My name is Mike Moellman. My topic is:

"Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art etc.) which has some kind of value. What counts as "new" may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs. What counts as "valuable" is similarly defined in a variety of ways." ( __

The ability of a jazz musician to improvise a solo is a form of creativity, as is the ability of a doctor to solving a life-threatening situation in the ER, and a businesswoman's restructuring plans. These are examples of creating something "new" that has value.
Teachers have countless opportunities to be creative in the classroom. Creative teachers can be great models, inspiring their students to be original and inventive. Whether in a Science class or coaching the football team, a creative teacher can show students there are endless ways of accomplishing tasks that might seem impossible.


I learned from creating this Wiki are:

1. If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original.

2. We don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it- rather, we get 'educated' out of it.

3. Creativity may or may not come from within.

4. Inhibition stifles creativity.

5. There is great deal we still don't understand about creativity.

The video at the top of the page, What Can Creativity Do?, is a reminder that nearly everything in our lives is in our lives because of one form of creativity or another. A common misconception about creativity is that only artistic people are creative. Many feel they are not creative, or don't know how to be creative. There are many tools available to help unlock creative potential. Below are several videos and links that pertain to creativity.

If you're only going to watch one clip, watch this clip with Sir Ken Robinson...
then watch the clip below with Elizabeth Gilbert!

Sir Ken Robinson makes a water-tight case that most modern education systems do not value creativity nearly enough. My first two "Top Five" picks came from this interesting, funny, educational clip. "All children are born artists," Robinson states, quoting Picasso. "The problem is to remain creative as we grow up." As we grow older, Robinson explains, we become less likely to 'go for it' if we don't know the answer. Mistakes are stigmatized, and as children grow they become less likely to participate if they are afraid of making a mistake, which wears away at creativity. Robinson later states, "There isn't an education system in the world that teaches dance every day to children, like we do mathematics. Why not?" Arts are placed on the bottom, in order or priority, in every education system in the world, according to Robinson. He then tells an inspiring story about a little girl who "couldn't sit still". Eventually a psychiatrist observes her and tells her parents, "There's nothing wrong with your little girl. She's just a dancer." The little girl in the story went on to become one of the most famous dancer/choreographers in the 20th century. Robinson closes by emphasizing the importance of educating our children to be able to handle the future, which becomes more and more complex. Children need to remain creative to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)

TED, short for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a wonderful sight for finding inspirational, funny, interesting clips about a host of topics and ideas. With over 700 clips currently available, TED adds new clips each week. After forwarding a clip (the youtube clip below) to a friend, she wrote back saying she really enjoyed the clip, and that "TED rocks!". Then she started posting videos on facebook of speaker after speaker, all from Many educational topics are covered- just type a topic into the search bar and you'll have many clips to choose from. I highly recommend visiting and clicking through this site. Many of the topics are educationally relevant. Such videos could be viewed in the classroom, or used as part of a homework assignment.

Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)

Elizabeth Gilbert is a best selling author, highly celebrated for her book, Eat, Pray, Love. She speaks to two very interesting, key questions:
1. Creativity and suffering are inherently linked, or, at least seemingly so (many artists have been addicts, lead dark lives and/or committed suicide and/or died young) - is this okay?
2. Where does creativity originate?
Gilbert has written several books, but Eat, Pray, Love has propelled her into fame. She recognizes that this might be her greatest achievement (as seen by critics, or the general reading population). At "only about forty", Gilbert conceivably has many years of writing left. To have already written her "greatest" book, an achievement each forthcoming book will be judged against, at a young age leaves a wake of pressure. This pressure, Gilbert explains, can be a source of suffering. She chooses to remain creative, however, by the methods that work for her, knowing that Eat, Pray, Love is looming, projecting its shadow.
Gilbert explains that this pressure is put on artists for centuries- pressure to create. In ancient times, creativity was thought to be outside the body (in ancient Greece these entities were called "daemons"; in ancient Rome they called such an entity "genius"). In these ancient times a daemon would visit and tell you what to write. Eventually, creativity was recognized as coming from within. This shift creates a great deal of pressure for artists to be creative, on demand. Gilbert argues that maybe creativity does not come from within; maybe there's something else happening that we're not able to explain.
Ultimately, Gilbert is an inspiration in remaining grounded while forging ahead.

Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)
Growing up watching Sesame Street, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and 3-2-1 Contact, I know first-hand how creatively-inspiring PBS can be. To this day I'm convinced that the "counting pinball machine" had a significant effect on my appreciation of funky and complex music, not to mention my fondness of numbers, in general. Watch the clip below and notice how creative this pinball machine really is:

The link listed at the top of this section gives parents and children numerous games and activities to help be creative. I played through most of the games in each of the three categories (Sensory Stuff, Ideas and Exploration, and Creativity Challenge). Even as an adult, I found the games entertaining, fun, and creative. As a high school teacher, I may not use this site for my students (though, maybe I will), but this is certainly a great tool for any parent, babysitter, or anyone who is friends with youngsters.

Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)

This slideshow presentation is interesting, thought provoking... and long. The first ten clips are advertisements, in case you're interested in flipping through. I would recommend clicking at your own pace, rather than following the pace of the slideshow.
The ideas presented in the slideshow are a bit confusing at times. Other times (slides) are tangents and completely irrelevant. The overall idea presented is that of Chaos Theory (also known as the Butterfly Effect), which could indicate that everything since the Big Bang is predetermined. The slideshow then makes reference to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which allows for free-will. As he presentation went on, I began to feel myself trusting its creator less than at the beginning. I was also anticipating more information than was ultimately given.
The aesthetics of the slideshow are pleasing, and it's well put together, in genera. In my opinion, however, the creator of this slideshow could have used half as many slides and the presentation would have been as effective.

Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

As previously mentioned, creativity comes in many forms and is not only found in the arts. However, creativity is abundantly alive in the arts world. This clip of Kseniya Simonova performing her sand animation is an moving example of what one can achieve with, or through creativity. By creating nearly life-like images in sand, Simonova portrays struggles of a Soviet family during World War II. The images she quickly creates are always moving and morphing into a new scene. The story being told is emotionally moving. Audience members are in tears at one point. The music accompanying the animation is also emotional, but I believe the images stand on their own. During the eight and a half minutes of her time on stage, Simonova creates hundreds, if not thousands of images- creating again and again. Her efforts and results epitomize creativity.

Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)

This site is full of brain games and training. Upon arriving at the site, you'll be greeted with many options pertaining to how to "Improve Your Brain". Categories like, Memory, Attention, Spatial Reasoning, Problem Solving, Focus, Speed, Fluid Intelligence and Stress are the tip of the iceberg. There are also drop-down menus titled, Creativity, Puzzles, Health, The Brain, and Sciences, each filled with exercises, articles and games.
A series of random clicks into the Creative category quickly leads to an article titled, "The Creative Power of Thought," which is accompanied by a quote from Plato: We do not cure the body with the body, we cure the body with the mind.
This site is appropriate for people of all ages, especially those seeking a boost to their creativity.

Go here and grow your brain.

Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)

In a study, John Hopkins researchers use a Functional MRI scanner to watch the function, or blood flow, of the brains of six professional jazz pianists while they're performing. The goal is to find areas in the brain that are active, or inactive during an activity like improvising a solo over a blues (one of the most common jazz forms). A characteristic pattern appeared. Each of the six pianists/subjects experienced something called Dissociated Frontal Activity (ie: they're in "the zone"). "The brain alters itself into this creative mind frame where its purpose at that moment is to generate novelty and to decrease inhibition," states Dr. Charles Limb, one of the researchers. Like anything else, practice makes perfect. I've experienced this abandonment of inhibition, while in the moment of playing jazz. I've also experienced what I would describe as "collective improvisation", where individuality expresses itself through the group. Many times musicians describe this experience as telepathic, as if each player is reading the rest of the groups musical intentions.

More information about this fascinating study can be found here:

Rating: * * * * * (5 out of 5)

Brad Mehldau is often hailed as one of the most important pianists in jazz today. Keeping with the jazz tradition, Mehldau occasionally incorporates popular music into his repertoire. However, the popular music traditionally associated with jazz music is popular music of the past, from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. It's not unheard-of for a modern jazz musician to use modern pop music as a vehicle for jazz, but using grunge is kind of unusual.
Mehldau, along with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, interpret the song Black Hole Sun, by Soundgarden. The trio uses the tune as a springboard for improvisation and take it to un-thought-of places. The improvisation is happening over a form- form that is based on Soundgarden's mega-hit. The melody is easily heard throughout the tune, as is the famous bridge (heard in clips 2 and 3). The trio is inventive with what lies beneath the melody (and the melody itself, for that matter), creating in the moment.

Rating: * * * * * * * * * * (10 out of 5)