Tuesday, April 6, 2010

EDIM 508 Developing the creating mind via Monster Exchange

Since 1995, the Monster Exchange (http://www.monsterexchange.org/), has empowered over 200,000 elementary students (grades K-8) to create and exchange twin monsters via descriptive writing and drawings (digital or any other medium).  How cool is that?

Reading, writing and creativity form a bond as students draw their monsters, write detailed, descriptions of their monsters and exchange the description of the monster with a peer.  The peer then draws the monster based on the description and shares with the author his/her creation.  If the monster matches the original monster drawing then, voila! The reader was able to interpret the writers description beautifully.  If not, the original artist/author can reflect upon his/her work to revise and edit the writing to ensure an accurate interpretation.  Or the reader can determine if he/she comprehended the description.  Students scan and /or upload both the original and redrawn monsters to see if they are a matching set.  The pictures can be seen in a monster gallery for review and peer feedback.  This program promotes and encourages global monster exchanges.

Creativity is definitely evident in this project website and  resource. If you are looking to go beyond the conventional crayons and paper, you can use Microsoft Paint, Tux Paint ( http://www.tuxpaint.org/ ), Kidspiration or sketchfu ( http://sketchfu.com/ ) to create the monster digitally for exchange.

Participating in this project definitely typifies the "realization of creativity" (Gardner pg. 80) per Csikszentmihalyi's description of three autonomous elements interacting together to invoke the existence of creativity:
1.  The individual who has mastered some discipline (i.e. The student writer who has mastered descriptive, detailed writing)
2.  The cultural domain in which the indvidual is working (i.e. Utilizing the Monster Exchange website to upload descriptive writing and  original artistic work.)
3.  The social field - the opportunity to perform (i.e. Peers creating the twin monster per the description, feedback from participants) (Gardner pg. 80-81)

Gardner, H. (2007). Five minds for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.


lance said...

This is a new one to me so I really appreciated the post and your description of how it connects to Gardner's work.

Kirstin said...

Thanks Lance.