Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reuse #7 Beach Toys

In response to my challenge in the previous post, and very timely for the hot July weather, here are some wonderful ideas for beach toys.  Thank you Claire!

"The category that I decided upon was 'beach toys'. 
- poke holes in the bottom and or sides of a milk jug--when you fill it up with water it sprinkles the water or dry sand like a shower head--you can also use it to sort larger items out of the sand
- cut the jug into a scoop using the jug handle for the handle of the scoop--you can now scoop up sand
- cut the top off the jug--the bottom portion can be used as a form for a sand castle--the top portion can be used as a funnel to pour sand or water through
- use the milk jug lid to make impressions in your sand creation.
Thanks for the challenge--that was fun :-) " 

How much better to reuse a milk jug at the beach rather than having milk jugs and other plastic end up on a beach as garbage.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Collaboration as a Creative Means-What Should It Really Look Like? ...and a challenge.

The article "The Rise of the New Groupthink", by Susan Cain (via @BettyAnnX11)  has made me think more about how collaboration contributes to creative thought. In the article,  research is presented that declares that more innovation has occurred when one works in solitude and that the most successful workplaces allow workers their own private spaces and time for prolonged solitude in addition to opportunities for collaboration. At a time when collaboration and creativity are very prevelant "buzzwords" in education (and the workplace for that matter) this is definitely food for thought. In the article it is suggested that,  "Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time."  I was also surprised by the assertion that brainstorming as a group is not necessarily the optimal way for quality ideas to be generated unless it is done electronically.  I was tempted to read the 43 comments following the article,  but I decided to write this reflection first and then "stand on the shoulders" of others rather than passively being part of a "groupthink". By doing that I can confirm, extend or change the direction of my thoughts rather than just mimic what others have already contributed.  And that is what I think this article is emphasizing. In the end, it seems that BALANCE is the key and when discussing such big concepts as "creativity" and "collaboration" to remember that when making big decisions on how that is best encouraged that those involved must first "be on the same page" , or at least recognize that these two concepts can be percieved in many different ways.

Here are what I think then are some good practices to encourage creativity and how to most benefit from collaboration.
1. Assign specific roles before meeting in a group and then give individuals  time to prepare for that role in solitude.
2. During a task or project have a balance of time spent working individually and then coming together as a group to showcase, support or extend the individual activity.
3. At times, provide the opportunies to choose to do a task individually or in a group.
4. Especially for children,  emphasize the importance of silence and solitude in our everyday lives and provide examples of innovative ideas of famous people that occurred in solitude.
5. A teacher should have students reflect regularly about their thinking as it occurs individually and in groups.
6. Allow opportunities  to brainstorm electronically to allow for introverts a comfortable way to contribute as well as more time.

So back to the milk jugs of course. Here's my first challenge on this blog: On your own, in a quiet spot, take some time to examine carefully a plastic milk jug,  and using the SCAMPER technique make a list of five orginal  uses of the item. One catch, make all five items belong to a category of some sort. I'll post my example shortly and I'd love to post yours (or your students).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reuses #2 through #6 The Scamper Technique

"Be creative". "Think creatively". "She's so creative". "Look at this creatively".  The act of being creative comes naturally to some it seems but it helps sometimes to have some specific strategies.  One such strategy is SCAMPER  which I came across in a post titled "Don't Be Creative", by Gerald Aungst. In this technique each letter of the word SCAMPER stands for an action to be applied to a particular challenge to consider in an innovative way:

  • S = Substitute
  • C = Combine
  • A = Adapt
  • M = Magnify
  • P = Put to Other Uses
  • E = Eliminate (or Minify)
  • R = Rearrange (or Reverse)
My source for this acroynm , the website Litemind,  provides focused questions for considering each action. Brainstorming is a strategy that is widely used to create ideas , but  a strategy like SCAMPER as a jumping off point and to keep the brainstorming from petering out can be very effective.   A scattegories game for higher thinking if you will. 
\So if my challenge is to reuse a milk jug in 1000 different ways and since the Halloween season is upon us, what ideas can I come up with using the SCAMPER technique? Next to Christmas this "holiday" probably creates the most waste so to substitute and resuse milk jugs instead makes sense to me. Although these brainstorming ideas are my own, thank to the Internet and some very creative people, I was able to find some fantastic Halloween reuses.

\First, let's SUBSTITUTE the milk jug for  items used at Halloween.  Consider how milk jugs could be substituted for costumes, candy collectors, decorations, lights, haunted houses and  jack o lanterns.
by: Filth Wizardry

Reuse #2 Halloween Costume.
Here is a brilliant storm trooper costume.

by: Out of the Chair
What other materials could be combined with a milk jug to create halloween accessories? Paper mache, foam   accessories, and paint for starters. So google "paper mache, milk jug" and voila. Don't try this at home by the way. :)

Reuse #3 Halloween Mask

Reuse #4 I love this idea for a spider decoration. I would adapt it by adding crazy green and black stripes on the legs and witch's boots for feet.
by Danielle's Place of Crafts and Activities

Try considering the milk jug as one small part of a larger whole.
Reuse # 5 This skeleton made up of several milk jugs is a brilliant idea.

What other uses could there be for a milk jug? Christmas! Valentines! Easter!
Just wait. :)


What could be taken away from the milk jug to create a Halloween decoration?
Reuse # 6 Simple shapes could be cut out (moon, star, bat, black cat etc.) and a lantern could be created.)
via Instructables

What could I make if I turned the jug upside down?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ready,set,jump! Reuse #1

My idea for this blog and the shell of this blog has been around for much longer than this post, my first post of 1000. Why?
 1. TIME It is said that part of the creative process is paying attention to a hunch and letting that hunch or idea incubate. While beginning to process this so called transformation in education, again and again this blog seems to make sense. David Allen has a great quote: "Pay attention to what has your attention".
2. PROCESS Any creative project is by its nature unique and often without structure. Messy. So my first impulse was to try and finalise the format and nature of this blog before I put up any posts. Naturally no posts were happening. Now I realize I need to just start and work out the tangles as they come.
 This compelling quote from Stephen Pressfield's book, The War of Art  (via Maria Popava) grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me hard onto my scaredy butt and then picked me up again by the hand:
 "Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the           morfear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to  the growth of our soul.”  

And that is why I have started a blog that revolves around a plastic milk container of all things.
So all right, all ready! So no drumroll, it's messy, it's ..but here it is.

Reuse #1 Milk Jug Igloo - A beautifully constructed igloo that reuses 400 milk jugs!!, costs under 30$ to make and provides a fantastic structure for school or home. This Squidoo site provides video instructions, educational tips and other examples of milk jug igloos.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creativity Defined

    As a starting point to my project, part of which is taking a close look at creativity and its place in education, I thought I would find a basic definition to start with. Due to the very nature of creativity, which is surrounded by terms like "novel", "innovation", "problem-solving" etc., there doesn't seem to be one, agreed-upon definition. I suppose this makes sense, as boxing in a standard definition of the word would go against all things that creativity is generally defined as. The most agreed upon defintion seems to echo that of The International Center for Studies in Creativity  which asserts that, "the most widely used working definition within the field is 'novel and useful' or in other words,
the production of original ideas that serve a purpose. "
I think it is important  to note that the idea can be simply original to the individual or orginal in a much larger public arena, and that serving a purpose can be interpreted in many different ways.
 Reading a little more deeply, how creativity is considered is based on different aspects like PROCESS, PRODUCT, PERSON OR PLACE. These different aspects will be considered more closely in posts to follow while continuing to feature original ideas to reuse the ubiquitous plastic milk jug.