Tag Archives: #creativity

An Orange a Day Makes Best Practices Stay

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“Who needs apples? What educators need are oranges.” And with that you are probably thinking WHAT???

We had the honor of presenting to a fine bunch of educators including former SMSU alumni from three different school districts this morning, and this was the topic of our presentation. We shared active teaching strategies using Bloom’s Taxonomy’s Bloomin Orange and demonstrated best practices by introducing several Bloom’s Web 2.0 tools that we currently use in our courses at SMSU.

Polleverywhere.com (Bloom’s Understand Category) was used to poll our participants to find out how many of them knew what Web 2.0 tools are. It was an eyebrow-raising moment when we found out that many of them had no idea what we were talking about. Polleverywhere is a great tool to find out what your audience or students know about a certain topic; a way to assess their prior knowledge. It is also available as an app for the iPad.

Other Web 2.0 tools that were shared with this attentive group of educators are:

Kidblog.org (Bloom’s Evaluate Category): “Ultimately, blogging will lead to growth as you learn about yourself, your audience and the world around you…leading to further creativity and profitable insights. As you can see by the examples I’ve shared, creators of great achievements always walk down this line” (Patel, 2012, para.24). So considering this, blogging can be more than evaluating, it is creating and sharing, which is the ultimate educational lesson. Kidblog, sponsored by Scholastic, is just one forum to share about your learning.

Animoto.com (Bloom’s Create Category): Building a community of learners and a positive on-line learning environment is tremendously important for on-line learners. Animoto is a great tool to assist with this. On-line students have been asked to create an Animoto to introduce themselves to the rest of the on-line class. After they have completed this task, they upload it to the discussion board so all classmates can watch it. It is one fabulous way to get to know each other.

Glogster.com (Bloom’s Apply Category): “Poster yourself” is the common tagline for this unique tool. Glogster is a way to express yourself in a poster format. Used in the classroom, it can extend learning and understanding in a different format. In my ELA Methods & Assessment course (can I get a woot-woot?), teacher candidates share about a research-based strategy and “glog” about it to persuade teacher candidates to want to use the strategy in their own teaching and future classroom.

Tagxedo.com (Bloom’s Analyze Category): Using Tagxedo is one way for students to analyze content they are expected to read or have already read. Students choose terms from their assigned chapter that they believe to be significant to them as future teachers. Once their vocabulary words have been chosen, they are asked to create a word cloud using Tagxedo. Our teacher candidates save this image to their Pictures file, insert the image into a word document, then write narrative explaining the vocabulary words they have chosen and WHY these terms are important to them as future teachers.

Challenges from the knowledge gleaned today? These teachers voiced several…

“…time, resources, reliable technology, unnecessary, doesn’t work for my class, fluff…”

Tackle those challenges. Hit them hard. Change the mindset.

We challenge ALL educators to try at least one new Web 2.0 tool in the last half of this school year. Just one. Then in the fall, give another Web 2.0 tool a try.

If you want to learn more about Web 2.0 tools, we suggest following Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) and Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom) on Twitter, and also reading their blogs. You will find these two gentlemen to be valuable resources.

Share with us which Web 2.0 tools work for you. …And – if none of the above appeals to you, wait until next week’s blog.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Intentional Creativity

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Who do you think is going to win the race? We have a pretty good idea. When we think about education in terms of a race, we need to consider this illustration to keep us in the lead. “Think outside the box.” This common phrase leads us to consider anything but common practice. It challenges us to think of alternative paths and possibilities.

It is sometimes easier said than done, however. Being creative is not always as easy as it sounds. Writers block is an example of blocked creativity. When creativity is stopped in its tracks or not allowed to even start, it is up to us to make it happen or nothing will ever be different, change, or move forward.

“Brain research helps us to understand how to improve our creative thinking and make creative thinking a habit. The creative drive is a result of the interaction between the frontal lobe (where we generate ideas), the temporal lobe (where we judge), and the release of dopamine (which makes us feel good). Learning creates neutral pathways in the brain, which are reinforced with use. … By practicing creative thinking, students become comfortable making new, meaningful connections and thinking of new possibilities rather than relying on established neutral pathways. With enough practice, this new way of thinking becomes habitual and automatic. … Our brains are wired for success, which means students like to be assured of an outcome where there is only one answer: the right answer. This is not what creativity is about. With creative thinking, as long as students can defend their reasoning, many answers can be correct” (Drapeau, 2014, p.12).

We need to challenge our students (colleagues, friends, family) to think outside of the box and model creative behaviors to ensure creative outcomes. Modeling is encouraged but providing a standard example or answer is not quite the path to develop creative thinking. Our teacher candidates would like to see examples and samples of what is expected. Rethink this – if we show examples of everything we can only expect what has been done. We need to expect what has not been created yet.

Don’t allow this to be you or your class or your colleagues.

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“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” ~ John Wooden

Find a new perspective with intentional creativity. Nurture creativity and make it a habit to try something new and be creative. You want the answer to “just how do we do this,” don’t you? Then go out and create it.

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Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs ~ Dr. C. & Dr. V.