One activity that I have my students do is to write a letter in our musical theater unit imagining they are a character in one of the many musicals that we study. The kids have to write a letter to another character in the musical and describe their feelings about whatever situation/conflict that they find themselves in. The students also write about possible outcomes to their situation not based on the actual outcome of the musical. Students are forced to put themselves in someone else's place and imagine how they would react to given problems and conflicts.

A site that I found to be of use and interest to myself is a website relating to a writing activity that I use about what to do with winning a million dollars and what to do with the money.
After reading a favorite story about the Iditarod and a dog who becomes a hero while racing, I have my students do a writing activity where they are putting themselves in the dog's character. They have to be creative and tell the story from the dog's viewpoint. I am always amazed at how creative my students can be and what they come up with when they think like a dog!
I use a game called Mindtrap to begin lessons. It's a critical thinking game where the answers derive from outside the normal box of thinking. I've found that it makes them think in a different way immediately. The students rarely see it in that manner, but they tend to focus on things from a larger perspective after they take on the challenge of the game.
I looked at a couple of sites, and didn't find a site that had tons of info, but there was one that talked about several ways to work on imagination. The one that I liked best was posing a problem of any sort to the group, and have them come up with different ways to solve the problem and discuss them. I know I've seen things like this where the teacher poses the question, the class works on the problem, reaches consensus, then the teacher tells them what the people in the problem decided to do. Then they can discuss why the different solutions were chosen, the outcomes, etc. I like these because there is no one right answer. Different choices just mean different outcomes. There might be a better choice, but not always. I like the kinds of problems that would be considered "real life", like things about ethics, hard choices, that sort of thing.
Severson Stover
When I taught writing to high school students, I used a book called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick compiled by Chris Van Allsburg (writer of The Polar Express). It's full of amazing and sometimes bizarre illustrations (one is of a seated nun floating through the air in a cathedral while other sisters watch her), but no stories to go with the illustrations...just very brief captions that make the reader say, "Hmmmm?" I would ask students to consider the photo and the caption, and then create a story to "explain" them. Because the pictures and captions are so unique (another one shows a child asleep with small orbs of light coming through the bedroom window, hovering over the child; the caption is "Archie Smith: Boy Wonder ~ A tiny voice asked, "Is he the one?"), creating a quality story was heavily dependent on the imagination of the student.

I am sure many of you have used "Squiggles" in your class. for those of you who have not. It is a simple mind "warm-up". I draw a simple line or shape on a blank piece of paper, which is supposed to be the beginning of my drawing. I tell the students I forgot what the drawing was going to be and they need to finish it. To encourage creativity, I give them each a copy of the Squiggle and they must look at it for 1 minute from each angle and write down at least 5 ideas of what they "saw". When they are done brainstorming, they choose their favorite vision and complete the picture. As a resource teacher, I take this lesson into different classrooms and use a SmartBoard introduction. If I can figure out how to attach a file, I will send it to you, or if anyone is interested, they can just email me and I can send it that way -
At this time of year, I have my fourth graders perform plays. I have several play books about twisted fairy tales and fables. The kids love to come up with ideas for props, costumes, and ad-lib lines. I tell them that their ideas are welcome. They relish the chance to be creative. Even fourth graders like to take empty boxes and make-believe they are castles, turtle shells, etc. We spent last Friday making props, brainstorming together to come up with usable ideas. I also found a website on Thinkfinity that uses fairy tales to make comparisons/contrasts and problem-solving skills. Pat Sjurson

Many times when my class is reading a book together, we discuss the differences between books and movies. Almost always, the students agree that books are better! However, we will often do an exercise where they imagine the book they are reading is a movie. They can imagine the characters, setting, etc. We have also used a similar exercise when writing narratives. I ask them to think of the experience as if it were a photo album and then have them decide which events they would take photos of. These are the important events they should include in their narrative.
One of my absolute favorite books for primary grade students is The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. Besides being absolutely hysterical--seriously, can you read it outloud without busting a gut because I can't and as another side note I think it is really important for students to see us laughing and having a good time--it gives students a springboard to use their imaginations for rewriting other fairty tales.
I teach 5th grade – 8th grade art and I like to add imagination into a lot of my lessons, by letting them think about what it was like to be Pablo Picasso, for example. Why do you think he did some of the things that he did and why did he paint the way that he did. We see images of his and of him and read stories about him and try to image what he was thinking. I also teach the students to look at the images and try to figure out what the paintings are about. I ask them to look at one image in particular “The Tragedy” painted in 1903. Before I tell them anything, I ask them to look at the painting and tell me what they see. They see the water, the cold, the poor, the sad, the people. I then tell them a story that relates directly to the painting and then I ask them to look at the painting again and ask the same question….Now, what do you see? I get answers that are more thought provoking and insightful. It is fun to see them react and to see a real story in the painting.
I have also taught sculpture with found objects. Students have to build a person or animal or something living with recycled items. I show them some images and a few sculptures from previous classes. The lesson revolves around imagining what these recycled items/found objects could become. For example: What could a straw become? What could this old cassette become? Their imaginations run wild and they find themselves helping each other out when they find interesting objects. They even start bring in found objects for me to use in other classes! Lynne Steinley

with my welding I classes i have them design and build a project based on something they could personally use. however they can not copy a design already being produced by another company. they need to think and imagine what they could change to an already made product to make this idea their own. the students need to imagine how their idea would make the product better and more suited to their application of use. the students really enjoy this project, usually the students end up helping each other out to figure out the best way to design their new "patent"
Every year I have my first-graders learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights issues of the 50's and 60's. I try to keep it mild because of their age, but I want to get across the point that we had unfair laws and practices. One activity we do is to separate into groups according to their pets--dogs, cats, no pets, etc. Then I have them imagine what it would be like if our school had a rule that said kids with cats are not allowed to play on the swings, or kids with no pets have to use the water fountain on the other side of the building, etc. I believe this helps them understand that the laws and/or practices that were enforced in some places just absolutely made no sense. Many of their parents will let me know that they had some good discussions at home during this unit.
As I mentioned in my post on the discussion page, I like to have my students create their own utopias while studying the Romanticism Era in American Literature. I put the students into groups and they create their own perfect world and make up their ideal rules and guidelines for living in this place. I am always amazed by some of the very creative and imaginative ideas they come up with!
Every year I take my Advanced Math and some Algebra II students to the Engineering Expo at SDSU. They are to create projects ahead of time which include design products such as balsa bridges, hill climbers, rocket cars, photovoltaic canons, and scramblers. These all have certain specs that have to be met, but the design and how to get to the final result is based as much on their own creativity and imagination as the specs. This is a time that I really see some students show their budding engineering/design selves.
In addition to this annual event, math is an easy discipline to show imagination on a daily basis. When presented with story problems or real world applications, they need to be creative and find the method they feel is the best to find the solution. It is also interesting to see which students want to know the "right way" to do it and others who run with it and find methods that I may not have even thought of doing and it becomes an learning activity for all of us. I think this is wonderful!!
When studying personification I had students write, direct, and tape their own commerical showing personification. The students had a blast and came up with some really great stuff. It covered so many of my content standards and they were in charge. They had some really cute commericals and they truly understodd personification.
Kids can create new species of animals by using Switcheroo Zoo It morphs animal parts. Then the animal can be named and a story can be written about the animal. It encourages thoughts about habitats, specialization and diversity of species. There is a game to build an online habitiat A compatibility meter gives feedback about choices made for precipitation, vegetation, biome, and animal chosen.
In third grade we write How and Why stories (How something came to be the way it is, or Why something is the way it is). For example, a student might write about Why Rabbits Hop. They use their imagination to come up with an explanation for why they do that. In the past, one student wrote that in the beginning rabbits just walked like most animals. One day, a mouse was hiding in some bushes. As the rabbit came walking by, the mouse jumped out and yelled. It scared the rabbit so much, he hopped straight up in the air. From then on, rabbits have always hopped. I am amazed every year how creative the stories are and how much everyone enjoys hearing them.
I teach Spanish and I love having kids use their imagination to write in Spanish. I came across this site and it is a really fun way to do that. Students can make their own comics by choosing characters, objects and writing their own text into the scene. They can then print it out or email it to me. Here's the link: