Creativity . . .

8 Ways to Help Older Kids Develop a Sense of Imagination

By Linda Flanagan February 1, 2018
“In America the imagination is generally looked on as something that might be useful when the TV is out of order,” she wrote in Words Are My Matter. But the ability to imagine is what drives all creativity, enables clear thinking and inspires a sense of humanity. “I think the imagination is the single most useful tool mankind possesses,” she wrote.
Imaginative play comes naturally to children, but it’s a habit of mind that needs to be taught and reinforced throughout life: “Young human beings need exercises in imagination as they need exercise in all the basic skills of life, bodily and mental: for growth, for health, for competence, for joy,” Le Guin wrote. “This need continues as long as the mind is alive.”
Imagination might be vital to a clear mind, but it’s not something that’s widely taught or . . . << More >>

Can youth sports foster creativity? It depends . . .

3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbMy children are both involved in organized sports, gymnastics, and I agree it is all about perfectionism with no creative outlets.  I also feel that the skills gained from being in competitive gymnastics out way the non-creative environment it promotes.  With that said, it is all about what they do the rest of their time.  I feel that both of my kids are very creative, coming from an creative person, but we fostered that environment in our house, particularly allowing independent down time.  I think the most important factor is that children need time to get BORED! 

Here is an interesting article regarding organized sports and creativity, Written by Matthew Bowers Assistant professor, University of Texas at Austin.  ~Cornell

. . . Organized sports, on the other hand, tend to replicate hierarchical and militaristic models aimed at obedience, replication, adherence to authority, and a number of other qualities that, on a theoretical level, would be unlikely to be conducive to creative development . . . 

As someone who researches youth sports, I find this distinction to be particularly encouraging. It suggests, at least to me, that parents interested in fostering more creative development for their children don’t have to necessarily forgo traditional organized sports. They simply need to be aware of the importance of a balanced distribution of their children’s time between organized and unstructured settings . . .  <<  MORE  >>

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: I am Not a Jerk . . . I am Just Creative

3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbIs there a ‘standard’ creative process or is it different for everyone?  With that said, can anyone be creative?  Psychologists Guillaume Furst, Paolo Ghisletta and Todd Lubart define three personality  “super-factors” that can predict ones creative prowess: Plasticity, Divergence, and Convergence.   They define divergent thinkers as non-conformists, impulsive, not very agreeable, not being very thorough, and come across as jerks.

Hmmm, I have to think about that one . . .  ‘Mirror mirror on the wall . . .’

Check out the recent Scientific American article,
The Messy Minds of Creative People By Scott Barry Kaufman which discus their work.


The Messy Minds of Creative People

The creative process– from the first drop of paint on the canvas to the art exhibition– involves a mix of emotions, drives, skills, and behaviors. It’d be miraculous if these emotions, traits and behaviors didn’t often conflict with each other during the creative process, creating inner and outer tension. Indeed, creative people are often seen as weird, odd, and eccentric.

Over the years, scientists have attempted to capture the personality of creative people. But it hasn’t been easy putting them under the microscope. As psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who has interviewed creative people across various fields points out, creative people “show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an “individual,” each of them is a “multitude.”  << More >>

The Higher Purpose of Doodling


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbAs a kid I loved Sunday Morning on CBS; it was always interesting and still is.  Sunday is my running day, so I don’t get to watch it as much as I used to.  Either way, here is an episode that I missed . . . “The Higher Purpose of Doodling” and I can relate. 
I use doodling for a variety of reasons: I use it to get clarity around a concept, I use it to relax, I use it to communicate ideas with others and get their refinement of them, I use it to map complex systems for companies, I use it to run innovation games for business, I use it to get insight on something puzzling me. -Sunni Brown
I have always been that doodler in class, at work, or just waiting around, but I remember either getting dirty looks or even scolded by teachers.  Was I aware that it helped me?  Not at all, but I am now.  I doodle even more, but I am still aware of my audience who might not see it the same way.  
Under no circumstances should doodling be eradicated from a classroom or a boardroom or even the war room. On the contrary, doodling should be leveraged in precisely those situations where information density is very high and the need for processing that information is very high. -Sunni Brown
On a side note, I tell my students to draw / sketch everyday, it is a powerful tool to have no matter what industry you end up in.  Sometimes it is like pulling teeth, to get them to draw but I truly feel it is important.  Share this video with them, it might give them a little push . . .  GET DOODLING  ~Cornell  


""5.80 Metros" . . . Very Cool!!!


"5.80 Metros" is an animated short film by Nicolas Deveaux, produced by Cube Creative et Orange. An imaginative video in which a team of giraffes practice professional dive from platforms high, demonstrating the grace of these animals.

Thoughts from within Jim Henson - “The Red Book”


3DTeacher-Icon2When I was six years old, The Muppet Show premiered and was hooked right from the start.  I just grew out of the Sesame Street era and directly in to Jim Henson’s hands.  The show aired between 1976 until 1981 when I was eleven years old;  I was a true Muppet kid.  I am sure I even kept watching the reruns until they were off the air.  The Muppets definitely influenced my childhood.   I can’t even tell you how many sock puppets I made as a kid, way too many.  I even had a puppet making supply kit fully stocked with a variety of googly eyes and a bag full of old colored socks.  I wonder where they all ended up?

“I don't know exactly where ideas come from, but when I'm working well ideas just appear. I've heard other people say similar things - so it's one of the ways I know there's help and guidance out there. It's just a matter of our figuring out how to receive the ideas or information that are waiting to be heard.”  ― Jim Henson

Either way,  I just came across “The Red Book” which was a log that Henson started in 1977 and continued until the end in 1988.  He recorded his activities and his thoughts.   One of the entries was from 1970 where he was working on computer animation for Sesame Street.  Yea, I wrote that right, in 1970 he was doing computer animation – cutting edge stuff for that time.  As a creative you need to be an explorer, a risk-taker, and also learn from others creatives, the habits, environment, the community, and their thought process.  Even if you are in a completely different industry, these skills are completely transferable.  Check out Henson's thoughts…  ~ Cornell

9/10-12/1970 – ‘In Denver doing Computer Animation for Sesame #’s 10 and 4 – Second season of Sesame Street.’


Historical information provided by The Jim Henson Company Archivist:

Jim was always interested in the next technological advancement to further express his creative vision, so it’s not surprising that he would seek out the earliest innovations in computer animation. For the second season of Sesame Street, Jim was contracted to make a series of counting films using a range of techniques. Some were live action, some were made using stop-motion animation, Jim painted under the camera to bring other numbers to life, and he worked with Maurice Sendak to produce two traditionally animated films. For numbers 4 and 10, however, Jim was eager to try a new analog computer system called Scanimate. Invented by Lee Harrison III in the late 1960s and built by the Computer Image Corporation in Denver, the Scanimate process involved back-lit high-contrast artwork that was mounted on animation pegs and scanned by a progressive scan monochrome camera. According to Scanimate chronicler Dave Sieg, those working on this technology were, “…an interesting mix of technicians and creative geniuses that understood the subtleties of color and motion that gave the work its real value.”

It’s unclear how Jim learned about Scanimate, but he had been interested in electronics in general and had used his Moog synthesizer to great effect on numerous projects. His colleague, Jerry Juhl, was an early adapter of computers and would have been intrigued with the process as well. Jerry wrote the scripts for “Number 4” and “Number 10” which Jim recorded the week before going out to Denver. The system allowed for the animation to be created in real time which made for an efficient production process. Jim arrived with the audio tracks and detailed storyboards in hand, and was able to complete the visuals for the film in just three days. While visually unimpressive in the context of today’s digital graphics, Jim’s Scanimate work was cutting edge in 1970 and an example of how he was always leading the way in the world of visual media.


AND you have to watch my favorite Muppet Show skit, “Manana“, 
which was the first skit shown on season 1, episode 1.

Scientific American: Why Scientists Should Embrace the Liberal Arts

Science alone isn’t enough to solve the world’s problems

“But to be truly effective, we must start much earlier. What we really need is a much broader humanistic education for scientists (and nonscientists), beginning in K–12 education and continuing through the undergraduate/graduate and professional years. It is through the study of art, music, literature, history and other humanities and social sciences that we gain a greater understanding of the human condition than biological or physical science alone can provide.” ~ David J. Skorton is president of Cornell University

<<  Read More  >>

If you read the comments below the article, it is definitely a controversial topic.   In my opinion, one could say that the Renaissance was the most innovative epoch, and this is a period in history when the arts truly blend with the sciences .   To me, the sciences are to driven by rules that are not to be broken, but one must sometimes  look past them,  break, or bend them to find new  original thought and ideas.  I want to clarify, that the sciences are equally important; the more knowledge one has to work with, the more diverse one thoughts can be . . .

Play, passion, purpose: Tony Wagner - TEDxNYED

When I first heard Tony Wagner speak, you could see me nodding as he spoke as if he were preaching.  ‘Sing it brother!’  I can’t say I agree with everything he says, but we are definitely on the same team.  This TEDx speech is a bit watered down version of his he previous speech to the International schools;  The previous speech seemed a bit harsh and with a public school bashing tone.  Either way, the video is worth a watch.  I also purchased his book and am in the process of reading it; I will let you know when I am finished.

Tony Wagner recently accepted a position as the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Prior to this, he was the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than a decade. Tony consults widely to schools, districts, and foundations around the country and internationally. His previous work experience includes twelve years as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor in teacher education, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility.

Tony is also a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and a widely published author. His work includes numerous articles and five books. Tony's latest, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World, has just been published by Simon & Schuster to rave reviews. His 2008 book, The Global Achievement Gap has been an international best seller and is being translated into Chinese. Tony has also recently collaborated with noted filmmaker Robert Compton to create a 60 minute documentary, "The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World's Most Surprising School System."

Tony earned an M.A.T. and an Ed.D. at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Creativity: Phineas and Ferb Get Busted!


“They are forced to think inside the box.”

Today in class we talked about “Creativity and Divert thinking”.  I posed questions such as, “Can you learn to be more creative or is is something that you are born with?” and  “How does ones environment influence creativity?”   I introduced the talk by sharing a short music video from Phineas and Ferb Get Busted!  It is an awesome Disney TV series about two inventors.  When my daughter watches TV, which is not very often, it is one of her favorites;  I love it too.  The students wanted to watch the entire episode, because they all seemed to love the show as well. 

In this episode Phineas and Ferb  get caught by their parents making a flying car and get sent to reform school.    The reform school tries to break them of all creative thought.
Sergeant: OK, listen up, maggots! You are here because your parents (mockingly) are worried about you. Now, the way I see it, the root of all children's problems is unacceptable levels of imagination, fun, creativity and unbridled enthusiasm! Don't you eyeball me! Our goal at this school is to crush the dangerous elements inside you and replace them with structure, order, discipline and conformity.    (Part 1, 05:31)
The music video “Chains On Me” sung by Dan Povenmire,  has a fun chorus ”Cause they say imagination is morally wrong.”
“Chains On Me” by Dan Povenmire
I woke up this morning, and the world was gray.
Haven't seen the sun since they hauled me away.
The boss man says there's no use in trying,
He won't let me color outside of the lines.
Got these chains on me,
And they're draggin' me down.
Got these chains on me,
Hear that clanking sound?
Got these chains on me,
Mister, hear my song
Don't say imagination is morally wrong
Drink of water, boss?
As long as I've been here I got nothing to show,
Try to make something but the boss says no
Wanna be creative but the man won't hear it That big boss man, he's trying to crush my spirit
Got these chains on me,
They won't let me fly
Got these chains on me,
Won't tell me why
Got these chains on me
Mister, hear my song
Don't say imangination is morally wrong
No, they won't let us dance or bang that gong,
”Cause they say imagination is morally wrong.”

The Creative Process: TED Radio Hour

"Is it an original idea? Or is it something where you're literally a creative collagist? You're taking pieces of the world that you see around you and that are inside of you and put them together in a way that you see fit." — Abigail Washburn
How are we inspired? How do we get from an initial inkling of idea to a fully formed work of art? It's often challenging to describe the creative process. In this hour we'll hear from some TED speakers — a poet, a novelist and a singer/songwriter — who explore their craft and the daily challenge of nurturing creativity.

Imagination Meets Inspiration: Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe

Where do ideas come  from?  Do Sci-fi writers influence future technologies?  I just watched ‘Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe’  . . . VERY COOL!!! 
Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe
Premiere Date:May 15, 2013 - 10:00-12:01AM ET
Is building our own starship Enterprise possible? Will we ever travel between the stars as easily as they do in Star Trek? JJ Abrams' new feature, Star Trek Into Darkness, hits the screen in a golden age of scientific discoveries. HISTORY is there, giving viewers a deep look behind the scenes, on the set, and into the science–amazing new exoplanets, the physics of Warp drive, and the ideas behind how we might one day live in a Star Trek Universe.
Upcoming Airings:
  • May 16, 2013 - 02:01-04:02AM ET
  • May 19, 2013 - 01:00-03:01PM ET
  • May 22, 2013 - 09:00-11:00PM ET
  • May 23, 2013 - 01:00-03:00AM ET