Monday, March 27, 2017

Launch Week 8: Creating

One thing that stood out to me in this chapter was the difference between a project and a recipe. How can you tell the difference between the two? Have you run into this in your classroom? I also liked the ideas shared about teachers modeling and creating along with their students. Do you do this in your classroom or do you see opportunities where you could in the future?

Next week we will read and discuss chapter 9, "Highlight and Improve the Product."

If you have not already done so, register for the book club by completing this registration form. This is how we get your contact information so we can send your PGP documentation at the end of the book club. If you're not sure if you did register, I would suggest registering again. Please note -- even if you've registered for and participated in another eLearning book club in the past, you will still need to register for this one. If you would like, connect to other people reading this book on Twitter using the hashtag #launchbook.

96 comments:

  1. This simple statement, "If you assign a project and get back thirty of the exact same thing, that's not a project. That's a recipe" also stood out in my mind. A recipe is a set of directions that one follows. To me a recipe does not fit into creativity and the LAUNCH cycle. In order for the LAUNCH cycle to work with our students, we must instill in our students a chance to use creativity skills in making a project. This chapter explained that creativity is not easy. It's not easy for us as educators and it is not easy for our students. Creativity requires work and most of all patience.

    I was very excited with the challenges that were presented in the chapter. These challenges made me aware of some things I can do to help bring out creativity in my students. Challenge #2 was insightful because sometimes I feel afraid when giving my students a project based assignment. I recently gave my high school Cadet Teaching students an assignment of creating a classroom game to utilize in their elementary classrooms. The students were presented with all types of items to use to create their games. The games that they developed were awesome! This led me to assign future projects. My students are now writing, illustrating, and editing their own picture book to share with the elementary students. They will also create a puppet to use when reading their story. I have to admit that I am a bit fearful with this new project. I do see some of my students becoming frustrated and somewhat less interested in this project. I don't know if it is because the time of the year (senioritis!) but I do know that I need to get their creativity flowing! After reading this chapter I know that I need to make my students aware of the purpose of this project because that's when I know it will be finished.

    Finally, the March Madness Interest bracket was awesome! What a great time of year to read about this. I am going to try this next week with my cadet teaching class. I think this will really help my students as well as myself to see where to put our time and focus.

    This chapter really allowed me to see that I can put the LAUNCH cycle into a school library.

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    1. I also perked up with the 'bracket' approach (further proof that we can catch attention with timely connections to make relevant what we want students to learn)...a tool for helping all of us make decisions about a lot of things. Some brackets would not have to start with 64 items. This sort of organization can give a student a framework he can use beyond classroom projects: I can see possibilities for everything from students' career options down to how they are going to spend the weekend.

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    2. Jean, I would have highlighted the same things as your response. I have discovered that receiving and grading projects that aren't "cookie cutter" or the exact same recipe is more exciting to see and grade. My rubrics no longer look the same. It is more about how they are demonstrating understanding and elaboration of content and 21st century skills such as collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. I no longer have a rubric on how well they followed the directions/recipe: "Is there a title, are there 3 slides, is there a name and hour, etc."

      Students get more voice and choice in demonstrating their understandings. For instance they follow a GRASP format but get to choose the role, audience, activity/product. To go along with how I model or create with them I try to introduce a new product option they can choose to create with for each new assessment. I try it and learn about it with them, such as a Powtoon, Pictograph, a GIF, Google Slide with hyperlinks, Buncee Poster, etc.

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  2. I very much appreciate that the authors suggest we give students examples of our own struggles and failures. My favorite line in this chapter applies to me, as well as my students, “Creativity is as much an attitude as it is an action. It is a decision to persist, to show up and do the work, even when you don’t feel like it.” (Spencer, John; Juliani, A.J.) Teaching students to persist is met with struggles, yet persistence is a the quality that often brings success in the real world. We, as educators, are where we are today because of perseverance. Anyone on a successful career path is going to meet challenges; likewise, for students the most growth happens when they meet challenges head on and don’t back down or avoid them. I talk my math and Spanish students through these struggles a lot; I am part inspirational life coach and part teacher every day.

    Teaching math, I give out a lot of formulas (recipes). I don’t know that this should be eliminated entirely, but I am trying to see the benefits of giving students opportunities to create (projects), as well.

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    1. I, too, love that line about creativity being an attitude. Just as attitudes can be developed, everyone can strive to be creative.

      I struggle with the recipe vs. project conundrum. I like to give my students a framework in which to work but sometimes feel I stray a bit too much into the recipe area. Students, especially my honors students, love a good recipe! They want to know exactly what they need to do, preferably step by step and in order. It's frustrating for some of them to be given the latitude to be "creative." Finding the right mix of recipe and creativity is a delicate balance.

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    2. I too think that my favorite part of the whole book so far is the part about attitude and that you don't necessarily have to like something to get it started or finished. Often I tell students, when they complain about their work, that they do not have to love MacBeth/History/ect. in order to get the work done so that they can graduate.
      I just love how the book phrases that statement.

      The program I work for is very cut and dry. We do lack creative projects. I have not yet throughout this book figured out how to add the creative part into the program. Maybe after reading this book, and over summer when I am more relaxed, I can have creative ideas come to me that I could use Launch on in the classroom.

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    3. I love the quote you pulled from this chapter. I think sometimes we, as teachers, get stuck going day to day. We ask so much of our students, we challenge them to push them outside of their comfort zone to learn more and more. Showing our students and our own struggles in learning helps them to see what struggles we go through when learning and through the creative process.

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  3. Just using the word "project" sounds stressful and boring. "Let's do a creation" in itself I think will motivate my students more - especially since I am a music teacher. It is a struggle though to gets students, some days, to do anything! At a first reflection, I think a lot of teachers (in my past) wanted the same thing: 12 point font, title page, reference page, double spaced, etc etc. But it would be nicer if we could get away from such rigid rules in order to help our students be more inspired and creative. Of course I don't mean "write it however you want to" or you'll end up with crayons and a picture book! LOL

    LIke what Tammy said above: you can't get rid of all recipes! Math is an every day element that you cannot get away from. Whether you are shopping and trying to figure out the new price now that it is 25% off, or you are re-doing your kitchen ceiling and need to know how many tiles you need, etc. There are always formulas and recipes that we need. And the same goes for music. There are still values to each not as to how long you hold it for and pitches according to the line and space it is on the staff.

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  4. I do a ton of "projects" in my classroom so this chapter really hit home with me. Usually, in lieu of a test, the students create a performance based project to show me what they know. The way that I make this not so much as a recipe is that I give students a choice and a voice as to how they want to complete their project. There are always perameters, but for instance they could choose to do it solo or with a partner, they can do a google slide presentation, a movie, prezi, or perhaps a live performance. I always try and show them examples of what great projects look like, sometimes I even show them examples of projects that needed work, we'll even generate a list of ideas as to how they could have done better. After reading this chapter though I think it'd be a great idea to do the project with them and show them mine as an example as well. I'm really excited about trying this out!

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  5. Too many times I have had lots of recipes turned into me. It seems as if everyone looks over the shoulder of the neighbor and regardless of the fact that they have their own ‘identity’ in the project, some have even changed so that they would be more like the others. This makes me want to shout, “Do you not have your own brain and imagination? Use it!” One instance was using art vocabulary. I simply asked them to draw 16 pictures that used a clothing vocabulary list for example and label them in Spanish. I thought I would get things like fun stick people and crazy clothed models. What a got after a short time was 22 neatly folded miniscule little drawings with typically colored clothing. Boring recipe for sure. Next time, I gave them a list of adjectives with clothing and told them to draw a character with these clothes on. This helped. Then I got projects. I have had to make adjustments on two levels. First, I had to modify my rubric because each time I used a certain format, it was as if I placed my students into that recipe file that lacked creativity. Second, I had to separate them physically in the class, be it in groups or individual aspects, separation made the difference.
    Every once and awhile I will make the project along with my students. Many times I make it before they do so that they can see an example, but I have been known to work right beside them creating the project. I believe it makes them more accountable to the time frame that is given them and gives them a good example to see someone ‘on task’ with the same instructions they were given- as well as the same broken crayons at times! I believe that I am honing in on what works as far as guidelines for my students but this chapter made me think about the why that things are set forth during the expectation process,

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  6. I loved the definition of project versus recipe. In the last 2 years, I started to give my students choice on how to complete an assignment. I have a few minimum requirements, but I left the "project" up to them. I will say that the majority made a project similar to one I had shown, but I always had a few that did something different, and I think this will grow each year. A teacher in my building recently did a genius hour with very few guidelines, and it took the students a few days to get "it" because they weren't being asked to just replicate something. However, a few really took off with the idea, and I was so impressed to see their ideas and creativity.

    I would love to do the genius hour along with my students so they could see it modeled...and it would allow me to work on something I am passionate about!

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  7. It seems the difference between a project and a recipe is the level of creativity revealed in the end result. Phase 5: Creating--creativity is work, hard work! When I hear the word “creativity”, hard work is not the first thing that comes to my mind, but it’s so true! Sometimes we think all kids are naturally creative, but I think this phase is not always easy for kids. Some really struggle to be creative and often shut down when ideas don’t come easily to them. My experience has been that is difficult to encourage creativity in these students and often these kids simply copy what someone else is doing, following some else’s recipe. Maybe more modeling/creating from me would be helpful. I plan on trying that for our end of the trimester projects.
    There was a lot of common sense in Challenge #3:Classroom Management Issues. There are so many things to consider in this area when you are planning to start a project. There are always going to be moments when behavior issues pop up and when suddenly you realize the noise level is way too high! And what to do with the “early finishers” is always a drama. And what about when an administrator decides to stop by in the middle of what might appear to be chaos? It has certainly happened to me!
    I got kind of bogged down in Challenge #6: It Gets Boring. I’m not sure how you can realistically convince a student to endure the tedium of creating by using any of the five suggestions. These make sense to teachers, but other than maybe #2 (confusing boredom with a mental block), I’m not sure these suggestions would be useful to kids.



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    1. I often find my students that have trouble being creative copying someone else's work. When we do art, I always have an example for students to look at so they can see what the finished product will look like. However, often times, I find that some students just simply copy whatever I do. Even after I say that the end product should look different from me and nobody will have the same product.
      For Challenge #3, I like to use a noise-o-meter for my students when they are working. You can find one online for free. You set it up and tell students that if the noise-o-meter goes off one to many times, then they are done talking. This works great for me! As for early finishers, I like these students to go around and help others. They love helping their peers. However, when I do this, I have to make sure that they do not complete the project for the other students. Another idea is to create an early finishers bin for these students.

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  8. Being a former middle school math teacher I feel like I gave a whole lot of recipes in the 10 years I was in the classroom. I do think it is more difficult for a math teacher to move a way from the recipe mindset and to more of a project mindset. It can be done however. I have said many times, I wish I knew when I was teaching what I know now. I think I would have been a much better teacher for my students. I feel like I robbed them a little. Student choice is one of the best ways, in my opinion, to get a way from that recipe mindset. It can also be a little scary for the teachers. We are not always good at giving up control.
    I also feel it is valuable for students to know that we have our struggles like they do. It is important for us to model what we are learning and why it might be a struggle for us. It humanizes us to the students and lets them know they are not in the "struggle boat" alone. Too often we are afraid of letting our struggles be seen for fear it will look like we do not have control. But why does the control always have to be ours? Why not give some control to the students? The will surprise us with what they can do if we would do that.

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    1. I agree with you, that some classes may be harder to make projects, not just recipes. Now we need to be creative! With Spanish, like math, things need to be formulaic at times. For teaching Spanish, there are formulas in forming language, but we want to see them be creative with the pieces to make a different whole.

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  9. Projects are always a big deal in my classroom. After every book that they read, they get to do a "project" based on that book. There's a list that students can't pick from. Everytime the students get to the project part, it becomes more and more extreme. While reading this chapter alot of the points that the author made reminded me of my class. The do get bored, so then they decide to make their project bigger. So thats when they decide to use 100 staples,too much paper and alot of tape. Even though I'm crindging at all the resources that they are using, I'm always amazed.

    I think that it is important for teachers to model the project before letting the students go. I'm a resource teacher, and I do have to model alot because some of my students struggle with alot of auditory directions. So they have to see it for themselves. I always make sure to tell students that it doesn't have to look just like mine. I want to them to come up with their own or put a creative twist in mine.

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    1. I teach Special Education Language Arts and I have been feeling as though much of the information/ideas in chapter 8 would frustrate my students. I like that you allow students to do a project after reading a book. Our class just finished 'The Tiger Rising'- I think I will challenge students to discuss and decide on a project based on this book. This may be a good place for us to begin- thanks for this idea.

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  10. I struggle with not presenting the students with a recipe at times, especially when introducing something new. I do not want them to struggle and feel like failures, so I tend to overdue the support rather than letting them try, fail, learn, and try again. This is something I have been trying to work on more when I introduce new concepts. Personally, I make mistakes all them time, and I am not afraid to admit it to my students. I think it's important for them to see the teachers as humans like them. When they make a mistake or struggle, I have some students who will use me as their personal, verbal reminder that it's okay to mess up. It has created a great safe space where my students feel safe to take risks. Now, I need to give them less recipes and more projects to continue these learning opportunities.

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    1. I agree that I don't want my students to struggle, because they can often feel like failures when they do. Then that can lead to them wanting to shut down. When they reach that point, it is so hard to get them to work hard at it again. I feel like I can only give so much support to each one of them because the of the amount of support they need when starting something new and that there is only one me and so many more of them. I look forward to creating more of a creative fluency or flow with my students next year...having a whole year to work on it.

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    2. As an administrator, I see my teachers doing the same thing. It is so difficult to give so many guidelines to a project that they simply become recipes out of fear for our students to fail. We want our students to take risks but at the same time we want them to stay within the guidelines of success. It is a difficult balance for teachers to determine and one that as administrators we have to be ready to support and not judge teacher not excellent if one of their projects flops because they are trying to do true projects and allow more risks.

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    3. The students who become frustrated or fear failure the most are my gt/ha population. They want the recipes!! It takes a serious dedication of time to nurture them into feeling comfortable with taking risks. It also takes some debriefing with many of their parents who expect that opportunity to receive an "A" to be set in stone.

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  11. A recipe is getting back multiple copies of the same product. Unfortunately, I think this is what happens more in my classroom than creating projects. It usually because of time restraints and the fact that I am still teaching the research process to my young students. However, I am trying to creatively think of ways to change this so that my students are actually doing projects instead of recipes. I love the part on page 156 that states Creative fluency takes time to master. I also want to remind my students that frustration is part of the learning process. When my students do their state projects it is more a recipe. However, when they research a famous explorer I will have them do a project so that they can share different outcomes. I can take them through the LAUNCH cycle on this as well as many other topics that we study.

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    1. Amy, I agree that sometimes it takes time to get ones creative thinking going. I appreciate the authors encouragement to use 'boring' times to let ideas simmer in our heads. I often find times of creativity happen when I am driving down the road on a long road trip.

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    2. Amy, I agree with you. Especially when I have my ASL students do research papers/projects. I see them all using powerpoint and even the least they have to do. I need to work on them to be more creative.

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  12. I do think I tend to give more recipes (or structure to my projects). I will have to give this more thought and let them create more freely. I still feel time is the enemy because I only have 9 week quarters. I am thinking of implementing one day a week for a Launch Cycle Project as a way of beginning with this process I am going to attempt the Launch Cycle with my 8th grade- Personal Finance. I find that this is an area that I use power points and worksheets and want to try to get them to do the research and create. If anyone has any ideas for this I would welcome them!! I have used projects for setting goals and values and I can see this process being used here but I want to go beyond this with budgeting and living in their first place. Love the March Madness Bracket instead of a Venn Diagram.

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    1. I think it is only natural to tend to give out "recipes" rather than projects. I also have to give it more thought about how to create more "freely." I loved the box of stuff idea and giving them a general guideline of what to come up with (game, bridge, etc).

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  13. The difference between a project and a recipe is quite obvious to me. A recipe is what can be called a cookie cutter craft or the like; a list of step by step instructions to arrive at the relatively same thing every time. A project can be something very abstract and look very different even when you are given certain criteria.

    As I reflect on things I've done in my classroom, I can see I tend to give so many more recipes than I do projects. I think it is easier when teaching, to give recipes, but in the long run it might be a lot more planning. I feel curriculum can be so scripted that it comes easier to present students with recipes rather than projects. However, I would like to challenge myself and work on giving more projects and less recipes. I am sure I would be amazed at some of the outcomes from my students.

    I feel as if I do a lot of modeling in my classroom. For instance, when drawing pictures for a curriculum designed Mother's Day booklet I draw one step of the picture; modeling it for them, before asking them to do the same thing. I feel it can be so overwhelming unless breaking it down into pieces first. Also, I think this is part of creating alongside them, but using a recipe. Now, maybe the next step I need to take is to give them a project and create it at the same time, but not while modeling it and expecting ours to look the same. I can see the LAUNCH cycle coming into play!

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  14. Students seem to really enjoy assignments that are different from the day to day tasks. I personally feel that I allow my students a lot of freedoms when they compete a project. I do have a few assignments that now seem more like recipes. I want to make it a personal goal to steer away from this type of assignment. It isn't enjoyable to grade the 27th assignment when they all look the same.

    I haven't actually created an assignment with the students, but I've helped my own children with assignments very similar to the ones required in my classroom. I keep these and show them as examples to my students. Now, I'm excited to actually create a project on my own terms. This book has definitely been a positive experience. I feel like a new and rejuvenated teacher with each chapter I read.

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  15. I was so enlightened by this chapter and the idea of a recipe vs. an actual project! I discovered that the majority of my expectations of students fall under the recipe category, all the while I thought I was allowing creativity in the classroom! I do feel like with any project there is a degree of creativity allowed, even demanded, but there is so much more potential for my students beyond what I've been giving them. This book overall has been very encouraging, convicting, and constructively critical. This chapter specifically has been of the most benefit to me.

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    1. I agree, Hilary. I was enlightened by the recipe vs. an actual project idea. I think it is so easy to get caught up in that, especially with all the standards we've got to meet and teach. I assign a project....but it has all of these requirements. Then I find, if I don't have a lot of requirements or parameters, the students often ask for them! They have to be allowed to search, think, even play and yes...there is so much more potential than the project often asks for!

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    2. Elizabeth Stracener-
      We also have to get parents on board, so they focus on the creating and learning vs the grade/points/GPA. If we help them accept the growth mindset in this situation (projects) then we will be successful. In the past, I have had the experience of parents arguing about a grade because I took off points. Their first question was, is there a rubric?

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  16. As I was reading the pet about creating right alongside our students I peeked up a bit. During our sewing unit I'm always so I spired to see but I save it for when students aren't in the classroom because I thought it would be inappropriate. How great of a learning opportunity if I could call them over for demonstrations or errors that I might make to show them how to do things/fix things.
    I am very comfortable in my recipe world and definitely need to strive to breakout of it for my and my students sake!!

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  17. I have experienced both the project and the recipe. I understand what the authors are saying that creativity should not look like a recipe in the end. I also think that I sometimes need to have a recipe or two in order for students to understand elements and principles. But I want projects. I want my students to dive deep, find their passion, and express it in their artwork. There are times that I present a project and even though I am not feeding them step by step recipes, the results are too much alike. Students are afraid to think for themselves and find their own paths. Frustration is seen on both ends. This book is making me think about how I can present lessons differently in order to get more project results and less recipes.
    I often create alongside my students not only for their benefit but mine as well. It is a nice release to sit down and create with them, it is sometimes that little zap that is needed...

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    1. This makes me think a lot about the debate on whether or not we should show students examples. So many times, we run the risk of students simply duplicating the example they were given. On the other hand, we want to be sure that we show them our expectations. Getting away from the recipe takes this part of the equation out completely.

      I also agree with your point that recipe work still has a place in learning.

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  18. I think that one of the major problems with creativity, is that so much of it is done for the kids now. I used to make an old box last for weeks, using it as a spaceship, a car, a baby doll's bed, the top of a submarine, etc. Technology does most of this for them now. Their iPad games and YouTube videos are all the same. I can tell whose parents limit their screen time, as they seem to be the most creative kids.
    I like page 165, where they talk about how someone got good at something - they made something! One example was the writer. We never saw the thousands of drafts and deleted paragraphs from J.K. Rowling. All we saw were 7 successful books that shot this woman to stardom. There aren't overnight successes, but we live in a world of instant gratification. Being creative is hard. It is work. It's our job now to make the kids see that the hard work is worth it.
    The projects and recipes intrigued me, and made me think back on some of my own projects. I may have a few good ones, but it became obvious that I have a lot of recipes, too. This will encourage me to rethink those!

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  19. In my building we do not have projects as part of the syllabus. So I do not have a lot of practice doing projects with the students to compare the recipe to the project. I would think that a recipe would be great for some kids. Some kids LOVE have the exact specs to work towards, but those students could also benefit from also the growth involved in the creating. Stretching yourself to create may be frustrating to some of the students, but the growth would be good for them.
    Often, in life coach conversations, I share with students mistakes I made have made in my growing up years. Its OK for the students to see that we are human, and we have mistakes and failures as well, and how we work through those situations. I could see a real benefit to the students for the teacher to model along side with them. I think the redo part of the process is the most important part. Students will see the most growth when they can see how far their projects have come from the beginning of the process.

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  20. As I read this chapter I enjoyed how projects and creativity are developed. I understand how easy it can be to give an example and a "recipe" to the kiddos and go from there. I often feel like I sound like a broken record when I say...How can I possibly do this with 3 year-olds and with minimal time!?!? The author explained how even he had to play around with his block schedule to see how this bit of creation would fit. When he said he gave his class a box and told them to create...even I can do that with wee little ones! They could work as individuals or as a team and solve a problem together. The idea to work along side them and show them that you are trying new things and still learning is awesome! This idea made me realize that I am building a foundation for these kiddos to feel safe to create, help them move through frustration, and teach them not to give up!

    On another note...I can't help but wonder how can this process fit into a "typical" classroom. I LOVE all of the ideas of this LAUNCH cycle...but I still can't help but to think about my son who is in first grade. His schedule is so rigorous with everything being perfectly timed out (90 minutes of this, 45 minutes of that)...how can teachers come out of that and allow these kiddos to build projects..to create? This is a timely process as the author talks about...can we be creative and fit this into the standards...and modify the grading system as he suggests? I know there needs to be a change...we need to reconnect with that love of learning so many kiddos seems to be lacking! Just a thought...

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  21. The difference between a project and a recipe has to do with the end products differing in content, appearance, timing of work process, and functionality. Projects will be different from each other because plans were different. If all groups complete it at about the same time and the end products have little variation, then it is definitely a recipe.
    I liked the way he said that creativity has boring stages. That is why children need to have the boring days of summer because it forces them to think up new ways to entertain themselves. When the project has lulls, minds step up the pace in order to keep engaged.
    I liked how the authors stated that attitude and persistence beget creativity. The emphasis on how creativity is hard work mixed with persistence. It does not just happen.

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    1. I agree with your comment about the boring stages. The also know that the hard work comes in putting all the pieces together. the students need to realize that just because something appears "difficult" doesn't mean it is not worth the effort. Good wines take time!

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    2. I like your statement about boring days of summer pushing them to entertain themselves in more creative ways. That's so true! It's so rare that kids have unstructured down time, and sometimes that's the best remedy for struggling with creativity. Spare time makes it much easier to be creative in my opinion. :)

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  22. This chapter I believe started to stifle my ideas of making this work within the classroom. Although I love the ideas, I'm just not seeing HOW this will work in a classroom with real students. My students rush to get things done and are ALWAYS thinking about a grade, and usually just a grade. I don't see how allowing this kind of time frame would be beneficial to any project for my students. I'm open to hearing how you think it might work, any other FCS teachers see this in your classroom?
    However, I really enjoyed the last few pages about using a bracket as a graphic organizer. Then turning around and using that as a tool to see where YOUR interests are.

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    1. I agree. I feel like our culture is just grade-driven. Get me the good grades now, and then I'll learn what I really need to know once I get into college. How many times do we hear, "Are you collecting this? Is this for a grade?" Why don't they want to learn for learning's sake?

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  23. I think the difference in project and recipe is that with both you are expecting an outcome. With a recipe you want them all to turn out the same way. With a project you really don't know what you are going to turn out. It also takes longer with a project because you are allowing your students to take their time and be creative. I liked this chapter because as an art teacher I'm all about trying to get students to be creative. It is really hard for them. Once they relax and realize that it can be fun they really enjoy it. I introduce a project and get them excited about it, and then put my sample away because I don't want everyone's project to look like mine. I agree with the authors in that Fear is a big factor in why kids don't want to be creative. I see this all the time. Sometimes it doesn't come out that they actually say it, but you can tell in their behavior and body language and then when I actually confront them they say, "Yes, I'm scared to do this!"...once they get over the fear their true creativity comes out. I always tell them that fear is normal and good! Use it to make you more creative. It is so cool to see the smiles on their faces as they say, "I can do this!"

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    1. Interesting point about the different expectations in the outcomes of recipes and projects. I did not think of it this way, but I do think you are exactly right! I also appreciate your tip about moving your sample away from the students towards the beginning. I have mistakenly left sample projects on display for my students during the duration of history projects, only to get lots of "recipes" turned back in to me. I think that encouraging students that there are more way than one to learn or show that they've learned something is key. I should encourage them to fight through the fear more often, and appreciate your words. Great tips and inspiration!

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    2. I never thought about moving my sample away from students before. I think this would encourage my students to be more creative and think of their own ideas rather than copy the example. I always encourage my students to be creative; however, I often find my students copy my sample or copying their peers work. I think art may be a great way for me to encourage my students to be more creative in the classroom because the finished product should not look the same for everybody. I can stress to my students that their product should be completely different from their peers and that is what makes us all unique.

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  24. I found this chapter very interesting. I do some contacts in my class and I am often very surprised at the creativity it brings out. I like the project vs recipe definition. I think a lot of teachers do recipes and display them but it does limit creativity. I found this chapter as a confidence boost. I feel after reading this I will do more projects and love some of the ideas I have read in this blog.

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  25. I found this chapter very interesting. I do some contacts in my class and I am often very surprised at the creativity it brings out. I like the project vs recipe definition. I think a lot of teachers do recipes and display them but it does limit creativity. I found this chapter as a confidence boost. I feel after reading this I will do more projects and love some of the ideas I have read in this blog.

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  26. It seems that in much of teaching we ask students to basically follow a 'recipe'. There are right answers and some not so right and then some that are totally wrong. We need to teach to the test so that we get the right answer for the best score.
    When doing project learning in class how can we expect all of them to be the same when we are encouraging creative juices to flow. The quote concerning the difference between project and recipe makes complete sense.
    What really stood out to me is the idea of how the whole class works to help solve a problem. Sometimes an individual can not see beyond their own ideas to solve a problem yet when you ask for others input one may see new ways of looking at the problem. Putting many ideas together can help bring about solutions that were not seen before.

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  27. I loved the line about making projects not just following the recipe. It made me think about what type of projects I do. Some ideas lend themselves to being more like recipes, but I can definitely say that I find ways to make projects too. I think even with a recipe you can end up with differences. (Angel Food vs. chocolate)
    Quite often I find myself in the gym playing alongside the students to "make teams even". Never really thought of it as teaching them something. They so need to see that mistakes happen but that is how we learn what not to do.

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  28. I think the difference between a recipe and a project is that a project or "creation" takes much more thought, time, and passion. A recipe is just basically following the directions to completion, and all students' turning in the same assignments. I think vocabulary is a big recipe, and I am always trying to find ways to make vocabulary meaningful and fun for students. This year I am giving my students' more options by allowing them to write stories using the vocab and then we read these aloud in class sometimes. Students' are able to make fictional/or just the facts if they wish, they find each other's stories hilarious sometimes. They do not have to write stories though, they can draw pictures as well if they wish. I also think adding in Quizlet, Kahoot, or some other technology into your class for the vocab part is fun and different as well.

    This chapter really got me thinking about what I am passionate about, and in order to put everything into a project/creation and produce great results we have to have passion in what we do. I think just like my students' I need to dig deeper and figure out what kind of teacher I want to be, and how I can energize my students' and get them excited about their futures!

    I have thought a lot about should I be participating with my students' in P.E. and activities/games. I will sometimes be the pitcher in our games, or show them examples of various drills/skills. I do wonder if I participated more and ran with them every day would I lose discipline in the classroom? I would love to run with them each day, and show them that exercise and physical activity is not only important to them but to all teachers' as well. During P.E. I find myself playing games/activities with them, and students' become soo much more excited when they see your passion for what you do!

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  29. I definitely agree with the idea that if you see the same project over and over again that you have not created a project for your students, but rather given them a recipe. I have caught myself doing this on several occasions, but so far have struggled to fix that aspect of my projects. I am also reading a book right now about incorporating the natural talents of my students into my class. I am thinking I will revisit every project in my curriculum and open it to the more creative talents of my students!
    One thing that really struck me was when they were talking about the student who was staring out the window. I have often come across this same problem. Many of my students are easily bored when working on a project. They start all excited, but get into those ebbs and flows the author discussed. This is when I will often incorporate modeling and creating alongside my students. I will use my work to teach them about the creating process. Not that I am better at creating than they are (in fact, quite the opposite), but rather to demonstrate those life lessons I have learned, like the author's lesson that some times you just have to get back into the swing, and soon you will find yourself enjoying your creation once again. For my students especially, who all tend to lack follow-through, I often find that when they see me continuing to work when I'm at one of those roadblocks, it shows them that they're not the only one who is struggling through all of that, and it pushes them to keep working as well.
    Most importantly, I find that working alongside my students not only models for them, but they model things for me that I never would have thought of. My students are infinitely more creative and look at the world in such a different way than I do. I find that working alongside them teaches me as much about being a better teacher as any week-long workshop will. And working with my students is free and a lot more fun!

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  30. I have spent time looking around the building this week, in my classroom as well as others, and I have seen both creations and recipes. However, I am seeing far more recipes. I know I have fallen in that trap myself, ensuring that students have enough explanation of the requirements, that I end up telling them exactly how to do it. I find that I end up with more creations when students have more choice in the end product of their project and when I throw out the rubric and grade each project on it's own merit.

    For me, the most meaningful part of this chapter was dealing with boredom. Admitting that it is part of the process, and that we can turn it into positive. I felt so relieved when I read that the relaxation that occurs during boredom leads to creativity. I have found over the years that my greatest ideas come to me in the shower! I am hard on the water heater...I love to linger and think under the hot water. Embracing boredom; or maybe just renaming it, gives us all license to let relaxation come into our creative process, and not feel guilt or be distracted by our nature.

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  31. Recipes are step-by-step instructions and, in my opinion, don't allow for any variance or creativity. I think projects should tap into something that a student is interested in - even the most boring subjects can have interesting points and/or connect somehow with a student's interests. With younger kids, I do think that they need some instruction and guidance on projects (especially the first couple of times), but it's important that not everyone is following the same "recipe".

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  32. This simple statement, "If you assign a project and get back thirty of the exact same thing, that's not a project. That's a recipe" also stood out in my mind. A recipe is a set of directions that one follows. After reading this I thought I assign way to many recipes. I have tried to go away from this but it seems I need to work much harder to not assign recipes.
    The hard part for me on this seems to be that we have worked hard with all of the testing we do in education to take creativity out of students I think thats a horrible thing. I think I must demand creativity and stop accepting and assigning recipes. Which again makes me feel I will change and assign more projects no recipes. How I do that is something I have been thinking about and the time constraints are a problem but I must assign more projects and stop the recipes. I have decided to assign more open ended projects and change the rubrics I have to reflect creativity not recipe. This book has helped and I am hoping we still have more great things to come.

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  33. Do I have 64 interests? I take pride in being a creative person. People tell me I'm creative. I keep a sewing machine on one of my desks to fix clothing for students. I think out of the box. It is well known that I don't follow many rules and if you ask me to do the exact same thing twice that it probably won't happen because it just isn't my style. However, if I have to give students directions to complete a project, I tend to be pretty exact and I want them to think the way I do. Trying to get anyone to think the way I do is nearly impossible because my brain changes its mind before I realize it was going to do so. This makes expectations difficult. Hence the reason rubrics get difficult and expectations high. It is also the reason I am exact with expectations and projects often become recipes. Because I am no longer in the classroom, I am aware of this deficit and am careful to not allow teachers to fall into this rut. It took me a long time to break this habit as a teacher and eventually was able to actually receive creative amazing projects from students. I did this by allowing my students to create their own rubrics and worth of each area. I just listed what had to be in the rubric and what the total amount had to be at the end. We then agreed on it as a contract PRIOR to the completion of the project. It was a great arrangement and allowed the student the ownership of the expectation with my agreement. It gave us both the control we needed but they designed "the recipe".

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  34. This chapter taught me (or reminded me) that creativity is often messy, slow, can get boring and requires work. The line, "If you assign a project and get back thirty of the exact same thing, that's not a project. That's a recipe," was one that I highlighted. How very true with the projects I assign. I like to think I encourage them to go beyond the guidelines, think outside the box, create what works for you, but I do often end up with basically the same project. It's scary to let go of the guidelines and just let the students create their own! I give lots of options that cover a wide range of skills (make a video, make a clothing line, write a play, etc.) but it seems like I could do more.

    Another line, "If passion is not present in your students' projects, it's pretty hard to keep them intrinsically motivated." How very true, for all people. This makes me want to think more of how I can cultivate this intrinsic passion in the material we need to cover. I believe I need to allow them to be messy, go off on their own tangents, create their own ways to show their understanding of material. Book reports are a good example. I rarely have a list of books from which they choose. I like them to pick something they would enjoy reading. I tell them that if they aren't in love with the book a few pages in, get a new one. How they show they've read the book has been very recipe-esque. Perhaps I can give them free reign on how they show they've read the book.

    Speaking of reading, this is one way that I like to model what I ask them to do, like the art teacher that paints along with her students. During "free reading" time, I'm often tempted to check emails, grade papers and the like, but then I realize no, I need (and want) to be reading as well! I could do this with writing as well.

    I loved the "UnGenius Hour" idea. This could also be a "Brain Break" or just something different in between units. I could fill boxes with random items and have them write stories connecting them...or just create other things.

    Without a doubt, I think our students need more chances to just BE, and be messy and go at their own pace. I think this would encourage them to think more for themselves, something that seems to continually be lacking in their lives and mine as well. As the chapter suggested to think about, when I have free time, I tend to fill it with social media, tv, podcasts or other things I consume. I rarely have time just to THINK. I think getting my students away from their ipads and away from my guidelines so that they can just think and be and create would be wonderful.

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  35. I enjoy filling out an NCAA bracket, and even made one with books this year, but a bracket about 64 things that interest me? Now, that seems like a challenge. I have actually started one and surprised myself a little. With that being said, I enjoyed this chapter's advice. "Creativy is work" is a brilliant statement, and so true! Kids need the opportunity to be kids and create without limits. While in the second grade classroom I think I failed at this because I always wanted everything to come out looking the same, the one "end" in mind. In reality they should have been able to create with their own ideas and their projects should have ended up all different. Live and learn. :) As for future projects in the library I am open to giving them time to share and create and give them the enviornment to do so. "Every road block is a chance to learn" will be my new mantra from now on!

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  36. I loved his comparison of a project to a recipe. I thought it was spot on. I've never realized it in this form, but what he said is very true. I think several of my former projects have actually been recipes. I think that early in the school year what I consider projects are more like a recipe to get students re-acquainted with music theory. As they get more comfortable, my "recipes" turn more into "projects". Students are allowed more freedom to create with less guidelines to follow because they understand the basics.

    I also agree with the author on how creativity can be a scary process for many. Fear of failure is often seen and felt in my room. Who wants to play his/her recorder solo composition for the class? Students fear.....Will they like it? Will it sound good? Will I squeak? Peer perception can be the best and the worst when it comes to helping get over those fears of failure. I share with them my own fears of performance. I try to model all the time. I point out to them every time we are trying something new that they are my guinea pigs and we are going to take a risk to see how things work out. I usually make a fool out of myself, just to put them more at ease. I do not want fear of failure to get in the way of their creativity.

    On another note, I think the "March Madness" bracket was also great! I like how it's used to really get to the heart of what a person's passions are so that there is a true purpose to their creativity. I can't wait to try it on myself and my two teenagers at home. :) I think that I could also use it next year in the tech class I'll be teaching. Hopefully students will be able to distinguish their passions before choosing a topic to do a research project on or something of the like.

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    1. I had the same thought about my kids at home too. I thought it would be a great way to approach summer camp. We always say "What do you want to learn?" and they say "I don't know." This might give them some structure to better answer that question.

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  37. I too, feel that recipes are what I have fallen victim to in the past, and what I see more frequently when I walk through the halls of the middle school where I teach. As teachers we are taught to provide our students with rubrics to help them understand how they are going to be assessed-however, I think that rubrics and our wanting to help students create products that reflect an understanding may have contributed to the high volume of “recipes” in schools rather than projects. I have provided my students with sample projects before so they have an idea of what a finished product may look like-but now, looking back, many of the projects I received in return mirrored the example because students felt that they were constrained by the limits of the “good sample project” and needed to create one that resembled it in order to get a good grade. This would not have been the case, but this is the message my sample projects communicated to my students: that “if yours looks like this, then that’s how you’ll be successful”, rather than, “here’s a past project, but there are many different creative twists you can take from here and do just as great”. I have had many recipes turned into me- however, there have been a few “projects”. When I come across a project turned into me rather than a recipe, a project has a different spin. Yes, it contains the criteria for the project- it hits the content area objectives, it explains the historical event or person of focus as it should have. However, a project rather than a recipe has a special quality that engages me more as a teacher; it excites me because maybe the project took a twist or resembles something that I would not have come up with in my wildest dreams. Usually, when I think of a project, I think of a product that not only shows an understanding, but serves a larger purpose that maybe engages others, teaches a lesson, or is thoughtful. For instance, I gave students a project earlier in the year in our World Religions unit in which they created a chart that showed the 5 Pillars of Islam, or main beliefs, of the religion. Many students turned in a chart that looked similar to the one I had modeled to them. It covered the criteria, and some had a few sketches that were great. However, one student submitted a project that went beyond explanations, but could have been used as an educational piece to help dispel stereotypes about Islam. This was not a “recipe”, but a true project. The student not only contained the information on the project that met the content objectives, but created a project in the shape of the Islamic 8 pointed star, rather than a bland table. Within the shape were images related to the key beliefs and practices of the religion we had studied in class, but also examples and explanations that addressed common misconceptions about the religion. Essentially, the student created a product that not only reflected the understanding of the beliefs of the religion, but a product that reflected why it is important to understand these beliefs and correct misconceptions. I believe that this represents a “project” not a recipe because projects reflect a deeper purpose. It shows that the student not only “got it”, but wanted to do more than show their understanding. This is what a project means to me-but I do realize this can vary from classroom to classroom.

    While students work on projects or activities in class, I do model the work alongside them. However, I usually do this in a way that encourages students to follow what I do. I think I need to use some of the quotes from the book about “creativity is work” to teach my students that even though I might model a project, my way is not the ONLY way of doing it. I work in a corporation that implements UDL and celebrates the diversity of learning and student choice in projects, so it is key that I communicate to my students to let their creative ideas flow. This week was a great read!

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    1. I hear you, Brennan. Modeling always seems so powerful, but the kids have learned from a very young age that "if I do it like yours, it will get a good grade." It is a totally unintended consequence of trying to help them see the important elements of a product.

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    2. Elizabeth Stracener-I agree that I have fallen victim to the rubric mentality, however, it is stressed that these are made available to students for transparency. So, the students are left with very little opportunity for creativity on a project, or as the teacher, I am met with arguments when points are taken off. I try to model creativity by having small, hand-on activities where students tell me a story about a particular topic using Legos as manipulatives.

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  38. The NCAA bracket stood out to me in this chapter. I kept wondering what the different members of my family would put in the 64 different spots. I thought it would be interesting to have students fill it out at the beginning of the school year. Even just the first round would give us a better way to connect and make relationships with each other. It would be a great ice breaker. Maybe there is a student who has a goal to be an Olympic Judo champion. Using this type of method I could find that out quickly. It would be fun to post them and see if the students create projects that match their passions.

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  39. Creativity is very hard work while a recipe is easy to follow! The one thing that stood out for me is to encourage risk taking. I think that as a teacher I find myself trying to fit in all the curriculum that its hard to get in those times to let kids be "risk takers". I think that we as teachers need to make sure this happens in our curriculum. I think that creativity needs to be meaningful. Just like anything we do in our curriculum---it needs to be meaningful. The students need to be learning and finding meaning in their learning.

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    1. I agree that it is stressful and at times almost impossible to teach all of the curriculum in the short amount of time students are at school each day. A recipe is sometimes easier for students to complete because it is a step-by-step instruction. However, if we want our students to become individual thinkers than we must promote creativity. Awesome points you made!

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  40. I agree that it's hard to find time for creativity in the classroom. With assessments 3 times a year I feel forced to teach the curriculum and that leaves hardly anytime for creative projects. I want to find time for more projects and I will work to do this in my classroom. This type of learning is very important to my students.

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  41. I think this might be my favorite chapter so far. "Creativity is as much an attitude as it is an action." I love this! So many of my students are quick to give up because a task seems difficult or they are "bored". I can't wait to use some of the challenges in this chapter to combat those obstacles.I often create along with my students, especially when it comes to writing projects. I have found over the years that when I create ahead of time with a model that I have already struggled with, my students use it as their recipe and I do end up with 25 replicas. I look forward to helping my students find purpose in their projects so that they can push past the boredom and the need to copy.

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    1. This was my favorite chapter too! I feel like most of the times when I felt like I was letting my students be creative, I was actually providing a recipe. I have so many great ideas going forward, I can't wait to implement them!

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  42. I love the notion of "creativity is not easy" when I think of people who I perceive as creative, I assume their creativity is effortless. I've also been reading a lot about growth mindset this year, and like how it fits into this chapter as well. I'm expecting to have some available time with some of my students towards the end of the year. I can't wait to implement 45 minute design challenges. I was initially gearing towards a Genius Hour style project, but that will fit perfectly into my hour time blocks. I also love "treat boredom as a choice"... I've implemented that with my own kids this week over spring break. They aren't thrilled...YET... but I'm loving it :)

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  43. This has been my favorite chapter thus far. Project vs. Recipe is a great topic that I too find myself relating classroom experiences to. I feel they both have a place in a classroom and can be used in many ways. As a primary teacher I feel I tend to use more recipes in the beginning. I am modeling, giving examples, and demonstrating for all of my students. However, the idea of a project is exciting for K-2 students but many of them are unfamiliar with this concept. I have recently introduced a Genius Hour for my second graders to research a topic of interest and then share with the class. I did model an example and gave them examples and the appropriate research tools and materials. They are doing great and their creativity and mindsets are amazing to see.

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  44. As a life skills teacher, I find myself falling more and more into the trap of recipes than creativity. It's much easier for my students to follow a model for an exact duplicate of a product, than come up with their own product. Although, I do encourage their own creativity, they are far more willing to copy something than make something on their own. I would like to apply some of the steps from this chapter into my own teaching, to help my students learn that making mistakes and creativity go hand in hand. This chapter was very encouraging!

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  45. I feel like it is incredibly important to model and do projects with your students. This gives them an idea of your expectations. I believe when you have certain expectations and several criteria that the students must meet this would be more of the recipe. It is a project when the students have free reign to develop their ideas in their own way. I find it much more inspiring and it tends to provoke a more creative response. There are certain projects that tend to be more structured than others simply due to the rubric that I am using to grade. I try to do each of my projects every year that way they stay up to date and I have several examples for them to look at. I try to stay away from doing too many poster boards because it tends to get very stagnant after a while. Letting the kids become more seasoned in programs such as PowerPoint EXcel, CAD, creating websites, making videos, models, shoebox presentations, pamphlet style, advertisements, etc seems to give them a sense of creativity. I encourage them to use different kinds of media never thought of before in the past as well. Often I will assign bonus points for making demonstrations.

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  46. I like that a recipe example was if the students all had similar outcomes. I see this in just about every subject. I remember doing a Native American housing project in 4th grade. Every student was required to build a model house based off the tribe you were given. There was a list of acceptable materials that we could use. I won’t say everyone's looked exactly the same but we all had things made from popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners. I feel like the authors are trying to get across that it’s okay if there’s not a cookie cutter product.

    I love modeling with the students. I think they understand the lessons better if I am working with them. If and when I make mistakes, I admit it and talk it out with them. I think if the teacher makes a mistake and the students are involved in finding the solution, it sticks more in their brains. They remember Ms. Whitehead doing something wrong and the solution they found. They also can help find the mistakes in their own work better if they’ve seen modeling on how to do so.

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  48. I think the difference between a recipe and a project is the quality of work you receive from the students. I assigned book projects for kids to do after their completed independent books, and they were able to choose from a list of options what projects they wanted to create. They were fairly open-ended, and the students read different books, so I rarely came up with "recipe-type" creations in the end.

    I did a lot of modeling in the writing process when I taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. This was beneficial for them to see how the whole process fit together, but sometimes a saw a few "recipes" in writing after they would peer conference. They would read other students' work and want to write about a similar topic or experience themselves. After conferencing with me, they would get steered in the right direction, but it's tempting to create a "recipe" when you're stumped on a writing idea.

    I thought it was really interesting when the author talked about how the "limitations became a source of their creative thinking" in the box activities he gave his students. I'm impressed that these kids were more focused on the project and process than the time frame and limited resources. I'm not so sure I personally would have done this as a student. When I feel pressed for time, I feel less freedom to be creative. Occasionally ideas will quickly come to me, but it usually requires more time. This just confirms the importance of not using a timer as he mentioned in Ch. 7.

    It's definitely true that creative projects can ebb and flow on the level of boredom, no matter how hard we work to make it fun. I wish I could make everything fun in every area of teaching, but sometimes it's just not. However, I love his point that said to "treat boredom as a choice". This sounds like my own Mom! She used to tell us this all the time growing up. If we told her we were bored, she would say it was our own fault. We needed to find something to do or she would give us work to do. ;) Nevertheless, I find myself saying this to my own children and students as well. You have to make a choice to change it up, change the scenery, change the activity, change your way of thinking, and choose to get out of the slump of boredom no matter what you're doing.

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  49. I always thought that I promoted creativity in my classroom; however, this chapter has made me realize I use more "recipes" in my classroom than "creativity". I often provide my students with step-by-step instructions. During whole group lessons, I make sure every student is one the same step as me before we move on.
    I think the best way for me to promote creativity in my classroom is to start with an art project. Art can be very differential. I can stress to my students that their art project does not and should not look like mine.
    This chapter has me thinking a lot of the different ways I can promote creativity in my classroom and a lot about the ways I use "recipes" in my room.

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  50. One of the first quotes that grabbed my attention was also "If you assign a project and get back thirty of the same thing, that's not a project. That's a recipe." It seems like that is happening more and more in classrooms. I teach sixth grade and I will give an assignment and my students struggle with being creative. They want to see what the "assignment" is supposed to look like, know exact details, etc. I can see the nerves setting in especially with my higher students because they do not want to mess up. It is a tough habit to break for them. I believe in giving many different ideas and a lot of student choice. I know I frustrate many of my students early on in the year and I just smile but they start to enjoy what they are doing and their creativity shines through. As long as I can help them find the meaning in what they are about to do then they are more willing to put more effort and creativity in to the final product.

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  51. Projects and recipes have similarities and differences. Just because there is a recipe for a dish, doesn't mean that it will always come out the way it looks in the photo or how it tasted when a friend made it. There can be a lot of trial and error with a recipe, however, you know what you want the end result to basically be. The process of getting to the end result is the main difference with the two. A projects end results are not always easy to see for most of the working time. The steps often take different turns creating possibly a totally different end result than what was even imagined. I believe that over the years teaching has evolved from a recipe to a project in many classrooms. I had a professor that continued to stress the idea of creativity even back in the early 80's. Of course back then I could relate it to art class much easier that literature. Now I see the relative use in my Literacy classes. I know that when we read the chapter about questions that I tend to not allow enough of that and want more trial and error. I will work toward bringing projects into my classroom more and try to stimulate questions along the way. I believe as a teacher we can model some projects much more thatn others. It is that fine line that we need to manage of not giving them too many answers and being able to let the chaos of creativity flow.

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  52. Elizabeth Stracener-I thought I had already made my post on this topic, but evidently I forgot. I found the questions interesting, because I am guilty of using the recipe format when assigning projects to my students. You see, students are all about the points, so they want to know EXACTLY what they get points taken off for. In the past, I was able to assign a project without too many parameters. Now, the climate is to worry more about the grade than the learning process. Working to launch a product would eliminate some of the pressure to perform in a points-based environment.

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  53. The most difficult change for me was to allow my students to have more control in their decision making. As a mathematics teacher, I was most comfortable being in control, handing out the recipes for success (algorithms and formulas), and quantifying their results through 'old school' grading methods.

    Once I changed my mindset about project and problem based learning, I found freedom for myself and for my students. Yes, it caused me a great deal of anxiety in the beginning; I am certain that I initially transferred some of my anxiety to my students as well. While I find that it is still beneficial to set a foundation of knowledge for each project, I can open up the parameters for my students using discovery approaches that allow them to be increasingly creative. They have ownership in their learning which has increased their motivation tremendously.

    “Creativity is as much an attitude as it is an action. It is a decision to persist, to show up and do the work, even when you don’t feel like it.” is one of my favorite quotes from this week's reading. This is the definition of how to be successful! Anyone who knows how to persist in this world has learned that they will have challenges, successes and failures; they have learned that growth occurs when one stays the course and remains determined. I believe one learns most when one fails; the failure causes plan B to occur, which, oftentimes becomes the better plan.

    Have I shared successes and failures, modeled projects, and created along with my students? Oh, goodness ... yes. Three years ago, after teaching middle school mathematics for 29 years, I was asked to teach an art class to sixth graders. Talk about a change in mindset! I am happy to report during the first round of an art class rotation, I did every project with my students. I ran the gamut of emotions ... joy, frustration, laughter, oh-dear-goodness-what-have-I-done-? ... only to find the students and me experiencing success and unbridled creativity. From this small change in my teaching schedule, I could embrace the same techniques in my mathematics classes. I did not have fear not did they.

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  54. With a recipe you get the same "food" from everyone. With the project model you get a variety of "food" as everyone designs and creates their own things to show mastery. I have been guilty of using the recipe model and setting requirements that produce the same project from everyone. The project model is exciting because it allows you to see the unique interests and talents of each student, that you do not get to see with the recipe model.

    I used to read and write when my students read and wrote, to model that I am still a reader and a writer. I would like to do this again at least once a week.

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  55. "If you assign a project and get back thirty of the exact same thing, that's not a project. That's a recipe." As a math teacher (I saw several other teachers comment on this as well), there are a lot of "recipes" that we give our students. In many assignments, I am looking for students to have very similar work. I don't think math "recipes" can be eliminated completely. However, I am trying to incorporate more "projects" throughout my teaching.
    This chapter was very inspiring to me. The authors provided several good strategies to help students with the challenges that may be encountered with "creative work." I don't currently "create" along with my students, but I can see benefits in doing this. I really liked the authors' strategies to help uncover what really matters to my students (and myself! - pg. 169-172). The students will be much more engaged if they can find purpose in what they're doing.

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  56. I like the emphasis that this chapter put on the importance of the process. Character is gained through failing and retrying, working through a project unil you get it right. Let them experience the ebb and flow of being bored vs. being inspired. I think this is something that is very difficult for today's kids. In the age of technology and video games, they are used to instant gratification and do not have as many opportunities to use their creativity. It makes them impatient and uncomfortable in many cases, but it is very valuable and necessary to the future of our world.

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  57. I love the idea of modeling and creating along with my students in my Spanish classes. I often show them that I am doing the same task that I ask them to do. I model how to brainstorm words and ideas first and how to work those into a paragraph or a poem. I model how to answer questions and how to form questions. (It depends on what the task is, of course.) I model the process of creating sentences, choosing my words, and editing. I have shown paragraphs or stories I have written, and now that I’m reading them again in front of the class, I might see something that I should edit, and demonstrate that process. I also share stories about steps I have taken to work on my Spanish pronunciation and tell them and demonstrate what I did to get better at it, and what I do now to work on it. I think that “walking the walk” is very important.

    And to answer the other part of the prompt, a recipe makes the same end product. A project could turn out to be anything. There is some benefit to learning to follow a recipe to make the same thing. But then students should also have opportunities to try their own hand at creating a meal, to continue with that metaphor. I am a big believer of finding your passion and learning because you want to, not because it was assigned, and that creativity is an attitude as much as an action. In order to have that drive to create and then actually finish it, you need something underneath it all to push you along, a purpose. I try to demonstrate that drive.
    Don’t lose site of your objective. If your passion is to be fluent in another language, it is going to take a lot of practice to get there. You can learn basics from following the recipe, but if you want to get closer to your objective, you’ll need to have the drive it takes to come up with the words, create the sentences, paragraphs, and tell your own stories all by yourself.

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  58. I think it is a good idea to do a project along with the children because they will see you making mistakes and working on something to make it better. I think modeling is the best way for children to see what really goes into a project and to see all the possibilities and thinking that goes into it. I think a recipe is something that everyone follows and does. Everyone will end up with pretty much the some product. They will follow step by step of what to do to accomplish the task. A project is when the children get to put their own thinking and creativity into it. We don't follow the same steps to accomplish the task. We get to answer something that is important to us and figure out the best way to get there and show it.

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  59. This chapter made me realize that some of us are really good at following recipes while others of us have that "spark" to do projects. I am jealous of those who can easily do both of these! I know I try, although I am such a "rule follower" that I accidentally slip more into the recipe than projects category. I find that as long as a teacher is actively trying to do both; I see it as a success!
    Recently I found the mystorybook.com website and had my students put their research projects into a book format to publish online. I did one with them to show them each step of the process as it was new to all of us and found that things went MUCH smoother than if I had just given them the directions and let them be. I believe it is important to teach students both aspects as when they grow older, they will need to know the difference and be able to follow both.

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    1. I agree that students need to be able to follow both to be successful as they grow older. Following directions is an essential skill. Skills students work on through creating projects like being able to create something new or come up with and share ideas with others are essential for the working world as well.

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  60. The idea of a recipe verses a project also resonated with me. I too am guilty of assigning recipes sometimes. I don't think that kids are asked to create an authentic project very often. In my experience, when we ask students to truly be creative and create something new, they get really stressed and shut down. Following a recipe is easier, and many students(especially honors students) get frustrated, because there is not a "right" answer or a "right way" of doing things.

    I worry that students may just try to copy me if I create a project alongside them, but I do see the benefits of letting them see the teacher hit road blocks like they do. I will try this in the future.

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  61. I enjoy letting my students do projects. But are they really projects? Sometimes I shoot for project results but still end up with recipes. In general I try to get students to be more creative and not to do the same thing as others, but I still get similar results. I like how they emphasize that mistakes are part of learning. Many people are afraid to mess up or make a mistake. Some of the best learning takes place when you mess up. I also agree with the standard-based learning idea. Students can continue to work toward mastery. Its not about completion.

    My students just participated in filling out March Madness brackets for the NCAA tournament. I think this might be something that would catch some of their interests. Overall, I enjoy the ideas in this chapter and look forward to using several of them.

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  62. As a teacher, it is boring to grade 15 of the same exact projects. I like to see kids take ideas and go in their own direction from their. If teachers set up their projects with very specific directions, you can certainly get a recipe effect on the projects. I try and lay out a loose framework of what I'm looking for. This gives kids more opportunities to be creative and develop a unique project.

    I'm sure that there is some value in creating with the students, but then I feel I'm not available to assist and direct students who need it. Am I wrong?

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  63. Yep, I definitely relate to the author in this chapter: I’m scared! This is probably the toughest phase for me. I took a graduate course a few years ago called The National Writing Project, which was an intensive 5 day a week, 8 hours a day for 4 weeks class. It put us through many of these phases with the Writing Workshop and how to go through this process with our students. I was so inspired by that class that the following year, I modeled my freshmen classes after it as much as I could while still sticking to the curriculum. I modeled different types of writing with my students, revised along with them as they gave me feedback, which I think helped them overcome some of their own fears.

    Ultimately, I felt that I couldn’t strike a balance between the “creative” Writing Workshop and the standards based assessment and grades that we had to report. I felt like it was one of my most successful and unique classes, but I wasn’t sure how to produce the data that was required of me. In essence, I felt like I went back to giving students “recipes” which were more convenient to create and assess instead of true projects. I feel like this short video sums up what easily happens to all of us:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQjtK32mGJQ&t=339s

    But that’s why things like Launch and this blog and the NWP are so important! We need reminders and stimulation from professionals and peers and room to explore and grow! :)

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  64. I love the idea of modeling for and creating with students! If I give them free reign to scour the internet for information, I am often researching alongside them and helping them if need be. I also model the credible and not so credible sites for them. When we practice writing essays, I usually give students a practice prompt to do a practice thesis, paragraph, etc. and I always create a new example for every class as we go through and talk about it. As for recipes versus projects, I'm trying to move away from recipes as I go through my teaching career. For exam, we just created a WWII museum, where each students chose their own topic, the information they wanted to share about the topic, how they would present the information, and primary sources to take their topic further. The students had such a great time researching and creating something that they were interesting in! I hope that as a I continuing working on my curriculum, I can add more true project and take away the recipes.

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  65. The idea of projects as recipes really was eye opening. When I think back to the projects assigned in the past I realized now the rubric we give the students to complete the project ensures that the outcome is the same for all the students. I like the idea of creation and look at the projects that I assign and allow the student the time to make the project their own. An example of creative approach happen when I modeled how to make a paper snowflake. It was fun to watch the students make their own versions and just like in nature no two snowflakes were the same.

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  66. I noticed a couple of years ago that I had too many recipes for the perfect assignments that I assigned to my students. I would get back all these perfectly shaped circles that everyone completed on their own. I graded them thinking, wow, this is boring. All of the students doing exactly what I wanted them to do. They couldn't change my ideas to add extras or change things. It was the same answer over and over. After noticing, I gave vague instructions to a project. They knew what it should cover, but I wouldn't tell them how to cover it. It was awesome. I loved that most of the students added their own personality to their work. Those that were afraid of failure were slow to start. As they worked through the activities, they became more open. Older kids have been told to stay between the lines for so long, that sometimes it is hard to get them to jump outside a little. I rewrote all of my recipes into projects. We are all much happier!

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  67. I agree with the author about if you get thirty of the exact same thing back that's a recipe and not a project. I think often times we get so set on using specific rubrics for projects that in the end with all the guidelines in that rubric is does lead to recipes and not projects. Students need to use their imaginations because that helps them think for themselves. I also agree with sharing my successes and failures with students it helps to show them we are not perfect either & we're only human too.

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