Session 1 Synthesis: Introducing the Teaching of Creativity

8 06 2011

We completed our first Collaborative Critical Inquiry (CCI) on literary quality and young adult literature. Pre-class prep including reflecting on one’s own definition of literary quality and then learning from the official Printz Committee; our course textbook author, YA author, and YA publisher, Marc Aronson; an ECI 521 alum who researched the Printz Awards (Claire Horne), and the Eva Perry Mock Printz Teen Book Club meeting with the Spring 2011 ECi 521 to produce the Melinda Awards. The inquiry also included sampling some distinguished YA literature — everyone read Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin, the Eva Perry pick; and each reader selected one book from the Pritnz winner and honor books to bookcast.

As all of our CCIs will be, this one was contextualized within the larger question of how can we create the conditions in the English classroom (actual and virtual or blended) to teach creativity, an educational imperative even more so in the 21C. This summer school session may prove to be the first time many of us have seriously inquired into the essential and compelling question: Can creativity be taught, and if so, how?

Initial opinions:

[17:30] Blakely The Magnificent (balord): yes
[17:30] SusiePotter: not completely
[17:30] VoglerApprentice: nurtured maybe.. taught? i guess, yes
[17:30] fwittman: that’s a tough one –
[17:31] Blakely The Magnificent (balord): resourcefulnes can be taught and we can help our students acquire skills to express themselves authentically and effectively
[17:32] Blakely The Magnificent (balord): I think this lays the foundation for creativity. It doesn’t come from nowhere. It takes hard work to be creative

We’ll learn more about theories of creativity and other important learning, literacy, and literary theories in our Waves of Change CCI next session. I’ve chosen theories for each of you based on your Pre-FOKI. Please check out the FOKI Synthesis to learn yours.

Debut Bookcasts!

Congratulations and many thanks for the contributions of all who boldly created bookcasts and shared them in the Bookhenge!

I chose “bookcast” as the name for a video/audio slide show production that shares something that the text “sets forth or lets loose” (as in “cast”) realizing that it will always need to be thoroughly distinguished from simply a podcast about a book. I think it’s worth the metaphor though. The bookcast pretty much represents the “poem” that Louise Rosenblatt has written that each reader creates when he engages with a text. Many ECI 521 alums have said that knowing that they’ll be creating a personal response has inspired/coerced them into reading more slowly and thinking more deeply about the text. Thanks for corroborating, Blakely, that the quality of thought that goes into creating a bookcast versus a book trailer.

Bookcasts also provide a much needed way to help teens learn to share their stories. “We think in metaphors and learn through stories,” Mary Catherine Bateson wrote. And Mark Blackmon, writing for Salon, recently share a powerful quote by Roger Rosenblass and reflected upon it . . .

“We are a narrative species,” wrote Roger Rosenblatt in Time a decade ago. “We exist by storytelling — by relating our situations — and the test of our evolution may lie in getting the story right.”

I have always found true profundity in that quote and I have gone back to it hundreds of times because all of us relate to students, to colleagues, to friends, acquaintances and strangers, by telling our stories. And I often wonder if a generation gap is not widening because our outlets for teaching young people how to develop, expand and express their own stories have severely diminished in recent decades. Mark Blackmon, Losing Our Stories

To learn more about the practice of “slow reading” to focus and think deeply about text, check out John Miedema’s Slow Reading.

See all of the bookcasts presented during our Session 1 LIVE Class, June 7, in the Bookhenge2011 Gallery. I’m adding others as they are completed.

Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

Inspired by Jim Burke (of English Companion Ning fame) and his Purpose Project. We briefly discussed how essential questions could be created for inquiry projects that would include several texts rather than the traditional “teach the book” style.

As we design inquiry projects or any assignment that involves literature, I hope you’ll remember the course mantra.

Course mantra

Grant Wiggins “What Is an Essential Question”

Essential questions are the big questions of life or those specific to discipline.

We’ll add layers onto our scenario building of our future classrooms in the next few weeks.

Genre Book Clubs

Nonfiction is our first genre up. We’ve a book club formed for The Glass Castle (Jenny, Hannah, Ali), Maus (Blakely, Frances, and Will), and almost a third, The Forbidden Schoolhouse (Kendra, Susie). Three clubs will do it. To join a club, simply tweet to #bookhenge.

Book club process? Learn all about it in the Genre Book Clubs Project Specs . . . In a nutshell, the club “pitcher” should help to organize the live meeting in the Bookhenge and any pre-meeting tasks to make things run smoothly, ie share burning questions to consider before you meet or agree to bring burning questions; sharing simple techniques to help you begin the discussion like “4 Icon Story” (from Jim Groom’s DS 106 Digital Storytelling course), helping each other move beyond the response-level to the deeper levels/bigger questions perhaps, talk about the potential of including the book within your class’s active literacy culture (Open Lit — beyond whole class text to book club text or individual project text or classroom library text), collaborating to present a creative response to the book for the class (to be presented LIVE in the Bookhenge), and then each individually reflecting in their RAP (or blog, your choice) about the experience and what you learned from it.

4 Icon Story (DS 106 Storytelling)

We’ll continue this scenario-building as we envision how we might “learn through literature with young adults.”

Archived class: (for slides . . .)




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