As I've posted before, sometimes a little twist to a familiar activity can spark renewed interest. Since we paint almost every week, our easel painting use wanes. Usually 1-2 kids will paint; sometimes no one paints. (Of course, that could be due to the fantastic learning experiments that are happening throughout the room with other materials.)
We've been talking about things our church does; this week - our church teaches. So Cindy cut paper into a "T" shape for the easel.
Maybe it was a coincidence. But more kids painted this week. A little different paper shape could have triggered more ideas about painting. I'm thinking about adding some negative space (holes cut into the paper) to see if that triggers some different painting ideas.
One boy carefully watched another painting. Then on his turn, he painted in a similar manner.
I wondered about this. I want kids to use their own ideas and not just follow someone else's ideas (especially my ideas). But, this was his choice and his idea to do the same thing, so...okay.
But then I thought about it in a different light. The first boy's painting created curiosity for the second boy. The watcher saw something he hadn't thought of before. And he wanted to experiment with that idea. That's what we teachers do, too. We see ideas that others have tried. We want to try that, too. (See Pinterest as an example!)
But we don't just copy. The second painter began to create his own variation on the painting experiment. We as teachers do the same. Creativity isn't necessarily generating an idea that no one has ever thought before. It's building on the ideas of others - experimenting with a new idea and improving on it.
So, a challenge. Find an idea out there and try it in your class. Experiment and change and improve it. Then let me know your results. (I may want to try it, too!)