Creativity Corner: Is Creativity Something You are Born With?

by Terry Shay |

Lisa Fitzpatrick shared an assignment she does for Dot Day and I thought readers would find it interesting. At the beginning of the year, her students studied the characters in the book, The Wanderer by Sharon Creech. They were asked to create characterization dots based on how those characters  evolved throughout the story. You can view the assignment here.

At the end of the year, the kids create two dots and a narrative essay. Here are her directions:
“For this end-of- the-year project, you will be asked to perform the following:

  1. Create two dots. One will represent “you” at the beginning of the school year (feelings, accomplishments, challenges, friendships…) and the other will represent “you” today as incoming 8th graders. You may use symbols, words, designs, etc. to express those traits and emotions. You may use paper, clay, computer graphics tools, or any materials of your choosing. You MUST try to be as creative as possible. You can do this! GEM (Go the ExtraMile)!
  1. Write a personal narrative essay. You will construct an essay describing your experience as a 7th grader and the changes that occurred throughout the year (personal/academic). Please  consider the following list of ideas:
  • Friendships (new or existing)
  • Successes
  • Challenges
  • New and/or improved skills
  • How did you make your mark at Pennington?”

Here are some examples:

Find Lisa on Twitter @LBFitz3

Is creativity something you are born with or can it be cultivated over time?

I asked some friends the question above. Here are their responses:

“Everyone is born creative. We are born with curiosity and imagination. However, at some point, many of us stop being as curious or imaginative. I’m not sure exactly why- I think we start following formulas and rules. We learn how to think. Cultivating creativity, to me is a combination of learning what works as well as engaging your imagination into what is possible. Doing the work to make those ideas happen is the creative process.” Arree Chung

“Creative” is usually considered “artistic” but that is wrong. I truly believe everyone is “creative”, it just manifests itself in different ways. And yes it needs to be watered like a flower or worked out like muscles you want to make stronger. Lori Richmond

“Humans are creative beings. We make, we improve, and we solve. We are born with few instincts compare to other animals, but our brains are tremendously capable. It has billions of neurons forming complex networks. If networks aren’t used, they go out. But new networks are created all the time, regardless of age. We are able to learn and create throughout our lives. The capacity to be creative is in us all.” Stacy McAnulty

We are all creative, it just takes on different forms for different people. I think some people are born feeling more comfortable expressing their creativity, while others need help opening that door.” Ruth Spiro

All of the responses to this question can be viewed HERE

The First Group of Dot Day Creators

International Dot Day started in 2009 at my school in Traer, Iowa. There were other people celebrating around the country. The first group to participate were in fourth grade at the time. The elementary counselor, Teresa O’Meara and I gathered the group and made dots and then Mrs. O’Meara used the book as a launching point for talking about “making their mark.”

When Peter H. Reynolds was at our school last year, we took a photo of those original kids who were then in eleventh grade and in chorus.

I asked those fourth graders, who are now seniors to talk about what it meant to be in that first Dot Day group and what it means to them today. Here are their thoughts:

Morning Book Club Recommendations


Book connections:
Samantha Berger @bergerbooks
Martha Brockenbrough @mbrockenbrough
Tad Carpenter@TadCarpenter
Dave Pressler @DavePressler
Chelsea Clinton @ChelseaClinton
Dev Petty @devpetty
Lauren Eldridge @eldridgestudio
R. J. Palacio @rjpalacio

Orchard @orchardbooks ‏
Philomel @PhilomelBooks ‏
Arthur A. Levine @AALBooks ‏
Little, Brown @littlebrown

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