Notes on Creativity at the Heart of Learning

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"It seeks to inspire and support fellow educators who believe that the fundamental purpose of education is to uncover who we are, the gifts we bring and the interest that stir our hearts and minds" (Judy Graves, Opal School Founder, Forward of Susan Harris MacKay's essay  Creativity at the Heart of Learning, vi).

"Children's creativity relies on the creativity of the adults in their company" (10). In many instances, teachers serve as reocrders so that the children can reflect on their thoughts. Adults also act as role models, demonstrating engagement and inquiry.

Use of environment: "The environment and materials were used to increase the potential for creating new images and language" (11). "Environments that offer high challenge and low threats at the same times support us to work in the especially productive level of consciousness" (12). An emphasis on the creative "flow" as being the optimal mode for deep, long lasting learning. Described in contrast to the rigidity of textbooks. Talking abut the work of the cummunity (student work) and other discussions help not only to faciltate learning but also creat a sense of community, of belonging. loose parts appear to be an intergral element of the physical classroom spaces for their ability to convey limitless possibilities. Other physical elelments of the classrooms:

    * Varied levels
    * Softness
    * Backyard treasures (bringing in things from home)
    * Intentional presentation (teachers display materials to insprice students)
    * Light and shadow (use of light tables/overhead projection to magically enhance spaces and objects)
    * Loose parts
    * Natural materials
    * Dramatic play spaces

Metacognition is the idea of being conscious of thinking. We all carry this thing called "schema" which is like a ball of our collective experiences and it's the goal of this educational philosophy to help students become aware of when they are using their "schema" to think and draw conclusions. The style of teaching seems to be working. In a discussion about illustrations versus metnal images, one child uses the word schema to describe his perspective (18). Teachers are supposed to model this way of thinking and involve students in the "meaning-making process" (15).

Literacy beyond words: Reading the world "Reading is about amking meaning of words and of the world and the two are inseperable. Rich expericens int eh and withthe word leads to strong literacy" (21). This passage sublting explains how this method of education will also teach students to become good readers. The theory describes how students reading gain information, and that they use the wealth of their personal schema to create meaning. Ultimately, information will mean more and communicate more to students with greater life experiences.

Neuroscience! Brain connecting between the areas of the brain that remember the texture of bark, and the areas that actually feel that bark. Therefore, experience informs imagination (experience is key).

May have just found my favorite book from first grade??? Poppleton... gotta get on that