CreativeProblem Solvingin elementary schools Melinda Walker January – April 201
CPC Preschool Who: 12 kids, 3-5 years old and Heather LeyvaWhat: generating options and developing a plan Where: Fremont, CA Why: Even little kids need to learn how to solve problems How: 1. Read the book Never Babysit the Hippopotamuses! by Doug Johnson. 2. Pretended we were babysitting the Hippos and one was stuck in the bathtub. 3. Brainstormed how to get the hippo out of the tub.4. Glued a cut-out hippo and bathtub to a paper and drew out the best plan.
Henry Ford Elementary School Who: about 30 4th graders and Randi Lucas What: Learning to generate ideas and think for themselves Where: Redwood City, CAWhy: Students spend so much time searching for the 1 right answers on tests they forget how to generate ideas How: 1 Several brainstorming warm-ups.2. Stick-em up brainstorming: What might be all the benefits of having and imaginary friend?3. Brainwriting: What might be all the difficulties of being invisible? 4. Small group stick-em up brainstorming: What might be all the gifts an imaginary friend might like?
5. Students chose top 3 superstar ideas and clustered them in groups.6. The class chose the most interesting cluster and brainstormed more ideas.7. Created class idea box on board with parts of narratives: people, places, things, action, and dialogue. 8. Each student wrote a short story about what happened on their imaginary friend’s birthday and the gift they decided to give.
Henry Ford Elementary School Who: about 30 5th graders and Nancy Julien What: Learning to generate ideas and think for themselves Where: Redwood City, CA What: Learning to generate ideas and think for themselves How: 1. Several Brainstorming warm-ups. 2. Stick-em up brainstorming: What might be all the benefits of having an imaginary friend? 3. Students marked their top 2 superstar ideas. 4. The class clustered superstar ideas and chose the most interesting cluster. 5. We brainstormed the interesting cluster.
6. Each student used the ideas to write a persuasive essay about the benefits of having an imaginary friend.
Henry Ford Elementary School Who: about 30 5th graders and Angie Tuepel What: Learning to generate ideas and think for themselves Where: Redwood City, CAWhy: Students spend so much time searching for the 1 right answers on tests they forget how to generate ideas How: 1. Individual brainstorming warm-up: What might be all the names for a pet hippo? 2. Stick-em up brainstorming: What might be all the ways to get your pet hippo out of the bathtub? 3. Students marked their top 2 superstar ideas.
4. The class clustered the superstars and chose the most interesting cluster.5. We brainstormed the most interesting cluster. 6. Students wrote a short story about their adventures getting their pet hippo out of the bathtub.
Hesperian Elementary School Who: about 30 3rd graders and Mark Vega What: How to form effective groups. Where: San Lorenzo, CAWhy: Students were having trouble getting alongin class and were about to start a group project. How: 1. Discussed qualities of effective groups. 2. Brainstormed how to do 6 of the traits. 3. Each student chose the most important idea for each of the 6 traits.
4. Groups formed their group agreements from the ideas written down. 5. Students used the individual jobs chart (modified card sort) to order their preferences for the project.6. Group leaders received individual coaching in effective leadership skills while working in their groups.7. Groups presented their projects to the class.
Martin Elementary School Who: about 25 kindergarteners and Hillary Hopseker What: Create an original bird Where: South San Francisco, CA Why: Kindergarten has become increasinglyacademic and students have few opportunities to express their creativity artistically. How: 1. I read the book Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Moe Willems and taught them how to draw the pigeon. 2. Each student drew a small practice pigeon. 3. We brainstormed parts and types of birds. 4. Students drew their own bird creations by changing various parts of the pigeon or combining different types of birds. 5. Oral brainstorming: environments
Hesperian Elementary School Who: about 30 5th graders and Mary Burke What: Create an original fish Where: San Lorenzo, CAWhy: Students have a hard time coming up with ideas by themselves. How: 1. Oral brainstorm: Adjectives 2. Oral brainstorm: Places 3. Students each drew whatever kind of fish they wanted. 4. Oral brainstorm: parts of a fish 5. Class discussion about SCAMMPER. 6. Students created 4 thumbnail drawings each for 4 different SCAMMPER techniques, for a total of 16 sketches.
7. Students chose their favorite thumbnail for each of the 4 SCAMMPER words, then their overall favorite.8. Students drew their favorite fish creation on a fresh piece of paper with crayons, incorporating 1 adjective and environment we brainstormed at the beginning of class. 9. Students painted over their drawings with water color paints to reinforce the concept of immiscible liquids.
Korematsu Discovery AcademyWho: about 30 5th graders and Michelle Cascio What: How to work effectively in groups. Where: Oakland, CAWhy: Students were having a hard time working with each other in their reading groups. How: 1. We discussed qualities of effective groups. 2. We brainstormed how to do 6 of the traits in their groups. 3. Groups chose the superstar idea for each quality to form their group agreements. 4. Groups received additional assistance reaching consensus as needed.
Parkside Elementary School Who: about 30 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders and Gina Granata What: practice thinking creatively Where: San Mateo, CAWhy: Students have been getting ready fortesting and have not had much time to be creative in class. How: 1. Oral brainstorming: People, places, things, and verbs.2. Students chose 1 idea from each category and drew a picture that told a story with all 4 words. 3. Students experimented making different faces using 1 card with eyes on it, 1 card with a nose on it, and 1 card with a mouth on it.
Police, park, dog, walking Fireman, home, helicopters, running Teacher, zoo, animals, pulling Once upon a time, there was a teacher. She went to the zoo. At the zoo they had animals. The animals tried to pull the teacher. And they were pulling and pulling as hard as they can, but they did not (pull her). The end. Teacher, this classroom, dogs, eating
BiographyMelinda Walker has over 15 years of experience inart education. She earned both her undergraduatedegree in art (studio art and graphic design options)and California Clear Multiple Subject TeachingCredential with CLAD at Cal State East Bay. She alsoholds an AA degree in Commercial Art, and iscurrently pursuing a Master of Science in Creativity,Innovation, and Change Leadership from the StateUniversity of New York at Buffalo.As the art teacher at a good-sized private school,she designed and implemented curriculum for theentire preschool-8th grade student body. In additionto the annual all school open house art display, shecoordinated and installed her students’ work atvarious public libraries, the San FranciscoInternational Airport, and local art contests. She hasbeen teaching Drawing & Sketching andCartooning with Ohlone for Kids, a highly regardedsummer program in the Bay Area, for the past 7years and will be returning again this summer.She has a passion for designing educationalmaterials for children, some of which have beenpublished in the Children’s Better Health Institutemagazines and Boy’s Life, the official magazine ofthe Boy Scouts of America.