Creativity Squashing

An administrator said to me the other day that second grade is around the age where we teachers "squash kids' creativity." He didn't say it in a mean or accusing way at all, but it really made me feel sad. Because it's true. With our 2 1/2 hour devoted language arts block and hour writing block and hour and a half math block (these things are sacred at our school... don't even think about messing with them), there's hardly any time for anything else....(let alone science, social studies, P.E. art, recess, saying good morning to each other, or breathing...)

With our Open House fast approaching, my mind has been going a million miles a minute thinking of all of the projects and fun stuff we need to start finish in a week...! This thought came to me in the middle of the night (do you get ideas in the middle of the night too??? As in, sit up, have an amazing thought or lesson or idea, and jump up to find a piece of paper to write it down on so you don't forget...?).

I want to do a photography art gallery for Open House. 

I sent home a letter to all of the parents asking them to donate one picture frame for their child to use for the project. It can be any shape, size, or color. So far, I've had a hodge podge of frames come in (and I love the hodge podgy-ness of it all :) 

We've been using our iPod Touches to take pictures around our school. Of objects. Not people. We talked about the subject of pictures, quality of pictures, framing, and all that photography-like stuff (that I actually have no idea about). BrainPop has a great video on photography too! (It can help you sound like an expert like I did...)  

We took our pictures (NOT during LA, writing, or math, of course), and used this amazing app called Snapseed to change and manipulate the photos to create "A moment in time." Sweet, right. 

(This is normally a $4.99 app but we got it for free as one of those Starbucks "App of the Week" cards!!!- look out for these! There's some really good apps you can get for free and there's a new one every week) 

Here are two of my favorite photos!!! (100% taken and created by second graders!) 

"A Ladybug" 

"Swinging on the Swings"

All of the kids are going to choose their best photo, and I'll print them out for them. Then we'll put the pictures in our frames and display them at our photo gallery at Open House.

I can't wait to see if how this all comes together. 

You wouldn't even necessarily need iPods to this... this project could be done with a few digital cameras (I've had parents donate old ones), or even disposable cameras. Anything that the kiddos can get their dirty hands on. :-)

And I'm hoping, this will help not squash their creativity. :)

Do you have any good ideas or things you do for Open House!?!? I'd LOVE to hear them!!!!!  


  1. Those look great! Love the photos.

    You could have a "Meet the Artist" thing to go with the photos and have the kids write about themselves. Or even go a step further and have the kiddos interview each other, like a newspaper review to go with their photos.

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  2. I'm super impressed by those pictures! What a great project that they'll always remember!

    Tales of An Elementary Teacher

  3. So cool!
    Who was clicking the doo-ma-flotchy on the camera??? I would be to "a-scared" to do that!

    Going Nutty!

  4. very cool! I've worked at a school where they taught different artists. They then painted a picture in that style. They mounted them and what not voted on the best ones and then had an art auction. You wouldn't believe how much money they raised! Even the kids that were selected for the auction had an opportunity to sell their pictures afterwards. It was a really great fundraiser!


    Mon-"stars" of 2nd Grade

  5. That's a great idea. I love those two pics.


  6. What font do you use in your posts? It actually shows up on my ipad.

  7. I LOVE your idea, no creativity squashing going on there ! I completely relate to what you are saying, I have taught a long time and feel every year my creative input is squashed a little bit more (by admin, the govt., new curriculum, I could go on.) I love your ideas and hope your Open House goes well !

  8. LOVE this idea, I think I might have to borrow it!

    Primary Punch