Pinning Student Creativity Resources with MaryLea Harris

As we start a new school year, I challenge you to consider how creative your instruction truly is. From there, think about ways you can expand upon student creativity and weave it through each of your lessons every day of the year. Sometimes this may be easy and other times it may be tricky. However, fostering the creative juices of your students is a key to supporting the whole child. That’s why we’ve collaborated with art and creativity expert MaryLea Harris to develop a Pinterest board completely devoted to your students’ creativity.

It’s quite possible you’ve already come across MaryLea and her blog, Pink and Green Mama. We absolutely love browsing her Pinterest boards and are thrilled to share this board in an effort to bring student creativity within arm’s reach for you.

I asked her to share a bit more about herself with our readers. Enjoy, and be sure to check out our Student Creativity pin board!

Tell us a little bit about your history as an arts educator.Creativity pin board quote

I have always loved making art; sharing art with others has been a passion of mine since high school. I was an art gallery docent and tour guide in college, which involved leading groups of local school children around our campus buildings. During my tours, students learned about the architecture and were able to interact with and learn about whatever exhibits were in our galleries. Later, I worked in the Department of Teacher and School Programs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., for a summer, coordinating groups of teachers from all over the country and leading the art activities for our free family days at the gallery. I was an elementary art teacher in the public school system for five years before leaving to stay home with my children. I then went back to school and got my master’s degree in fine arts, a lifelong dream. I’ve been blogging and publishing art lesson e-books since 2007 and my crafts and art activities have appeared in several national magazines and respected websites.

What role do you see social media playing in education?

Pinterest and blogs are wonderful resources for educators. When I was teaching art in the dark ages before blogging and Pinterest had taken off, most teachers’ ideas and exposure to other teaching methods came from their own colleagues in their building or nearby services within their county. It is so much easier for teachers to share ideas and get motivated by what other teachers are doing in their classrooms now. We’ve become this global society and the possibilities are endless. I think it is a really exciting time to be working as an educator!

Why is creativity so important in the classroom?

Kids learn in so many different ways. Engaging them in activities that are multisensory and creative in nature is so much more memorable and fun. If something is fun, or messy, or beautiful, you remember it.

What inspires you?

Two of my biggest sources of inspiration are my own children and my natural environment. Hiking, walking my dog, or exploring nature with my kids gets my creative juices flowing. Seeing my own children experiment with various art materials and recyclables and engage in free play without judging their own work is so inspiring. I also love seeing work by other artists at local galleries, on Pinterest, and in children’s book illustrations. It makes me want to get into my own art studio and create, play, and explore!

What advice do you have for educators?

Share your ideas with the world! Be on the lookout for fun new ideas and ways to teach your material in a multisensory and engaging way. Think outside of the box. Don’t get stuck teaching the same material the same way over and over for years unless it’s really fabulous and inspiring! Take as many ideas as you can find from Pinterest, other teachers, and bloggers—they’re sharing with you via this fantastic, global show-and-tell, and it is a wonderful and free resource that is just waiting to be used. Put your own unique spin on these ideas and have fun creating!

More on student creativity. 

Tina Byland is a public relations and social media professional on the ASCD Communications team. She helps manage various ASCD social media channels and the ASCD Inservice blog, while also working in traditional media outreach. Before joining ASCD in 2013, she was a pre-kindergarten teacher in Annapolis, Md. and a selector for D.C. Teaching Fellows. Prior to teaching, Tina has six years of public relations experience.