Driven by Perfection

  It’s too bad that many of the children I teach have let their imaginations lay dormant when we start on  a new lesson.

  One of the things I do is try to steer away from so much white paper, and use colored paper,  using creative folds, tape, etc. to create something different while learning the lesson’s objectives. As a kid myself, it was a joy to “do something different” like write my spelling words on green paper, or make a booklet with that day’s social studies facts.

   However, I’ve noticed a trend at my schools where the kids are afraid to venture beyond that sea of black ink on white.  I wanted them to make a foldable chart of eight sections, and we were going to put a Spanish word in each box, and illustrate the meaning that word.

    But too many of them got stymied after making the first horizontal fold, and became confused by further folding, even though I was modeling it with them.I had to as, “Do you ever do this in other classes, or at home?”

   “Oh no,” many of then chimed out.  “we’re not allowed to do stuff like that—that’s not ‘real’ school.”

    I was thoroughly surprised at that—as a simple act of creating something with a colored sheet of paper was considered frivolous. So, by the time many them had gotten the folds correctly, they became frustrated that the folds didn’t crease exactly (!) or that their drawings were a millimeter off center. I had to quell constant cries of “I messed up,” by assuring them that even those        would-be mistakes and smudged lines were part of the learning process. But too many of them responded with—“I can’t make a mistake; it has to be RIGHT .”

      The absence or low presence of including creativity and the arts as part of the school day is sad, as it takes more than competency in literacy and math to be a well-rounded person. 

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