Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thinking Outside The Box

Hello Everyone!
I hope you are having a great weekend! We got to go to the Texas Rangers Opening Weekend game last night and had a blast!  What a great game!!  It really got me thinking about the talents of some of the players and I was wondering how they did in school.  I do know that my family's all time fav baseball player is pitcher, Nolan Ryan. What you may not know is that Nolan Ryan is dyslexic.  When you think about it, dyslexia did not get in the way of his dreams.  Someone, somewhere along the way, nurtured his talent and with hard work and dedication he was able to overcome his learning difference to become one of the best pitchers the world has ever seen.  
As a teacher of young learners, I have a passion for trying to reach ever kind of learner. We all have learners who process information differently. One way to nurture those differences is through fostering their creative energy.  I get  tons of e-mail questions about how I fit in all the opportunities for creative expression that I show on this blog.  In all honesty, sometimes it is a challenge, but I think it is important to strike a balance and give those kids who shine best through creative expression a fair chance to do so.  I have posted about my morning routine before and the fact that every Thursday's morning work is a "Think Outside the Box" opportunity.  This is one way to add a tiny bit of self expression and creativity into your students' day.  I simply give the kids a page with a random figure on it and give them the chance to create anything they want. They can turn their paper any direction they want.  I encourage them to try to think of something no one else would think of.  I also encourage them to use their whole space, and then write about their creation on the back.  This week, because we are studying landforms, I gave them a page with a little island on it.  I want to show you this example of what can happen when you open the door to creative thinking and let the different processes flow

This little creative artist turned her paper upside down and went to town!
Her little creation is simple, and yet very expressive. What I also want to share with you is that this little artist is dyslexic! I fell in love with her creation and loved it even more when I flipped it over and read the back! Her written expression is even more revealing!! I believe this little chick will fly and so will this little first grader!!!

So, if you think you don't have time to do anything creative with your little ones, you can start with one little fifteen minute opportunity once a week.  I promise you will be amazed at how some of your little ones will absolutely shine during this time.  Hands, to Head, to Heart! And Heart, to Head, to Hands!!   It's that proverbial win, win, win!!!

Providing opportunity to use and nurture the different thinking processes is foundational  to some of our students' success.  Sometimes we have to think outside the box!! Let me know your thoughts!