Spotlight on Great Teaching: Imaginarium to Conjuring Creativity at Lee

Collaboration is a key component of great teaching and helps ensure innovative  lessons spread from classroom to classroom. This idea led Richard J. Lee Elementary teacher Prisicalla Shaner to implement the national “Imaginarium” concept at the school, which inspires learners to share their creative ideas with classmates and teachers. 

The Imaginarium concept asks learners to begin their day with a creative activity that sparks their imagination such as drawing, writing in a different format such as upside down, sharing their favorite things, dreaming in what-ifs and more.  After following this national model, Shaner, who is the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) teacher for Lee, built upon the Imaginarium concept to develop Conjuring Creativity. 

Principal Chanetl Kastrounis discovered that Susan Maynor from another Apple Distinguished school similar to Lee had created the Imaginarium via Twitter and shared it with Shaner and Stephanie Shannon, another specials educator at Lee. 

“It is an innovative way to start the day off right,” Kastrounis said. 

“[Kastrounis] asked if we could create something similar for learners to use for the month of October, so Conjuring Creativity was born,” Shaner said. 

Shaner has seen multiple learners using the Conjuring Creativity slides and activity in Keynote on their iPads or on paper. 

“Expressing creativity like this is important because it allows everyone to shine in their own way,” Shaner said. “We all have strengths that we aren't always sure how to express. This medium allows for open-ended exploration, thinking, creating and imagining.” 

According to Shaner, there's no right or wrong way to use the Conjuring Creativity activities. 

“The sky's the limit,” she said. “This skill can translate into all academic areas and even into life. We encourage learners to imagine all of the possibilities in various scenarios, and this activity will help get their brain gears turning in new and innovative ways.”

One example of Conjuring Creativity is the “Field of Fears.” There are no directions on the slide. Learners can use it however they want. One way might be to write a fear inside each of the white birds on the slide. Then use animations to make the fears fly away, symbolizing letting go of them.  

“We also thought of national days that are celebrated in the month of October, such as Halloween, Cake Decorating Day and more,” Shaner said. “We actually had a lot of fun thinking of different ways learners could use their creative brains on each of these slides.” 

Shaner says that Conjuring Creativity ties into the district’s great teaching core value because learners are able to share their thoughts, their creativity, and their skills in different ways.

“Each learner thinks, imagines, and creates differently,” she said. “So, while it is a template that gives them a starting place, they are able to complete or finish it however they choose.”