Creativity in the Classroom – Natasha Patrito Hannon

In my last post (Rediscovering the Masters), I highlighted a paper by Richard Felder titled ‘Creating Creative Engineers’. This paper proposes a number of strategies to foster creative problem solving skills among students in the technical disciplines.

As I revisit the syllabus for an upcoming course, Environmental Issues, I continue to ask myself whether I am offering students an opportunity to engage creatively with the subject matter – to incorporate part of themselves into this material that they are absorbing.  More about the crazy project that I’ve developed to help achieve that in a future post, but for now, here are two videos that are currently buzzing in my brain:

1.  Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.

2.  Dave Eggers’ Wish:  Once Upon a School.

Both videos are source from, an absolutely marvellous resource that was recently featured in the Teaching Support Centre’s Reflections Newsletter.  Please check it out for additional information on how TED can be used to supplement and enhance your students’ learning.


Teaching with Fire-Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach – Debra Dawson

I have had this book on poems sitting on my desk for the past few months and keep hoping I will find the time to read it–but that reminds me of all the other material I have been meaning to read for many months. Sigh!

So today I opened the book and rather than an inspirational poem I came across an essay by Sam Intrator, one of the editors of the the book, which begins, “I am a teacher in heart and in habit. And like most teachers I know, I move through the world foraging, borrowing, and accumulating that which will have utility in my classes and application to my students(p.193).”  And I thought wow –that really does describe me.  In my efforts to help my students make meaning of many concepts I’m always trying to come up with practical everyday examples  and new techniques to enhance their learning –what I think of as my teaching tool box — and like Sam I will borrow from anyone if it improves student learning.  Is this plagiarism if I copy a witty example without giving a source  in my lectures? Strangely I will do this orally in class but would never do it my written work. Hmmm.

On another note I do love this book as it reminds me there is a world out there of teachers whose passion for teaching matches mine and that I’m not crazy when I write and re-write lectures hoping to get it just right.  Let me end today with part of a poem by Judy Brown from the book:
We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

( If you’re interested in this book more info about it can be found at: )

Talk you next time, Deb