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Creativity: it's always with you.

Creativity can be nurtured and can be lots of fun. One morning, my students participated in an exercise that took only thirty minutes of class time to complete and resulted in a sense of high self-esteem. Students drew upon their internal resources, such as higher level thinking, creative inspiration and a spirit of adventure. Here is what we did.

When the students entered the artroom, they found on their desks a piece of 22 x 28" (56 x 71 cm) black poster board with a piece of 12 x 18" (30 x 46 cm) white drawing paper on top. "What's up?" was the question from most everyone.

I told the students we were going to have an exercise to see just how creative they could be. They were instructed not to retrieve any art materials from the shelves, and to create a face on the white paper with whatever items they had brought with them--the contents of purses, pockets and bags, books, or objects on their bodies--literally, anything they had on their person.

We decided that thirty minutes would be enough time to create their faces. I set the timer, and the laughter, giggles and excited talk turned into the bustling noises of students dumping out athletic bags, purses, lunch bags, notebooks, even pulling off jewelry, shoes and sweaters. Here are some of the innovative things the students did with these items.

They disassembled key rings and used the keys separately, wadded up tissues, unwrapped candy and used the wrappers, and removed earrings. Some students even used bubble gum with the end pinched tightly to keep the bubble inflated. Other students used part of their lunches, calculator batteries and outer shirts. Still other students unwrapped their ponytails for the elastics, tore the colored parts of magazine covers, and even removed their retainers. When everyone had finished creating their faces, the exciting finish was to photograph their pieces. I had brought my 35mm camera, loaded it with 200-speed film, and climbed on a stool to get a good angle for each shot. After the photographs were taken, all of the articles were returned to their original places, and the white paper was left for the next class. Everyone was anxious for the film to be developed.

As soon as I received the finished photographs, I gave the students small scrap pieces of white poster board to mount their creative masterpieces.

We had many enthusiastic responses when the students presented their artwork in the display case in the main hall. The comments from faculty and other students sounded like this: "How did you think of that?" "What creative kids there are in art!" "How can they come up with these ideas--I never would have known what to do!"

This activity was successful beyond all expectations. The students realized they do have a depth of creativity--all they had to do was get in touch with it. They also realized that the artistic process involves higher level thinking, and many observers realized that as well. The positive comments from many who viewed the display were well received and appreciated by the students. I encourage all educators to put this activity to work for them and their students.
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Title Annotation:craft assignment for high school students using found objects
Author:Pratt, Barbara A.
Publication:School Arts
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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