Creative Thinking Journals

It has been a while since I last blogged! The Summer term has been pretty busy.

So, after a a blogging hiatus, I thought I’d celebrate the end of the year in style. Well, by writing a blog at least.

After another successful Primary Rocks chat on Twitter a few weeks ago, I had a couple of people (@Y6Teacher and MissSMerrill) ask about how Creative Thinking Journals work in my Year 5 class. I aim, in the post, below to share how they work, why we do them and hopefully begin to tease out the benefits.

Firstly, in our school like in many other schools, homework is a bit of a devisive beast. Some parents and children love it and want more; others hate it a wish it would vanish like members of the family when it time for someone to wash up after a Sunday roast dinner. This year, the class LSA and I embarked on a bit of a mission to try and create a homework which children enjoyed and relished completing. And so the Creative Thinking Journal was born! Before moving on I must say that the class LSA is somewhat of an Art specilaist, spending a huge amount of time and effort developing her skills and talents. This has helped as the children have been inspired by her brilliance and my attempts to try and match her creativity.

How It Works

At the start of the year the children were given a decent quality art sketch book. They were told to cover it however they liked; photos, newspaper, drawings etc. We then covered their books in clear plastic to ensure they lasted the year. This in itself got the project off to a great start as some of the children went wild. I haven’t got any photos but their ideas were brilliant.

Each week the children then receive a short prompt which is stuck in their books (See pictures below for examples). The book ‘Wreck This Journal’ was a great starting point; however, thinking up different ideas wasn’t difficult once we started.Some weeks we included a larger prompt and slightly longer piece which we dicsused at the end of an Art lesson.

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Each prompt is followed by a short discussion, an ideas brainstorm and the sharing of two examples completed by myself and the LSA. Even though the emphasis has been on creativity, we wanted to at least give them an example of what we expected. We found that not only did sharing examples lead to an improve qaulity of work when compared to the previous year’s Journals, BUT in addition it actually seemed to lead to more creative ideas. Why this was the case I am not sure. I’m sure someone expert would know but I reckon that having an idea of what the final piece COULD look like allowed them a point of reference when coming up with something different, creative or imaginative.

Here are a selection of photos of some of the pieces handed in. Hopefully, the work shows why it has been worth the effort getting the Journals of the ground again this year. We were pleased with how the children engaged in the tasks and the quality of work produced.

Any thoughts, ideas or comments are welcome. Thanks for reading.

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