Well, apparently , I got ahead of myself. I was all set for today’s center lesson ~ fired up about what materials I needed and how I was going to set it up. The activity was so cool that of course the kids were going to love it!! ….then a question came to mind ~ what meaning are my students actually going to get from it? “It will make a great center”, I thought “…..but students will not benefit from it at this time, as they need a bit of a lead up to it”; so I will do this activity (and share it) at some point, but not yet. First, I need to set the stage.

I still think centers are a great idea, but I want to start with a play activity instead. I have seen my 1st grader girls only once so far due to holidays and weather, so I have a chance to start all over again. Rest assured, we will soon get to more center activities, but first, let’s create!

My mother, a preschool teacher for many years, said that in her time teaching, she saw a decline in creativity from the children. In the beginning, kids would take their time and craft beautiful art projects that they would be proud of. In later years, kids would rush through projects just to get on to the next thing.

Quick and simple. Isn’t this what we are about nowadays? Posts on Pinterest boast the easiest ways to do just about everything and Facebook isn’t much of help either ~ we get short synapses of people’s lives. The more “connected” we are, the lonelier the world seems to get. This isn’t to say that I don’t love some of these posts….perhaps I have been guilty of posting one or 2 myself….perhaps…, but I do think that within that context, we must dig deeper, at least on occasion. (For those of us that see so little of our students).

FUN LESSON: SO this is what I did instead: We had fun playing on our instruments and coming up with ways to say our names with them (an activity I learned from the brilliant Mary Knysh):

  • Sit in a circle
  • Hand out instruments
  • Model saying your name while playing your instrument
  • Have kids echo you a couple of times
  • Have the person sitting next to you create a way to say their name
  • Repeat it
  • Then have group say your name the way you did and then the next person’s name the way they did
  • …and so on….

As expected, most kids simply tapped out the syllables to their name. A couple of kids got creative and spelled their name or played around with how they tapped it out. The next step needs to be modeling a silly way to say my name and ask the kids to try out silly ways to say their names. Of course I ran out of time…..aaack!

As I thought about how this activity went today, my mom’s story came to mind. We have to encourage kids to be creative. They aren’t allowed to be most of their day and so hold back. They want to make sure that they are either doing exactly what they are supposed to or they rebel and be as outrageous as possible. We’ve gotten to the point in education where there is either too much or too little discipline, never just the right amount to allow for creativity within reasonable parameters. We are always too much in a hurry.

So where does this leave us?

  1. Encourage creativity as much as possible so that when we do get to the composing portion of our curriculum where they are actually writing down their musical thoughts, they are armed with a plethora of ideas.
  2. Remind kids that it is not only ok to be a little outrageous (within reason for those outliers), but encouraged! This can be tough considering the difficulties of disciple these days, but you know your kids and you can adjust accordingly. The only trick here to let them see you having fun, but bringing them back when they need it.
  3. Remind kids that it is ok to make a mistake and look a little silly. As I have shown here, we all make mistakes and the key is to let it go and move on…while thinking about how you can do it differently next time.

What do you do to help your kids be creative?