Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Creative Space in the Classroom #EdChat

I'm excited about the new additions to my classroom this week. I was lucky enough to get some IdeaPaint for my classroom a few weeks ago. I was excited to have this back wall painted with it so I could have this large space where my students could work, plan and just be creative. Sadly, my plans were not able to unfold due to some problems with the wall I wanted to paint. I was frustrated, by the school's team of awesome engineers came up with a solution that ends up being a win win for me and my students.

The engineers installed two large pieces of particle board on my wall. They look like whiteboards and are just as easy to write on and clean. The boards were up for only two class periods and this is what students did.


You will notice the epic nerdiness of my students in these photos. I assure you that I had no influence over the quotes or pictures the students used. 

It is so awesome to see students get excited at the chance to be creative. A blank canvas and some dry erase markers inspired my students to draw and share their passions. Whether it was by drawing a TARDIS or the symbol for Skyrim, my kids were excited to share. The board is even crazier looking today than it was a few days ago when the picture was taken. Students have really taken to drawing and sharing bits of wisdom. 

Now I have the creative space I wanted, but I have IdeaPaint that needs to be used. I'm excited to take the paint and use it in a couple of places. I will be painting the door between the two pieces of particle board and I will be painting my desks as well. Now, my students will have a space to draw right on their desk and will be able to capture their work on their iPads using Evernote. This is perfect! 

As much as I love tech for certain aspects of my personal and professional life, I also just love to draw things out. It helps me think through various issues and plan my writing. I know that this is true for my students as well. The IdeaPaint will now allow my students to draw their ideas out and save them into Evernote. All of this can be done without the need to scrap paper. More trees will be saved!

The Plan:

The left wall will be used for planning. This is where groups can get together and plan out larger ideas for their projects. They can use it for story boards or large mind maps if they want. It is a work area for the groups that can't get all of their ideas out on their desks. 

The right wall will be the creative space. This will be reserved for students that need a place to doodle or share some art from their brain. It will be for before or after class use, but it will be their space. The board will be refreshed every Monday, so students are encouraged to take pictures, leave comments and support the work of their peers. It's a fun chances to bring some art into the classroom and I feel I can have some really great writing prompts created based on the art my students put up. 

The door is going to be a place for goals, dreams and quotes. I want this to be where students can write down what they aspire to be or do with their life. It can serve as a constant reminder of why they do what they do. This might be my favorite idea for using the IdeaPaint. 

These are just some of the things I plan to do with the creative space I know have in my class. What would you do with this space? I would love to hear from you. 




  1. So inspiring - thank you. I work at a school where we have tables which can be written on with dry-erase marker. This has been great for group brainstorming and writing - many markers, one canvas. Your idea of using Evernote as a way for students to collect and keep this work is brilliant. I also like your idea of having a space set aside for goals, perhaps one of my tall windows would serve that purpose...

  2. Great ideas. I especially like the specified areas. For the past couple of years, I've wanted to get some Idea Paint and paint the desktops, similar to what @Mr. Crandell-Tanner has set up. The idea of using Evernote to capture them makes sense, especially since Evernote can search their hand-written notes in pictures. Did you pay for the paint yourself, or were you able to use school funds to purchase it?

  3. Nick
    A couple of ideas: 1) Draw a web/diagram/railway map on the board, then pick a place/thing/sentence more or less at random (e.g., open a book & point with eyes closed) to write somewhere on web; have students write at intersections & then write (poem, essay, directions, instructions, story, whatever) based on completed web/diagram/map.
    2) Rig up a pendulum &/or compass with a marker on it to make geometric figures on board; then let students play around with it. They might draw a map in a geometric figure and write about the town/country/whatever that is mapped. ("Treasure Isosceles Triangle" maybe?)Or create an invention. Whatever. Having the constraint of the figure could make for some interesting writing.
    Sally Canzoneri

  4. This is a great idea for the classroom. It's been popular for some time in office meeting rooms for exactly the same purpose; brainstorming ideas. You can buy rolls of removable sticky-back dry erase surface to turn any wall into a giant whiteboard so it's quite possible to implement this idea without needing to drill holes in anything or paint anything.


Please post your thoughts here. Thanks!