Creativity

Creativity is thinking in a way that is different in order to solve problems and to create new things. In a study, kindergartners were asked the number of uses of for a paperclip.  98% of the children responded at the genius level coming up with 200 or more uses; they did not limit themselves to what we think of as a paper clip (small and made of metal).  As these children grew older, sadly though they did more and more poorly on this same assignment each time they were tested.  What the researchers concluded was that as the children were exposed to more education, their creativity dropped.  (Here is part of the video that speaks about this study https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzBa-frc2JA).

When I first heard about this study, I was distraught to think that our education today is slowly stifling a part of ourselves, thinking creatively, that God allowed us to have to better understand Him and His ultimate and complete creativity.  God showed us His creativity in creating the world and all the small details (like the smallest bone in the human body allowing us to hear) and the big details (the stars that He knows by name) by creating them out of nothing.  And yet, despite of all the details that he created, He still shows us His love for us, for you personally.  I am amazed as I think about how God reveals Himself through His creation. He gave us a small small portion of this within our own thinking so we could use this to worship Him.

As you may already have realized, I firmly believe that as a teacher I should do all that I can to foster this creativity, not to stifle it.  That is why so often we are creating something or trying to solve a problem or wondering why.  This week was no exception.  Practically every lesson involved new thinking or creating something to showcase our learning.

Through the morning, we have been applying our medieval research to creating the set, costumes, and script for our movie.  As I looked out at the children working, I saw them use the limited materials that they had in new ways to create the needed things.  They shared ideas together and discussed problems or difficulties.  They showed faithfulness.

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At one point as the children were working on their trebuchets, I was planning on starting something new.  However, as I was about to have them to clean up to move on, I kept hearing, “Oh I have a perfect idea!” or “I know!  We could do this!” and other such phrases.  I could not bring myself to stop them as I saw their brains whirring rapidly in excitement.

During our math test, we used fraction circles to create fraction art to practice adding uncommon denominators.  Some children chose a specific picture; others chose a more abstract piece.  All were unique and beautiful.

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Today, we also spent a good portion doing art.  We are working on our tile art to go on display for next year.  We talked about drawing, and then I allowed the children to explore on their own before they used their drawings to create a stamp.

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This week was very busy.  However, if anything though, we certainly practiced using the creativity that God has given to us.  Perhaps, we can use this to learn even more about who God is.

 

Medieval Period

This quarter, we have focused on the medieval period.  Naturally, everything in social studies is about the medieval period, but we have also managed for this period to spread to language arts, science, and little of math and Bible.  With this spread throughout the subjects, we are working on several projects that specifically involve the medieval period.

In language arts and social studies, we are working toward creating a movie based on the medieval period.  Last week, the children completed the research.  This week, we began the preparations to begin filming within the next few weeks. There is a group writing the script including various historical references.  There are costume designers creating peasant, knight, nobles, and monk costumes.  There are set designers who are fervently working on creating a small-scale castle.  I’m excited to see all of the items ready for filming in just a few short days.  Stay tuned for the final product!

Within our movie, there is also going to be a scene with a trebuchet.  If you are unfamiliar with what a trebuchet is, it is a form of a catapult.  However, it only needs a trigger to release because the fulcrum is off-center where one end has a great amount of weight and the other end is where the flying object.  Since the weight is so much greater than the object, the weight comes down suddenly causing the object to go a greater distance.  The children have to design their own trebuchet out of K’Nex or legos to be able to launch something across the gym.  Challenge accepted. They have been eagerly working on these as the culmination of our force and motion unit.

Soon, I will be able to show you the completed products of our efforts.  For now, I can show you the process.

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Valentine’s Day

Something very sad happened this week.  Oh dear!  What happened?  Well I will be quick about this and not torment you through this entire blog post.  Though if I were writing a mystery, I would probably drag this on as you read each sentence with bated breath.

All right.  Here it is…  I forgot to charge my camera battery!  GASP!  Yes, yes I know.  It was awful!  I was not able to capture the wonderful moments of the week.  I missed as the children presented to each other posters that they had created of their various medieval research topics.  One group was looking at clothing as they will go on and design costumes.  One group looked at castles and everyday life as they will go on and create sets and props.  And one group shared life in general of the rich, the poor, and the knights as they will go on and create a movie script.

I missed as the children began designing and building their trebuchets out of K’Nex as we finish wrapping up the unit on force and motion.  I missed capturing all of that.

However, I was able to capture a few pictures from today.  Today, we celebrated Valentine’s Day.

Now here in the Faithfulness Fruit Stand, Saint Valentine holds a special place in our hearts as we were able to study the life of Saint Valentine and why we celebrate love on this day back in the first quarter.

Valentine was a priest during the Roman period.  Under Claudius, people could not perform marriage ceremonies especially because Claudius believed that a better soldier would be one who was not married.  Since Valentine believed that marriage was from God, he continued to perform marriages in secret.  This led to his arrest.  While he was in jail, he spread his faith and what he believed.  Through God’s power, he healed the blind jailor’s daughter.  On the day of his martyrdom, February 14, he left a note for the lady where he signed it “From your Valentine.”

We honored this day by passing out our own Valentines and eating several treats.

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And on today, we also took some time to contemplate how our faithfulness has spread across the ocean by looking at this new and very exciting blog by our dear friend.

https://theadventuresofnapolitanonolan.wordpress.com/

And some of the children even had some time to send a message across the ocean.

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Keep spreading the faith in your school, your neighborhood, and across the ocean!

Faithfulness Spread

Faithfulness spread.  What do you think it means?  I asked this to the children a few weeks ago when our quarter began and we discussed our theme.  One child spoke up and shared that our faithfulness spreading was like lighting a candle when we accept Jesus and then through that other candles get lit and our faith is able to be spread to where the entire area is lit up with lights glowing for Jesus.  We all agreed that faithfulness spread is about telling others what we believe.  Faithfulness spreading is letting them know how Jesus has transformed our lives when we accept that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to this earth to demonstrate His love by dying for us on the cross.  He took the price of what we deserve for everything that goes against Him because He wants to have a relationship with us.  This is wonderful and beautiful news that we cannot keep to ourselves.

This week, we looked at the example of the Thessalonians through Paul’s letters to Thessalonica.  This church showed a perfect example of faithfulness spreading.  Paul encourages them by writing,

You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10).  

Not only was this church being an example of how to live for Christ, they became well known through all the surrounding areas and all of Greece.  It is not just that they were living the way Jesus wants them to, the Thessalonians had to be live through an area that was likely against them since it was a cultural hub and seaport.  And yet, their faithfulness spread.  

We also discussed that faithfulness spreading means that the relationship that we have with Jesus should be influencing every aspect of our lives.  It is not simply a box labeled religion that every now and again we open (especially on Sunday), but more like clothing that we wear throughout the day and goes with us where ever we go.

Faithfulness Spread Academically

This week we continued working on our medieval project that will last us the entire quarter.  With that, we had knight training.  This is where we went to the gym and ran the length of the gym.  Each child was positioned at a location in the gym 5 yards apart; when the runner zoomed past, each child paused their stopwatch.  Through this, we were able to calculate our speed (distance over time) and understand points where we went faster than other points.

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Because of the Book Fair, I had more children than I usually do with their reading buddies in the morning.  As I looked at the children reading together, I was so proud of my fourth graders and how they are showing their faithfulness being spread as they are the leaders and role models for the firsties.

Last week, the children even took their reading buddy to the Book Fair to help them make their reading wish list.

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They are spreading their faithfulness throughout the school.

Faithfulness Spread in a Galaxy Far Away

And of course, how could I end this blog post without mention of yesterday.  Yesterday was Star Wars Day where the teachers surprised the students by dressing up as Star Wars characters.  The upper elementary teachers were the main characters from the original series.

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We mixed third through sixth grade into four different groups with about 6-7 children in each group and each teacher taught a lesson in relation to Star Wars.  In my class, they were imprisoned spies during the Civil War with important information to get to the general.  However through technological advances from the future, they could use the technology from the Galactic Civil War to get their important message to the Union general.

Here are some more fun images from the day.

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