Fires in the Mind: Getting Really Good

The more I think about students and creativity, the more I come back to the same idea:


Classrooms that are supportive of creativity are supportive of learning.

It all comes back to the complex (and wonderful) relationships among creativity, motivation and learning–really learning, in ways that help us use the things we learn. Classrooms that help students want to learn also help them create. And vice versa. And maybe vice vice versa!

These were some of the thoughts going through my mind as I recently explored the website Fires in the Mind. Fires in the Mind (and the book of the same title) explores students’ ideas of what it takes to be really good at something. Not surprisingly, what students described as things that helped them grow in expertise lined up with research on learning and motivation.

I couldn’t help thinking how seldom we ask students what it is they need—and how much we could learn if we did.

In any case, the Fires in the Mind website is a rich source of resources for teachers and parents. It has video where you can listen to students talk about their learning experiences, resources that could spark conversations in professional learning communities or department meetings, sample book chapters and activities, and more. You can even use their Practice Project Curriculum to have your students discuss the things that help them learn, and see what results.

One of my favorite resources at the site is the book The Motivation Equation, available in print or for reading online. The book is (not surprisingly) motivating to read—interesting and useful. I found it easy to read on screen here. Just scroll down to continue reading a section, then use the arrows at the top to move to the next chapter. In fact, I found the book so helpful, I’m going to spend they next few posts taking a look at its principles. Perhaps we can find the fires in our professional minds growing–and glowing– as well.

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