What Happens When Teachers Take Creative Risks?

I sit at the Starbucks, staring at the blinking cursor daring me to write another line. Fears swirl through my brain. What if this doesn’t work? Will people hate it? What if I write the entire first draft and it simply isn’t any good? I stumble forward with a sentence, then another sentence until I […]

10 Creative Risks to Take with Students This Year

My daughter looks up from her cereal and says, “You know what day I can’t wait for?” “Um, your birthday?” She shakes her head. “Next Christmas?” She shakes her head again and then says, “The first day back to school. I can’t wait to see my friends and my teacher. I don’t know what projects […]

Design Thinking Can Work in Any Subject

Every day, I ask my kids, “What did you make in school today?” Too often, they can’t give me an answer. But on the days that they do, their eyes light up and they passionately describe their projects. It’s in those moments that I am reminded that making is magic. I want to see schools […]

Ten Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break

Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to download the Ten Creative Ways to End the Semester Resource Pack.  Let’s just put it out there. December is exhausting for teachers. The days are shorter. The weather grows colder and (at least here in Oregon) wetter. Students are anxious — whether it’s a […]

Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity

For the last two decades, Pixar has produced some of the most creative and epic films of this era. But this is the result of a culture of creative collaboration built on ideas of being frank, taking chances, and failing forward. So, what can educators learn from Pixar as we design collaborative projects? A Culture […]

The Roadmap for Collaborative Projects

Five Really Good Reasons Not to Do Collaborative Projects With Your Students “Group project.” Say those two words and you’ll instantly notice the face of sheer dread as a handful of students calculate just how much extra work they’ll need to do in order to make up for the slackers in their assigned group. Look […]

School Should Be Impractical (The Practical Benefits of Being Impractical)

Schools are designed to be practical but this has a hidden drawback. Innovation is often impractical because it’s unpredictable. So, what if the push toward “practical skills” in school is actually making learning impractical? And what if impractical ideas and skills we ignore are actually what students will use later in life? The Impractical Idea […]

Five Ways Humor Boosts Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving in the Classroom

When we think about creativity and innovation, the words “humor” and “goofiness” don’t typically come to mind. But I’d argue that this is a critical piece of what it means to cultivate a climate of creativity.   Don’t Wait to Smile One of the worst pieces of advice I hear people give new teachers is to […]

Getting Past the Attention-Span Myth (Thoughts on Creative Focus)

There’s a common cultural assumption that “kids these days” can’t focus due to screen time. They simply lack the attention span needed to engage in deep work. But what if that’s not entirely true? What if this generation is capable of reaching a state of creative flow?  The Attention-Span Myth A few days ago, I […]

Seven Ways to Help Students Develop a Growth Mindset

When students have a growth mindset, they are able to persevere and continue in creative work. So here are seven ways to cultivate a growth mindset. About six weeks ago, my son asked if he could start a cubing club for anyone interested in solving Rubix cubes together. (Heads-up: cubers can get really sensitive about calling […]