How to turn your classroom space into a creative place
Since I was introduces to the idea of Multiple intelligences in the Classroom and Gardners theory on Multiple Intelligences I was fascinated. And I think it’s absolutely true, should apply to how we individualize instructions and give student choices on how they want to learn and give them the tools they need in order to succeed.
Quality resources and tools for teaching and learning are also important to have . Because we know the more choices teachers have the more creative lesson plans we can make and we can give students more choice on how to work on their projects.
Collaboration is a very important aspect of a successful classroom because that is what people do outside the classroom. People who can create, collaborate & work in teams are sought after employees by businesses in the modern world.
I have always tried to include collaboration, creativity & teamwork in my classroom and tried to incorporate that into my lesson plans as much as I can. Since we started our iPad 1:1 project in my classroom me & my kids have gotten more opportunities to collaborate and create than before.
But I feel we could do more. I’m the kind of person that needs to move to think, I get ideas and need to write them down instantly in order to remember them because otherwise the next idea will take over in my head. I need to experiment, build, move, touch, experience, see, draw, visualize, interact, share, collaborate, reflect and connect in order to function.
When I was introduced to mind mapping I instantly realized this was for me. Mind mapping is a great tool we should show our students, especially those who think visually. Visual thinking, also called picture thinking or right brained learning, is the phenomenon of thinking through visual processing. Visual thinking uses the part of the brain that is emotional and creative, to organize information in an intuitive and simultaneous way.
If you want to learn more about the importance of right brain thinking I highly recommend Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind.
With more and more schools putting mobile devices in the hands of students and teachers the opportunities for outstanding, innovative learning multiply. But it’t not enough to have these devices (actually just having them means nothing)… it’s all about how we use them.
When I work with my students using the iPad I always try to engage them, to keep them writing, drawing and do things by hand. I use my whiteboard a lot to write down notes, plan and stay organized. Last year I had a small whiteboard in my classroom that my students were supposed to write down things for me to do. For example the board could read: Charge iPad #5, Import audiobook from iPad # 18, Fix e-mail account on iPad #11, Buy colored pencils for class and so on…
I just love to give my students the opportunity to get up from their desks, write reminders, handwritten notes, be artistic, draw out ideas, collaborate, write, draw, sketch, mind map, edit their work and work hands-on with things.
I spent the whole of last school year grappling with all of this new technology we were using in my classroom, thought of new ways to use it, how could I reduce the cost of paper and have students collaborate, create and share. I had students write on our iPad lockers, on the windows and then they took pictures of their work and posted on their blog.
This was fantastic and I saw how much my student enjoyed this and how well it fitted with our work with the iPad…
Then I saw this and was instantly in awe:
WOW… This is made for education! I see endless possibilities of how we can use IdeaPaint. Not only for students but for the staff as well.
This is a tool that easily turnes spaces into creative places and makes collaboration, creative thinking and teamwork easier.
In the fall we are getting new furniture to my school and I told my principal we should paint the old ones with IdeaPaint. We’re looking into that option now.. and I’m sure the new desks will be painted within a few years.
- On your chalkboards – IdeaPaint lets you improve what you already have by transforming old blackboards into high performing dry erase surfaces that increase collaborative square footage, while eliminating the health risk of dust.
- On desks and tables – Any surface in your classroom is fair game, especially those that get a lot of 1-on-1 attention. Turn desks and tables into interactive surfaces that let students work through their ideas without wasting paper.
- On lockers – Newly painted lockers at the Kiel School in New Jersey have been a huge hit because they let students take ownership of their personal space and act as a message board for friends and teachers.
- In hallways – The hallway sees more foot traffic than anywhere, which makes them the ideal place to communicate with IdeaPaint. At the iSchool in NYC, painting the hallways increased students interactions and made an instant impression on visitors to the school.
- On doors – IdeaPaint turns anything into a message board. A coat of CLEAR can turn a door into a place to post schedules, assignments, while maintaing existing aesthetics!
- In offices – IdeaPaint has many applications outside of the classroom too. Use it to create a seamless think space where teachers and administrators can collaborate, or create a handful of smaller spaces that help maximize the area in your offices.
- Anywhere else! The truth is, IdeaPaint can be used on any smooth surface. Every time we see it in schools, there’s a new application – in cafeterias, to create story boards, even on the floor!
When students get a chance to draw and create on such a big surface, such as their tables, desks, walls, lockers, doors, chalkboards or even the floor, it gives them way more creative freedom.
IdeaPaint looks ideal in a classroom with mobile devices. For example I use Evernote very much almost every day with reminders, notes, articles, web-clipping and so on and was even more impressed with both Evernote and IeaPaint when I saw this:
I really believe IdeaPaint could be a game changer for all of our students and teachers. Being given the opportunity to write, draw & share – anywhere gives all types of learners new ways of putting their skills into practice. Whether they’re writing, quantifying, drawing, visualizing, mapping, writing lyrics or a poem, sharing, collaborating, interacting, reflecting or exploring I believe everybody in a classroom could use IdeaPaint…. I certainly will paint the walls with IdeaPaint in my next classroom.
Now let’s change the way teachers teach and students learn… one wall at a time.
Ingvi Hrannar Ómarsson
Icelandic Elementary Teacher