In June, I had the privilege to attend the Teaching for Creativity Institute at our local Columbus Art Museum. Four days of connecting with area educators while focusing on what creativity is, looks like, and how to foster creativity. Creativity can be practiced, you can get better at it, and creativity is the basis of change. Learning and growth require change. To help develop creativity we studied and learned about thinking and how to create cultures of thinking. As our learning continued, we started talking about how to explain and justify to parents things we may do to foster creativity. Ideas were shared for engaging parents and changing up the traditional curriculum night format. I loved the ideas shared and I’m sure I will incorporate some this coming year.
Fred Burton, one of my former principals was a guest speaker during the institute and as he discussed studying and fostering cultures of thinking he proposed an essential question to guide that work. “What’s it going to be like to be a learner in this room?” I loved this question and kept pondering it. This is a big question and an important one to be answered. It would probably help with the beginning of the year jitters, I think everyone feels on some level.
At the end of day three I visited an area of the museum that’s called the Wonder Room. It’s a place where families and children can interact with materials either by doing something or making something. The activities connect in some way and during my visit my head began to swirl with thinking from my time at the institute and Fred’s essential question. If I was a student, I would hope to find out some answers about learning in our classroom right away. All the routines and things we do can bog down our first days, if we aren’t careful.
When families visit my room before school starts to meet me and see our learning space I typically have them work together to unpack and sort the student’s school supplies. This doesn’t answer the question, What’s it going to be like to be a learner in this room?” I found myself wanting to change the format of coming to see the classroom and meet your teacher before school starts. What if their time in our classroom had creativity moments and opportunities to talk to others? What if it involved collaboration and sharing ideas? What if it generated student work to display and welcome them on their first day? These photos are ideas I may borrow in one way or another to revamp meet the teacher.