Grow Creative Minds with a Garden of Learning

Flowers in a school yard can grow a garden of learning.

Flowers in a school yard can grow a garden of learning.

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

This time of year poses an ideal time to take learning outdoors.

Grow creative minds with a garden of learning by directing your students’ attention to a garden near your classroom window.

No garden?

No problem.

If live flowers aren’t part of your school’s environs, create a garden ahead of these activities by “planting” silk or paper flowers in pots or ground soil outside your room.

Ready, set, grow creative minds with a garden of learning!

Ask kids a question that poses an artistic array of answers about posies!

The question…When is a garden outside our classroom window more than a collection of colorful flowers?

As students begin to ponder your question, invite them to gather with you near the classroom window that looks out on the garden.

Garden of Learning – Garden of Creativity – Point to the garden and ask your class to silently observe the flowers.

Tell the students that you want them to look for a garden of creativity.

Some may question what you mean by a garden of creativity.

Reply that you’re looking for ideas on how students might see the garden through the eyes of a poet or storyteller, a painter, dancer, actor, or music-maker.

Now, what could the garden be besides the bed of pretty flowers planted outside?

Allow some time for students to spontaneously offer thoughts and suggestions.

Leave room for open-ended conversation to encourage creative thinking.

Then take the lead and tell the class that you have some answers of your own PLUS a choice of activities to follow, as detailed below.

Please note: These activities are age-appropriate for fourth and fifth grade students but may be modified for younger children.

Answers for growing minds:

A garden is more than a collection of planted flowers when we choose to make it…

♣  a garden of wishes to grow in a poem to write, beginning with the line: If flowers were wishes, each garden blossom is…

Distribute notebook paper to your class and ask students to brainstorm about how flowers might be like wishes before they begin their poetry writing.

Help prompt their creative thinking with some ideas that your students can visualize. For example, dandelions are considered to be weeds by many people while others see beauty in the simple yellow flowers.

Could a garden of dandelions be like dreams that others made fun of until the dreams had happy endings?

Do puffy dandelion seeds blow away into dreams when the wind carries them aloft?

Could a garden of multi-colored flowers be like a dream that people of different countries and cultures can live in a peaceful world?

What flowers might have blossomed in the dream gardens of a famous historical figure, like Cleopatra, Emily Dickinson, or Mahatma Gandhi?

When students finish their poetry writing, give them time to illustrate their poems.

They can return to the window that overlooks the school garden and illustrate it as they see it, or they can create an illustration from their imagination.

A garden is more than a collection of flowers when we choose to make it…

♣ grow our minds with inspiration for dance, music and drama.

Offer students maracas to shake as they wave flowers in a breezy garden of creativity.

Offer students maracas to shake as they wave flowers in a breezy garden of creativity.

Distribute colored construction paper, scissors, glue and markers for students to cut and assemble flowers that resemble those in the garden.

When their flowers are complete, invite students to stand in a group and wave the flowers as if they were blowing in the wind to the music of maracas.

Invite students to form groups to create, rehearse and present their constructed flowers in small class productions, using a section of the room that you designate as “center-stage.”

Let student groups decide how they want to present their flowers, perhaps through movement and with music with simple instruments, like tambourines or maracas.

Boys in your class may prefer not to construct and present flowers but would enjoy creating and dramatizing weather elements such as the wind.

As time permits, ask students to suggest other activities to share that grow creative minds with a garden as inspiration.

Please send comments about how you grow creative minds.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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