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edu180atl: julie rosenkranz 5.14.12

A few weeks ago, a pre-kindergarten student stopped by my office to discuss his latest project.  His latest task was the creation of a prototype of a ship to be used to rescue distressed whales.  He explained in detail the features of his model, and I was struck by the ability of this five-year-old student to recognize a problem and his desire to help find a solution to an issue that has little bearing on his daily activities. 

We were still in conversation when his mother came to my door to say that it was time to leave.  As he exited, I wondered what had motivated him to spend time and thought to create such a project.  In his book Drive, Daniel Pink talks about the motivating factors of self-direction, the need to learn and create new things, and the need to improve ourselves and the world.   I questioned what I could do as a teacher to foster and engender this kind of thinking.  I’ve always wanted students to find my classroom to be an exciting place that ignites imagination and welcomes discovery.

I’m still reflecting on best practices for this, but I do know this: nothing kills creativity like negativity.

My lesson? A reminder to be uplifting, encouraging, and supportive of those around me and to never impede the creative process with pessimism, harsh criticism, or belittling judgments.  One never knows where the next great idea might originate.

Perhaps its creator will stop by your office today.

About the Author: Julie is a spouse, parent, teacher, and coach, as well as a librarian.  She enjoys chasing after children with books.


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