Monthly Archives: April 2019

Sunday’s For Teachers: A Lesson In Creativity

If you are looking for cool graphic novels or comics to teach, check out my 365 Reviews here.

Last night, me, Kori, Jason, and Kait went on a short road trip to Milwaukee to see one of my favorite bands: OK GO.

Hearing about this show a few months ago, I wanted to make sure I was there.  It was billed as OK GO playing along to 20 of their videos with audience interaction and surprises.  To make it even cooler, there are not a lot of these shows around the country.  Check out their website; you have to wait or travel to see these guys, so I was stoked that they were bringing their brand of creativity to our backdoor.

When we entered the Pabst Theater, which is beautiful, by the way, we were met with a merch booth and some info on the OK GO Sandbox Project which, according to the band’s website, “an online resource for educators that uses OK Go’s music videos as starting points for integrated guided inquiry challenges allowing students to explore various STEAM concepts.”

And through the Sandbox program, OK GO is currently hosting a STEAM contest for two lucky student teams to create art in space!  Really.  Check out that contest here.  And hurry up; the deadline is May 5th.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see of the most creative bands in the world, using their talents and means to help, support, and inspire students and teachers across the world.  OK GO has moved into the slot of my favorite band, and it happened last night.

And it’s not just because they make it rain confetti every ten minutes.

Searching for new, original storytelling methods, I occasionally come across individuals that are breaking the template of what we know as normal.  Take this concert for example.  Last night, OK GO had us download an app, which was a three-button sound device in a particular color.  Then, we played along with with them, on our devices to “What To Do.”

Hard to see here because I was more concerned with playing than photoing, but the big screen cued us like a certain music video game that was not mentioned because of copyright laws, putting us in the center of the action.  I’ve never experienced anything like this at a concert.  Too fun.  Never have I lost track of time like this at a show: didn’t look at my watch once.

OK GO takes what we know about music videos and concerts and creating, and they flip it on its head.

And this is what we need to be doing in our classrooms.  We can all take a lesson or two from this band.  Just watch their short Ted Talk on how they find inspiration for their videos by clicking here.  It’s genius.  And it’s work.  Being creative is not easy, and while it comes easier to some of us, if you are willing to put in some effort, that muscle is there for you to flex.

Last Sunday, I spoke about the Netflix doc on creativity called The Creative Brain.  If you have not spent the 50 minutes to watch that, go do it now, and come back.  I’ll wait…

OK, good.  Not that you’ve seen that, you know that their three main ways to increase your creativity are 1.) doing things that you do not normally do, 2.) stretching the limits, and 3.) failing.  OK GO has a track record of doing all of these things throughout their entire career, and while they might not be the most mainstream band in the world, what they are doing is having an impact on fans across the globe, and that’s not even accounting for how satisfied they must be with what they’ve already accomplished in their young lives.  And if you don’t know what I mean, just go watch their videos…any of them!

What are you doing in your classroom to break the norms?  What are you doing to flip what these kids have known to be education for a decade of their lives?  If you want to get better at this thing we call creativity, you can.  Now get out there and start creating!  And let me know if you want to bounce ideas around.

Happy teaching!


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