Saturday, April 25, 2015

Just Create.

I'm fairly certain that Nathan Sawaya would challenge my creative interpretation of his famous quote, hanging in the LEGO exhibit at the Franklin Institute -- particularly since it blocked his first name.    It's aptly stated, however blurry the photo itself is, when you consider the importance of creativity in our world, and its relevance to problem-solving, in addition to the sheer beauty that comes as a result of the creative process.  

Time to create.

Fifteen, or so, years ago,  I inherited boxes of books from the previous Teacher of the Gifted that had lost their way and been stuck in a closet in another school building.  Contained in one of those boxes was a book by Edward De Bono.  According to his website, he is widely accepted as the person who first considered the human brain to be a self-organizing system, which he presented in his development of the "Six Thinking Hats" creativity process.

Elementary schools all have an Ellison Die Cut Machine, and I immediately went in search of a die of a hat.  (Okay, I did that after the school nurse forbade me from bringing in six colored hats for the kids to wear/share.  Given subsequent experiences with lice, I now appreciate that call, but was more than mildly annoyed at the time...)  I dug through my inherited construction paper, pulling black, white, yellow, green, red, and blue, and punching several sets of colorful top hats, and headed to the laminating machine.

The thinking hats allowed me to teach a streamlined process for creative problem-solving.  They also allowed me to selectively assign hats to students based upon their strengths and needs when collaborating.  That kid that criticizes everyone?  YELLOW HAT, baby!  Now ye may only compliment those around ye.  The fast thinker had to slow down and wear the WHITE HAT, summarizing the facts, just the facts.  And the kid who has creative ideas, but is afraid to share them is wearing the GREEN, with everyone in the group listening to their ideas, because, well, that's his purpose in the group.  We problem-solved, collectively wearing the same hat, we did exercises where everyone wore different hats, working collaboratively to work to explore the entire scenario with grand scrutiny.

And then one of the kids went home, and dropped De Bono's name at the dinner table with grand disdain.  

It seems that the student's father worked at M and M Mars, and had actually used the Six Thinking Hats at work.  He was excited, she was less than excited, hoping that De Bono was a once-and-done experience in my room.    Her father called, volunteering his services,  came and chatted with the kids about real world application to skills they were learning in school. 

He handed them candy bars, and told them that without the thinking hats, that brand wouldn't exist.

Just create.  Choose colors, use colors, SCAMPER through the colors, and make the world a better place.  De Bono thinks so, Sawaya thinks so, and Heydt and Sturgis do as well.