Fostering creativity in young children

The title of my new post is actually taken from the presentation given by Michael Onuscho during the 18th TESOL Convention in Thessaloniki. I was browsing through My documents file yesterday looking for new ideas to use in the classroom when I came across the notes I had made during his presentation. One of the ideas that truly intrigued me was how we can deconstruct everyday objects so that they eventually have a new use. I still remember how much fun we had when were asked to find new ways to use an umbrella. (I suggested hanging it from the ceiling and using it as ceiling light but I must admit I haven’t tried that yet!)

Basically, the main point of the presentation that it’s all about using our imagination and helping children see the creative aspect of language.

One of the great websites Mr Onuscho suggested was http://www.atozillusions.com, where you can find words made up from everyday objects. If you like this type of artwork, you can also encourage your students to use their cameras and take photos of objects that remind them of letters of the alphabet. What a great way to teach beginners the alphabet!

One of the suggestions that I used with my classroom was the one regarding Google’s creations used in commemorating events. We were told then that these creations are one of the examples where art is combined with writing. What I did was to ask my students to become detectives and guess who/what does the creation refer to and then choose a person they admire and create a Google logo that implicitly refers to this person. Of course their classmates had to guess who the logo referred to!

This idea was also proven extremely useful when I prepared vocabulary quizzes to test students’ knowledge of new vocabulary. Instead of asking them to write down the meaning of words, I asked them to draw the letters in a way that shows what the word means. When drawing the word “fat” for example one of my students used big, plump letters, like these ones -> http://www.stockphotos.it/image.php?img_id=16465700&img_type=1

Another nice idea I think would be to play the “Guess the picture” game where students are asked to look at close-up photos of random things and guess what they are looking at. Last but not least, http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/101-new-uses-for-everyday-things-10000001030084/index.html, an amazing website that can inspire you to use objects in ways you haven’t really imagined. I tried the idea of creating a Halloween costume out of an umbrella last year and the result was simply hilarious!

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