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Posts tagged ‘education’


How to Avoid 7 Kid Creativity Crushers

Sad Kid

Image by sokabs via Flickr

Article first published as How to Avoid 7 Kid Creativity Crushers on Technorati.

The call for creativity in education is picking up steam. Educators around the globe are inventing new, innovative modes of teaching to help build creative thinking skills. In order for creativity to take hold, parents need to model creative behaviors at home. Sometimes, figuring out what not to do sheds light on the best practices to employ. Here are 7 surefire ways to crush a child’s creativity. These are based on research by Amabile and Hennessey (1992):

  1. Surveillance – putting your kids under a microscope and making them feel like they’re being watched
  2. Evaluation – judging your kids performance
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Using Legos to Teach Kids Financial Literacy


Image by dangoodwin via Flickr

Article first published as Using Legos to Teach Kids Financial Literacy on Technorati.

A few days ago I stopped at the gas station with my boys to fill up the tank. With the price of gas continuing to rise, I shrieked when the cost of a fill up topped $50. Luckily, I drive a hybrid so I don’t need to fill up the tank as frequently (phew).  As I handed the gas attendant a credit card, my 7-year old caught my reaction and asked, “Mom, what’s wrong? Isn’t the gas free because you’re not paying with dollar bills?” It was at that moment I realized I should teach my son a thing or two about money.

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A Parent Workshop on Creativity

Tightrope Walker, Palolem, Goa, India

Image by racoles via Flickr

Last week I had the honor of co-presenting a parent workshop on creativity at a local Montessori school. The workshop provided a primer on creativity, lots of hands on activities to build creativity skills, and a wonderful opportunity to chat about raising creative kids. Throughout the workshop, we used experiential activities to raise awareness of creativity. Our lessons centered around tips and techniques that parents could use at home with their children.

After the workshop was over, the parents stuck around – all abuzz about what they had just learned. Though the workshop was focused on raising creative kids, a side effect of the workshop was that parents were able to exercise their creative muscles. The frantic pace of raising kids leaves little time for parents to tend to themselves. In order to raise creative children, we must take the time to exercise our own creative muscles.

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Marketing Trumps Logic

Two chicken nuggets

Image via Wikipedia

In business school I was taught that marketing is all about changing people’s behaviors. I entered the marketing business a bit naive. The consequences of marketing products that are bad for you never really crossed my mind. However, one day as my family sat down for dinner at a local Japanese restaurant, I realized the power of marketing – particularly as it pertains to young children.

My kids ordered cooked food while my husband and I ordered sushi. When the food arrived, the boys dug into their rice and terriyaki while my husband and I savored the maki rolls and sashimi. My 7-year old, who is a fairly adventurous eater, pointed to a piece of raw, white-colored fish and asked, “What is that?”

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Creative Ways to Teach Math, Part 2

DSC_5837 - Dragon Fire

Image by archer10 (Dennis) via Flickr

A few weeks ago I shared tips on how to creatively teach skip counting. Since then, readers have asked for more ways to teach math and logic. Here’s one for you from the “way back” machine. Why way back? Well, the tips I share are from a bedtime routine my husband started when our oldest son was about three. Fast-forward…and 2006 seems like eons ago!

Each night before my son went to bed, my husband would make up a bedtime story. The story was based on a little boy (my son) who had to find three crystals in order to escape the precarious situations he had gotten into. In order to obtain the crystals, the little boy had to solve challenges. These challenges involved word problems, logic and math.

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Turning Rock-Paper-Scissors into a Divergent Thinking Game

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When I was a kid, we used to play a game called Rock-Paper-Scissors. The game is also known as Stone-Paper-Scissors in the UK, or kauwi-bauwi-bo in Korean. Turns out, it is a universal game. To play, opponents say, “Rock-Paper-Scissors, shoot.” Upon saying shoot, each player uses his hand to imitate the shape of a rock (clenched fist), paper (open hand), or scissors (two fingers extended in a cutting motion). The object of the game is to select a gesture that beats your opponent – rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper and paper beats rock.

Rock-Paper-Scissors is popular with elementary school kids. In fact, my boys were so excited by Rock-Paper-Scissors they couldn’t wait to show my husband and I. One day while eating dinner, the boys decided to teach us how to play. They began, “Rock-Paper-Scissors, shoot.” One said, “rock” while clenching his fist. My other son said, “paper” while holding his hand open like a stop sign. Then, my husband jumped into the fun helped turn Rock-Paper-Scissors into a game of divergent thinking. Rock-paper-scissors became:

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Do you have trouble remembering what you learned?

This mindmap (Mind map) consists of rough note...

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As it turns out, the problem might not be what you’re learning, but how you’re learning. We each have an inborn learning style and when we learn using our personal style, we can absorb more in a shorter amount of time.

Common ways that people learn are by seeing/picturing (visual learners), hearing (auditory learners) and by touching or experiencing (kinesthetic learners). As you read the descriptions below, think about which best describes you. Once you’ve identified your learning style, use the tips provided to make the most of your learning.

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Using Nursery Rhymes to Boost Your/Your Child’s Creative IQ

Cover of a 1904 adaptation of Humpty Dumpty by...

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Children are growing up quickly these days – some might argue too quickly. By the age of 9, many children will own their own mobile phones. To be successful in today’s rapidly changing, global economy, children need to rely on a new set of skills. The reality of life in the 21st century, particularly given the rapidly changing technology landscape and global economy, is that skills associated with creative problem solving are in great demand. As a parent, you have the unique ability to foster the creative thinking skills your child will need to be successful.

Creative thinking is about getting away from the obvious, the safe, and the expected to produce something that – to the child – is new. By encouraging your child to develop an arsenal of original and unique ideas to solve problems in numerous ways, you will help her realize her creative potential. A simple way to encourage these important ideation skills is to start by posing open-ended questions. In facilitating Creative Problem Solving workshops, I have found that nursery rhymes are fertile ground for ideation.

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Why Adults have a More Difficult Time Being Creative than Children

Children in Jerusalem.

Image via Wikipedia

This week at the dinner table my husband and I were having a conversation and used the word “coherent.” Our 4-year old heard this word, but didn’t understand what it meant. Looking to participate in the conversation, our 4-year old said, “Hmm, coherent. That must be located near Cohasset because they both start with “coh.” Little did he know “coherent” is a state of mind while “Cohasset” is a coastal town in Massachusetts (smile).

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Creativity and the Story of the One-Legged Stool

stool sample

Image by JKönig via Flickr

I woke up the other night with a memory from childhood. From an early age, I remember thinking differently than other kids. I believed there was something wrong with me; that I had an affliction of some sort. Now I realize it wasn’t an affliction, but creativity.

When I was in elementary school,  I remember debating with one of my teachers about a three-legged stool. My teacher made a point about teamwork and used the analogy of a three-legged stool to support his argument. While I agreed with his teachings on teamwork, I questioned the fact a stool had to have three legs. I knew a stool could have one leg, or even more than three legs. Anxiously, I raised my hand and suggested a stool didn’t necessarily need three legs to stand. But, I was not allowed to explain my reasoning.

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