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Getting Creative at LLI Mississippi

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking about creativity at the LLI Mississippi conference in Madison, Mississippi. I presented in a "fishbowl" format, meaning that I taught a lesson to 14 high school freshmen, as a group of 20 teachers observed from the outskirts of the room. This format is supposed to provide an "everyday" setting to a session.

My talk was entitled "Creativity Exercises That Build Connections" and we began by broadening the definition of "creativity" to include many different types of creativity, and thus a much wider range of people. We played "FUNctionality" and the "Why? Game". The students did a fantastic job of engaging and being fearless and creative with their answers. I think everyone had fun, even the teachers observing, as shown by the photo below.

A full house of creative teachers at LLI Mississippi

Encore Presentation

I can't stop laughing at the Santa hat on the
skeleton in the background of this image.
I guess the lesson went well because I was asked to present the same talk the following day, but this time with the teachers as players. Giving this specific talk was a blast, I mean, we spend the majority of the time playing games with crazy answers. What's better than that? So I jumped at the opportunity. If they could find a time to fit me in, I was more than happy to give it another go.

I'm pleased to say, the follow up session was even more creative, crazy and unpredictable than the first. Let me just say that I've never heard so many uses for a regular deck of playing cards.

Other Great Sessions

There were many other great sessions during the two day conference. We went home with lots of new ideas and inspirations. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Tim Elmore

Author Tim Elmore gave an inspiring talk about relating to people across multiple generations. It was very insightful and had me questioning the way the I approach situations with students in the future. I've definitely added his book "Marching off the Map" to my reading list.

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Emily Brady introduced us to Cospaces, a virtual reality tool she uses to integrate VR with her everyday classroom curriculum. Before the session was even over, Juan Hernandez from Village Tech was already using the tools to prototype his Forge On challenge in VR.

More Creativity

Claire Reddig, from the Oakridge School in Arlington, TX demonstrated her ways of sparking creativity in her classroom with a class of middle school students with "Catalysts for Creativity". I left with several things I'm dying to try in my class later this year.

Many Thanks

There are so many people to thank for making this trip possible, of course Village Tech (VT) for the support to allow their teachers to constantly look for ways to learn new skills and techniques -- as well as the willingness to share our knowledge with others. To Juan, my traveling companion from VT, who thankfully loves Krystal's hamburgers as much as I do. Special thanks to the staff and students of Madison-Ridgeland Academy for their help and hospitality at hosting the event. And to Amber Colvin and Seth Burgess from the Lausanne Learning Institute for organizing the event for organizing the event, and allowing me to present again on day two for the teachers.

Now it's time to get back to work and put some of what I learned to the test.


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