Tag Archive | fun

Creativity

 

 

 

 

 

Creativity is important in our lives.  I saw a little post the other day that said “EARTH, without ART, is just….EH…”

I thought that was clever, and a little true.  Without the creative parts of our lives, we would tend toward the type of distopian futures we see in George Orwell books.  It’s our creativity, and our differences, that make us unique.

Top three reasons we should keep creativity and artistic expression in our schools, in an age where time is money and our time is constantly running out toward the MSP and HSPE testing time.

1) It will help on the MSP and HSPE.  To me, that’s the most convincing, because it’s important for our kids to do well on those mandatory tests, if only for them to feel good about what they are learning and feel they are doing great.  The test is not the be all end all of their education, but it’s another pat on the back for them when they do well.  When the artistic side of the brain opens up, it allows for quicker and easier recall and understanding of concepts.  Cool stuff.

2) If our job is to create fully functioning human beings for our world, and humans who will interact with and improve our society, creative expression is going to be important in their lives.  It’s very important to teach them to use word processing programs for future employment, yes, but also to use photoshop and blogging software and to listen and appreciate music.  To be a total person, you can’t just rely on the worker aspect.

3) It’s fun.  Especially for those kids who aren’t as analytically minded, if you don’t feed their souls they will not love school. And we want kids to love school like I do.  Learning is living!

Energy

We have been discussing ENERGY in our class, and how it is made, and transformed, and where it comes from.  It isn’t matter, like everything else in the universe.  It’s energy.  We can’t hold it or touch it, but we can feel it’s power in everything we do.

There are many types of energy – magnetic energy, electrical energy, kinetic energy, caloric energy to power our bodies, solar energy, heat…pretty much all the forces that make our world go around.

The energy we use to power our bodies each day – calories – is a great one to talk with kids about because it directly relates to their lives.  They can feel and see the energy they take in and use every day.  They know what a hot dog is a lot more than an electric turbine.  So it’s energy in their own terms.

Talking about it really brings home for them the differences in the foods they eat.  Of course, it doesn’t usually CHANGE their eating patterns – no matter how much I tell them that sugar is a dirty energy that doesn’t fuel their bodies right, they still want as much candy as possible.  But at least they’re thinking about it and learning about it, and one day maybe the change will come.

But for now, it’s enough to let them know that, “Hey!  When you throw that paper airplane across the room, did you know you’re using muscle energy that is fueled by food energy you consume?  Isn’t that awesome!  Now go pick up the plane and throw it away.  Using energy.”

 

Valentines Day

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Sometimes it seems our year is defined by the mile markers along the way.  Usually those are the special occasions, like parent teacher conferences, the winter music program, and the holidays.  You can tell what day of the year it is usually just from checking out the bulletin boards.

Of course, for a teacher or parent, each holiday seems to bring the inevitable – candy and sweets.  It’s almost as if the kids have decided that every holiday HAS to have candy associated with it to be at all special. 

“Oh yes!  Easter is coming up!” they’ll say.  I’ll reply – “Yes!  In Spring there is Easter, and often people go on easter egg hunts.” “To get CANDY!” the kids interject, always emphasizing the word candy like it’s a pirates treasure.

Of course, this Valentines was no different.  The kids all brought valentines for the class, most of them with some candy attached.  In addition to that, there were cupcakes brought, and brownies and cookies – I don’t think any of the kids finished everything they were given.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think holidays and rituals and “special days” where you get things you don’t always get are important.  They’re the types of things kids remember even as adults.  I just think we need to make sure they are memorable, by making them special.  And we make them special by making it not so frequent.  Don’t include a candy with every lunch each day.  Don’t keep eating on the Halloween candy until Christmas.

And let’s all stop sending candy on St. Patricks day.  I think that just goes too far. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day!

First Steps

It’s a simple act.  Step outside.  Do something different.  But it always seems so hard to make the first step.  First steps in anything are, classically, the hardest ones to take.

Life is about making first steps.  Every first step you take is a new experience you’ve put under your belt.  That first time you tried turnips.  The first time you went ice skating.  The first time you wore neon green.  You don’t think about it, but you get up every day when you probably don’t want to.  You make a choice what to eat, what to get dressed in…and if you always did the same thing you’d never take any first steps.  But then would you be experiencing everything life has to offer?

I think as teachers and parents we think we’re done with our “living” and focus on teaching the young ones about it.  But the best teachers are the experienced ones.  The best instructional tool is being a great example.

I want my kids to be lovers of life.  I want them to be first step takers.  I want them to experience everything, the good and the bad.  And that means I have to show them what a first step taker looks like, acts like…what he does everyday in everything.

I think I’ll take that first step, and choose to go outside now.  Maybe I’ll go bird watching.  I’ve always thought about doing that.

http://www.livingthecrazykidslife.blogspot.com

Artists in Everyone – Top 4 ideas

My top 4 (not 5?  Not 10?  No, I don’t need to be pingenholed by a specific round number.) Art activities.  Ready?

Art is dead.  Isn’t it?  It seems so sometimes in public schools that artistic endeavors tend to go the way of the dodo.  It’s hard to find time in the day to do art education when you don’t have a test forcing you to cover the material.

In our state, we have yearly art assessments we give, but they really aren’t graded.  Our scores aren’t printed and made public.  Parents don’t come to you and pound on your door, demanding why their child earned below average on their art assessment.  It just isn’t a priority in our leaving children behind age.

Of course, I may be biased because I have a theatre background, but I truly believe that keeping a foot in the artistic world helps you be a more rounded person, and the research shows that artistic activities help you access more of your brain function.  Kids who have an opportunity to have art experiences, do better in many subjects.

Of course, where do you get the time?  The answer is simple – you’ve got to do it during reading, or history, or math…slip it into the lesson without them even knowing it.  Sometimes they look at me with a puzzled expression – “wait a minute Mr. E….is this Art?”

Nope.  It’s math…with a dash of art thrown in for good measure.

So, how do you do it?  “What if I don’t know anything about art?” you say.  “What if I’m a terrible artist?”

Funny enough, most of the teachers out there are great artists, they just don’t think of themselves that way.  I’m terrible at putting together a nice collage or bulletin, but a lot of my peers put me to shame in that category.  I’m not any great shakes at classic drawing art anyway.  I’m more of a writing, photography, abstract paper mache kind of guy.  But we don’t need to be locked into “art” as “pictures”.  Art is just expression.

So, a few ways to incorporate art into the curriculum, for those teachers, homeschoolers, moms and dads and caregivers out there in this crazy old world of hours:  My top 5…

1) In history, check out a few classic scuptures.  Greek, Roman – probably nothing too revealing for the younger kids, but there’s some good stuff out there.  You could even do the acropolis or the pyramids – some example of classic art or architecture.  Get a pic from google, and give everyone a copy.  Obviously talk about the time period – who the egyptians were, where Greece is today, etc…

Then have them sketch their own example of the work.  Depending on age, they might take 5 minutes or an hour on it.  We did this with a local sculpture, and some did a slow, methodical job and some flew through.  It’s all good (See Kassy’s pic above)

2) Math Problem solving – For some reason my kids never want to draw a picture when they have a word problem.  For me, it always helps me to help them visualize the story problem.  So, sometimes I’ll make it a requirement – you HAVE to draw the story out.  Or maybe have to do it with magazine clippings, and make a story problem answer collage.

For example, if the question was – “Dan wants to buy a sandwich and soda for lunch.  He can get a roast beef or a turkey sandwich, and he can get lemonaid, sprite, or coke to drink.  What are all the ways he can have lunch?” – they’d have to actually draw all the turkey sandwiches with color, or cut out foods from a magazine (or find pics online for younger ones who need technology practice!)

3) Color science – this is a simple and always fun lesson on light absorption.  Just get some paints together and experiment what the blends will come out as.  Have them make a hypothesis, then test it.  Remember, when you see purple paint, really what the paint is doing is absorbing all the other spectrums of light EXCEPT the blue and the red, which is bouncing back to your eye.  So if you mix red and blue, you’ll get purple.

4) Snowy day? (like today) – Make snow sculptures inside.  Then watch them melt to discuss forms of matter, molecular movement to make those forms of matter, what matter is…go crazy.  Hey…why didn’t the rocks on my snowman’s face melt when the snow did?

I’m sure I could think up 3 more, but that’s all for now. 🙂 Have a great day – go out and learn something!

Check out http://tinyurl.com/edieloco for a little more info.  See ya!

 

Kassy’s conductor pic – 4th grade