A few years ago, when I taught second grade, I discovered an amazing piece of software called Stationery Studio by Fablevision. This writing software allows teachers to create customized writing paper by modifying the layout, lines, and design. You can even type text to begin a prompt and it allows you to use a traceable font too. It’s pretty awesome.
When I bought the software, I signed up to be on the company’s mailing list. Every few months I get an emails with product updates and inspirational quotes and tips. Today’s email had a section called ‘8 Tips for Recharging Your Creativity’ – I adored these and just had to share them. I’ve put my thoughts on each on afterwards in italics.
- Articulate your mission. Write it down. Share it. Review it. Mine is simple, ‘Work hard. Have Fun.’ I also post this quote that sums up how I feel about kids, ‘A child isn’t going to be somebody… a child already is somebody.’
- Take time to ponder. Where are you going? Or, a better question: Where do you WANT to be going? For me, writing really helps me reflect… I happen to share it with the world, but some of my reflections never see the light of day… until I get that book deal.
- Imagine your classroom as a studio, as a research center, as a publishing house. I tell my students they are authors everyday… I tell them I cant’ wait to read their books now and when they grow up as published authors… the power of suggestion is immeasurable.
- Share the drive. Like any long road trip, share the wheel. You don’t always have to know where an activity is going. Just enjoy the ride. Allow yourself to be surprised. Students are especially engaged when they see you are too! There’s nothing more powerful than a teachable moment… stopping to check with your sprouts for understanding can lead to the most vibrant discoveries and discussions.
- Novelty. Shake things up. Make it new. It can be as simple as turning off the lights or playing a modern piece of music to introduce Shakespeare. Research supports the idea that novelty is a long-term memory booster. Wear a crazy t-shirt that sparks conversation… you’d be amazed how much your students pay attention to what you say, do, AND wear!
- Search for personal meaning. Provide context and essence before you launch into the details. Connect with a learner’s interests, dreams, and unique skills. My kids share SO much about their personal lives, it’s easy to make connections and keep them interested.
- Encourage strategies for personal achievement. Allow for multiple approaches to a project. Provide time for students to vision their own futures and explore what they’ll need to make them real. For me, the power of music is transformative. You can learn almost anything by singing it… plus it’s fun and gets us moving.
- Love what you do. Do what you love. Love, love, love, love your kids. It’s a gift they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. Fuel for the journey! It’s so easy to love most of them… and the ones that make it difficult don’t stop me… as I’ve told more than one child, “You can do or say anything to me, but I’m still going to love you.”