Ever sit with an object and tried to figure out all the things it could do?  What noises it could make…  How it could move…  What you could pick up with it…  Then you’ve experienced “poking a box.”

Ever take a camera and shoot a photo of the same thing multiple times?  What angle should you go with…  What setting will work…  What background would be best…  Then you’ve experienced “poking a box.”

Seth Godin’s new book “Poke the Box” is an inspirational plea to society to get creative and get moving.  If you are to change successfully or move ahead, you need to poke the box a little bit.

As I am reading this ebook on my Kindle, I can’t help but think of how this relates to creativity in education and in learning for our students.  Wouldn’t it be great to allow our students box poking time?

I’m thinking of when I introduce percussion instruments to my students as we gather together in a circle for our first experience in a drum circle.  I invite them to try out all the sounds their instrument makes and then share with the class.  This could be the beginning of box poking.

I’m thinking of science lessons where students are expected to conduct an experiment.  Often the experiment is prescribed for them already with a procedure.  What if I allowed students time to explore the materials they have and poke the box a little before designing their own?  Or even if they then did the prescribed experiment, it may mean more after giving them structured free time.

There is a magical element here of creativity in a framework, freedom in structure too.  You may have certain limits, but you are free to explore.

Free to play.  We learn so much when we play

I guess that’s part of what I’m doing this summer myself with the Teacher Art Retreat…I’m poking the box and seeing what happens when I organize time for teachers to get together and create things, to explore materials and art forms, to play, and to poke a few boxes of their own.

~EMP

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