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September 26, 2016

Special kind of creativity (Part 1)...


If anyone remembers the above picture...then you probably were a young person (or young at heart) in the late 80s and early 90s.

Thrasher Magazine was the go to magazine of the skateboarders (No Posers!!) of the world during this time. It probably wasn't appropriate for kids my age (sorry mom) then but it had some cool articles, pics and especially ads for skateboard parts...my favorite!

I loved skateboarding...LOVED IT! I ultimately gave it up because I knew it could possibly hamper my basketball career (my first love).  Anyways, I find myself missing it...not for the reasons you think though. Don't get me wrong, I would love to get out there and ride around...I still grab a board occasionally and just hope I don't break something. But there is something about it that still intrigues me.


Just for the record, the above pics are of my very first deck...I was extremely proud, paid for it with my own money.

Skateboarding is directly related to creativity. When I see a video, documentary or competition about skateboarding on TV or the net, I am glued. The way the skaters move their feet and their hands and their boards blows my mind each time. Sometimes those tricks are planned and sometimes, many times they are variations of what they already know...a function of their creativity. How does that relate to what I do??

So here is how my brain works. I begin to explore those topics to see what I can find. Guess what, I found some GREAT resources on this very topic. And, in my own crazy way of thinking, I am attempting to relate skateboarding, creativity and the world of education.  Stick with me!

If you have time, watch this video ...Pop an Ollie and Innovate. If not, I will give you a little bit of it below.

I am fascinated with Rodney Mullen and have found myself watching and reading different things he is part of (more to come in part 2). He is definitely a unique person, with quite a bit of a different background than me. But, he says things that make me think about what I do every day.

Here are some:

1. Skateboarding is about Community
Mullen talks about his thoughts on creating tricks...he makes tricks and contributes back to the skating community. The community uses those tricks to build on their tricks and shares with the community. In a weird way, the more community building that occurs, the more individual creativity that occurs. It becomes a continuous circle of sharing, creativity/innovation and then more sharing.

These skaters are like hackers...they ALL create "open source" material.

Sound familiar educators??

Have you ever considered yourself a teacher hacker??

You should. The educators who seek the best, who change, who innovate ARE a part of a community of "hackers."

2. Adversity brings about Creativity
Rodney Mullen talks about how he was the best freestyle skater. He was not just blowing smoke, ALL of his peers said the same thing. The problem was, freestyle skating was dying out. When it finally did, Mullen was at a turning point in his career. When Rodney was winning, it came easy. When he was forced to change, his creative "juices" began to flow. He even said that winning all of his competitions (all but one) stifled his creativity. When freestyle ended and street skating began, Rodney did not give up because his style ended...he innovated.

3:58"The crazy thing was, there was a really liberating sense about it, because I no longer had to protect my record as a champion...What drew me to skateboarding, the freedom was now restored, where I could just create things, because that's where the joy was for me, always, was creating new stuff."Rodney Mullen - Pop an Ollie and Innovate
3. Context shapes Content
Simply stated, the experiences/environment can shape the outcomes. One wall or curb or park bench in one place may produce an entirely different experience at a different location. The surroundings, the prior knowledge (or lack there of), the feelings/atmosphere can and will shape the style or creativity of the action...assuming the opportunity to create is there.

I appreciate the creativity that comes with skateboarding. I appreciate that the community engages each other so that the opportunities for more creativity are there. I appreciate that adversity is recognized as a positive and not a negative. And, I appreciate how surroundings play a role in that creativity.

To sum up, here are some words and phrases that describe the creativity of skateboarding.

maker
innovator
risk-taker
disrupting
collaborator
artist
hacker
motivator
continuous learner

...any others??

I see those words being great descriptors for educators too...

do you??

MS






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