. Give them a plastic bin and ask them to save these for you.
Similarly, the packaging for produce often presents itself as a great resource for projects children can make. Look around. . .involve the other workers in the building in order to maximize resources and cut down on waste. It inspires creativity everywhere!
Dr. Thomas Moore has a great song entitled PAPER TOWEL ROLL that encourages children to play with a paper towel roll and use their imaginations. The paper towel roll becomes a many wonderful thing, and hopefully the child gains some amount of imaginative ingenuity in the mental process of singing it.
It’s important to constantly consider what creativity is, what it means and how to instill it in students. Of course, my answer is simple: provide materials that would otherwise be tossed, compile by theme, add scissors and glue and you are all set.
Of course, for some, there will be the temptation to put creativity on a grid, or a metric, or a way to compare. But just as often we do find that people of influence do understand the value of creativity (see here, and here, and here, and here).
Of course, speaking out against the standardization and testing movement is important, but if you find yourself teaching in the midst of it (as in, it is mandated), then keep that stock of scissors and glue and you will keep the creativity going.
Theme: Party Hats
Ages: K-2nd grade
Games: wear a party hat necklace; sing the song: Put on your party hat necklace, we’re having a party hat time; put on your party hat necklace, let’s make a party hat rhyme; (name a word, they give rhyming words); teams to put together the most mini paper party hats
Project with Scissors and Glue: decorate a flat party hat; decorate a mini party hat (upcycled plastic inserts from cone shaped objects)
There is no question that our society (and any society that is stratified, and not homogeneous) will yield circles (or orbits as we might hear in millennial culture) of communication, expectations, norms, aesthetics and ideals based on resources, expectations, moral codes and the availability of time and energy. And yet, what appeals to us in the creative realm and what dawns on those who channel creative energy is mostly intuitive.
Education, particularly in the day of choice (and probably in the day of “separate but equal,” and likely even in the heyday of public school prominence), will never be able to surmount these orbiting realms of thought. The best any formal approach can do is hope to keep up, by methods of research and response to any new state of the art development.
How do we “stay ahead of creativity” then? How do we lead it? How do we create the trends and not just follow them? How do we plan for creativity and use it for our betterment?
I believe that the goal of noticing the realms, levels or echelons of creativity going on around us is largely based on resources. Just as eating habits generally have developed from what foods are readily available, so too do creative endeavors that seem rewarding because they line up with the aesthetic and philosophical energy going on around us stem from the resources at our fingertips.
So I would ask teachers (just as I ask businesses I approach for donations of reusable and upcycleable materials), what resources are right there with you that you are not using? How could those resources contribute to the creativity you instill in students and that you model in your lessons?
The mission of Scissors and Glue is to model projects for students (or crafters) with upcycled materials; that is, the emphasis is creativity through resources that might otherwise be thrown away. Consider the number of coffee sleeves tossed out EVERY DAY. Some are corrugated, some are more of a quilted texture. Regardless the texture, they are almost all useful. Save them; find an interesting punch shape and voila. . .adornments for students to use (and not sparingly). Here, a series of pears. The lesson: fruits, songs with pear references, you name it. . make it work for you.
I can’t say enough what a good resource adhesive scrap is. Anytime I teach a workshop that uses adhesive foam scrap, I save all bits. When a good amount has been saved, I create a project that utilizes the scraps for mosaic. It’s a good time to do riddles with children or sing songs, while they are busy creating their mosaic.