Tuesday, 1 December 2009

My favourite activities in my books....

One book at a time (and every now and then) I think! Outside the Box aims to provide creative thinking and problem solving activities for teachers to use with primary aged children. I used these activities when I was a teacher. These books have done really well and make me very proud (is that Ok to admit?)

My favourite activities in Outside the Box 9-11:
• Museum of the Moztecks – I give a description of an extinct civilisation and pupils make museum displays about their lifestyles and artefacts
• I give a slightly surreal environment and the pupils have to make up a plant, herbivore and carnivore that might exist in it
• Disastrous Desmond (who could cut himself on jelly) – the kids make up lots of details about him.
• School exchange – pupils choose from four bizarre creatures that have strange behaviours (e.g. muddle 'yes' and 'no', has a extremely loud burp, can turn himself into a sign with an arrow on it etc) and write the diary of the week they spent with him or her.
• A revolting menu – I give a list of revolting ingredients like ear wax, dandruff, slug slime, old socks) and some language typically used on menus, (succulent, mouth watering, exquisite) and pupils make up a menu - they used to love this!
• School report – I give an example of a school report for a child that believes she is a spy (e.g. all her paintings use camouflage colours, she only ever taps out morse code rhythms in music, writes in invisible ink in maths etc). Pupils write a report for a child that believes s/he is a clown..etc
• A murder mystery based on photo clues.
• Whigby – does the town want a northern or southern by-pass. Pupils consider the likely views of various residents.


  1. But shouldn't you be doing proper teaching young lady? Love Mrs. Irreverant. Your books rock!!!

  2. The ability to think "outisde the box" is important, and not encouraged or developed nearly enough. IMHO

  3. "Imagination is more important than knowledge". (Einstein)

  4. Perhaps I could use some of these with the managers at work?

    Oh no, I see it's for 9 to 11 year olds - way too complex then.

  5. You have clearly put some time into Myers-Briggs personality asessments.

    Have you ever looked at adaptive vs innovative creativity, and what it imples for one's world view?

    I think you are very high on the innovative side of things. I too am quite innovative, but less so than you I think.

    There is a gender bias in that females tend to be adaptive rather than innovative.

    I find these things fascinating.

  6. oh WOW! what a cool and clever and amazing book! i wish i had a teacher like you...or one who'd had a book like this...what a great way to get kids thinking creatively and abstractly! (& YES you should most definitely be proud of having written this!!!)

  7. I want to find out about adaptive and innovative creativity - that sounds really interesting! Bet I'm adaptive as I rarely come up with my own ideas - I just nick 'em! (excessively!).

  8. Oooh yes more on adaptive versus innovative creativity huge please!!!!!!!!

  9. It's probably best if you google Adaptive Innovative Creativity, and read up on Kirton's work. What you get from me will be a shadow of a shadow.

    But as I understand it, your position on the scale depends on to what degree you understand, accept and deal with implicit or explicit constraints, in relation to a (creative, but in fact, any) task.

    The highly innovative person doesn't see the constraints, and in extreme form, doesn't see constraints on dress, behaviour, appearance etc. So the mad scientist who has a big heap of kit on his desk, with a big counting device counting oscillations of a little bit of crystal, says "look, it's a wristwatch" because, in principle, it is, and the turning on the idea into a working protoype is just details.

    At the other end of the spectrum, turning the first car into a modern automobile requires a heap of adaptive creativity. At all times, all the changes were constrained to result in a car.

  10. That makes me think a little of diagonal thinking - James knows more about this - but it's the ability to both linearly and laterally. People in advertising need to have this quality.

    I wear a huge furry matted duffle coat.


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