“To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.” Georgia O’keeffe
While it would make life easier, there’s no luck involved in teaching creatively. It’s all about planning and taking the occasional – or sometimes frequent — risks. When a risk pays off, you might call it “a stroke of luck.” Nope. You’re using your professional teaching sense. I recognize that I’m a trained and educated professional and I know what’s best for my students. When I decided to add that purple cow poem to our study of cows, it was a risk, but made sense – based on what I know. As a result, the students enjoyed the playfulness of the poem and learned new vocabulary and sight words. Our cow portrait drawings enabled new vocabulary and a lesson in perseverance, since we couldn’t draw and water color our pictures in just one sitting. As a supplemental activity in our study of cows, we made butter. Was it luck that the heavy cream became butter after we took turns shaking the jar and passing it around to each student? No. It was science and math. We learned about motion, time, volume and the transition of a liquid to a solid. We explored the physical and emotional feelings of making butter. We used our senses to discuss how the butter felt, smelled, looked and tasted. It was a great lesson. Just lucky? I don’t think so.
How can you replace luck with creative teaching? Is there a craft or art project that would perfectly pair with a book you’re currently reading to your students? Is there a simple song or dance you can use at the beginning of a math skill lesson? Trust your professional instincts and know that effective teaching isn’t about luck. It’s about knowing the right thing at the right time for your students.
(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use. The images are for personal use only. No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)