Thursday, October 9, 2014

Creativity Stretcher: "Pick a Shape" Activity

In 2012, IBM conducted interviews with 1,700 CEOs around the world and published the results in a paper titled “Leading through Connections”. Instead of looking for particular skills, most CEOs interviewed by IBM realized that they need employees who are able to thrive in change, by constantly learning and reinventing themselves. The four specific traits most desired are:
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
Most people believe that creativity and imagination only belong to special gifted individuals, when in reality, we are all born creative and imaginative. As young children, we play and pretend using our imaginations all the time, but somewhere along the way we loose the confidence to call ourselves creative and assume we never were at any point in our lives. My hope is that my students never loose the confidence to be creative, because they will need this confidence to be critical and flexible thinkers. Creativity is a valuable 21st century skill. The arts encourage and develop creativity in all people. Sir Ken Robinson, writer, researcher, adviser, teacher and speaker, makes a great case for creativity and is the author of many books about creativity and education. Here are a two of his books on my reading list:

Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative. (Capstone Publishing Limited, 2001)
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. (Viking Adult, 2009)

This particular activity is a great way to challenge anyone's imagination at any age. I have even used this activity with adults as well as kindergarten students. As a matter of fact, this is the activity we are focusing on in art for the next couple of days grades kindergarten through second. Here are a list of supplies you will need for this particular "Pick a Shape" Creativity Stretcher.

Glue, Crayons, Writing Pencils, Drawing Paper, assorted precut geometric shapes (1-2 inches wide)

For the younger elementary students, I demonstrate the following steps before assigning to students. The whole class helps collaboratively brainstorm ideas for the shape I have chosen and any details I could add to make the object more recognizable. Here are some results from previous year's artists.

My kindergarteners practiced this activity on Wednesday and Thursday and will start a new "Pick a Shape" activity next week. My first and second grade students have tried this activity in the previous school year, so are familiar with my creativity stretchers.
  1. Teacher hands out 9x12 inch drawing paper, one per student. Students write their FIRST NAME, LAST NAME and GRADE (2D) on back. Remind students to do a thumbs up high in the air to show they have completed this step. Teacher checks papers. Kindergarten students are only required to write their first name and grade, while first and second grade students are required to write their first name, last name, and grade.
  2. Once completed with name and grade (while you are checking papers), allow students to choose one geometric shape from a ziplock gallon bag of pre-cut construction paper shapes. Students then glue the shape to the 9x12 inch drawing paper. Remind students one to two dots of glue; Dot, Dot, not a lot.
  3. Using their imagination, students must turn that shape into an object, creature or animal of some sort. Encourage individuality and diversity. Encourage them NOT to copy their neighbors, but to be unique. Encourage students to add details. Details are extras such as where the object is located; inside or outside. What other things might we see with the object? Is it a sunny day or cloudy day? etc. Students may add color with crayons. Art supply inspectors (ASI) will grab these supplies from the art supply shelf and bring to their table sections.
  4. Five minutes before end of class, clean up begins. Art Supply Inspector makes sure pencils, glue bottles, and crayons are back on supply shelf. At the end of class, call quiet table sections to place their papers in the drying rack to prevent papers from sticking together.

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