Monday, December 5, 2016

Innovation and Creativity Matters

We chose to discuss "Innovation and Creativity" for our December 5th #plearnchat, because we believe it is time for teaching and learning to change. George Couros' (@gcouros) book "The Innovator's Mindset" and Sir Ken Robinson's (@SirKenRobinson) book "Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education" opened our eyes about the importance of innovation and creativity.

So we invited educators from all over to join us to discuss why teaching needs to be more innovative, why we need to create innovators, and why creativity can transform education.

We put together questions around Innovation and Creativity that stretched the conversations out of everyone's comfort zone using the Q1, A1 format:

The holidays are almost here so we know how busy educators at this time of year. But that didn't keep people away. Just read from a few of the amazing educators who were innovative and creative with their tweets they shared:

Carol Frey Reinagel @MrsReinagel

As George Couros said, "Never hold a learner back based on what you don't know." from @gcouros' book: The Innovator's Mindset.

Michael Vose Ed.D @KHS_AP

"Lead learners (teachers) as equitable learning design engineers and not data driven automatons in standards driven compliance."

Kathy Renfrew @KRScienceLady

"Characteristics of innovation: open-minded, curious,willing to grapple with new ideas, persistent, risk-taker, understands tech is accelerator not the driver."

Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson1216

"Creativity blooms quickly when learners collaborate and work closely together."

Greg Gazanian @GregGazanian

"Foster innovation and creativity by applauding exploration. Offer space to learn and grow and resources to support."

Kory Graham @korytellers

"I would like to think that many educators already have had an Innovator's Mindset. Now we just need to get everyone on board."

Darren Ellwein @dellwein

"Creativity with makerspace philosophy of freedom to create; combine @YongZhaoEd entrepreneurial model and BOOM!"

Lisa Murray @LMurray_

"I think that teachers are more likely to change & grow. Try new things. Helps create environment that fosters creativity."

David Truss @datruss

"Creativity itself won't transform education. I see COLLABORATION and SHARING transforming technology by fostering creativity."

Susan Zanti @SusZanti5

"The more teachers think not just outside the box but outside the book; the more creativity in teaching and learning."

Trevor Bryan @trevorabryan

"Allowing room for creativity creates space for all learners voice; their voice builds community."

We wish we could share tweets from everyone who joined us. But there were so many educators with great ideas that we had to choose just a few. Make sure you read the archive below so you don't miss any of the tweets and resources shared. 

Here's one more that is so sweet from Lemarr Treadwell M.Ed @lemarrtreadwell
"Boy, is our janitor going to be surprised when he receives over 100 thank you notes."

We decided to give 2 books away for this chat because of the holidays and that our next #plearnchat is not until 5 weeks from now: January 16, 2017. 

Congratulations to Beth Topinka and Evan Brudney who both won signed copies of How to Personalize Learning.

Beth Topinka @BTopink

Beth Topinka is the S.T.E.A.M. lab teacher for grades 2-5 at Millstone Township School District in central New Jersey. She’s a vocal advocate for interdisciplinary, problem-based learning, and was recently selected as a state finalist for the 2016 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

She taught middle school science for 12 years, earning a Gifted Education Certificate from Rutgers along the way. On her mission to “be the change,” she moved to Millstone’s elementary school to help teachers transition to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Memorable classroom activities include training Madagascar hissing cockroaches to prefer peppermint over vanilla (the students proudly shared their results with an expert in Japan), and an investigation exploring the design possibilities of the invasive Phragmites plant. Check out Beth’s resource on hydrophobicity here and more about Beth at the Science Friday Educator Collaborative

Living in a comfort zone "mold" is so stifling and confining. How can we make risk-taking thrilling rather than scary? My students are so joyful when they have a chance to create. We need to start with our youngest learners.

Beth Topinka @BTopink

Evan Brudney @The BrudneyBunch

Evan Brudney,, is a 4th grade literacy teacher at Lynn Road Elementary School in Raleigh, NC.  Evan attended Syracuse University in New York and then went to graduate school for his teaching license at North Carolina State University. Evan is in his second year as a 4th grade literacy/social studies teacher and serves on the media/technology and advisory committees. As a beginning teacher last year, he was nominated for Wake County's prestigious Dian Kent Parker Beginning Teacher award.

Evan allows students time to collaborate during whole class lessons to discuss concepts and process their learning with each other. Recently, he was awarded a private grant and received 7 iPad minis to be used to enhance literacy instruction and to promote more collaboration. Evan is a big proponent of flexible seating within his room for part of the week- bean bags, yoga balls, stools, etc. during Daily 5. His goal is to create a literacy-rich environment with 21st century facets and the 4C's.

Evan's class website:

Now more than ever, students need creativity and
critical thinking to succeed in the 21st century. 

Evan Brudney @TheBrudneyBunch

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

Save the Date, Monday, January 16th (5 weeks) for our next #plearnchat

4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, and 7pm EST

Topic: Equity and Social Justice

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Innovation and Creativity below for your convenience and as a resource.

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