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Peter H. Reynolds on Creativity

One of the presentations I was most looking forward to going to at NAEA ’19 was the author Peter H. Reynolds. Most elementary art teachers are familiar with his books.. they are all so colorful and teach about those concepts we want our students to learn.

The Dot

The book called The Dot is the one that I think most people have heard of. I have done lots and lots of projects about dots using this book. You can see some of my students’ dot art here, here, and here! We have even celebrated the International Dot Day, which you can learn more about here. International Dot Day is a day to elevate creativity. The book is about learning to be creative and passing it along to someone else (taking care of others, which is a theme throughout Reynolds’ books.)

Peter got the idea for this book when he was in a classroom and there was a little girl who said she couldn’t draw. He felt that was so sad, because “not being able to draw” is the equivalent of felling like you are not able to show who you are.

Peter did a read-aloud of this story for the crowd.

Connecting the Dots

He told us a story about his 7th grade math teacher. Peter was always doodling in class. His math teacher told him to look through the math book and find a concept to teach others through his doodling and creativity. Peter came back to his teacher with a comic book about math. His teacher told him to make a video about it. The teacher modeled curiosity and also that it is ok to not know how to do something. The teacher did not know how to make a video, so he asked the media teacher to help them. The math teacher, the media teacher and Peter worked together to make his first animated film about math.

His teacher “connected the dots” to find Peter’s strengths and tie that in with the content area, instead of shutting him down. He was able to merge his own desire to teach math with Peter’s talents of storytelling and drawing.

Today, Peter founded a multi-media production company called FableVision Studios. In addition, FableVision Learning offers creative educational materials, computer programs and professional development. On top of all that, he and his brother opened a bookstore too! I was so impressed to hear about all Peter has accomplished in his life. The bookstore is called The Blue Bunny Bookstore and is right in Boston. If I had had more time on my trip, I would have stopped there.

Themes in Peter’s Books

I love that so many of his books have underlying themes about all of the good qualities we want kids to develop.

I have used several of his books in my classroom, but now have ordered more.

The book Word Collector is amazing! This would go great with an art project that includes found poetry. I can’t wait to do this with my students.

His newest book, called Say Something! was written to honor all voices. He encourages kids to speak up and speak what they believe. It is dedicated to Emma Gonzalez, a young student who is saying something and taking action. This would be a great book to read if you do art projects about social issues or causes that kids are interested in.

Here are more of his books that you may be interested in. The first two shown here I use when teaching art lessons about kindness or peace. (Amazon Affiliate links have been used at no extra cost to you.)

If you would like to read more about my trip to the NAEA Conference, check out my blog post about Amy Sherald and Howard Gardner here or my general overview here.

Coming up next, I will share about the three hands-on workshops I went to and show you some of the art I made!

Until then, Create Bravely!

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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.

One Response to Peter H. Reynolds on Creativity

  1. Barb Lavery says:

    I am interested in reading some of his books. They sound terrific!

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