Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teaching creativity, outside the lines....

Coloring outside the lines (literally) gave me a lifelong appreciation for creativity and a desire to inspire others to color outside the lines.
 In the early days of first grade, my teacher had mysteriously gone to “get a baby” and a substitute teacher person was there in her place. She gave us a white sheet of paper with three apple outlines printed in a neat row. Her instructions were to color the apples and cut them out and paste them on another piece of construction paper. Simple, apparently clear instructions, right? 

So I peeled the paper off my new lime green crayon (no no #1). Then I broke them in half (no no #2). Then I used the side of my crayon to smoothly sweep color over all the apples (no no #3). I used another forest green crayon (also peeled and broken) to color the leaves. Definitely dark purple for the stems. I did not stay in the lines, any of the lines. And I finished way before everyone else. 

Happily I raised my hand for the scissors. Scissors were monitored in first grade and doled out as needed…I don’t know why. I had my own scissors at home, they were always handy for giving haircuts to my younger siblings.

The teacher came over and frowned at my apples. She took my paper and held it up to the class. “This,” she said, “ Is not how we are supposed to color the apples”.
I was confused; I had followed the instructions?
“We should stay in the lines and use our red crayons properly.” She announced to the class.
“But if we are going to cut them out,” I asked boldly, “Why do we have to stay in the lines?” She gave me a look.
“And my grandpa’s apples are green,” I said quietly.
“Just do what I told you to do.” She replied as she gave me a new clean printed apple paper.

I guess I had too much 6 year old logic and alternative thinking for a substitute teacher. I did follow her directions but I secretly went outside of the lines every time I could. And my red apples had purple stems.
They still do.

What or who has affected your creativity growing up?


Debbie said...

Kate, I fingerpainted this really wild and colorful picture of a boat in a storm back when I was in the third grade. I couldn't wait to get home and show it to my mom. Well, my mom could see how proud I was of my painting so she made a big deal out of it and taped it up on the refrigerator. The thing is, she hung it upside down and I was too embarassed to tell her! While it hurt my pride at the time, I don't guess it really did any lasting damage to me in a creative sense, though, I never asked my mom to be an art critic again!

sylvia said...

I love this. I got in trouble for colouring my apples purple and I still remember it to this day. Utter confusion as to why what I had done was wrong.

Your apples sound beautiful.