primary teachers study group: session one

Posted on: November 10th, 2014 by jnovakowski

Because of the difficult start to our school year, I have been holding off on starting up the after school professional learning series that we host in the district, but our primary teachers study group seemed ready to get going so we had our first session of the year last week. As voted on by the group at the end of the year, we are continuing our professional inquiry into creative thinking, adding in critical thinking as the year continues and the work in that competency develops.

We had a look at how our Ministry of Education is defining the competency of creative thinking and discussing what the three significant facets are – novelty and value, generating ideas and developing ideas. We shared what we used to think about creativity and what we think now – many of us thought that creativity was directly related to artistic ability or creation of a product and now we realize that creative thinking is much broader and crosses curricular lines.


Playful inquiry with materials and ideas is a way to create opportunities for creative thinking. We shared what kind of environment we might need in order for students to be creative, take risks and be innovative. How can we nurture creative thinking in the classroom?


The notion of being creative with ideas, thoughts and words is something that some teachers may explore. Big ideas around story and use of language are important in our classrooms. How might we inspire more creative thinking in students’ storytelling or writing?

Teachers in a study group are able to purchase books at a study group rate. Some years we have used a teacher resource book but for the past few years, we have used picture books to inspire our work. This year we are starting with three titles, each meant to help us focus the facets of the Creative Thinking Competency. The picture books were introduced as starting points for classroom conversations and experiences around the facets of creative thinking – novelty and value, generating ideas and developing ideas.

Here are some ideas that we brainstormed together:

mix it upMix It Up!

by Herve Tullet

Invite students to investigate colour mixing using liquid watercolours, cups, jars or vases of water and eyedroppers.

Add colour to students’ investigations of the properties of matter.

As part of the Mind Up program – watching colours in water and discussing how feelings are connected to colours.

Play with mixing warm and cool colours.

Paint to music, using colours to represent.

Mixing and naming colours, using circles to represent the fractional parts of colours used and mixed.

if you hold a seedIf You Hold a Seed

by Elly MacKay

Introduce the idea of metaphor – that a seed could represent an idea.

This book highlights the notion that things take time to develop and patience and nurturing is needed. An interesting question to explore might be: What do ideas need?

The idea of vision or thinking with the end in mind is also a theme in this book.

what do you do with an ideaWhat to you do with an idea?

by Kobi Yamada

Brainstorm and discuss people’s ideas that have been transformative.

Have students share ideas and inventions that have changed the world or made someone’s life better.

Our next session is in January where will we be sharing some of the ways we have used the books in our classrooms.

Thank you to the Diefenbaker team for hosting us for our first session!



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