Creating Creative Thinkers

This is more of a post to myself, ha 🙂
Creativity isn’t really encouraged in the classroom or outside of it either (limited playtime/heavy focus on school and memorization of material).–Trying to think of activities I can do with my students to help get them thinking differently.  Which, I’ve told can be a very, very daunting task.

Example:  I told my class of 4 to work together to write me a story.  They had to make sure it had a beginning, middle and an end.  We talked about what happened in the beginning of a story and 20 minutes in, all they had down was that it was going to be about Angry Birds (it’s a bit of an obsession on this side of the globe).
It makes me so sad to think about 😦  Kids back home would jump at the chance to “create a story about anything’ or “draw a picture.  Here are the crayons.”  And…they just don’t get it here.  They don’t really know how to think “outside the box”…or anything away from memorization.  :-/
The other teachers at my school are also working on helping make more creative students too.   One teacher used to give them a “homework assignment” of going outside and playing for 60 minutes.  She added that they had to do a “journal entry” (write ANYTHING about what they did) because she found that the students wouldn’t do that assignment because their parents didn’t take it seriously because there wasn’t work attached to it.  So…they wouldn’t go outside and play.
Anyway, I’m working on a list to help encourage creative thinking in my elementary students.

Inspiring Elementary Students to be more creative:
*http://katelyn-thomas.suite101.com/journal-topics-for-middle-school-a20769
*Group Story–each person write a line of the story and keep passing it around.
*http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/journal-prompts.html
*Penpals with teacher (me :-D)
*http://journalbuddies.com/journal_prompts__journal_topics/4th-grade-writing-prompts-73-exciting-journal-starters-for-kids/

My Core Values Put to the Test

One thing I’ve noticed about Korea is that a lot of things are about appearance, and how things appear to be.  Especially at this school.  They want you to paint a pretty picture and gloss over everything to please the parents.  Which…I understand..to an extent.  I know this is a business and that you want to please your customers and make sure they’re happy…however, I DO NOT condone lying to people just to make things seem all cherry and wonderful.

I’ve noticed that report cards are altered for elementary students, and we’re not allowed to give a student lower than a C.  A “C+” might be switched to a “B” to make it look better, and teacher comments on student’s performance in class is changed also.
The main point of my post is that we have little books that we send home with the kindergarten students (to their parents).  It’s about the kid’s behavior, how they’re doing in class etc.  Those are sent home twice a week.  Seems a bit excessive since we do the same theme all week long and not a lot changes, but whatever.  I was also told from the beginning that I’m supposed to put a positive spin on things in those books too.
So…I do.  Not lying, just basically sticking to what we do in class and using the OREO (good, constructive criticism, good) technique if there’s something I need to comment on.

I recently had one parent ask me in the parent comment section why her daughter didn’t really seem to be speaking much English at home.  She asked how her daughter was with the other students and how she was doing in class.
First off, her daughter is sweet, but she has a hard time paying attention in class and is often distracting the other students.  (She’s also like 5 in American age).  We’re working on this…and keep in mind that she’s only been in school for like a month and half.
My head-teacher came over to me and told me that I needed to white out the part about her not having a hard time paying attention in class…She also wanted me to write over the top of it how wonderful the girl was doing in school and that her English was good in class.
I can’t do that.  I couldn’t do that.  I whited out what I wrote, but I couldn’t write that.  Her mom asked me directly how her daughter was doing.  What a shitty situation to put someone in.
Apparently, the head teacher said she didn’t end up handing out the journal because she didn’t have time.  Doubt that.  Looks a bit funny with a giant chunk whited out.  Heh. 😦

Now, I’m back, and it’s Friday, and I’m having a hard time even being in the same room with her.  I really can’t stand her (the head teacher) now.  I’m currently in the teacher’s room and I have my music playing and I have headphones.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.  I have 11 months left, and I can’t be around people with a character like that.
I’m not going to quit or anything, but I’m not going to lie to someone just to keep them happy.  Especially someone’s parent.  Geez.
She can do it, but she’s not dragging me down with her.