Bring Back the Joy: Creative Teaching, Learning, and Librarianship

By Lamb, Annette; Johnson, Larry | Teacher Librarian, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Bring Back the Joy: Creative Teaching, Learning, and Librarianship


Lamb, Annette, Johnson, Larry, Teacher Librarian


"For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong--and how can we fix it." (Bronson a Merryman, Newsweek, July 19, 2010, p. 44).

A decade of strict standards, serious budget cuts, and sobering statistics has left teachers stressed out and students apathetic. It's time to bring the joy of learning back into our schools.

Humans derive pleasure from constructing, innovating, and building. In addition, a balance of critical and creative thinking is important in learning. Creativity is emerging as a popular theme in the latest round of standards revisions.

"Creativity and Innovation" is the first standard on the International Society of Technology Education's National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS).

The American Association of School Librarian's Standards for the 21st-Century Learner stress the importance of students "creating new knowledge." Students are asked to "create products that express new understandings" and "create products that apply to authentic, real-world contexts".

In this article, we'll explore engaging technology tools that involve students in creative thinking, constructing knowledge, and developing innovative products.

THINK DIFFERENT

Start your quest for creativity by thinking in new ways about reference sources. Use new tools to help you and your students explore, ponder, and contemplate. For instance rather than using a traditional paper thesaurus, think graphically by exploring a visual thesaurus.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Search for words such as "creativity" and "innovation" using three different online tools: Visual Thesaurus, www.visualthesaurus.com/, VisuWords, www.visuwords.com/, Lightweight Visual Thesaurus awordlike.textdriven.com/. Figure 1 shows an example from the Visual Thesaurus software.

Visual dictionaries are also great tools for thinking in new ways about curriculum content and assignments. Use the Visual Dictionary at visual.merriam-webster.com/. These images can be embedded in student blogs or other web-based projects using their blog tools, visual.merriam-webster.com/tools_blog-tools.php. Simply click the "Blog This" choice in the upper right corner of the page containing the visual, copy their code, and paste it into the HTML of your page.

Use vocabulary websites such as VocabAhead, vocabahead. com, to jumpstart a discussion with students about how they might create their own animated dictionaries using a tool like Go!Animate, goanimate.com/.

PROVIDE OPTIONS

When addressing the needs of today's diverse student population, we need to provide varied opportunities and resources to stimulate creativity. When a child's vision doesn't match their artistic skills, technology can help bridge the gap.

Avatar generators are a great example of engaging tools that can provide a springboard for innovative thinking.

After reading books such as Cock-a-Doodle-Moo: A Mixed Up Menagerie by Keith DuQuette, Scranimals by Jack Prelutsky and Peter Sis, i Wish I Had Duck Feet by Dr. Suess, and The Whingdingdilly by Bill Peet, children go to the Build Your Wild Self, buildyourwildself.com/, web site and design a human character with animal body features. The website provides scientific information about each body part that can be incorporated into a fictional story about animal adaptation.

Web sites such as Grabba Beast, grabbabeast.com/, can be used for doing a project such as Monster Exchange, www.monster-exchange.org/, where one child creates a monster and a written description. Then, a peer tries to recreate the visual based on the description only.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Use avatar generators to help young authors visualize their characters. Use MyAvatar, www.myavatareditor.com, to create characters for fictional Wii games or use Colonial Dress Me Up, www.pbs.org/wnet/ colonialhouse/history/dress_up_flash. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bring Back the Joy: Creative Teaching, Learning, and Librarianship
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.