A Creative Nature

Teaching Articles - Essays to fuel your creative life

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This week Cameron reflects on the role our creative lives play in our lives as teachers. He explores the ways his students share their personal stories and how that influences their thinking and working. Join Cameron as he takes his class outside to sit in the grass and talk to each other.

A Creative Nature

A Creative Nature

by Cameron Brooks


Image courtesy ofDavid Hale
During the warmer months, I walk my class outside to a grassy field each afternoon for our daily class meeting. A fat pine sits on the edge of the field and casts a shadow that's just the right size for our small circle.

The children immediately start touching the blades and runners of grass all around them. By turn, each of them glances my way for the go-ahead to begin exploring. "Maybe they won't hear someone share, or maybe they'll miss an announcement," I think to myself. This isn't the case.

As they impulsively tug on the roots, drop blades from varying heights, or stack and arrange them into creative patterns, they remain engaged in thoughtful conversation. Watching what some teachers might interpret as communicable fidgeting, I see multiple parts of the brain working simultaneously. Within the context of a routine social situation, the children exercise curiosity and creativity, while developing inter- and intrapersonal skills. They tell stories of dumpster diving, fort building, and the most effective methods for removing a loose tooth.

Artists, who never lose that childhood compulsion to creatively interact and experiment with the natural world, can help us find some of the creative expression many of us have lost along the way. As teachers, what if more of us discovered creative outlets within our own routines and surroundings? How would it impact our pedagogy, our practice, and our students?