Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Power of Fewer Choices

I write here a lot about choices - about kids having the power to choose what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.

But sometimes having fewer choices - by limiting resources or imposing simple parameters - can lead to some creativity that would not have otherwise happened.

One day in my class, we had blue paper, white crayons, and small rulers on the art table. These limited resources made kids think about what to do with them. Also on the table was a verse to read.

One girl copied the verse. (I have some kids that love to write words and will copy just about anything they can find.)

Another drew a freeform design with the white crayon on the blue paper. Just what she may have done with unlimited crayon colors and paper. But she was able to explore a more monochromatic approach to design. Her design "popped" off the page.

Later a boy came to the table. I commented on the available materials. He considered them. Then he proceeded to trace around a ruler. He kept doing it to create a square.

He added more lines and colored in some of his shapes. But this particular approach probably would not have happened if the materials had not been limited.

Occasionally provide a few resources and encourage your children to explore and experiment. Their creativity can be triggered in new ways with the challenge of using less.

(Note: During this time the writing center was still available - with all kinds of colors and paper. Use the limited resources was a choice by the children. And, of course, they could have chosen to ignore the materials completely - and some did.)

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