Thursday, June 27, 2013

A New Culture of "Imagination"

Yes, we will order one for everyone!
As I begin to prepare for what next school year might look like and what we might want to focus on, I remembered a book that Mrs. Rehlander, our school psychologist, shared with me as she worked with one of our students.  The title of the book is CHALK, by Bill Thomson.  The book is about a group of children who begin to draw with chalk and their drawings come to life.  After being chased by dinosaurs, they problem solve using their imagination and ultimately return things to normal.

Ironically, Thomas and Brown in their book, A New Culture of Learning, talk about how important imagination is in education.

Play, questioning, and perhaps most important - imagination lie at the very heart of arc-of-life learning. Children, for instance, embrace play as a central part of how they experience the world, and they learn that questioning the world is one of the key ways they can understand it. Think of how a child's imagination blossoms when she discovers the "why?" game, for instance.

This is so true.  I can remember a number of imaginative games or scenarios that I used to create - interestingly enough after school.  I could recreate an entire baseball game in my back yard with a tennis ball, a brick wall, and a glove (not graded!).  I could imagine a war that broke out suddenly in my back yard or neighboring woods and save the day as a heroic soldier (not graded!).

Why don't we tap into these imaginations while students are at school?  Why don't we provide experiences where students can come up with these imaginative scenarios after researching, reading, and writing about them?  I bet a third grade group of students could come up with a great simulation of the exploration and settlement of South Carolina after reading, researching, and writing about the era.  Instead of the teacher designing such an event, I bet the students would love to make this happen with the teacher's support.  Personally, I would have written, drawn, explained, directed, and persisted with something like this as a student.  Instead, I had to wait til after school.

To learn more about imagination in education watch the video below.

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