Monday, February 6, 2017

Launch Week 1: We Need Creative Classrooms

Welcome to the Winter 2017 eLearning Book Club. We are looking forward to reading and discussing Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer and A.J. JulianiThis book can be purchased as a Kindle or paperback book from Amazon. If you don't have the book yet, don't worry. You can jump into the conversation a little late. Just catch up as soon as you're able.

Here are some information to help you as you participate in the book club:

  • A prompt or question will be posted here in the blog every Monday morning. That blog post will also include the reading assignment for the following week.
  • To receive notifications when posts are made, click Join this site or Follow by email in the bar to the right.
  • If you don't already have one, you will need to create a Google account using your first and last name. If you already have a Google account, ensure that your first and last name are set in your profile. (Log into Google, click on your picture in the top right corner, click on My Account, then on Your personal info.) This will ensure that when you enter a comment in the blog your identity is clear to other participants. 
  • Respond to our post and/or respond to a comment by another participant each week. The more interaction there is between participants, the richer and more beneficial the conversation will be.
  • In addition to the amazing connections and powerful learning of being in the book club, participants who make a meaningful contribution to every week's discussion will be awarded 20 PGPs.
  • If you have not already done so, register for the book club by completing this registration form
This week you have two assignments. First, in a comment to this post introduce yourself. Include your name, school and/or corporation, and what your role there is. Second, we're jumping right into chapter 1. The authors talk about the need for creative classrooms and share things that stand in the way of teachers being creative. What's getting in your way? Or what do you see as one of the biggest hurdles for teachers in general in the quest to be creative? (If you have any problems commenting, please email Meri Carnahan at carnahan@doe.in.gov.)

Next week we will read and discuss chapter 2, "Finding Your Creative Approach."


229 comments:

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    1. Hello! My name is Ami Gomez and I work for Carroll High School. I work at the alternative school. I feel challenged to be creative because #1 I do not feel like a creative person, and #2 the set up in my building is unique. The students work on their own and not as a class. One student might be working on English and another maybe working on math. Since I struggle in the creative department already, I feel the set up of my building limits what I could do to be creative.

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  2. Hello! My name is Brianna Barth and I work at Wea Ridge Middle School, as a Life Skills co-teacher. I work in the Lafayette School Corporation.
    I really enjoyed chapter one and cannot wait to read the rest of the book. As for being creative, I love being creative and getting a chance to be creative, but I think my biggest hurdle is the fact that I teach special education. I have found that the more creative the assignment is or the more steps that it requires, is harder for my students or will take them that much longer to complete. As for in general, I feel some of the biggest hurdles are the rigor that they are supposed to uphold, the curriculum in general (especially the direct instruction), and the feeling that if they are not successful, they have failed in some degree.
    Personally, I feel all students need to be creative in some degree, and in all classrooms, not just in an art class or a class designed for creativity. Creativity has a place in all subjects to aid instruction and help students think on a deeper level, but because of the reasons I stated above, it is harder for all teachers to breach the subject, or even crack the surface of creativity.

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    1. Good for you. We need great teachers who teach in "special education" who can be creative - because we certainly need to be creative with them! :)

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    2. I teach special education too and I completely understand what you mean. I often forget how a simple task of cutting and pasting can be difficult for my students, even though they are in middle school. I find myself using the "old" paper cutter to get the cutting done and out of the way before I have my students start on a project or I might as well plan a whole class period for just that. I know it takes them longer to do things, but I hope this books helps me to want to be more creative, despite the extra obstacles. It's always nice to know "you're not alone".

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  3. Good Morning! My name is Jean Lovasko and I am the librarian for Whiting Middle/High School. I also teach a Cadet Teaching and Work Ethics class.
    I feel that the library should be the hub of a school, and our library is just that. Students are constantly working on projects, computers, or checking out books in our library. Our library is the place to be. I believe that students need every opportunity to learn and the library helps with that. I strive to have the library filled with students. I strive to make the library the busiest place in our building.
    I feel that this is what would get in my way. Some teachers and administrators believe the library should be a quiet and individual place. This is one of my biggest hurdles.
    Design thinking can help transform learning so students can be creative. I am anxious to learn how to "launch" some of these techniques into the library setting. Students need to be innovative in their thinking in all areas. Teens need a space to be creative. Maybe my library can be this space.

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    1. Jean- I love your notion of a library! I am want my space to be like that too! I have a principal who is very supportive and would LOVE to have a maker space in the media center. We have one MAJOR issue- SPACE. The library is small-ish with no designated space to put all this equipment...which I why I particularly like the notion in chapter one that we can cultivate creativity with the tools already on hand.

      Do you have any tips or resources you care to share with someone "new" to the profession?

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    2. Hi Megan! I am so excited to hear that another librarian shares my views of the school library. I have the issue of space too. My library is not very big either....and that is why I like the idea from Chapter 1 - use what we have on hand!

      Let's keep in touch to share ideas and tips. My day is a little busy today....maybe tomorrow!

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    3. I love your vision of a library too! I would love to see our public libraries have some areas that are quiet and others that allow for "productive noise". Many of the college campuses have adjusted for this type of learning. The library world outside of universities need to adjust for this too.

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    4. I agree the Library is the center of it all. For that reason we changed the name of ours this year to the Learning Center. I want students in there working and collaborating together on projects. Gone are the days of the quiet library.

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    5. I can see how you would feel tore between the library being a silent place to learn and having it be an active part of the school. I look forward to seeing how this book helps you with creating the spaces you want for creativity and also having the traditional silent spaces for those that wish to use the library as a place to study.

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    6. These comments have made my day! I LOVE that other "libraries" share my same vision! Many students have told me that I am the loudest librarian they have ever heard....and you know what....I love it!

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    7. Jean, I hope you find teachers in your system that also embrace your amazing view for the role and purpose of the library. Start with a few and the hope is to have a snowball effect.

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    8. Jean, I am so glad to see another librarian in on this book study and your library sounds like such a energizing place! I am pretty new at my job as a librarian and really appreciate hearing what other people do. I have thought that I would like to take a field trip day and visit other school libraries in hopes of being inspired. I think visiting yours would do just that.

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  4. I am Megan Disque- media specialist at Garrett Keyser Butler Schools. Although I'm the licensed district specialist, I am "stationed" in the high school library. This is my first year as a full time media specialist/librarian. I spent the past 8 years as a middle and high school English teacher.

    As a teacher I did feel anxiety about "fitting" everything in - including the creative process. However, another teacher and I did implement the "20% project" referenced in the book (we called it Genius Hour). The results were phenomenal! I did learn a lot- my counterpart did not provide the "structure" like I did, and had much fewer flopped projects or incompletes. BUT she did have some really AMAZING student performances. I outlined a written requirement in addition to the creative process, and had decent results as well. What we both witnessed was much enthusiasm from all of the students in their research (whether they turned something in or now).

    Now that I am outside the classroom and in the library, I know that time is a major factor scaring people away from the creative part of the learning process. In addition to this, I think some times it stems from a fear of the unknown- breaking from years and years of traditions.
    Conversely, I find that many teachers are already doing things like this (or are close to it), but are calling it something different and don't realize how close they are go igniting the creative genius in their students.

    I am looking forward to seeing the "Launch" process and sharing it with my district.

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    1. Megan, I'm an English teacher, and I would be very interested to know more about some of the things that your students came up with for this project and what kind of written requirement you included. It sounds like it was really a success!

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    2. Thanks for sharing how you were able to let your students be creative. I would like to know more about how you got the genius hour started and made it a success.

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    3. Hi, Megan. We followed the same career path. I was a high school English teacher for seven years before becoming a Media & Instructional Technology Specialist. I'm glad you had success with your Genius Hour projects. This should help to secure buy-in from other teachers.

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    4. HI Megan! This will be fun studying the same book since we are at the same school!

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  5. Good morning. I am Amy Holtslander. I teach Latin and English at Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne.

    I love the idea of introducing more creativity into my classroom. It's so easy to go with the "tried and true," but taking a creative approach is energizing to both me and my students. One thing that hampers my creativity is that I don't really see myself as a creative person. Give me an idea, and I can fine tune it, tweak it, adapt it into something useful, but generating the idea myself is not my forte. I'm looking forward to viewing creativity from another angle (creativity and structure are not mutually exclusive). Finding my own creativity will help me foster it in my students.

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    1. Would it help if you simply asked yourself how you would like to learn this if you were a student? Even sit a desk and look at a vocabulary list or notes that you want to cover and picture it from the 'little' desks instead of the 'big' ones. You can do it ! Seeing it from a different view is sometimes all you need. Hope this helps

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  6. Hi! I'm Natalie Thorgren, elementary STEM teacher for the Valparaiso Community Schools. I think time is the biggest factor standing in the way of a teacher being creative. If given enough time, then I do think it's possible to creatively integrate the standards with theme-based projects/units/activities, however, coming up with the time to create meaningful, creative activities that are also standards driven seem to be a daunting task. I'm looking forward to discovering solutions to this hurdle and see how others are creative in the classroom. This is my first year as a STEM teacher, and I feel creativity and STEM go hand in hand.

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    1. Hi Mrs. Thorgren! I had the great opportunity to be in your 2nd grade classroom a few years ago when I was a student at Valpo! So excited to connect with you again! I now am in my fifth year of teaching...3 years in 2nd and 2 years in third! Thanks for being a great model to me. Looking forward to share new ideas on creativity in our classrooms together.

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    2. Hi! How fun!! Where are you teaching? I'm really looking forward to sharing ideas as well- this is going to be great!

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    3. Hi Natalie,
      I look forward to your posts as our school is embarking on our STEM certification over the next 2 years. I would love to hear what works in your building.

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    4. I so agree with you about "the time to create meaningful, creative activities that are also standards driven seem to be a daunting task." No teacher has time for extras in today's classrooms so the meaningful and standards driven is imperative in the assignments.

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  7. Hello there everyone. My name is Tom Stoner and I am a principal for a 6-12 building.
    I think the biggest hurdle we come across is ourselves. Growing up I was always told "where there is a will, there is a way". Sometimes I don't think our will is strong enough. We see the hurdles, whether it is money, time, standards, etc and say we cannot do it. We need to let the will create the way and move past the hurdles.

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    1. It's great to see a principal on the blog!!!

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  8. Hello! I'm Cheri Leffler from Tipton Elementary, and I teach 4th grade. I think that the biggest hurdle I come across is time. There are so many projects I come across that I want to incorporate into my classroom, but I can't find the time to replace something else. The students love when we do creative projects, and I know they are able to take so much more away after completing the project. Money seems to be an issue as well. As a teacher, you always find great projects to do, but the money isn't there to purchase the apps, materials, etc.

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    1. Hi Cheri! I agree with you. Sometimes I have found things I would like to teach my math students, but I can't find the time to replace it in my curriculum because I need to get through with what I an "required" to get through. I agree about the money issue too. Anything extra we do.. comes out of our pockets.

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    2. It is so hard to find that perfect balance.

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  9. Good morning! I am Brenda Leddington. I am a special education teacher specializing in Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing with the Richmond Community School Corporation. My students range from Pre-K through Seniors. Being itinerant, I see many classrooms. In my observations, hurdles that limit creativity are limited space due to overcrowded classrooms, the constant push for data collection (or data meetings), and the logistics of managing a creative activity with multiple capabilities of students in one room.

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  10. Hello! My name is Diana Gill. I am the instructional technology coach for East Porter County Schools.

    One of the hurdles to being creative, strangely, is student reaction. I have seen so many instances of students begging for the traditional projects, assignments, and tests because they are so used to "doing school". It is sad that when given the opportunity to explore literally anything, students aren't even sure what to do with it. We have done this to them. I am looking forward to reading more so that I can help provide that structure and process.

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    1. HI Diana!

      That is true, that students want to do what they are "use" to doing. But I have found that they are even having a hard time doing that correctly. We have gotten so use to teaching to the "test," that the simply things are being forgotten. I had my students do a presentation over a Deaf person,they had to do a powerpoint, make a tombstone, then present on them. I can't believe how many of them READ the powerpoint. I really look forward to learning more from this book.

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    2. Hi Diana!
      I agree, it seems like more and more kids are so worried about doing it the "right" way... I hope this book gives me some insight into help them not be so worried to fail!

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    3. The buy-in from students and parents is a big hurdle to overcome. I agree.

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  11. Hi my name is Jamie Wenzler. I am a special education teacher at Winamac Community Middle School. One of the biggest hurdles I run into with being creative is the lack of resources available. I know as teachers we spend a lot of money out of pocket and since we really don't have a budget to use where I am at almost everything comes out of my pocket that is extra on top of textbooks etc. So now I have learned to try and think "outside the box" and I am trying to be creative using what I already have. I look forward to reading more of this book and getting thoughts and suggestions from others.

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    1. Hi Jaime! I too teach special education, and I completely understand your lack of resources! In the past, I have found that if I pick a topic that interests the students (biomes and their animals or the planets) and make it a month long, or two weeks, just long enough to pique the interest, I show YouTube videos to explain the meaning, but with biomes, I let the students lead the discussion and pick the animals they wanted to know more about. Then we picked different Wild Kratts or Magic School bus episodes that centered around that animal or biome and they really got into it. With planets, I had much younger students, and we learned about them with songs that sang about the planets and they loved it. At the end of the unit we made our own planets out of balloons and paper mache. Sometimes the "creative" part is YouTube videos that they ask to watch, or paper mache. I've read ahead (oops) and the book has said that design learning, is more or less student led. I hope this helps :)

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    2. Jamie, I agree, even having such simple supplies as colored pencils, colored paper and glue sticks cost money. Budgets are a limiting factor at many schools. I have had to cut way back when it comes to paying for school supplies out of my pocket.

      Sometimes what I think is a fun, cool, engaging activity turns out to be a dud with my students. Some students jump right in and try a new project, while others want the entire project description written out as a recipe-to check off each ingredient as they complete it. I would love to have more free form!

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  12. Hello, my name is Andrea Lare and I teach chemistry, and AP sciences at Wes Del MS/HS. I am always looking for ways to be creative in my classroom!

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    1. After reading chapter 1 I see a lot of my excuses for not being more creative. With all of the standards that have to be taught letting students have the time to be creative makes me nervous! Teaching AP classes not I need to be more creative and let the students have more participation in their learning.

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    2. Andrea,
      I agree that as teachers we feel such pressure to meet all the standards and allowing students a voice in the process seems like giving up control...not an easy task! Yet I see how much a student can learn when they are given the "power" to explore an idea. That's where the joy of learning really shines! One of the newest activities I have witnessed is call BreakOut edu...through collaboration with peers, each small group uses clues to open 4 or 5 locks on a box for a "special message". It also facilitates that sometimes we don't get a lock off. What did we learn? Believe me, there are lessons learned through failure.

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  13. Hello! I am Leanne Geary and I am an instructional coach at Nappanee Elementary.
    I think there are a few factors that get in the way of creativity in the classroom.
    1. Parents. Teachers feel compelled to justify what they are doing with students to make sure that parents don't see it as play.
    2. Standards and testing. The pressure of students doing well on standardized assessments, and mastery of standards becomes an issue when teachers don't see the benefit of creativity and broader thinking than getting the right answer.

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more on both of those things! As a mom and a teacher...I wish there was more play in classrooms. I feel that kiddos are losing a sense of self as things like dramatic play have been pulled out...and they rely on a single 15 minute recess. Even my 7 year old is already stressing about his test scores...

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  14. Hello, all! I am Jennifer Lee and I am a Social Studies Teacher at Wes-Del Middle/High School, which is in northwest Delaware County. I teach both Middle & High school classes,; so my students range in age from 13 to 18. I have taught for 19 years.

    When I think about me as a new teacher VS a "seasoned" teacher, I find myself with very different responses to this prompt. With experience comes confidence and I believe for me that has been one of the main obstacles to creativity in the classroom. Over the past few years, I have begun to really branch out, write grants, & experiment outside of my comfort zone. Through this I have begun to realize that I can be one of those creative teachers, like the one down the hallway who has set the bar for creativity in our corporation. Also, as the years "seasoned" me, they also saw my children grow up and move out, allowing me more time to invest in myself and my students. So, I guess my thought about what has kept me from being the most creative teacher that I can has been time and belief in my own abilities.

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  15. HI! My name is Laura Pinter. I am currently a 3's preschool teacher. I have taught kinder and first grade for many years in the past and was looking for something more flexible since my husband travels. I have held this position now for 4 years and love it!
    I am super blessed to be teaching at the school I do. We love creativity and are allowed to explore without any boundaries. Teaching in an private school we aren't held to a rigorous curriculum. We do follow local standards and meet with principals at local schools to ensure we are on track with what they are doing in their schools to properly prepare our little ones for kinder.
    I think the biggest restraint in teaching with using creativity in the classrooms are the standardized test (many teach to the test I feel), the tough rigorous curriculum...I think that it is hard to find balance. When I was in the classroom I remember the pressure of getting kiddos on level and having high test scores...I often felt the fun was left out...and became more about "How much can we teach these kiddos" I love the idea in the first chapter that it isn't necessarily about being "creative" it is about creating...Creativity lies within ourselves and the students...we just need to find way to pull it out with exploration.

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    1. That's a great way to look at it! I am excited that a private school teacher is on the blog as you can share differences with us who teach in public school!!!

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  16. My name is Pam Rusher and I teach high school PE and Health Education. I try to change at least one thing each year that I do or have the students do just to keep things interesting. Change is something I cherish after 25+ years of teaching. I must admit that new ideas have become slim these last few years. Recently we have added a new person to our department which has helped generate some new approaches and thinking. I know that sharing within this book club will stimulate new ways of doing things. I am looking forward to your experiences!

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  17. Hi. My name is Sandra Johnson. I am a Special Needs/World Language teacher at Twin Lakes High School, in Monticello.

    I think the biggest restraint in teaching with creativity is that I don't think I am a very creative person. I have tried things, and my students didn't seem to understand the concept of what I was doing. With the ability of the sped student's that I teach, I try to do a lot of hands on things. When I try to something creative and it has many steps, I lose many of them from understanding. So, then I think I should just stick to with the way I always do it. During my ASL classes, I am beginning to be creative because I have to keep them engaged, and just going through the book is not learning. I hope after reading this book, I get more ideas and suggestions on how to improve on being creative.

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  18. Hello! My name is Kari Johnson and I am in my 17th year of teaching. I currently teach sixth grade Language Arts, Social Studies, Digital Citizenship, and SET (Student Enrichment). When I was in my earlier years of teaching I did many creative activities each week in my classroom through dramas, group projects, interactive activities, etc. and I was able to get to know my students better and watch how they interacted with their peers. Doing this helped my students feel like they were an important part of my classroom and among their classmates.
    Unfortunately with the stress put on standardized testing from the state those are the activities that have been frowned upon doing now in our schools. I am continuing to try and find a good balance between the rigor of teaching the standards and incorporating creativity into the lessons. Another reason creativity is a struggle is a lack of time. It seems like my time is taken up by meetings, talking with parents, data diving, and planning lessons.
    I am looking forward to learning different ways to continue to incorporate creativity in a meaningful way and still get the standards covered for testing.

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    1. Hi Kari,
      I can relate to all of the points you made. I am also a 17th year teacher, too! So much to do according to the curriculum map and apparent "needs" as a results of testing. Where has the fun and creativity gone? Is this the opportunity to get it back?

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  19. Hello, my name is Penny Milligan. I teach art for k-5 at Meadowlawn Elementary School.
    I would like to think of myself as very creative...sometimes this is a problem because I get in the way of myself...I know that sounds a little weird, but I am always thinking of so many things that I want to do! I don't have time to do all the things with my students that I would like to do. I try to remember that tell myself to don't sweat the small things and look at all that I do do with my kids. Something that I'm working really hard on this year is slowing things down in my classroom and enjoying the moment. If a project takes longer than I thought that's ok. I'm trying to get the kids to sketch, plan, and think about their projects. I want them to enjoy creating!

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    1. Penny.. .You are one of the most creative art teacher's around here. I love that you are always sending emails asking for "recyclables" to use in your classroom. Keep up the good work. I

      I understand how you can get down a bit when things take longer, I have that problem too when I am teaching Algebra or ASL, trying to make sure the concept is understood sometimes takes me days...

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  20. Hello! I am Michele Eaton, Director of Virtual and Blended Learning for the M.S.D. of Wayne Township. We had John Spencer at the ICE Conference last year, and I'm excited to read more of his ideas.

    When it comes to creativity, I think one of the biggest struggles for teachers is not having step-by-step guides or instructions. I guess that defeats the purpose of creativity... creativity is not a recipe. However, it can seem like such a vast, vague idea that we don't know where to start.

    I think that's why I'm so excited to read this book. It provides a practical guide for the steps to take.

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    1. Michele, I agree with you and think sometimes this is why some students are reluctant to be creative in the classroom...they don't want to be wrong! I try to encourage my students that when they are being creative there is no "right" or "wrong" answer, but for some it is still a daunting task!

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    2. Yes! This also makes me think about examples- so often when we give them, students replicate the example, which is limiting!

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    3. Yes, examples are such a Catch-22. You want to give them good exemplars, but then they just replicate.

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  21. Check out the website: TheLaunchCycle.com to see students using the Launch Cycle during the Global Day of Design 2016. Really inspiring!

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    1. There are so many amazing project ideas on John Spencer's YouTube channel. My students have completed a few using the LAUNCH cycle. It makes sense and keeps students and teacher organized and structured, but totally allows for creative thinking.
      Here are some examples by my students https://drive.google.com/drive/u/2/mobile/folders/0BxhkqhWzHjwYNFNTNDRMZzBRNGs?sort=13&direction=a and https://drive.google.com/drive/u/2/mobile/folders/0BxhkqhWzHjwYdDYzaFBCZVRRMEU?sort=13&direction=a

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  22. Hello! My name is Anita Silverman. I am the Director of Education for Transitions Academy. We are a school within a residential treatment facility. Our youth often arrive with a dislike of school. They have not had the best of experiences and I want to find a way to enlighten them about learning. Continuing to teach the way they have always been learning doesn't work so we have to find creative ways to reach them. Our biggest hurdle is the invisible wall between us and the kids. Our teachers are terrific. They are willing to branch out and try new things but often behaviors get in the way. Each day is a fresh start but we need help with the organization of creativity so that we can be well planned. If we can be organized so that our students can buy into our idea before giving up, I believe we may just have a chance.

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    1. Students who give up to soon are a real test to our best efforts. Some may have the skills, they just decide not to bring them out this week. Lots of layers of life can get in the way of students' self-motivation. I like your phrase that 'each day is a fresh start.' I tell myself that a lot, and it does make a difference in how I view some students' resistance.

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  23. Greetings, I am Tammy Farlow, from Southwood Jr. Sr. High School, MSD Wabash County. I teach 8th grade math, Spanish 1, and a 7th grade exploratory world language course.

    This first chapter has already started to debunk some of my thoughts about why I curb creativity. Prior to reading the first chapter I would have said that I like to simplify a plan or approach rather than allow freedoms that some students may abuse. These freedoms were in my opinion time absorbers when more could be accomplished efficiently with some ‘shoot straight’, get to the point methods. However, I read in chapter 1 ‘…that innovative work is less spontaneous and more process driven.’ (Spencer, Juliani).

    Likewise, I may need to redefine creativity as I learn of some creative examples for which I have not given myself credit. I am inspired by these words, “…every time you come up with a new idea for a lesson, you are creating. Every time you think of a way to handle that super-challenging student, you are creating. Every time you collaborate with a colleague, design your classroom, set up the desks in a new way, or do something different — you are creating!” (Spencer, Juliani). I am ready to have a a better understanding of what my students need and how I can rethink my approaches. It is mid-winter, and I am ready for something new; I am sure my students are, too.

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    1. I totally agree with the quote above! I believe that in general, as educators, we are always creating! Specifically we are always trying to create new ways to keep our students engaged.

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  24. Hello! My name is Jennifer Phillips. I am a Kindergarten teacher at Christian Academy of Madison, in Madison, IN.

    Outside of teaching, I feel that I am a fairly creative person. However, while teaching I feel there is so much I could and want to do, but little time to accomplish everything I feel I need to do. Since this is my second year of teaching, my hope is to slowly develop a little more creativity into the different subjects over time. My initial idea of creativity is making a craft or playing a game related to the material I am teaching. However, after reading this book I hope to broaden my view of creativity in the classroom.

    P.S. I am still working on creating a Google+ profile. Thank you for your patience.

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    1. Jennifer I understand the time limit factor. I have found that, that is the number one reason why we struggle to be creative in the classroom. I think there are many things we do to make our classrooms more creative and this book is full of ideas!!

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    2. I'm also a Kindergarten teacher and I also agree with time being an issue. I struggle with planning creative lessons for my students because I am given such little (if any) time to plan during my work day. I enjoy using my centers (Reading and Math) to promote creativity. For example, I allow my students to use shaving cream to practice their sight words. I put it in a Ziploc and allow them to pick a color of food coloring and then tape the bag to the table. Afterwards, I hold up a flashcards and students have to tell me the sight word and then practice writing it in the shaving cream. My students love this center!

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  25. Bonjour! My name is Lindsey Ravis and I am the French teacher for Northwest Allen County Schools. I teach French to 9th-12th graders at Carroll High School, but I am also licensed to teach English. As a world language teacher I feel like my students and I are always creating new ways to develop their language skills, as well as deepen their understanding of the culture and language. I am excited to continue to learn more ways to be creative in my classroom!

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    1. I used to teach French (loved it) and still teach a couple of high school Spanish classes though my main assignment currently is math. I always feel more creative as a language teacher than as a math teacher. Why is that? Some of it has to do with my own environment and past experiences, but I am 'one person': how can I be two different teachers? I hope to discover something more that will unlock that mystery in this blog.

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  26. Hello, I am Scott Leffler. I teach fifth grade at Tipton Elementary in Tipton, Indiana.

    I think the things that stop me from being creative are finding time, and having the money to come up with creative lessons. I have a hard time finding time for creative lessons while balancing being a parent of two active kiddos. The other thing that holds me back is having the money to do creative lessons. I would love to have a credit card with endless credit to buy cool things on teacher pay teacher and items on Pinterest, but we all know this isn't realistic.

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    1. Scott,
      I agree along with time. Money is often an obstacle. I try to do creative projects, the other day I had $40 is cookies for a moon phase project. Creativity is awesome, but can be costly.

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    2. Money definitely is part of it! Would love some ways to get around that.

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  27. My name is Joe Poteet I work at North Montgomery high in Crawfordsville. I am a history teacher.
    I think of myself as a very creative person and teacher. I feel like my classroom is creative yet the thing that holds me back is the lack of schools wanting to buy the things needed to get students to latch onto the creativity. I think with all of the testing students must do we have helped take this creativity out of students. The schools can help by embracing new technology. I do understand that districts must think of every school and all students so at times this seems a tough task. Many schools seem to think of a end all technology solution for every classroom and all students and teachers often times this is not the case. I think technology needs to be a single classrooms needs. That maybe to pie in the sky but it would work I thnk.

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    1. Joe I like that idea about technology. Technology is not a one size fits all not only from a curriculum standpoint but also for students and staff.

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    2. My school is one to one iPad and has been for about 6 years. Interesting that a lot of my students still find great pleasure in creating with paper and markers and crayons even though they can do similar things using the iPad. I always give the option for some of the projects we do.

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    3. I agree about not only the need for technology, but also the funding for the PD for teachers to implement it. We also need administrative support when things don't go as planned when trying something new.

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  28. Hello! My name is Melissa LaShure. I teach special education at West Noble. I am looking forward to participating in this book study.
    I feel that many times, time gets in the way of teachers having a creative classroom. Teachers have a lot to cover in a short period of time and the number one complaint is, there is not enough time.
    I feel that creative classrooms can become normal if we 1) hand over more to students and 2) weave standards together so that more is covered at one time.

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    1. Melissa, I, like you, believe a key to increasing engagement and creativity in the classroom is turning more over to our students. We have a New Tech Academy and the students have created some amazing responses to real life problems when given the opportunity, the audience, and the freedom to do so.

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  29. Tracy A. February 6, 2017
    I am Tracy Ahlbrand and I am the principal of a K-5 elementary school in Madison, Indiana. I am fortunate to work with a staff of creative teachers. We are a one to one school. I believe that technology has provided teachers and students with an outlet for their ideas. We are also a Project Lead the Way School and I feel that this program has truly provided both teachers and students with an opportunity to use the design process to use their imagination and critical thinking skills. I look forward to learning how to design creative classrooms and encourage teachers to be creative.

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    1. I am also one to one and agree that technology is a major benefit in being creative in the classroom. It also allows us to publish student work to a much broader audience!

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    2. My son's school is 1:1. It wasn't until I upgraded his phone that I really saw him embrace the technology piece. I have always been a pencil/paper notetaker and expected him to "learn like me"....oh boy, what a disaster! He has different pathways of learning...the creative side. He can sketch a picture to illustrate the main ideas of a social studies topic. With the new phone, his notepad allows him to sketch and note take. Then he shares his new found knowledge with me on the way home! Through this he maintains a B+/A- average, which pleases me! Doing it "my" way gleaned him a C (at best).

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  30. Hi! I'm Danielle Jansen, and I teach IB Senior English, IB Theory of Knowledge, English 11, and Creative Writing at Carmel High School. One of my biggest hurdles in being creative is time -- with teaching four subjects and with one or two classes always brand new to me, I feel like I can barely figure out how to teach the course, let alone how to get creative with it. This semester I have been able to incorporate creativity in Theory of Knowledge (a philosophy class required for the IB diploma), and I've been amazed by students' responses. The course does not have a prescribed curriculum and is driven by critical thinking, which allows me a lot of freedom. In some of my other courses I am bound by a certain number of prescribed summative assessments per quarter -- which is something that is necessary for continuity in a large school, but also limiting when it comes to how to creatively present content and teach skills. I know it can be done with a prescribed curriculum, but it takes time, which is the key thing I feel I lack! I look forward to continuing to read and gather inspiring ideas to apply to my classes.

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    1. Danielle, I teach junior level IB (World Literature) and while I don't know much about ToK, we are encouraged to incorporate it into our IB classes. I would love to hear about how you are able to use some ToK connections, lessons, or ideas in your IB Senior English class.

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  31. My name is Beth Harwood. I teach third grade at Southridge Elementary in the School Town of Highland.

    I am a creative person in my personal life and in some aspects of my career (bulletin boards, rewards, etc) but as far as allowing students to be creative or being creative when planning lessons, there are several things that get in the way. The number one thing that stops me is lack of time. Planning and implementing new things and ideas in the classroom takes a lot of time. Another obstacle that is a very close second is lack of resources (money).

    There is also the fear of not having supportive colleagues that my approach things differently than you. Also, lacking the confidence to try in fear of failure. I feel that every minute in the classroom is under scrutiny and if a creative lesson or unit doesn't "work" or isn't standards based "enough", then is it a waste of time?

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    1. Beth,
      I too often worry about the "waste of time" factor. How do I know my students will actually come to the conclusions necessary to "cover standards thoroughly enough" if they are allowed to take a topic in a direction that interests them. Hopefully through Launch, we will gain the confidence to look at creativity in a way that it is definitely worth the time.

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    2. Sometimes the resources are right in front of us and cheap. Our Art teacher is always asking for empty bottles, paper roll tubes, milk jugs, etc. Some interesting ideas come from"trash".

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    3. @Kelley Jones - it is a very real worry, isn't it? I also think it is hard to make ourselves vulnerable in that way. If our lessons fail then we somehow fail our students. We need to try and change our mindset, I guess that every experience can be a valuable one.

      @Pamela - this is true. We also have a very valuable resource in a neighboring town that has "ReUze" it room although the hours aren't terrific for teachers, there is all kinds of items that are dropped of for that type of thing.

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  32. Hi my name is Tammi Hicks and I am a 1st grade teacher at West Noble Primary. I am excited to be involved in this book study. I am also doing a makerspace workshop through region 8, so I am excited to combine all of these great ideas into my classroom.
    I feel like the 2 biggest obstacles for creativity in my classroom are time and lack of creativity on my part. This is such a different way of teaching and learning compared to the type of schooling that I had. It all makes perfect sense to me, but I find that I have to really train myself to think in this new kind of way, but that is my goal, for creativity to be the norm in my classroom.

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  33. Hi all! I am very excited to be a part of this group! I teach 3rd grade at Van Rensselaer Elementary and am also the technology coach.
    I agree with so many of you that time is a huge obstacle. There are so many creative and engaging projects that I have hopes for, but it seems that not enough time in the day or even the week can cause me to "give up" on fully finishing projects. Fortunately, I have been able to do Genius Hour projects each semester with my students and have seen great success! However, this has only been doable during our enrichment time. I'd love to be able to do these types of passion projects with all students and not just our "higher" students.
    I agree with Tammi that my goal is to make creativity the norm in my classroom and curriculum.

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  34. Hi! My name is Amanda Harker. I teach K-5 music at Meadowlawn Elementary (Twin Lakes School Corp.)
    For me time is probably my biggest problem with being more creative. Since I teach music, I feel like my students are creative a great deal of the time. We are always writing and playing music to some capacity. I do feel like some of my projects could be more in depth, but feel like time keeps us from going farther & digging deeper. I look forward to reading the book and getting inspired to go the extra mile.

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  35. Hi! My name is Kristie Ivanyo and I teach third grade at Morgan Township Elementary School in Valparaiso.
    I understand the need for creativity in the classroom. However, I think the biggest obstacle for me is time. I feel like we have so much to cover each day and there's hardly enough time! I would love to be able to squeeze in more creative projects on a regular basis. I am looking forward to learning ways to do this in my classroom!

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    1. I absolutely agree with you! I took over a 3rd grade maternity leave position last January-April and it was extremely difficult to enforce creativity with so little time. We are required to teach each subject area for a minimum number of minutes a day. Preparing for the I-READ and ISTEP exams also makes it difficult. However, I strongly believe in incorporating subject areas together. For example, I always began a new science unit by reading a book to students and then discussing the book afterwards. I also enjoyed incorporating art into lessons. It is also a great idea, and a lot of fun, to give students a choice board and allowing them to choose one project to complete as a summative assessment.

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  36. Hello! My name is Shelby Rearick. I currently teach Kindergarten at Virgil I. Bailey Elementary in Lake Station, IN.
    There are so many opportunities for me to be creative while teaching Kindergarten. I enjoy incorporating art into lessons and using centers as a way to promote creativity in my students. For example, my students write their sight words using shaving cream, rainbow write words, etc. However, I also have a hard time being creative in every lesson throughout the day. My biggest struggle is finding a balance between work and home. I want to give my all to my students, but I also need to give my all to my family and daughter at home. It's hard to find time to plan creative lessons and activities throughout the day when there I am provided with little to no planning time during my work day. I hope that after reading this book and collaborating with other educators on this blog, I can find more innovative ways to encourage and promote creativity in my classroom.

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  37. Hello to all. I teach mathematics at Riley High School in South Bend. My problem with being creative in the classroom is my fear that I am not that creative and the second part of it is that the students ma not be willing to engage in the work. Many times I feel that they just want a grade without much effort from them. Also, many of my students are not inclined to try to figure out the math. They would have to be willing to commit to time and effort in projects. I would like to make things more interesting for them, but all of the effort cannot come from just me. I do believe that projects would help many realize the importance of math in the world.

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  38. Hi! My name is Kim Hill. I taught math at Concord High School for several years and now stay at home with my young daughters. I am currently a substitute teacher for Concord Schools.
    While I understand the importance of creativity in the classroom, I see the biggest obstacle as time. It takes time to add creative components to lessons. Also, if the creative lesson doesn't work exactly as planned, there is critical classroom time that is lost as well.
    I am looking forward to seeing what sort of framework the book lays out for infusing more creativity into the classroom .

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  39. Hi! My name is Kelley Jones. I teach 3rd grade at Northview Elementary School in Valparaiso. So many thoughts ran through my head as I read chapter 1. I am so enthused to overcome (and hopefully help my colleagues overcome too) each of the obstacles that come to mind as I think about creative projects. I believe that time is my biggest factor: time to come up with an idea that correlates properly to the curriculum, time in the day to let kids explore their ideas, time to research/prepare their content, and time to collaborate and share projects. The list goes on and on and it always seems so overwhelming! The other obstacle that I find difficult to overcome is my students' need to complete tasks as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible. It seems that so many of my students want to pick the easiest possible route and often shutdown when given open-ended tasks with multiple possible outcomes. They just want to know what they have to do to be done. I am looking forward to having some strategies from Launch so that I can help my students find more value in spending time to create and feel proud of their products by putting forth their personal best!

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    1. I can completely relate to your response Kelley! I teach kindergarten and I feel that time is a huge problem too. You want your project to be meaningful and relate to the curriculum. It takes time to plan everything and then also giving the students time to complete the project! I'm really hoping this book provides us an easier way to give our students the opportunity to have creativity projects in the classroom!

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  41. My name is Allena Campbell. I am a resource and Read 180 teacher at East Elementary. I think one of the hardest thing about being creative in the classroom would be the lack of resources. When I want to do some sort of project or a "fun" lesson, there is always a barrier in my way. It may be the lack of technology or lack of supplies. Another thing that I think about is if it would be too challenging or over stimulating for my students. Being a resource teacher I have to make sure that whatever I plan isn't going too hard for my students or if it will involve too much application type thinking.

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  42. Hi,
    My name is Tom Harker. I am looking forward to this book study. For me, I start out the year with many new and creative ideas. The first 9 weeks are awesome, but as the year goes on, I find it harder to be creative with the time crunch, new programs at the school, and I also coach 3 sports. Not an excuse for lack of creativity, but less energy to put into projects which often take time preparing after or before school.

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  43. I'm Mitch Mosbey and I teach 4th grade at Promise Road Elementary in Noblesville, IN.

    I love how they started off by listing a lot of the excuses teachers might say when it comes to creativity and incorporating into the classroom. We sometimes feel overwhelmed with tests, initiatives, and making sure that are students are not falling behind. Teachers have to be willing to take a leap and be comfortable being uncomfortable

    I'm excited to read more about the LAUNCH cycle and how we can embed it into what we are already doing in our classroom. Creativity shouldn't be limited to one area of the school. Yes, creativity can be messy, but we have to think about the engagement and excitement of students.

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    1. I like your comment about the excuses teachers make about not being more creative. Some times I fall into this section of people. In chapter one I was not seeing how I could relate to this book. I read ahead a bit into chapter 2 and I see some more ways the book says people are creative. I see myself more in one of those areas. But I do not want to give anything away for those that have not read chapter 2 yet.
      In chapter one it mentions that change can sometimes be painful. I can understand that! This blogging is even a brand new thing for me. So stretching myself to be creative is going to be super painful. But I'm ready to try. I like how on page 21 the book states upfront that we will have failures when trying. I think sometimes we (as teachers) put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I like it that the book gives us permission not to have to be perfect. :)

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  44. My name is Ben Jaquess. I teach German at Jennings County High School. My biggest obstacles for creativity are lack of time and complacency. Time is always an issue for me. I teach four different levels of German, with a total of seven sections, one of which is ACP German through IU. I am a widower raising four young daughters on my own. This all contributes to a severe time crunch for me. It would be nice to be able to sit and dream up many new, creative approaches to my curriculum and then actually plan those out and put them into practice. But the reality is, many days I'm doing well to just keep my head above water! The second obstacle I mentioned is complacency. It is so easy to slide into a comfortable pattern (rut!) and just stay there because it is easier and more comfortable. A challenge for me is to resist the temptation to simply redo everything the same way I've been doing it for the last 25 years. I look forward to discovering in the pages of this book some ways of combating these two obstacles.

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    1. I completely agree with you on balancing time and becoming complacent. It is a constant battle. Do I grade 10 essays tonight or do I dedicate my time to creating something new for tomorrow's lesson? Why not just use what I did last year if it works just fine? But that's what I'm hoping to change as well because every year things work just a little less fine because students are changing and the way they learn and interact with the world is changing too. PS - I give you props for being able to juggle 4 different preps and 4 kids at home too. Sometimes just keeping your head above water means you are doing great! :)

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  46. My name is Suzie Fleenor and I teach secondary science at Christian Academy of Madison.

    I enjoy creative projects in the classroom, but sometimes resources availability is a problem. We are not a one-to-one school yet, and only have limited time available in computer labs for students to work on projects. That being said, all creative projects do not require the use of a computer. We are also limited on hands-on supplies. Most of these have to be provided by the teacher or the students. I realize that you do not always need tangible supplies and that paper, pencils, and brains may be all that is required. Students get in a mode of relying on the internet as their only resource base.

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    1. Hey Suzie Fleenor!
      Small world, because I too work at Christian Academy of Madison. However, I teach English Language Arts, as you know:) I too think that if our school had access to more technology it would allow us to be more creative more often. However, it boils down to funds. We don't have the technology because we don't have the money, and we don't have the students (tuition), and we don't have the technology. It's a vicious cycle. I think we could achieve more creativity if we had more time, as well. There's just not enough time in the day.

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  47. Hi,
    My name is Barb Lazzaro. I teach FACS at Hanover Central Middle School in Cedar Lake, IN. I love the book so far and look forward to reading it. I try to be creative in my teaching and incorporate projects and activities. I think the opportunity for professional development is my biggest obstacle. I am always looking for new ideas and would love more time to learn. Time is also a factor. Projects take more time in planning, set up, tear down etc. I try to fit it into my curriculum the best I can. Multiple preps also play a part in the time factor. I love design thinking and I can't wait to learn about the Launch Cycle and how to implement this in my classes.

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  48. Good day,
    My name is Laura McDermott. I am Assistant Superintendent with Whitley County Consolidated Schools in Columbia City.
    I think a major obstacle to encouraging creativity in our classrooms can be finding an audience for students. Teachers are under such time pressures, they often don't have time to think let alone time to contact others outside their rooms to provide authentic audiences for student work.

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    1. I agree with your statement about not having time to find outside audiences to listen to presentations, etc. I would be interested to learn new ways to present various things in class, I do worry about students' posting anything online where other's can see. I could see this as a potential issue for parents' as well.

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    2. Hi Laura! I'm happy to see an Assistant Superintendent on here. I think it will provide an interesting perspective, and it's great to see you empathizing with the types of pressures facing teachers.

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  49. ¡Hola! I’m Lauren Angeles, friendly neighborhood Spanish teacher for levels 1-4 and middle school. I love being creative and always keep an eye out for something new to try.
    As far as what stands in the way of me being creative, well, time is always a factor. I tend to come up with great ideas over summer and later struggle with creativity especially during 3rd quarter, which is usually when I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
    Having so many preps it’s hard to be amazing every day in every level. There’s just not enough time in a day to plan, and it gets overwhelming. Not knowing what’s out there in cyberland also holds me back because I don’t have time to just investigate. There are so many things I want to try! But I fight the good fight, trying to “teach like a pirate” whenever I can.

    As far as teachers in general, I think time and money are huge factors. I also think people limit themselves by saying “I can’t.” Teachers say that they can’t be creative and students say they can’t do whatever it is. Teachers have so much pressure put on them that they feel a personal hit if they fail. Students are so worried about doing something the “right” way that they are afraid to find their own way to do something. Student laziness is also a factor.

    I get frustrated by so much I Can’t.

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    1. Hi Lauren! I agree that there are only so many preps in a day that can be done successfully. Something has to give. When you only teach 1 or 2 different types of classes, you can dedicate more time to creativity, but if you have 4 or 5 different preps?! Creating that many different lessons a day plus trying to add creativity can be so overwhelming.

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  50. Hi! I'm Elizabeth Chatwell and I teach English 12, 10, and AP Lit at Kouts Middle/High School in south Porter County. Happy to be back in a book study!!

    For me personally, TIME is the biggest roadblock to creative classrooms. As teachers it takes time to plan, time for kids to create; especially as an English teacher, I don't feel like I have that time to "let go of".

    For kids, I see them as no longer creating much of anything. They are now consumers of media, memes, videos. I see some of them wanting to create, but they aren't sure what tools to use, how to go about it. And yes, some of them just want a "traditional" assignment, something within their comfort zones.

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  51. Hey everybody. My name is Rikki Thompson and I am a license music teacher in Mishawaka, Indiana. I personally feel as though my biggest challenge with being creative is TIME. I feel SO pressured. Everyone decides whether or not I am a good teacher based on my annual concerts. Consequently, I feel as though the only thing I have time to do is rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Well, students aren't machines and have to do other things in class too. LOL I was able to incorporate solfege, rhythm with Takadimi, pitch matching, and vocabulary to every class in addition to rehearsing or learning a new song/instrument, but still - TIME is a challenge for everyone!

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    1. CH 1: Creating is for everyone. That's how I feel about music - that everyone is a musician and they just have to find it in themselves as some will be great singers and others will be great pianist.

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  52. Hello! My name is Angie Abrams-Rains and I teach at Muncie Central High School. I'm licensed in three different areas, but have been teaching FACS for the last 3 years here and really enjoy it. Currently I teach an Interpersonal class, 1 advanced child development class, and 3 child development classes.

    The two biggest things that stand in the way of being creative is Time and Money. I was able to get a couple of grants for last semester in Textiles for us to do some fun things. We did a service learning project for a local Alzheimer's unit and the kids got very creative and involved in the project.

    Another problem is getting kids on board with a new idea. You would think that the younger people would be all excited to try something out of the box, but I have not seen that in recent years. In CD they are writing a children's book and it is driving me crazy to get them to do them. I actually had a student ask me to simply lecture on types of writing styles. REALLY?!?! You would rather me lecture than work on a creative project at your own pace. I was dumbfounded.

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    1. I love your implementation of a service learning project for your local Alzheimer's unit. That is the kind of lesson and experience that kids will remember for the rest of their lives. I hope to do similar lessons in the future. Great job!

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    2. I have had this same experience many times with students ASKING me to just "let us do a worksheet" or "can you just tell us"!!! It is beyond infuriating. That is exactly what I meant in my post when I said that students are conditioned to respond in traditional ways. Let's face it: It is far more challenging to consider a text beyond the black and white and to come up with a personal way to respond to it or reflect upon it. I REALLY DO TRY and push. Sadly, sometimes I give into their requests because to fight is exhausting. Seriously. Ugh. But....fight on we all do because when the creativity is clicking...WOW! It is so much fun! :)

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  53. Hi!! My name is Jenny McCormick. I teach English at LaCrosse High School. I'm really excited about reading this book. I look forward to learning new ideas to incorporate more creativity. I'm always looking for new, exciting ideas to try in class.

    I feel like one thing that sometimes stops me from doing more creative things is time. I feel like it would take time to plan and get started in class. I worry about not finishing the work that we need to finish for the semester. I want to learn how to incorporate both learning and creativity into a more daily lessons.

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    1. I agree....time and "fitting everything in." I like how the book addressed that creativity doesn't have to be a side dish to the content, that they can go together. Project based learning is a great way to start that. It might not work for every unit, every day, but I recently dove into it, and the kids learned so much more than just Spanish! It's hard to find that balance between test scores and learning.

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  54. Hello everyone, my name is Danielle Wynn and I am a P.E. and Health teacher at East Tipp Middle School. East Tipp is located in Lafayette, IN. I teach Health and P.E. for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes.
    I think there are a few hurdles that can get in the way of creativity/project based learning. The first is aligning it with your curriculum, and making it meaningful. We have the units for each Semester prepared, and a certain number of days that you should allocate for each unit (give or take). I think it is difficult finding ideas/projects that fit the topics we are discussing in Health and or P.E. (more so Health). The second is how much time does it take to prepare a project and have it ready for your students, and be able to explain the step by step process in which it needs to be completed. The third biggest hurdle for me is teaching multiple grade levels throughout the day, so I would need to complete three different projects or creative designs. I also wonder if school corporations are accepting of this creative approach. I am reading this book in hopes that I can find solutions to my hurdles/things that are getting in the way (or that I worry about). I want students' to be inspired when they leave my classroom, and as stated in the book "teach them ideas that they can use in the future, and that makes them excited to learn and express themselves."

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    1. Hi Danielle, my fellow TSC staffer!
      I am happy to learn with you!
      Heather Brooks, Southwestern Middle
      P.S. I am also a former East Tipp teacher, so I can relate.

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    2. Hi Heather, what do you teach at Southwestern? Glad to see a former "School of Love" member too!! Have fun reading and thanks for the welcome....

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    3. I teach English 8, but when I was at E.T. I taught Communications 8.
      So glad we have connected.

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  55. Hi, I am Christy Hofmeister. I am the EL teacher at West Noble Elementary in Ligonier, Indiana. I work with 2nd through 4th grade children. I do think there are some hurdles that get in the way of creativity. I think curriculum can sometimes get in the way of letting the kids be creative and doing projects. Some curriculum takes up the whole time that is given for that subject. I also find in my position, that it is hard when the teacher doesn't want to change their routine of things or do more of the creative or project based learning. I am hoping this book will give me some ideas to be able to be creative and do more project learning with my students. I definitely want to let my students be creative and love to learn in my groups. I want them to go away still thinking about their learning.

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  56. Good Afternoon on a rainy Tuesday in Indiana... My name is Deena Rupert and I am a Title 1-Reading teacher working with grades 2 through 4 at West Noble Elementary. This is my second year in this position I previously taught Special
    Education in the same building for 3 and 4th grade students.

    I think that some of the roadblocks to being creative are our own definition of what creativity looks like.
    Of course the day to day issues such as curriculum, testing, and amount of time to cover the lesson will always rule. We as teachers value tradition and that can get in the way of creative thinking.

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  57. My name is Kelsey Whitehead. I am one of the SEEDS teachers at Westside Catholic School. I have students in K-5th grade. I think time is the most hindering factor in fostering creativity in my classroom. I never seem to have enough time to get thru anything let alone something creative. I am inspired by his first chapter to find those opportunities and ways to make sure my students have that component in their studies.

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  58. My name is Tricia Snow and I teach 6th grade ELA arbitrary Fort Branch Community School in South Gibson Schools. We are a K-8 building, so that's a little unique.
    I feel the pressure of covering standards and curriculum as two of the hindering factors on promoting creativity. There are times when I throw that out the window and spend a week allowing creativity. I did try Genius Hour last year, and like giving the chance for creativity once a week, but I felt like I didn't really know how to incorporate it like it's meant to be. I also fear often that I'm not doing something "right."

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    1. Hi Tricia,
      At least you tried Genius Hour! How did it go? Were the students engaged? I would love to hear what worked and what needs tweaked as a place to start for the rest of us at the beginning of the "creativity" process.

      Thanks!

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    2. I am definitely glad that I did a LOT of front-loading - teach the research process, inquiry based questioning, etc. The kids were definitely engaged, but I didn't feel like their "products" or final project was really geared toward making a change. Most of the kids were just interested in making a Google Slideshow. I would teach to focus more on getting their information out to others rather than just creating a document for themselves.

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  59. It is great to see the number of people joining these e-learning book discussions! I am Valerie Zemaitis, a middle school social studies teacher in Munster, Indiana. Even though I am a "seasoned" or veteran teacher, I know I must continually grow to meet the needs for my students in this changing world. What hinders me is not knowing how to best meet those needs which is why I depend on PD such as reading books. Being part of group discussions is even better. We grow together. There are great things happening in classrooms and school and his is a great way to learn about them. I am looking forward to growing with all of you for the sake of our students.

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  60. I'm Kara Heichelbech, eCoach at Clark-Pleasant Middle School. I think the biggest limitation for teachers in general is time. I know I personally can find myself sweating the small details of a creative project, when it is the big picture that needs to really be addressed. Additionally, I think for some teachers it is not knowing what they don't know, especially in regards to technology. My staff want to incorporate technology, but they aren't sure where to start. I had a teacher share the other day that she didn't even know what to ask or where to even start to figure out what she wanted to ask!

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    1. I also find that teachers want to have every single aspect ironed out before being comfortable to tackle it with the students. While being prepared is important, teachers need to remember they don't have to know every detail in a project with technology or creation. Sometimes we need to just take the first step and give it a shot. Have the big picture planned and the small details tend to work themselves out.

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    2. Kara,
      Our school district will be going 1:1 this fall. This year the teachers have been involved with PD to prepare us for the programs that we'll be using. We have been so trained to do it right the first time and failure is not an option...that to embark on a new endeavor is quite daunting! Through this experience, I can empathize with my students and can only encourage their attempts! We can learn through the process. If we fail, ok...but I bet we will have learned something! Allowing students to see us vulnerable and not the expert is also important, too.

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  61. Hi! My name is Carolyn Kamber, and I'm an English teacher at Valparaiso High School in Valparaiso, Indiana. This is my 12th year, and I teach 9th grade (track 2) and 11th grade (IB World Literature). I feel like I used to be a much more creative teacher than I am now. When I first started out, I probably didn't know as much of what was expected of me, so I created a lot of my own things and was willing to try new things. I feel like the last few years, though, I have been much more willing to just do the same thing I did last year with each unit. We are now so focused on data collection and standards that it seems much harder to fit in the creativity that I know is so important but that might be hard to measure or prove with numbers. With my honors students, I feel like I definitely take more risks regarding creativity. When given the opportunity to be creative, they almost always surpass my expectations. But I haven't found a good way to implement that with less motivated or struggling learners. So I hope that I will learn more about the structure needed that Chapter 1 talks about. And I really feel like reading this book and joining this club is coming at just the right time for me in my career. I'm ready to dive back in, to take chances again, and to do what I know is right for my students and not just what the standards or my evaluation says is needed.

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    1. Hi Carolyn,
      I can relate to your post about being an experienced teacher who started out creatively and enthusiastically, but who has become less so with all of the data collection and testing. I, too, am ready to take chances again, despite what the tests and evaluations say. Our students should not just become "good test takers" as a result of their education.

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  63. I am Jessica Fennig and I'm not in a classroom or school this year. I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my children this year. I've taught mostly kindergarten and first grade throughout my career. There are many obstacles that one needs to overcome in order to be creative in a classroom: time, testing, curriculum restrictions, bravery to try something new, courage to fail, finding creativity within yourself. I remember trying to be creative my first year teaching and my principal walking in right as it started going south. Fortunately I had a great principal who understand that the students aren't the only ones learning, and thankfully learning from our mistakes makes good teachers. I'm excited to hear new ideas, get creative, and push through these obstacles!

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  64. Hi! I'm Darcy Lugo from Concordia Lutheran HS in Fort Wayne. I've been teaching Spanish here for 14 years.
    The biggest obstacle for me in being creative is TIME. I have tons of ideas that I got from a conference last summer, and started out strong. Now with grading, planning, kids, activities, family, etc....when do I find the time to make all of these fun popsicle stick activities? I hope to really work ahead this summer and get things going for 2nd semester, as I had a lot of things for first semester.
    I think that creative can also be simple. Anything new will capture a kid's attention. We don't have to be overly creative. Page 21 had 2 important points - What if I fail? What if I'm Not Very Creative? Kids are flexible, and when an activity has failed for me, I look at them and say, "Well, that didn't go as planned. How can we make this better?" They have come up with some great ideas! -- Let them be creative, then take their ideas.

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    1. Hey Darcy, we are making some changes in my area by using suggestions from the kids too. We haven't gotten to that part of the semester yet, but soon. I anticipate good things!

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  65. Hi! My name is Trina Thomas. I teach literacy groups at my son's school. I'm a K-6 certified teacher, and I've taught kindergarten, 1st and 4th grade. I have also taught at the preschool level. I'm excited about this book club, as I think that creativity is a vital part of learning and teaching. I can't wait to hear everyone's ideas!

    I think the largest obstacles of creativity in the classroom are time constraints and class size. There are so many "have to" things that have to be done during the school day. Creativity has to be incorporated in these things or there just isn't enough time. I think it's also difficult to incorporate creativity when there are 30 kids in the classroom, so I can't wait to hear some classroom management tips when encouraging creativity.

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  66. Hello everyone! I have enjoyed reading your introductions. I am Heather Brooks, an 8th grade English teacher at Southwestern Middle School in rural Tippecanoe county. This year our school has begun the process of becoming a STEM certified school, so this book study is timely for me.

    As a language arts teacher, I have many questions about how I can fit more into an already tight and highly tested curriculum. In fact, I counted 20 days we spend on corporation, NWEA, and ISTEP test mandates this year! I also am concerned about middle school students' ability to "waste" so much time when given choices about what they will spend their time "working" on.

    I look forward to learning more about the framework that will allow more active engagement, while offering the support and structure to be most effective.

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  68. Hi. My name is Janette and I work as a Media Specialist at Prairie View Elementary in Goshen. I think the biggest hurdle for me in being creative in the media center is the time factor. It seems to take me a long time to come up with ways to creatively teach library skills. I ideally would like to have hands on experiences for the students yet I have limited time in the day to come up with ideas. The regular daily tasks seem to take up much of my time. Classes come to the library for 40 minutes each week and in that time they need an opportunity to select and check out books. So a second issue with time is the actually time it may take to do a project.

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  69. Hi there! I am Sarah Jansma, Art teacher at Kouts Middle/High School. I have exporatory art for 6th,7th, & 8th graders at 9 week rotations. I also teach 5 levels of high school art.

    I am full of creativity, but I struggle with having time to juggle it all. With the middle school classes on a 9 week rotation I am limited to what I can sqeeze in during that time frame. My high school classes have 4 different levels in one period. There are new things that I would like to try with my high school students, but I am overwhelmed with teaching the different levels all at the same time. I can introduce one project to one level of art students while the other 2-4 levels of art students are working on different projects. I try to make the point of splittling the time so that I can still touch base with each level and each individual student daily. This does not always happen. Trying new creative things may mean that I might not get to everyone because the new idea takes the entire hour. This is my biggest struggle.

    I am hoping that joining this book club will give me some insight and ideas to try. I look forward to reading, sharing, and discussing ideas with everyone.

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    1. I enjoyed your honesty in both parts. I do not have mixed classes, but I have big groups of students each period and I understand the "I can't get to everyone" issue. I applaud your efforts to splitting the time for sure. If that works, keep doing it. When I have a big task with many students in the room, I have found that letting them set the level of contact has worked well. For example, I ask if today they would rather have me work for 5 minutes with one on one or 15 minutes with a group.. the students seem to understand the needs that they have for the day's task and it also allows for a great deal of variety. Hope this helps.. look forward to your creative juices coming out to all of us in this class for sure!

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    2. Thank you! I may have to try this!

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  70. Hello fellow thinkers! I am Becky Bland and I teach Senior English, AP Senior English, English 10 Honors and English 11 at Wes-Del High school in Delaware County. Because I am afforded the chance to teach a variety of abilities - primarily Seniors - I am always working hard to find a way to infuse further opportunity for creative endeavors for all ability levels.

    I feel like my primary barrier is getting over my obsessive need to "get these kids ready" for whatever awaits them after high school. For some, it is merely reaching graduation. For others, it is preparing for the rigors of college. I find myself forgoing some of the things I think about doing that are more "creative" in nature for the sake of very basic skill building or writing on a collegiate level. It is a constant stressor point for me and I am very excited to read this book and interact in this blog in order to find the fortitude (maybe courage I guess) to push my boundaries and to push the expectations of my students. I think they are very well conditioned and not having to "think creatively" or create "products".

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  71. Hello, all! I am Shae Lauer, and I am the special education teacher at Metro North Elementary, which is part of MSD of Wabash County.

    I feel like my major barrier in incorporating creativity into the classroom is the need to follow scripted interventions/curriculum. Since I am operating under the pull-out, resource room format, I see each group of students for thirty minutes at a time. In that timeframe, I'm already pressed to get in the required interventions. Also, after reading the first chapter, I realize that I have been misunderstanding what it means to create and be creative. I look forward to reading the text and others' comments as a learning opportunity to provide better educational opportunities for my students!

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  72. Hello! I'm Amanda Bullion. I teach HS FCS at Wes-Del High School. I have 2 sections of Human Development,2 sections of Child Development, and 1 section of Foods.
    I believe FCS naturally lends itself to be a creative subject. I mean, all the cooking references in the first chapter had me going! I think my two challenges are what so many of you have said, money & student engagement. I did apply for a grant and got it this year. With this my child development students made mobiles. As I read this first chapter, I wish I would have gone beyond creating and actually did something with them instead of just presenting. My second issue is student participation. I create projects that I think are fun (like our evacuation plans) and my students just complain. And so the negative criticism stops me cold from taking time to create anymore projects.
    I'm so excited to read this book and get creative with such a large group of like minded individuals! Happy reading!

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  73. Hi! I am Lynn France. I am a Speech Language Pathologist with First Steps in the Indianapolis area. I work with students in their homes who are 12-36 months old and have a variety of special needs. I work with mostly 2 year olds so creativity and enthusiasm are essential to a successful day. The biggest challenge I face is the lack of toys and supplies at the homes for the kids to use when I am not there. I come to their homes with a variety of play activities, but when I leave the bag of toys, crayons and books goes with me. We have been lucky enough to receive donations from local organizations during the holidays (thank you Indiana Pacer Foundation!) that we can pass along to our families. I am excited to read this book and learn about how to rethink creativity.

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  75. Hi everyone! I am Christine Hess, Principal at Fairview Elementary in Logansport, IN. I was SO excited to see the title of this book study, as I have attended some breakout sessions at various conferences about Maker's Spaces, read some articles, etc. but have not really researched and learned more. So...here we go! After reading these posts, I agree with so many of you...time, lack of PD, no direction, lack of confidence for both teachers and students. Really, what I think might be a big factor is fear. Fear of failing, fear of using up so much of our precious time with our students, fear of not being supported by administration. I love that this book will provide a framework and a solid structure for teachers as a tool to launch maker's spaces in their classrooms. Can't wait to learn from the book and from all of you!

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    1. I totally agree with you. I think even with a solid framework in place, we have to overcome our fears and be okay with the fact that we may not get the results we want right a way. We will have to encourage students to ask questions and overcome their fears as well in order to be successful.

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  76. Hi everyone! I am Meghan Stetter and I teach history at Carroll High School. I think the biggest hurdle I face is finding time in the curriculum to allow for these creative discoveries. Over the years, I've added more creative lessons and projects, but as the authors hinted at in Chapter 1, I want these things to be more than just desserts. Furthermore, I find this increasingly challenging in my honors course because the content we are learning is laying the foundation for their AP history course next year. I want the best of all worlds, where I can help students continue to become creators of knowledge as they build on previous schoolings, while still readying them for their next courses and life after school.

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    1. I also really liked the dessert metaphor. It's easy for me to fall into the trap of adding creative activities to lessons as afterthoughts so grab students' attention.

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  77. My name is Rachael Berkemeier. I am the Media & Instructional Technology Specialist at Batesville Primary School, a PK-2 building. My role allows me to be creative in many ways, but my biggest challenge is to get my teachers to take the risk of creativity with me. With the increased focus on testing and student growth models impacting teacher evaluations, many teachers are in a "rut" and have cut creativity out of their classrooms due to "time." My challenge is to help them see that creation is a part of the solution and a much higher level of Bloom's. I'm very happy to see the pendulum swinging back in favor of creation and creative learning.

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  78. Hello! My name is Samantha and I teach kindergarten at Sts. Peter and Paul in Haubstadt. I loved the first chapter of the book and I can't wait to read more on how to launch creativity into learning! The biggest obstacle for me is time. By the time I explain the project, answer questions, and get supplies passed out it'll be time to clean up again. I do want to incorporate more into the classroom, but it would take a lot of time, practice, and energy for it to run correctly and smoothly with my kindergarteners. Another challenge for me is my students and class size. I am only one person and I know some of them will understand the directions and be able to come up with ideas on their own. But I also know I'll have several others that won't know where to begin when working on a project. I am excited to read on and see what ideas they have for our classrooms!

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  79. My name is Justin Journay and I work at Wes Del Community Schools. I am a physical education/health education teacher for middle/high school. I also teach weight lifting at the high school. I am the middle school wrestling coach as well. I would say the biggest thing keeping me from being creative in the classroom is fear of things not going according to plan and being left without a back up plan. I also fear that I have overlooked some detail in my plan as many times you do when you haven’t tried things this way before. I also feel like so many others do and get sort of a writer’s block when it comes to being inventive with class. I have found that the best way to overcome this is to ask the kids if they have any new ideas or games that they would like to play. Playing with my 7 year old daughter often sparks ideas for new games. I find you tube to be a good source for inspiration as well. I tend to be much more creative in my PE class than in health class. I tend to offer rewards in weight lifting and those kids generally are very motivated. I know that being more plugged into social media groups that include others in my profession from around the world would be a great exercise to bounce ideas off of each other and learn what works well for others.

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  80. My Name is Amy Cullum and I work at Wes-Del Community Schools. I am a high school only Spanish teacher. I have been at Wes-Del for 23 years and have 28 total years in the profession. I am so new to this that I was the author a few minutes back who removed the material because I don't know what I am doing at all on a blog. Hope some of you are laughing with me and I understand if it is at me. I'm excited for the opportunity to share and grow in this area, even if the method is completely new to me. After all, that is what change is all about.. a new direction. I'm going to post this now... wish me luck. I will respond to the questions after knowing of the success of this one step at time mission!

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  81. I enjoy being creative and taking chances in my class. At times it is comparable to the 'bull in a china shop" picture, but I do not mind taking risks. I can see all of the possible pitfalls that were listed from the book as being so true for myself at times, but what I did not see is a huge issue- fear. It was mentioned, but not highlighted and I feel that is where the boundary lines are put up. Too often as educators we become comfortable with our successes, know what works, are tired and don't want to deviate from what we know is profitable because time is of the essence, right? Fear. It is a powerful emotion and when you are in front of the little sets or big sets of eyes, it can be intimidating. I choose the opposite approach. I go for the gut level of "I have never tried this, but you are coming along for a wonderful ride and you have ownership of this, so let's go!" It puts me at ease and it let's them know a great thing about life.. it is scary, but it is worth a chance, and what if, just what if, it works?! Then all involved have benefited for sure. I say get into the face of fear in our classes and laugh with it. Nothing more rewarding than saying "I tried it at least".. I tried.. after all, what is the worst that can happen? You take it apart and tweak it again.. what's the best? YOU and your students WIN. I always have said, let me laugh at me first.. then the rest doesn't hurt. If the students know this from the onset... it really helps set the right mood for the entire process.

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    1. I think fear does play a big part in educators' success in being creative. I definitely agree that it is worth taking risks to give students authentic learning experiences.

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  82. Hi, my name is Susan Swartz and I'm the Assistant Principal at Fairview Elementary School in Logansport. I believe there are many who are afraid of failing or not being able to create the "perfect" project, that they shy away from any attempt at being creative. As a school administrator, I need to make sure my staff know they have "permission" to try different approaches to delivering curriculum.

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  83. Hi, My name is Mindy Pearson. I am a science teacher at Crown Point High School. I think the biggest struggle in having a creative classroom is to get students to look beyond google and really think for themselves. I encountered this issue quite a bit at the beginning of last year when I taught PLTW Human Body Systems, a project based course, for the first time. Once students learned to think critically, they became so much more excited about learning in general. I would like to bring this same enthusiasm to the other courses I teach. I am excited to read this book and hear what the authors suggest.

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  84. Hello! My name is Julie Williams. I am a math teacher at Garrett HS. I am in my 28th year of teaching and I am always looking for new and creative ways to motivate students. My biggest obstacle is time and tasks. I feel like I might have a great idea but no time to develop it into a meaningful lesson. Sometimes I feel like the "tasks" of the classroom overtake the opportunity to introduce a creative lesson. In math, we have so many different standards to master that a creative project really needs to include several objectives to justify the time spent on the activity. I am looking forward to participating in this book club.

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    2. Yes. Yes. YES!!

      Class and planning times are such precious commodities; I get discouraged when the "creative" part feels like it is being torn from my grasp by normal tasks. My enthusiasm wanes when I feel like I should have a 15 page, completed, rationale BEFORE undertaking a creative project in math.

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  85. My name is Helen Dunn. I am a middle school counselor in Greencastle Middle School.

    For this book study I will use the term “classroom” to also talk about my office and the counseling services I provide. I find that I do get a lot of opportunity to provide creative activities, but time is definitely something of a barrier. My role is offer counseling to students, while also ensuring they do not miss too much instruction time. I have to be creative with the time I use - morning homeroom time, lunches, study support classes. The short time I spend with some students does limit my ability to find creative counseling techniques.

    Being creative also requires lots of pre-planning. I find it harder to be creative “on the fly”, which is me a lot of the time. I imagine time is one of the biggest hurdles to creating creative classrooms for most teachers. I like the idea of design thinking as a framework for learning. I especially like the idea of first understanding the problems, before creating the solutions. When talking to students about their challenges, the only viable solutions come from understanding why the barrier prevents their success. I am intrigued to learn about the LAUNCH cycle throughout this study.

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  86. My name is Marc Daniel. I have taught Industrial technology for 32 years. 30 in Indiana at West Noble High School and 2 in Oregon. My students work 75 percent of the time in the shop and the rest in the classroom. Projects have always been my method of teaching do to the subject I teach. I have found that I struggle with finding creative projects that don't take to much of the students time. Trying to creative and cover the standards can be a challenge. It's amazing how ways of being creative have changed over the last 32 years.

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  87. For sure! At times I feel like the old comes back around and the new isn't so attractive to them any more. I also feel that a whole new vocabulary is needed to keep up with the times. It can be frustrating. Is a magic white board really better than a hand held white board which is better than a colored chalk on a regular chalk board? I say no. It will sure be interesting to see where this latest creative turn takes us. Buckle in!

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  88. Good day and happy Friday to all! My name is Marilyn Newman and I teach Math Connectivity at Winamac Middle School.

    Finding the time needed to develop new, creative, hands-on, and thought-provoking activities is one of my main challenges. Additionally, trying to get my students (especially the GT/HA ones) to develop a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset is a continual work in progress for me.

    The statement in Chapter 1, p. 30, "It's what happens when you give your students voice and choice." that has me most intrigued by what we are going to gain from these readings. I am looking forward to our discussions!

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  89. My name is Anissa Need even though it might say Ethan (my son changed it). I have taught at Twin Lakes High School for 12 years. I also coach the girls tennis team.

    Getting the resources to have a fun, creative lesson and the time it will take are always my excuses. I am not afraid to fail because I can always think of another activity. I do go to social media or you tube to get ideas but they do not always have creative ideas for the high school level that I think my students will enjoy. I am eager to learn new creative ideas.

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  90. My name is Michelle Mercuri and I am a Special Education Teacher at Wea Ridge Middle School in Lafayette. My program is self-contained for students with emotional disabilities.

    Organization and structure are the top two goals of my classroom. Structure and routine do not always go hand-in-hand with creative learning opportunities. However, I understand in an experiential manner that my students greatly benefit from a hands on approach to learning. In my own quest to be creative, I struggle with coming up with ideas that tie into the content areas I am teaching. Being that I teach multiple subject areas on several different levels, lesson planning alone is a struggle. Adding valuable opportunities for design based learning seems a daunting task. Not only that, but funding is a major obstacle we as educators are faced with on a daily basis. Certain projects that I have wanted to implement were not budget friendly. I am hoping to be shocked and awed by the creative ideas that were right under my nose all along!

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  91. My name is Theresa Lemons. I am a principal at Parkview Elementary School in Bedford Indiana. I would say there are many obstacles to fostering creativity in the classroom (time, curriculum expectations, testing considerations), but for me many times it was based around self efficacy. Teachers tend to go with what works and what they feel most confident doing. I look forward to learning strategies and ideas to help the teachers in my school overcome these obstacles.

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    1. Hi Theresa! Is that a new position? Congratulations!

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  92. My name is Lisa Brooks. I teach third grade in Rochester, Indiana at Riddle Elementary School.
    There are a couple of things that hold me back from being creative or promoting creativity in the classroom. One is that I don't spend the same amount of time in the building that I used to. I'm sticking around until 5 or 6 anymore. The second excuse I would throw out there would be that our curriculum is standards driven which means that we've filled our day with what the state tells us to in most cases.
    One nice thing that we have seen is this creative spirit in students During STEM Friday each week.

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  93. My name is Lara Werner. I teach kindergarten at Kouts Elementary School, a part of the East Porter County School Corporation. The biggest challenge I see for being creative in the the classroom is time, as many of you mentioned above. I love incorporating creative activities and STEM activities in my classroom, but in teaching there are such time constraints with all the testing and standards that we are required to fit in. I am hoping to find ways to integrate creativity better into the "required stuff." Creativity breathes life back into teachers and students.

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  94. My name is Joe Reid and I teach 8th grade Social Studies and Language Arts at Lowell Middle School in Lowell, IN.

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  95. In my search of utilizing creativity, I have found many challenges that were highlighted in the first chapter of the book. The challenges with standardized testing and curriculum seem to have gotten in the way at times when I could be more creative. I am two years in to teaching at a Project-Based middle school and even in that environment, creativity is difficult to come by. While we have more freedom to be creative, some of those "blocks" tend to come personally and from within. I think we sometimes have the feeling that we need to have the best and brightest ideas that can be shared out for the world to see, but fail to recognize that even some of the smallest ideas can go a long way.

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  96. My name is Elizabeth Stracener (Liz) and I teach at Seton Catholic High School in Richmond, IN. This year I am teaching Biology I, Honors Biology I, Environmental Science, high school Health and Wellness, and ACP Biology. I have enjoyed jumping into this book so far!

    I appreciate the statement the authors made about creativity-it is not always involved in making things, but that it is exploring ideas, finding unique solutions to practical problems, among other things. What holds me back on my quest to be creative is the time to prepare and develop engaging activities for my students. I usually have 5 or 6 high school preps, so I am usually transitioning from one class to another, setting up labs, making assessments, talking to students,grading projects, etc. However, I am hoping this book will help with creating activities for my students that they can LAUNCH. I have integrated more technology this year, and some of the successes with it seem to have engaged my students more than in previous years. I also appreciated the discussion regarding the concern about grades/points. My consumer-driven students are all about earning the A+, and are not willing to take risks and venture into higher level thinking for fear of getting the wrong answer. If I utilize more activities to launch their creativity, they will be less consumed with the grades, and be rewarded with the success of putting their work out in the public venue.

    I am looking forward to reading other comments from other readers!

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  97. Hello all,
    My name is Kathleen Carter. I am a Special Education teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in the Twin Lakes School Corporation.

    I know that I am not alone when I cite lack of time as a major hurdle when it comes to being creative in the classroom. But does it really take more time to be creative versus not?

    I do sometimes jot down a quick idea that may not require a time-consuming activity. I also get leads from fellow teachers on sites that offer fun learning activities. I may get the idea that I want students to learn one random fact, so I may install the "Did You Know?" wall- or the "Famous Quotes" wall...

    These are not original ideas, but they do add interest and conversation to my classroom.
    I want learning to be fun; I associate creativity with fun, and I know that it cannot always be fun, but as often as possible, I strive to make it fun. When activities are fun, I do not see behavior problems.

    So I often ask for student input; I was shocked to find out that my students do not like holdups when we practice vocabulary!
    Wait, what?

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  98. Hello! My name is Jennifer Higgins and I am a first grade teacher at Washington Township Elementary School in Valparaiso, IN.
    My struggle with creativity in the classroom is time. It is so difficult to get in the standards that finding time to plan and then implement anything creative that goes along with our standards is a real struggle. My students are very excited to try hands-on and interesting things but those lessons seem to be few and far between.

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  99. This is better later, than never...Greetings! My name is Brandy Hicks and I work for Milan Community School Corporation. I have many roles with them. I am the Technology Specialist and more….:-)
    Glad to join in this book study. Actually John Spencer, one of the authors for this book, is scheduled to keynote at our eLearning Conference June 6 &7 in Batesville, IN. So it makes it doubly exciting for me to read the book because I know I am going to spend time with the author soon.
    Chapter 1: The authors talk about the need for creative classrooms and share things that stand in the way of teachers being creative. What’s getting in your way? This is a question that is close to my heart. In a world of high stakes testing. The test gets in the way of teacher’s being creative. The question that is asked is always will this help my test scores. How to blend those two environments? The ability to score well on a test and teach in a creative way. It’s time consuming to allow students the opportunity to FAIL, but necessary. Also, the time commitment and planning that is involved in allowing students creativity. Lastly, I find a hurdle with giving up control is a necessity when allowing students to be creative. You become a guide instead of the teacher that enforces every step in the process. Be the difference; give a child the opportunity to create and dream.

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  100. Hi! I'm Sharon VanKley, I teach 6th grade science, 6th grade digcit, 7th grade STEM, and 8th grade advanced language arts at Kouts Middle School.

    Some of the struggles I have with creativity in the classroom include time constraints (with standards and testing, sometimes fun things go to the wayside) and getting kids to be creative (some would rather just be told what to do, or just google their way out of it). Another reason is the amount of prep work. I do a lot of extra curricular activities, have 1 young kid (2 this fall) with me before and after school, and 4 different subjects to plan for, so prepping for multiple projects or activities going on in 4 different classes needs to be quick and meaningful.

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  101. Hello, my name is Cayla Jackson and I teach 6th grade reading in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I am looking forward to reading this book and challenging myself and my students to be more creative throughout our day. I have always enjoyed tapping into my creative juices but familiarizing myself with teaching a new subject (reading rather than science) has taken precedence. I'm hoping to infuse that creativity back into my classroom!

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  102. Hello, my name is Sheila Hurst, and I teach STEM Robotics and Intervention at Huntingburg Elementary School. My chapter 1 take away quote is "You will fail. It's going to happen...However, each mistake is simply another iteration on the journey toward success". Popular sayings in the STEM robotics classroom include, "embrace your mistakes", "mistakes get you one step closer to success", and "I just discovered one more way it won't work". Mistakes are seen as accomplishments in our learning and growing process. Challenges in my classroom include time management on 25 minute sessions for grades 1-4. Set-up, a mini tutorial, hands-on learning and clean up are time consuming elements for the given time-frame.

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  103. Howdy! ��
    My name is Samantha Snowberger and I am a special education co- at Wea Ridge Middle School in Lafayette.

    I am someone who likes to being creative in most aspects of my life. I find this especially true in my teaching and in my classroom although at times I don't think that shows in the things around me and that I'm doing. I think the biggest hold back in me being able to have more creative lessons and experiences for my students is just the time Factor. Often times the creative lessons take double or triple the time to make when your time is already Limited. When you add in all the paperwork and all the other stuff there is very little time for Creative aspects a lot of the time. I do find that what I am more creative with in my lessons that both my strength and I enjoy it more and we didn't remember it longer so I try to add in at least one fun creative lesson a week but fits Within the curriculum we are using. Another drawback I have to agree with other teachers is often the money factor. The creative lessons that I have thought of in the past and that would really be fun often tend to cost so much money that we just don't have the budget for it or I will feel guilty at times for using it for one lesson when that could be used for something different. It's probably a good thing I live on a limited budget or else I would always be buying things for the classroom. I think the best times that I've seen the creativity in my classroom times are the times that my students get to be creative within their own thoughts and work. I love seeing them take a topic and run with it. I love just seeing way things turn out sometimes because they are just so different than what I would have done. Not better or worse just different. However I think that at times this is limited in my class were also because a lot of times it is just very difficult for my students to think outside the box as with in special education my students often are very structured with in every aspect of their learning.

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  104. Hello, my name is Chris DeVries and I am a library- media specialist at West Noble Middle School. I am really excited to collaborate with teachers from many school districts and also from within my own school corporation.
    Time and testing drive curriculum. Creativity seems so much more difficult to fit in because of these two constraints. I also agree with many earlier posts that creativity must be allowed time.

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  105. My name is Rachel Hamilton. I am the FACS teacher at Kankakee Valley Middle School in Wheatfield, Indiana. I do try to let the kids be as creative as they can in my class, and actually I do feel they get a lot of opportunities. But, sometimes I feel I need to scale back or scrap an idea because of how much time something "creative" takes. So I'd say time gets in the way.

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  107. My name is Emily Wade. I am the art teacher at Fort Branch Community School in Fort Branch, Indiana. As the art teacher I am lucky enough to have the freedom to be creative everyday as well as to inspire my students to be creative. My students always have the opportunity to be creative, however I find that many are apprehensive when it comes to their own creativity. I would say the fear of failure is the biggest challenge.

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  108. Hi, My name is Lou Silverman. I teach geography at North Central High School. I have four AP Human Geography classes and one Geography and History of the World class. I have been teaching for 25 years and am in my 15th year at North Central. I taught 6th grade for the first six years of my career and really miss those days. As I moved into high school, I feel like I lost some of that creativity I brought to the classroom in middle school.

    Certainly time is an obstacle to creativity. Many teachers are having to deal with being in the same place as other teachers in the same subject. These types of schedules do not leave much time for creative teaching. It seems like there is always pressure to keep pace with the other teachers. I'm teaching an AP class in which the vast majority will be taking the AP Exam at the end of the semester. There's lots of material to cover, so I feel if I get too creative, I get away from the material that needs to be covered. I'm sure that I am way off, and that by the end of the book, I will learn how to bring creativity into the classroom while not compromising content.

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