In my Geography class, I have my students pretend they are tourists in Mexico City for part of the lesson. I make them put the desks together and they have to climb in like they are entering a cab. As we drive through the city, they have to listen to comments that were made by the tour guide, to develop a conclusion about life in Mexico City. The students seem to like this activity, partly because they get to move around for a couple of days and partly because it allows them to take more ownership of their learning.
The Independent Learning Center is a credit-recovery prgram. We just started using an on-line program called OdysseyWare with some of our student. The mutimedia cirriculum creates students interest with 3-D animation, video clips, audio files and educational games.



For our Daily Eye Opener activity, to get “brains in gear” in the morning, I have a daily prompt on the Promethean Board. It is like a Quick Write topic, kids spend about 5 minutes writing, and then we share. We talk a lot about being “original” and trying to come up with an idea that “nobody else will think of” . Some examples are, “One day, I was cleaning my closet and I discovered a locked box…” “ This morning, when I opened a carton of eggs, one of the eggs was cracking open…” If a pencil and a piece of paper could have a conversation, what would they talk about. Write the dialogue. I have several writing projects that promote imagination. At Thanksgiving time, the students write about Thanksgiving, but from a turkey’s perspective. It puts a whole new twist on the holiday. How to Encourage Creativity in the Family This looked like a good book, by Amanda Blake Soule Amanda Soule Nancy Block
To practice the language function of describing (an ESL objective), I've been showing students abstract art from a slideshow at the Smithsonian Institute . The art is colorful and has many possible interpretations. I give students some sentence starters for describing like, "It has..." "There is...." "It looks like....." or "It is....." and ask them to describe several of the pictures. Then after we've looked at a few I ask them to describe how the picture feels, smells, or sounds. It's been fun to hear all their imaginative ideas and to see how each student sees each picture differently. After we look at the pictures, they draw a piece of abstract art. No figures, people, animals, or things. It has to be something that people have to guess or imagine about, so colors, shapes, lines, blots... Then they write sentences about each other's art.
As a music teacher, I am always looking for ways to encourage my students to use their imaginations and create music. I was fortunate to attend the TIE conference and wonderful indepth session called "Prairie Winds Writers: the Emergent Learner" taught by Scott Simpson that combined music with creative writing. The session really tapped into my creativity - first we did some free writing as we listened to a recording of music with no words. Next, each individual chose an instrument to use create sounds as the whole group improvised a song. We then had a discussion about what we just experienced. Later in the session, also while listening to music and a slide show of images playing in the background, we picked from a stack of poetry books, chose a line from a poem and used that line as inspiration for more free writing. We could share our line with others and in turn could incorporate their lines into our poems. It was a very different way to be creative and learn about ourselves. Possiblilities and learning emerged freely. Here is the link to the Prairie Winds indepth session wiki page and our improvisational recording for anyone interested.
I was looking for some sites to help with our older students (some with learning problems) in identifying and working with solving school related problems. Hopefully they will use it as they move on to the next level of education or on the job,
This site is especially good for older teens trying to solve some issues they are dealing with.
Since I was require to read this is college, I have had cetain students along the way use it as a resource as well. I also use several of the techniques in my daily instruction. Believe it or not, I have also had students with test anxiety or in sports that I thought would benifit. There is alot of more to this book than only visuallization and imaginging an out come to make it happen - but that is certainly powerful enough! I strongly recomend either of the following books to anyone dealing with perfromance anxiety! "The Inner Game of Tennis" or "The Inner Game of Music"
When we start our cooking labs in 7th grade FACS class. I always review the parts of the recipe first and then we read through all of the recipes we are going to attempt to make in class. While I am reading, I always have a cooking group go into the kitchen and use their imagination and prior experience to demonstrate how to complete this recipe. They do not actually have any food or cooking untensils. They must pretend with motions and sounds to help the audience figure out what they are doing. It is fun for those doing it, especially if they are creative or have a good imagination. It is also very humerous and entertaining for those of us who are watching the whole process.
Imagination is to form images in which we have of memories that are created in our minds. Our minds continually create images which is the beginning of thinking. Everything comes from our imagination. I used the book, "The Very Silly Shark" which is a flap book. I introduced the book by asking questions about the ocean. I knew some of the kids have never been even close to an ocean, but they knew how big a lake was. I then asked, "What things live in the ocean? These are special animals that live in salt water". I then read the book. They were surprised when the pictures of the sea animals extended out of the pages. The pictures were very well done. Their imagination, for example, of seeing the octopus extending out towards them was terrific. The kids could hardly wait for you to turn the next page to see what was next. Imagination takes us out of our world and into another world. Our imagination cannot be mastered, it develops with ideas.
I am taking a writing workshop class this semester with a strong focus on the craft of writing using ways with words and structure as explained by author Katie Wood Ray in her book Wonderous Words. We were required to write in a Writer's Notebook/Journal for a specific time and amount of entries. This was incredibly difficult for me at first and I had empathy for my students who say the I-Don't-Know-What-To-Write-About. However, by learning more about the craft of writing I was able to let go and use my imagination in my writing. That made all the difference in the world. Sharing texts of authors who write with great imagination and using the writing workshop procedures may help students "find" theirs again.
I feel some of the ideas that I have learned over past years in Writing for Learning and the guided reading program could also be used to increase imagination and visualization. I utilized Quick Writes often when I had middle-schoolers. The teacher takes an excerpt from the reading and displays it to the class. This exercise hits on prior knowledge and connecting with the text, but the student could also take a line, or a few words to conjure up an image. They could then write or draw about the idea and share it with the class. A teacher could do the same with double-entry journalizing on a novel. I think it's key for the teacher to model with any age of students. I found a few websites that give examples and tools to assist the teacher in increasing imagination/visualization/imagery or day dreaming! Here they are:

I love to do class opening activities that get their brains in gear and thinking before we start our class assignments/reading/etc. I try to switch things up so that every student can have a chance to excel ~ math activity, word jumbles, frame games, word/picture puzzles. One of my favorites is the frame game. I have copied these and put them up on my Promethean Board. Sometimes I have them do it separately and sometimes in a group so they can discuss their options/ideas for the answer and why one is better over the other. It really gets discussion started for the hour and gets them in the "thinking" mode. Here are some links for some of what I use: The ones on this page might need a little more time so I like to do them about once/twice a month in groups ~
During our poetry unit, we talked about rhyme, rhythm, syllables, and meter. To encourage students’ understanding and engage their creativity and imagination, I groups of students to rewrite the words of a song. As a class we created unique versions of Elvis’ Love Me Tender--- “Macaroni and the Cheese. . . makes me say please please. . .”. We worked extensively to make the lyrics match the beat and rhyme accordingly. Then, students performed them for the class. Who knew 6th graders could be such great song writers! J
A writing project I did with 5th graders was a great way to spark imagination. They chose 10-15 pictures from a magazine of people of all ages and both genders without knowing the purpose for the pictures. When the pictures were chosen, I told them these pictures were now the people in their "Fake Family Album". The students loved using their imagination to create family members and personalities for these people. We had some rules for grammar usage, similies, metaphors etc,. that needed to be included in each, and we bound and decorated the books into Family Albums. It was always a very fun project that let the kids go wild with imagination and creativity. (I had a mother and former student mention it fondly to me at high school graduation this past weekend!)
I try to encourage students to use their imaginations in different ways. When I was teaching preschool I would make a tour bus and have a student pick someplace to go. For example if they picked the zoo I would have each child take their seat on the bus and then each person would have to tell me about an animal they saw. They then had to draw the picture of the animal and help me write a story about it. The older preschool class could try to guess how to spell some of the words. They then could read the books to others.

I have been really excited about how my special needs students have embraced story writing. Grammar was getting very redundant for them and our goal was to get the students to write more. Throughout this semester we have used a variety of writing prompts from this website as well as others. My students have loved writing their own stories based on the prompts. In addition, after studying Greek myths, they have created their own myths. I have to admit that I was more than impressed with their imaginations and their willingness to write. It has been more fun and meaningful for them and as a result I've enjoyed the class more. We will definitely continue to add this type of prompt writing to our grammar class on a very regular basis.
With my first graders I use visualizing. I read lots and lots of books throughout the year. I start by showing them the pictures and talking about what I see when I read the book. I then take the pictures away and ask them what they are seeing while I am reading.
Helping expand imagination I thought this article was interesting. Brent Hepker


Earlier this year, one of my 8th grade students actually commented that we rarely ask kids to be imaginative anymore. He wished that someday a teacher would just give students a pile of materials and simply say "create". I took his insight seriously and pulled out a lesson we haven't had time for in several years called "junkyard wars" (after the TV program). I gave groups of 3 an envelope filled with whatever extra materials we had on hand. This time it included a foam cup, straw, popsicle stick, string, balloon, and a few other items, plus a limited amount of tape. The objective was to create a glider that could travel at least 10 feet (suspended on a string) and then drop a marble in the bucket at the end. At first they were hesitant, but quickly got in the spirit. It always surprises me which groups of kids (generally not the traditional straight A kids) create the most effective machine. At the end they have fun demonstrating their work and explaining their theory behind it. Alissa Hugelman