My project over the last few days has been trying to force creativity out of the class 10 kids. For the most part, they aren’t very good at making things up and using their imaginations (there are a few exceptions though). I personally think those are some very important skills, so I tried to come up with an activity where they couldn’t help but be creative. I had them make their own monsters.

It’s so hard to come up with things that they don’t think are stupid. I knew that I had to make it as easy and guided as possible so that even the boys who hate everything would be interested enough to turn something in. Then, I gave them class time to work on it because as soon as you say “homework”, you lose at least half the class. Finally, most importantly, I hovered. A lot. Here’s my strategy:

This thing is terrifying looking but apparently is very nice and just wants to be friends.

I walk around the room and start peeking at people’s papers. They’re all panicked for some reason as if I’m grading them on the spot. I go up to a kid who clearly is not working and say, “how’s your monster coming? Do you need any help?” He looks at me like I might be brainless because he obviously has done nothing. “Can I see what you have so far? Where’s your notebook?” He gets out his notebook and shows me a blank page. “Oh, it looks like you have some work to do still. Do you have any questions? Were the instructions unclear?”

“No, ma’am,” he says, trying to get me to leave ASAP.

“Okay, I’ll come back in a few minutes to check on you.” And then I just keep standing there until he starts working.

The dog-bunny-bird thing is creatively named (x+y)^2 and is a nice monster who helped a lost time traveler.

I can’t say it completely worked because I still had some people turn in practically nothing, but I think there’s only so much you can do about that. The important thing is that the people who DID turn it in actually did a decent job! After imagining and drawing their monsters, I told them to write a story about them too. I knew that was a stretch.

“I want you to write a story about your monster. I don’t care what it’s about, as long as your monster is in it?”

A girl comes up. “I don’t know what to write about.”

The girls were really into monster vegetables. Super weird.

“You can write about anything… like the first time your monster meets a human, the best day of your monster’s life, your monster’s first day of school…”

“Monsters don’t go to school.” *Mental facepalm*

“But maybe they do. Maybe they go to monster school.” Blank stare. “Orrrr maybe not. Just write a story with your monster in it.”

Really?? MONSTERS DON’T GO TO SCHOOL?? As if that would be the most unbelievable thing in a story about an IMAGINARY CREATURE.

Anyway, all I can say is, I’m happy it’s the weekend. Despite having school on Saturday, at least we don’t have English class. Oh yeah! And guess what today’s surprise was! I assigned some homework to class 9 and said, “this is due on Monday.” And then they said, “we don’t have school on Monday!” Surprise! To be fair, this actually was on the school schedule. Either way, it was a surprise to me! Happy Weekend!

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