When I read books I wonder how can I use it in class. Most of the time I think about whether the book will be a good read aloud, a book to use in guided group reading, a certain student will love the book, or will it be good for the Guys Read Book Club. Along comes The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharpand all I think about is “How can I use this book to improve writing in my writer’s workshop?”. Books from Mark Overmeyer, Ralph Fletcher, Lucky Caulkins or Georgia Heard help me be a better writing teacher, but I am taking about how using The Creativity Projectcan alter how students see themselves as writers.
Colby Sharp is a fifth grade teacher in Michigan, and has a wonderful blog called Sharpread. So, a little about the book. Colby Sharp contacted 44 children book advocates, and asked them to contribute two different prompts. The prompts could be written, a photograph, or an illustration. Once the prompts were returned he compiled them and sent every contributor two prompts from someone else. Each person was asked to respond to just one of the prompts. The Creativity Project is the finished product. In the first part of the book are the responses, and the second half are the rest of the prompts.
As I read the responses so many of them I wanted to share right away with my kids. I laughed at so many. Kirby Larson’s response made me stop and reread the ending, and laugh out lout. I cried with many as well. John Schu’s story reminds us about the power of books. Jewell Parker Rhodes’ response is so powerful and sad, but at the same time has so much hope that I reread it a few times. I got VERY frustrated with Dav Pilkey’s response because I didn’t want it to end. I want to know more. When I finished reading the prompts I was excited and in awe of the creativity that exists in children’s literature. These advocated of literacy make my classroom joyful.
So what is next? Right now we are in testing mode. When that is done I will introduce The Creativity Project to my class. I will start small, but small steps become giant strides. Giant strides become The Creativity Project.