I made two questions in the potuguese group in the last call that I wanted to repeat here.

  1. What does it look like to use creativity in practice? What makes an activity “creative?”

  2. Is it possible to teach with Scratch in a non-creative way?

  3. Como usar criatividade na prática. O que faz uma atividade “criativa?”

  4. É possível ensinar com Scratch de uma forma que não seja criativa.

I started giving private coding lessons to kids using Scratch, in which I wanted to experiment with creative learning. I have many stories I can share and we can discuss. Overall I found that the students had trouble with more open ended exploration and questions. They found it much easy to follow along with step-by-step instructions. Has anyone else encountered difficultly when giving space for students to be creative?


@stephenandrewf It has been my observation that students whose families values process and exploration do well with open ended what I call “personal inquiries”, whereas students whose families value results (as in good grades or the aestheics of a finished product) have a very difficult time with open ended learning becasue they don’t have a detailed map of what the “right” answer is.

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É sempre possível “voltar” ao tradicional e fazer o aluno simplesmente copiar um modelo. Contudo, criatividade é dar a oportunidade ao novo ao inesperado. E nesse sentido do novo, criatividade é usar o repertório, as vivências, fazer boas perguntas e estar disposto a errar e tentar novamente. Criatividade não é um momento de luz nem mesmo um simples responder a quesitos.


@stephenandrewf what fabulous questions!
I agree with @Shauna that much depends on family values.

Experience, mentoring and community can also have big impacts.

Perfectionism is the enemy of free expression and exploration. My inner critic and I have had some serious exchanges that are not to be repeated in polite company.

I think we need to have enough experience in a medium (step by step) to grasp basics to support more open ended goals. I use the wedo robotics with my Grade 1-3 and we follow the step by step for a while then we adapt the builds. It’s so helpful to be part of LCL and reflect in community - I am inconsistent with the build adaptation and I’m thinking that is a fabulous way to gently encourage creativity… to have students regularly add on and or adapt a build. Sir Ken Robinson had it right - the way we often structure school often kills creativity… I am not a classroom teacher, but work with all the classes for 30-90 minutes per week over years so I see the changes and growth in students over the span of their elementary years.

I keep thinking I wouldn’t ask a foreign language learner to write a poem immediately, but get them to express a sentence that satisfied a need. I would be delighted if they started with a poem, but that is not a fair expectation on my part. I might use some ‘sticky language’ something with fun sounds and catchy rhythm as a starting point - call and reply style. My music teacher had us doing some baby buzz to loosen our mouths and tongues…. What is the equivalent of baby babble - that playful exploration that develops competency and agency?

I think having fun is also a wonderful antidote to struggle, as is creating something that is meaningful to me. What if? drives a lot of my explorations.
I have noticed that I would/do cling to ‘the right way to do something’ in areas where I got/get nervous or felt/feel threatened and my experienced dad would try to have me see there are many right ways, many possible means.
I love making my own sprites and sounds - both drawn and photographed and I invest time in these processes with kids so they understand that Scratch is a medium for creating. is my go to to take away the background. Saves on a lot of tedious erasing. This is a little show-offy and annoying, but does share a variety of projects - puppetry and painting that I’ve made in community. The wings were from a National Capital Puppetry Guild Makeathon and the shared experience and insight deeply influenced the form, medium and techniques to make wings that collapse and expand. The rivets are wipersnipper cord formed with the sautering iron. The placement came from Laura Matthews’s patreon. lauramathewsart on instagram….

That scratch project from a Québec Scratch Educator Meetup session. (it is open to educators using Scratch - not just teachers in Quebec - Chris Colley from Learn runs it. )

I cannot underestimate the power of peers. I see it every day in the nature of the cohorts I teach. Each class is formed by the combination of characters and dynamics within it. I am influenced by my peers, both in person and on-line communities. I started making finger puppets with my nieces and nephews on zoom during lock-down. That helped us keep sane. Art regularly saves my soul and art in community saves my heart and mind. I host a bi-weekly puppet improv meet-up for adults. I love it! This is me and LoveMole. Not sure why we’re sideways…. But I love my muppet - a free pattern from puppetnerd. I’m so happy summer is coming and I can glue foam outside with the contact cement… not a good indoor winter activity!