Tag Archives: Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Sir Ken Robinson

WWW Wednesdays – December 7, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

The Christmas wedding by James Patterson- What I’m currently reading
The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson. I’m reading this book for my upcoming book club meeting in a couple of weeks. The reviews on Amazon are not very kind and so far this book is super easy to read but mostly fluffy and not well written in my opinion. Let’s see where this goes…

- What I recently finished reading
Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative by Sir Ken Robinson. This book was very interesting but I don’t think it went far enough to explain what really needs to be changed about our educational system to help kids get ready for the 21th century economy. I recently found out Robinson’s book called The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything is supposed to be excellent so I’ll be reading it very soon.

Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard. After reading The Lying Game and being sucked into the story of Sutton’s mysterious disappearance and Emma’s awkward replacement for her long lost twin sister, I couldn’t wait to read the sequel. And I’m so glad I did! I read this book in a couple of days and had a hard time putting it down (my kids got in the way…). The mystery continues and unfortunately I just saw there’s not only a #3 but also a #4 book in the works. Argh, I want to know who killed Sutton, although I now have a picked suspect. I hope it’s not whom I think it is though, because I really like that character, but it would make for a very shocking ending. If you like fast paced mysteries and nailbiters, this book is for you, but read The Lying Game first.

- What I think I’ll read next
The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark. I impulsively grabbed it off the shelf at the library since I’m a Mary Higgins Clark fan. It’s supposed to be funny and mysterious, so we’ll see. I love reading books about Christmas this time of year.

My kids’ bookshelf

Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg- What they’re currently reading
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. We’re actually reading the French version right now, called Boreal Express. It’s one of our favorite books about Christmas and the magic of Santa Claus, with beautiful illustrations to go along the sweet story.
- Oliver and Amanda’s Christmas by Jean Van Leeuwen. A cute, short chapter book about Oliver and Amanda getting ready for Christmas. My favorite part? Oliver making a list of 22 toys for Santa, not because he needs them but because he wants them. Jean Van Leeuwen KNOWS kids.
- The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. Two fourth-grade boys who write comic books and love to pull pranks manage to turn their school principal into their superhero Captain Underpants. This is a chapter book with very funny illustrations. My five-year old can’t stop looking at it and asking us to read it. I’d say it’s a hit. Should I add we’re fans of Dav Pilkey? The guy is brilliant.
 
- What they recently finished reading
- Penguin and the Cupcake by Ashley Spires. This is the funny story of a Penguin who decides to head North to satisfy his cravings for cupcakes with pink icing. On his way, he meets Polar Bear and Walrus who can’t help but interrupt the story as they think Penguin’s storytelling skills are a little far-stretched.
- How Chipmunk Got His Stripes by Joseph Bruchac and Raccoon’s Last Race : a Traditional Abenaki Story by the same author. Both books are inspired from Native American stories that explain how the chimpmunk and the racoon managed to look the way they do today. They both start as teasing, arrogant animals who can’t keep promises and learn the consequences of their poor behavior the hard way. These books sure make my kids think about a few things.
 
- What I think they’ll read next
I hope to get more books with a Christmas theme soon.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – November 30, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

I’m working on a “101 in 1001 challenge” update about the past two months and I hope to display my “accomplishments” by the end of this week. I would have loved to do an update for October alone, but just didn’t get the time to do much. Not that I accomplished a lot in November either… Oh well, life works that way sometimes. At least we’re getting to have some good reading, and since it’s part of my 101 in 1001 challenge, I’m getting a few things done! 

My bookshelf

Out of our minds by Ken Robinson- What I’m currently reading
Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative by Sir Ken Robinson. Robinson gives good background data on where our current education system comes from and what it lacks for the new world. I’m not sure where this is going but I’m enjoying the book so far.

- What I recently finished reading
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I just read The Secret Life of Bees so this was a great book to follow up with and I loved it too. The writing was great, I couldn’t put the book down and wanted to know what would happen next. Each character (and there are a lot of them) was very well developed. I’m a little disappointed by the end, where I’d like to have seen a “happier” ending for Abileen because she deserves it so much. Otherwise this is a great story about that era and I highly recommend it.

- What I think I’ll read next
I recently read The Lying Game by Sara Shepard for my book club and I LOVED it! What a suspenseful murder story, but when I started the book, I had no idea it was the first of a series. This means I had no idea what really happened to one of the two main characters at the end of it. But now I’ve got book #2 called Never Have I Ever so I can’t wait to read it. Unfortunately there’s a book #3 and it’s not coming out until… Spring 2012!

My kids’ bookshelf

The gas we pass by Shinta Cho- What they’re currently reading
The Gas We Pass : The Story of Farts by Shinta Cho.  From the same series as the book Everyone Poops, this book explains how humans and animals produce, and eliminate, gas. Funny and instructional.
The Magic Porridge Pot by Paul Galdone. A witch gives a hungry little girl a magic porridge pot that produces porridge upon request, but makes a big mess when her mother tries to use it without knowing the magic words to stop it.
 
- What they recently finished reading
Rotten Ralph Feels Rotten by Jack Gantos. Rotten Ralph comes to appreciate his owner Sarah’s healthy cat food after he gets sick from eating out of trash cans. A good lesson for kids about junk food. Spoiler alert: the vet gives Rotten Ralph medication to make him vomit the bad food… My kids loved this story!
The Last Laugh by Jose Aruego. This hilarious wordless book tells the story of a clever duck outwitting a bullying snake. A good start-up book on bullying for little ones.

- What I think they’ll read next
I picked up a whole bunch of books at the library today, so I’m sure there are a few good ones in there.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – November 23, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

I wish everyone a happy Turkey Day tomorrow. I hope you have many kind people and good things to be thankful for, and get to enjoy a great time with friends and family.

My bookshelf

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

- What I’m currently reading
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I’m a little behind on the bandwagon since everybody I know has already read this book but it took me a while to put it on my to-read list and then get it from the library. A great follow-up book to The Secret Life of Bees I read recently, carrying a similar theme set in the Deep South during the Civil Rights Movement. I’m really enjoying this book so far, especially for a first-time author novel.

- What I recently finished reading
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Ah, what a great book! And if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll really like the book since Goldman wrote the screenplay with Rob Reiner. This is what all fairy tales should be like.

- What I think I’ll read next
Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative by Sir Ken Robinson, after being inspired by Robinson’s speech in a recent post of mine on ADHD and divergent thinking in schools.

My kids’ bookshelf

A turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting- What they’re currently reading
A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting. A very timely and hilarious story about Mr and Mrs Moose looking for a turkey at the very last minute to have for their Thanksgiving dinner. When Mr Moose finds him, the poor turkey panics as he doesn’t realize that his hosts want him AT their table, not ON it.
Little Bear’s Visit by Else Holmelund Minarik. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this short chapter book tells of Little Bear visiting his grandparents for the day. It includes a very funny story about a goblin getting scared in the woods… by his own shoes!
Mail Harry to the Moon by Robie H. Harris. A funny story of sibling rivalry where big brother asks his parents to mail his little brother to the moon. He’s in for quite a surprise when he wakes up the next day and can’t find his brother anywhere… My boys have a great laugh with this one.
 
- What they recently finished reading
Yours Truly, Louisa by Simon Puttock. A very funny book about Louisa the pig who sends her farmer anonymous requests to get him to clean things up around the farm.
A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman. This book has it all: an inspiring story about a frog who really wants to fly, beautiful illustrations and an audio CD. My kids loved it.
Magpie Magic : a Tale of Colorful Mischief by April Wilson. This is a wordless picture book following a young artist who draws a picture of a magpie that comes to life and starts interfering with the drawings. Wordless, mischievous and colorful make it a great read for everyone.

- What I think they’ll read next
My husband just picked up new books at the library this afternoon and I don’t know what they are, so it will be a surprise for everyone tonight! 

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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Follow-up thoughts on ADHD and divergent thinking

After I wrote my post titled Diagnosing a four-year old with ADHD – really? a little over a week ago, I got a very interesting comment from fellow blogger Nancy at nrhatch. (Thanks, Nancy!) She suggested I read her post Changing Education Paradigms where she features a great video from RSA Animate (I love their videos) enhancing a speech from Sir Ken Robinson. In it, he explains how much off-track our education systems around the world really are. His statement is based on the type of workers we need to prepare for the 21th century’s economy, as well as the way a child’s mind works and what type of schooling can bring the best out of our children.

I love the part where Robinson explains that most five-year-olds use divergent thinking (asking questions such as, what if?, why?, why not? ) but by the time they reach their teens, the education system has crushed their divergent thinking and replaced it with the very uninspired, non-critical convergent thinking. Perfect to create quiet, docile plant workers who will follow their leader without questioning, but not much else. And the increase in standardized testing will only reinforce the use of convergent thinking, as divergent thinkers have a hard time answering standardized tests. That’s because every answer has to be either A or B. There’s no more room for creativity, and imagination is being shunned in our schools. As if it was a bad thing to “think out of the box.”

Out of our minds: Learning to be creative by Sir Ken Robinson

Out of our minds: Learning to be creative by Sir Ken Robinson

After working almost 15 years in the corporate world, I can tell you most workers can’t even conceive thinking out of the box. You may think I’m stretching the truth, but spend just one hour in a meeting room with middle to upper management people and you’ll understand what I mean. Quite a shame, since our evolving world and its economic challenges will require just that. New ideas, new concepts, new technologies. And our schools are doing nothing to ensure getting our kids will be ready for this new world.

I’m not sure how we can get it so wrong and why we’re not turning things around quickly enough. I’m afraid it’s our responsibility as parents to make sure our kids preserve their divergent thinking skills, knowing how hard the school system will try to crush them. I’ve ordered Ken Robinson’s book “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative” to find out more about Robinson’s ideas and what I can do for my kids (and a little bit for myself too) to keep in touch with their creative side. I’ll make sure to let you know what I got out of it in an upcoming WWW Wednesdays update.

What do you think about where our educational system is going? Do you think it’s preparing our kids for tomorrow’s world? What do you think can be done to make things right again?

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