Part of the Goals 2010 Challenge Series, Goal 15 and the Cool Sites Series
As we get older, we tend to leave our creative selves behind and take ourselves too seriously. Our hobbies can provide us with inspiration and release. This year I plan on being more creative by making time for my other loves- art, music, and creative writing. The short-term goal is to aim to write poems, prose, or short stories at least once a week until the process becomes a habit. I will start today by writing at least one poem. What else do you love to do than teach? Perhaps, you used to cook, act, sculpt, mold, play the guitar, write poetry, or paint? What can you do today to encourage yourself to inspire your creativity again?
As an educator, I also believe in inspiring students to seek their creative outlets. I believe that creative arts programs reach many at-risk students who do not succeed academically. Being creative allows them to express themselves when they might otherwise be reserved. Moreover, creativity helps many children stay out of trouble and gives them a way to believe in themselves. The most incredible experience of my life was organizing a creative arts program, ETHOS. ETHOS was an alliance of slam poets, artists, and musicians that volunteered to provide their talents to improving the surrounding community. We won an award for our summer youth program at the SAMMinistries, which is a homeless shelter. Here are two of the events that brought tears to my eyes. A very talented musician, Ron Horne, ran one program where the children were able to drum on pots, pans, and chairs to make a group song while he sang. The children were so excited! You can hear Ron singing on this inspiring website he created about his organization, the Texas Youth Word Collective. I am excited to see that Ron continues to give to the community through creative arts programs! On another day, my friend, Rod C. Stryker, who is a published poet, and my friend, John Marsden, a musician, worked with me to have the children create and recite their own original poetry. Each child was given a metal cookie pan and worked with magnetic poetry. After crafting their poems, they were able to read them aloud on a microphone. Some of the children played their homemade instruments in the background. The children really enjoyed this summer program and we were glad to provide them with a few moments of joy.
Web 2.0 has revolutionized creativity. Now, students can share their works with a wider audience and collaborate on creative projects. Below are a list of various websites to help you or your students be creative!
These are some of my favorite writing resources.
- Twitter Magnets- Create poetry on Twitter! This website works like the magnetic poetry pieces on your refrigerator. You get a choice of words, piece them together while listening to tranquil music, then tweet the poem if you choose. I heard of this wonderful website via @NMHS_principal.
- NanoWrimo- If you write novels, try this free yearly contest. For the month of November, you are encouraged to write 50,000 words of a novel for a certificate and prize. If you do this as a class, you may be able to get Alpha Smart Neos for all your students that month! What I love about this site is that it is social with several tools to help inspire you and your students to complete the project.
- ScriptFrenzy-Another social contest like NanoWrimo, except you have to complete 100 pages of a script during April. You may write any type of screenplay, stage play, TV show, short film, comic book, graphic novel, or adaptations of novels. You also have the option of doing this with your students and borrowing Alpha Smart Neos if you register by February 28th.
- One Word- You are given one word and sixty seconds to write about it. When you are finished, you have the option to publish this to your blog or on Facebook.
- Write Rhymes- students who are writing poetry can find more words that rhyme! Check out Kelly Tenkely’s blog post for creative ways to integrate this tool into a lesson!
- Word Magnets- Mix text up and create new stories, poems, and more. You have a variety of backgrounds and graphic organizers to choose from. Visit Nik Peachey’s post for more ways to use this amazing tool!
- Penzu- A free place to keep a journal or your writings. You can choose to make them public or keep them private with encryption codes.
- Character Chart- This chart will help your students flesh out their characters.
- Seventh Sanctum- This website provides 100s of generators for helping with creating Anime characters to finding plots for your movie or story.
- Cliche Finder- Are you searching for a cliche but only remember a word? Try this search engine.
- The Story Starter- Another generator that provides a sentence to get you started with your story.
- Creativity Tools- Find more generators, including a fantastic tool to help you come up with realistic names for characters. This generator asks for specifics like the census year and gender.
- How to Create a Writing Challenge Using Google Docs- This video and blog post will show you the tools that can help you create a writing challenge for your students.
- 49 Free Online Reference Tools for Freelance Writers- If you haven’t found what you are looking for check these resources, which include a variety of dictionaries such as the slang dictionary.
- Is That A Narrative in Your Pocket- Several Iphone Apps for digital storytelling.
If you or your students are musicians or just like music, then these resources will be helpful.
- BlipFM- If you like to find new music or share music, then this social site is for you. You can dedicate the music to people on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and more! You can listen to my playlists.
- Youtube Instruments- Play the guitar, piano, organ and many more instruments on Youtube. Music lovers will love this channel of interactive instruments. Try playing the Youtube Piano.
- Noteflight- An online editor that helps you compose complicated songs on sheet music! Read more about Noteflight and other online music editors here.
- LilyPond- Free musical notation software that has so many features, including being compatible with MAC, pc, and Linux. Read about this amazing software here!
- Absolute Sound Effects Archive- You may like to host your own podcast and need background music or sound effects. Here is a resource with many sounds for free!
- Classik TV- Create music videos or films with subtitles! Russell Stannard recommended this as a top tool for students to make videos.
- Audacity- For my Mac I use Garage Band for podcasting and creating music, but for my PC you can download Audacity for free! See Russell Stannard’s tutorial on using Audacity.
- Musipedia- This website allows your students to edit any information on various tunes, melodies, and musical themes. You can also whistle a tune or play the tune on a piano and Musipedia will identify the tune for you.
- Copyright Friendly Wiki- Find creative common images and sounds for multimedia projects.
- 30 + Places to Find Creative Commons Media- This has incredible sources for finding music.
- Inudge- Cool tool to create music by selecting various sound patterns with your mouse.
- Museeca- A search engine for music lovers. Search guitar tabs, mp3s, lyrics, ringtones, and music videos.
If you or your students are artists, then these websites will be helpful.
- Animata- Free software for editing and creating brilliant animation films.
- Canvastic- An easy tool for students to paint. Students are able to playback how they painted their masterpiece.
- Artpad- Similar to Canvastic where students paint and can playback. However, you can select frames and this has a nicer look.
- Artsonia- Kids can display and sell their art on this online museum.
- Mac Mosiacs- This free software turns your photos into mosaics.
- Playful Learning Experiences- This wonderful site provides you with many activities in writing and arts and crafts!
- Artopia- Teachers can create art galleries of students work. See Kelly Tenkely’s post for classroom application ideas.
- Odosketch- Another easy tool for students to sketch and draw. For more information see David Kapular’s post.
- Sketchcast- Students can draw in several different colors, add text, narrate the drawing, and embed it into a wiki or blog.
- VoiceDraw- Draw with sound. For more information see David Kapular’s post.
- Doink- Students create free animation videos. See Chickensaltash’s blog for classroom applications.
- Art, Drawing and Art Educational Freeware- Whatever your students want to do artistically you can find a free tool on this website!
- Best Artsites for Learning English- Larry Ferlazzo provides you with many tools and explains why they made his best list.
Dedicate time to something you enjoy doing aside from teaching or support your students’ creative hobbies with one of these resources!
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This is goal 15 of this series! If you’d like to join the challenge, please read this post with more details!
Don’t forget to leave a comment that you accomplished this goal using the hashtag #30Goals!
Have you witnessed the power of creativity to inspire youth? Tell us about it!