I Couldn't Stop Making Art

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Our goal at Short Pump Middle School is to encourage our students and teachers to tap into their natural creativity in and out of school.  To help our teachers begin that work, we invited Noah Scalin to come in at the start of the year and share his thoughts on “Creativity as a Practice.”  During his session, he shared his experience with his year-long “Skull-a-day” project and the lessons learned through it.  At the end of our session, he challenged our staff to give the CreativeSprint a try.    

From an educator’s perspective, I enjoyed finding ways to apply each day’s topic to the content being taught in school.  We [the leadership team] also enjoyed seeing what our teachers created and how they applied it to their instruction.  Many teachers began using the daily emails as warm-ups for their lessons.  

On a more personal note, I anticipated that my favorite part of the sprint would be the actual creating of art each day.  What I discovered was that it was the process of coming up with an idea that was most exciting.  I decided to give myself an extra challenge of incorporating a musical into each day of the sprint  which- at times- was a little challenging.  What amazed me was that- as each day passed- the ideas came quicker.  I remember one particular day where we were challenged to pick a work of art that inspired us and interpret it/recreate it. I couldn’t get home quick enough from work that day to create my version of Renoir’s “Two Girls Looking at an Album”  with my daughters.  

“Creativity as a Practice”   That phrase perfectly captures the effect that the sprint has on your life and work.  When you practice creativity, your eyes are open to opportunities around you.  It immediately pays off in your job.  After the sprint officially ended, I couldn’t stop making art.  I found myself searching for leftover materials that I could recycle into artwork.

Jennifer Maddux @jamaddux1

Associate Principal, Short Pump Middle School Henrico County Public Schools

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