Sunday, July 7, 2013

What I'm Reading + Giveaway + Freebie!

The Giveaway:

Winners have been emailed with instructions to send me your mailing address so I can send you your prize! Having a giveaway was fun! I'll be doing more in the future! I have some cute and fun classroom goodies coming from etsy store that will be great for a giveaway! Stay tuned!

I'm linking up with Tales of a Teacherista and sharing "What I'm Reading!
I'm currently reading Mastering Creative Anxiety by Eric Maisel. I picked this book up at the library because it caught my eye right away. "Creating" is listed at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy hierarchy but there is a reason it's at the top. It can be quite difficult! There's a combination of things that can hold people back when thinking and working creatively. This book is awesome for tackling some of these issues! I'm 5 chapters in and I really like the flow,style and clarity of the book so far. This book has 24 lessons to help combat problems that keep people from creativity. Creating can sometimes make a person feel very vulnerable, overwhelmed, inadequate, etc. People can procrastinate, worry that they aren't good enough, have "writer's block", and give up altogether. I have seen this in my own creative life and in my classroom. 

Creative Anxiety in the Classroom: Sometimes when an activity is unfamiliar or requires creating a new idea or displaying an inventive project, some students shut down. I've seen this take place with a range of behaviors from pouting in a corner, ripping up projects, to complete meltdowns. I think the better we are at monitoring and mastering our own creative anxiety, the better we will be at teaching our students how to cope.

Here's a little story about "Taylor:" Two years ago in my first grade gifted class, we were finishing up our author study of Patricia Polacco. This particular group was extremely high achieving and I was always looking for a way to challenge them to go to the next level. It was Friday (which is usually test day) and I thought to myself, "Why am  I going to give them these 3 bubble reading comprehension test that I'm 'supposed' to give them even though they don't challenge them at all?" I had an 'Aha' moment and I'm so glad I did. I broke the "rules" that Friday and instead of taking our weekly test, we did something different during Reading.

With all of the Patricia Polacco books leaning on the board in the background, I had my students close their eyes. I told them that they were all marketing agents for the best advertising company in the country. Patricia Polacco needed their help. Her books were not selling as much and she wanted to hire them to help her sell her books. Their job was to choose a book to sell and make a large poster advertisement.

{Sidenote: I had already taught them advertising techniques (celebrity endorsement, sales and promotions, repetition, bright colors, etc.) when we were talking about persuasive writing. We studied ads in magazines and talked about how the advertisers got their attention. So they were well versed in advertising before this activity. This freebie for this activity is at the end of this post!}

The students were then put in groups and began to excitedly work on their projects. One of my students, Taylor, who was very bright and science-minded started the project very motivated. He was brainstorming all kinds of ideas (ie: "Should we have the principal recommend the book or the librarian?" "Let's have a buy one get one sale!") I was going from group to group scaffolding their learning and helping them bounce ideas off each other. This all went well.

Next, it was time for the execution of the project. After a thought out plan, posters were passed out and students began piecing together their advertisement. 

Taylor began acting aloof, stressed, nervous. I started to get complaints from the group that he "wasn't helping." I came over to the group to investigate the situation when Taylor screamed "I don't want to get fired! I can't do this! I'm too dumb!" 

I should mention that the threat of being "fired" was not a threat that I had given. Taylor was clearly having creative anxiety. Taylor was just as bright and capable as the next student, but he was keeping himself from being successful. Taylor was usually well-mannered and fairly quiet so his behavior was definitely out of character. 

I worried that perhaps I had put too much pressure and placed too much of a challenge for the class, but after I reflected a bit (and in light of reading this book), I realize that he just needed help managing his creative anxiety. His ideas while brainstorming were solid and great but his preoccupation with "failing" kept him from even trying. 

I counseled with him and listened to him as he told me he thought his ideas were dumb and not as good. I asked him to tell me some of his ideas. He told me and I told him that I thought those were really great! I recommended for him to choose one idea and start with that idea. After he calmed down he said he could do that. His project featured a celebrity endorsement from the principal, and an eye-catching Buy One Get One book for Chicken Sunday.He needed the creative project to be chopped into manageable bits to relieve his anxiety. Maisel covers this strategy in the book, can't wait to learn more! 

As I reflected on this project, I thought this would be a great freebie for my blog readers! You can get it for free here! It's a great culminating event for an author study. Depending on your grade level, you could do it as an independent project or group project. I hope you enjoy! 

How do you help your students (or yourself) combat creative anxiety?
Pin It


  1. Thanks for linking up with me! I hope you're enjoying your summer! :)

  2. I nominated your blog for the Liebster Award. Check out my blog for the details. :)

    First Grade Wolves

    1. Thank you! Heading over to check it out now! I'm a little late because I've been traveling!

  3. Hi Bridget! I just found your blog, I’m your newest follower!
    Science for Kids Blog

  4. Hey Bridget,
    Wow! You're sharing some great stuff- I've nominated you for the Leibster Award. Check out my blog for details!
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  5. Hi Bridget! I also nominated you for the Liebster award!! I wrote about it on my blog today. Can't wait to get to know you better! :)

    ♡ Lori

    ♥ Owl in a Vowel Tree Blog ♥

    ✎ Owl in a Vowel Tree TPT ✎

  6. Hi Bridget!

    I also wanted to nominate you for the Leibster Award! Love your higher order thinking! Since Karli already nominated you, you don't have to answer my questions but just know I think you're awesome, too! You can still check out my link!

    First Grade and Flip Flops

    1. Ha! Saw that Wallis, did, too! :-) Yay for you!

  7. Hahahahahahahahahah. So many Liebsters ...


Thanks for commenting! Teach on, teacher friend!