Creativity Thrives in Younger Minds

By Michael Culbertson, Wiley Middle School

It's easy to declare that children have a strong imagination. However, how do you accurately measure this? We all have different ideas brewing, different levels of creativity inside of our heads, but how do we get those ideas to exist or be spoken into existence? Some children aren't presented the adequate resources to achieve this, but thankfully through ArtistCorps and the imagination of the kids at Wiley Middle School, the kids were given an opportunity to understand the creative storytelling process.

Every story can be summarized into three acts. The introduction to the character/conflict, the adventure, and the resolution. Every story follows this structure. At Wiley, we wanted to demonstrate how simple it can be, and everyone does this whether they realize it or not. We presented a simple task: create a person. There was a hands-off approach to this. Give them vague instructions that allows room for creativity to flourish. The character could look however they wanted. Lizard eyes, blue skin, spikes for hair, whatever their heart desired. This is a technology class, so they utilized the resources on their computers to achieve this. Once this was done, they gave their characters friends, told us where they were from or currently live, told us personality traits or hobbies, and a problem that they deal with. They unknowingly created the first act of a story! To help them understand, we went through popular animated films and used the same structure we presented them to help connect the dots in other movies.

Kids that were usually shy and soft-spoken became more engaged when we asked them to explore their mind and create life with a character. The creativity is always there, but sometimes, you need a little inspiration or a push to bring this out. Wiley is full of creativity, and maybe they'll pursue more creative opportunities outside of the classroom.

November 14, 2017