Wednesday, March 30, 2011

“Spirit Groove” - Kojo Samuels & Volker Kaczinski

From "Let the Dance Dance You," Virtual Friday Morning InterPlay:

InterPlay Warm Up - Phil Porter

InterPlay Warm Up with Phil Porter:

Gretchen Wagner on InterPlay Forms

Find more information about InterPlay.

One Hand Dance: In this video, Gretchen Wegner facilitates Dorothy Finnigin in doing a hand dance, one of the basic forms of InterPlay. 

Hand to Hand Dance: In this video Dorothy Finnigan and Gretchen Wagner demonstrate how to do a hand to hand dance Interplay-style.

Babbling: Gretchen describes the InterPlay form of babbling.

Find more information about InterPlay.

VIDEO: Tarra & Bella / A Match Made in Ele-Heaven

From "Friendbella!" Virtual Friday Morning InterPlay:

Shruti Box M1

From "Breathe In Gratitude," Virtual Friday Morning InterPlay:

Monday, March 28, 2011

What Creative Education Could Look Like ...

Check this out - The Independent Project!

And read the New York Times piece about it ...

Watch it ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011



Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education ( and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement, which provides people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a better world. Zoe created the first Master of Education and Certificate Program in Humane Education in the U.S. covering the interconnected issues of human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. She has also created acclaimed online programs and leads workshops and speaks at universities, conferences, and events across the U.S. and Canada. She has taught tens of thousands students through her innovative school presentations, and has trained several thousand teachers through her workshops and programs. Zoe's most recent book, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life, won the 2010 Nautilus silver medal in sustainability and green values. She is the author of several other books including Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times for parents; The Power and Promise of Humane Education for educators; and Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs, winner of the Moonbeam gold medal in juvenile fiction, which follows the exploits of two seventh graders who become clandestine activists in New York City, righting wrongs where they find them. Zoe received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

Creativity Manifesto

By Derek Pettinelli
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut
  1. Society places restrictions on people, dictating what they can and cannot do. First and foremost, one must completely disregard such things and concentrate on what they want to do. Rejecting social and societal norms is the first step and also the most difficult one. It’s also important to keep in mind that one should not break any laws or harm others when doing this.
  2. Rejecting societal norms is the first step and this includes the capitalist/materialist obsession of mass consumption. A goal that is purely monetary is not one worth obtaining and self-fulfillment is much more important. If one is satisfied with oneself, monetary compensation will follow, but it should not be the main goal.
  3. One should be a blank slate by this point, which again is easier said than done. This is a stage in which you should acknowledge nothing except the desire to be creative and achieve enlightenment through creative self-fulfillment.
  4. Being creative involves seeking out completely new ways of thinking in order to “rebuild” oneself. New avenues of thought must be explored in order to achieve a higher level of being.
  5. Researching think tanks and progressive ways of thought are one part of the equation, but one must also look into classical ways of thinking by learning about classical psychology, existentialism and philosophy through works such as Aristotle, Nietzche, Socrates, Plato, etc.
  6. The reading and consumption and processing of information is pivotal. One must devote a large amount of their time to not only seeking out new forms of thought, but to disregarding such useless information such as celebrity gossip, as that only serves to cloud the mind and stifle creativity.
  7. Entertainment must be limited, especially TV. Advertisements and marketing are the ultimate forms of quelling creativity, as it is someone else being creative in order to trick and convince the audience into being a consumer.
  8. Institutions of higher learning are an excellent place to express creativity, especially compared to pre-college schooling and the business world.
  9. Random acts of spontaneity serve to further expand the creative mind. Such acts are difficult to think of and will require work until they become second nature. One must also get rid of any social anxiety by detaching themselves from the physical constraints of the real world and expanding their horizons. Being playful is a great way to accomplish this.
  10. Knowing when to take feedback to heart is also important. Some people are negative and only want to bring others down and these people must be avoided.
  11. Creativity comes more naturally to some than others and this should not be discouraging as it can be taught and it’s important to remember that this is a process that is constantly working 24/7 as the mind is the most complex and powerful tool in the universe.
  12. Expansion of the mind is the penultimate form of creativity, when one is in complete control of the mind, the physical world bears little importance. This is referred to as opening of the third eye, which is almost impossible, almost.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Creativity in Pi(-ku)

March 14 (3/14) was Pi Day (3.14). (March 14 is also Albert Einstein's birthday!) Some celebrate by writing pi-ku -- that, is haiku (17 syllables) about pi and/or a haiku-style poem inspired by pi (3.14, or a three-syllable line, a one-syllable line and a four-syllable line). In my "Creativity + Social Change" course at the University of Connecticut, we begin class each week with a creative thinking warm-up activity. This week, we wrote pi-ku about creativity. Below are the creative outcomes from that experience.

This exercise, of capturing a key idea about creativity in just a few words, is an excellent example of the creative ability of "highlighting the essence," as described by creativity researcher E. Paul Torrance. Highlighting the essence is about identifying what is important or essential.

What's YOUR creativity in pi-ku? Share yours in the comments below!

You and I
image and thoughts.
- Laurie Lukasavage

Let me see
creative mind.
- Laurie Lukasavage

Pam and Willy
to get silly.
- Chris Filek

creative minds.
- Chris Filek

Free your Mind
And Then Be Free
- Derek Pettinelli

If You See
You Can Believe
- Derek Pettinelli

Take a Look
Outside the Norm
- Derek Pettinelli

From nothing
Flash -
Beauty is there.
- Robert Sireno

Something needed -
Ah-ha it's there.
- Robert Sireno

Apple Pi
Most Delicious
- Ralph Famiglietti

Pi Day is
cool. March 14.
- Joan Terry

- April Belanger

Love and laugh
- April Belanger

What is fun?
Nothing but fun!
- Shavon Roscoe

An artist
creative waves
- Shavon Roscoe

A picture
yes, from my mind
- Shavon Roscoe

mix, roll, bake, eat
- Catherine Capuano

what next for us?
- Steven Dahlberg

Judging much?
Yes, and ... Yes, and ...
- Steven Dahlberg

Imagine ...
what if, what else?
- Steven Dahlberg

Imagine now.
- Steven Dahlberg

connect, engage.
- Steven Dahlberg

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Celebrate Pi Day With Your Own 'Pi-Ku'

Happy Pi Day. It's March 14 — or 3/14 if you write down the date in the m/d format. And that means it's time to celebrate that mysterious mathematical relationship between a circle's diameter and its circumference: 3.1415926535... Today is also, appropriately enough, Albert Einstein's birthday. So the science-minded among us have two good reasons to celebrate. He was born in 1879 and died in 1955. But back to Pi. Two years ago, NPR's Bryant Park Project noted Pi Day with this report. As they said, Pi Day is when "numbers geeks all over the world bake pies, write 'pi-kus' and recite pi to as many decimal points as possible." A "pi-ku", bu the way, works like this:
— First line: 3 syllables

— Second line: 1 syllable

— Third line: 4 syllables
[14 March 2010 - NPR - More; and More from CNN]

Creativity Manifesto, or A Note to My Young Cousin Regarding Creativity

By Michael Sciarra
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut

  • Listen to others' ideas; even, and especially if, you don't like them (the ideas and/or the persons). You may learn something.
  • Take the time to read/view often-referenced source materials that interest you. It's quite astonishing when you learn that you have a different interpretation than others before you.
  • Creativity involves risk. The alternative is extinction. Learn how to manage the risks, and you will be rewarded.
  • Write down and discuss your ideas. This will stimulate other parts of your brain, and lead to additional ideas that were not accessible before.
  • If someone is critical of your best ideas, don't let this stop you. See if you can find something of use in the criticism, and move on. Remember, there are many more judges than doers in the world (just like in spectator sports), and a positive thought is said to be five times more powerful than a negative one.
  • Be persistent, and don't make excuses that prevent you from trying. Harland Sanders presented his franchise idea involving his chicken recipe to more than a thousand restaurant owners before he closed his first deal. That's how Kentucky Fried Chicken came about, and Colonel Sanders was in retirement when he started this particular venture.
  • Find a mentor. Maybe someone who's doing something that you would like to do, or whose style you'd like to emulate. This will be a great way to learn and develop important contacts.
  • Remember that it's people that make new products, new political movements, and new projects of all kinds work. Put these people first, because without them, the rest won't happen.
  • Alter any of the above, and add to the list, as you see fit. ...

Creativity Manifesto

By Robert Sireno
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut

“For all that has been -- ‘Thanks’
For all that can be -- ‘Yes’”
-- Dag Hammarskjold

a thought seeking understanding

creation of thought

excitement . . . What we know of creation had begun . . . time and space have appeared from an invisible pinpoint with unbelievable potential . . . forming the cosmos as it flowed and evolved . . . the thought continues outward, as if a fragrance, seeking consciousness for its realization and understanding.

According to scientist Stephen Hawkins, many times during this evolving process of “Creation,” things occurred by sheer chance, and without them occurring in this exact way, LIFE could not have been possible. Creation, at all these junctures could have easily gone in another direction, and we would not be here to know. What this indicates is that you and I were “purposefully” put in place, at this time, to be a conscious witness and an aid in the development of the thought.

As a species, we can thank our existence to events that have occurred for their adaptive values. Everything has “happened” to bring us to a point in time. We are now at that focal point for realizing our purpose . . . . . the purpose . . . . .

As LIFE evolved on the planet that humans inhabit, adaptation was possible -- conditions were right -- all was ready. From the earliest single cell form to early man, “Creation” was proceeding, the thought was continuing on its intended journey toward realization. Even now the cosmos continues to expand until its purpose is realized.

Humans began early to intuit the fact that there was something beyond their thinking and objective awareness. Evolution had provided them with senses -- hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch -- to perceive their world. But, “beyond” that . . . what was there . . . perhaps powerful; perhaps eternal; perhaps caring for their wellbeing. Why did this “something” not communicate directly with them ?

They knew there was something our senses couldn’t detect -- but, what was it ? From this question arose stories about what this something beyond reality was. Stories appeared of gods, goddesses, evil, good, caring, not caring. Individuals arose among the people claiming contact with this knowledge -- perhaps precursors ? The thought was there, seeking a time when they would understand, expanding through time and space, until such a time would come and “it” could be comprehended by all.

What we, as humans, could not know was that this preliminary recognition of our purpose for being here was meant not for some isolated individuals or groups, although their sensitivity may awaken us to the presence of the thought, but was meant for us all as “one.” And to take this one step further, it was meant for the entire universe as “one.” As we sense our surroundings in any “moment” -- and I emphasize “moment” -- the thought is there. Whether we are hearing the wind in the trees, seeing the stars, smelling the wild flowers, tasting the fellowship supper, or feeling the rain on our bodies, we indeed perceive the thought in all its strength, in all its beauty -- not recognizing it. “Creation” involves everything.

thought of creation

So why does any of this matter ? What can we do about any of this, but to go on with our lives -- business as usual ? Are we inconsequential ? That’s far from the truth ! The thought that began the “Creation” of all, the thought that “is” all, endowed humans with a special power. Our species, on the planet Earth, have evolved with reflexive consciousness. We are the consciousness for the entire universe, and thus, for the thought. The purpose of the thought can only be realized through us -- and perhaps even at some point “by” us. Is this our purpose ? If we accept this and attempt to understand all the implications of it, how are we challenged to proceed ? What is at stake ? What type of individuals must we become ?

Scientists attempt to understand all that has happened. They see themselves as a product of a past that we can weigh and measure. We must see ourselves as the future, being drawn toward a point that is ahead. Creation is happening forward. We are being pulled, not expelled.

creativity’s call to action
  1. We must begin with “who we are,” concentrating on this moment -- being “in the moment” as much as possible. “Creation” is happening now. Not in the past. Not yet in the future.
  2. We must realize that “Creation” is now centered in us. We are “Creation” personified. Our consciousness and ability to create are the object of the thought’s evolution thus far.
  3. We must maintain a sustainable way of life for all. We must use our intelligence to monitor our every need, now and future. Our thoughts cannot be only self-serving, but must encompass the entire universe. Harmful actions must be controlled. We must think and feel as the Earth Community.
  4. Next, we must leave ourselves open for what the future could hold. We must meet together in groups to exchange ideas, listening to the visionaries among us. But, hearing everyone. Creativity habits and skills should be nurtured from childhood to maturity. Everyone must be involved. The potential of all should be realized as much as possible as one person may have an important key.

    These groups should begin as informal social get-togethers for coffee and then these groups should mix or join with other groups. It is important that we learn about and from each other, in enjoyable settings.

    There should be brainstorming of all possible “presents” as we see them, and all possible “futures.” The results of these groups should be like listening to a symphony orchestra. Each separate artist’s contribution is necessary in the overall result.
  5. The results of all these meetings that circle the earth should be presented for all to hear. Perhaps the meeting site could be the United Nations.

If we are serious about all this, committed without fear or other blocks, the thought may bring our consciousness to another level. Our purpose will become clearer. Our meaning will be before us.

Creativity Manifesto

Shavon Y. Roscoe
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut

As a mother:
Methods to get a child (who’s a fussy eater) to eat his/her vegetables instead of the usual “eat your peas or no dessert.” Turn those “peas” into enemy soldiers who must be gobbled up.

As a daughter:
Letting your parents know that they are still needed, and their words of wisdom mean as much to you today as they did when you were a child. Ask for their assistance by reminding them of a similar situation during simpler times.

As a friend:
Being there even when an upset friend protests how much he/she wants to be alone. Suggest a movie or restaurant that your friend has been dying to see or try. Sometimes we just need to take our minds off of what’s bothering us.

As a letter carrier:
Making sure I can communicate with each and every one of my customers on an individual basis. Treating each of my customers uniquely by being sensitive and understanding to their needs will make them more understanding and compassionate to the job I’m trying to perform for them.

Upon discussion, we know that every one of us is creative in some way. In order to do the things I manifest, I will not be able to paint or draw pictures. Instead, I will use my creative edge to get them done in lieu of the usual reactions and responses.

Ralph's Manifesto

By Ralph A Famiglietti
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut
  1. If you say something that you want to sound important, you ought to have some facts to back that statement up. (otherwise see #4)
  2. Accept the fact that throughout your life you’re going to make mistakes. Some mistakes are going to be tiny and other more profound. And others are going to be titanic and life changing. Some mistakes will go unnoticed and others will be open to all to see. There’s no one right way to deal with your mistakes. That’s something you’re going to have to figure out as you go along.
  3. Don’t be overly impressed with a title. You know, P.h.D. this and Chairman of that. Yeah, show a little extra respect, but not a lot.
  4. Another fact you’re going to have to accept is it’s pretty hard to go through life without lying. The only way to get good at lying is to practice.
  5. No matter what you do, how well you prepare, bad things will happen to you throughout your life. You’re going to get your ass kicked both figuratively and literally. I can tell you advice like, “Trust no one” or “Expect the unexpected” or “Be Prepared.” None of that will help. Here’s what will help after a bad event. Take a walk, pet a dog, talk to a friend or eat some tasty food. Stuff like that.
  6. So as not to depress you too much after #5 I want to say: Good stuff will befall you throughout your life too. No amount of planning or preparation or education will matter. It’s just pure luck. Enjoy it.
  7. You should always have a good joke available for different situations. One for your golf four-some. One for the PTA meeting. One for a waitress. And remember, it’s not the content of the joke, but the delivery of the punch line that matters.
  8. Don’t be afraid to pay for professional services like electrical, plumbing, snow removal and landscaping. It makes sense. I know there’s a great deal of satisfaction and pride that comes with doing a tough job by yourself. Plus you save money. That makes sense too. I guess I’m saying #8 is something that can go either way.
  9. Kids are great but childhood goes by so quickly. Keep being a kid fun. Yeah education and discipline and structure are important but so are video games. Three hours of video games a day is adequate. Forests have been cleared to write books on child raising so there’s nothing I or anyone can say in a paragraph to cover it all. Just don’t screw things up.
  10. Know that a tomato is a fruit but realize that it doesn’t belong in a fruit salad. This statement has nothing to do with tomatoes. It’s about knowledge and common sense. Get it?
  11. Believe me, your memory isn’t that good. No one’s is. Do you know where your car keys are now? Write stuff down. Everything. Keep a journal or a diary, take pictures. Labeling stuff is good too.
  12. Apologies are another tricky thing to work out. Most, but not all the time, they’re necessary. You may owe a guy an apology but he’s such an asshole that your pride prohibits you from saying, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” That’s a case where you don’t have to apologize. Apologies require just a tiny bit of groveling. A chef would say, “A dash.” Anyway, don’t overdo an apology.
  13. Understand that in life there are certain things that can’t be justified. You can condone an unnecessary war and urinating in public but you can’t condone littering or kicking a puppy. Learn which is which.
  14. Talking about politics will do you more harm than good. Enough said.
  15. “What’s wrong is wrong even if it does you good” and “Happiness comes from comparing ourselves to less successful people and reference groups.” These are quotes from Popeye and Dilbert. Don’t be afraid to watch cartoons and read the funnies.
  16. “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” I hate people who say stuff like that. Everyone does. It’s preachy and they’re trying to appear sophisticated and better than you. Don’t ever let them get away with it. Immediately do or say something to put them down. People will thank you.
  17. A lot of times, shorter is better. Extending or dragging things out more than necessary will only antagonize people. This manifesto is one of them times. The end.

Community Is ...

By Chris Filek
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut

I find the best metaphor for community is community as individuals. Before I get into this however, I would like to talk about how different communities are and what a community can be. I live in the town of Cheshire that is, in and of itself, a community. I am also apart of a music community, people who travel all over the country to go to concerts. I am also in a friendship community, a group of really close friends where we talk most everyday and keep in close touch with out friends who have moved away but who are still apart of that community. I am in a community on Xbox in my Madden football league and in Call of Duty with some close friends. I am in a community of students here at UConn Waterbury. Communities come in all shapes and sizes and there is no one singular definition of community.

A community must first and foremost be all about the individuals. If you ever look at a really good movie, each and every character is unique in his or her own way. Take The Godfather, for instance. Sonny was loud, animated and aggressive, while his brother, Michael, was quiet, reserved and relaxed. If a community was all of the same thinking then you end up with a cult or a radical extremist regime like the Nazis. Individualism is very important and is identified with American society. We are probably the first country where being an individual was virtually universally accepted. The idea of community also matters because it can give the individual a sense of self. Although, in my idea of a community, it is predicated around individuals that we also need to have common bonds that keep us together. My community of concert attendees is bonded by our love of either live music in general, or a specific band that is performing. We are all much different on our own but we are bonded by our shared joy of live music.

From living in my hometown for the better part of my life, I can also tell you that community is also a support system. The Petit Family Tragedy took place in our town and now twice a year we do Lights of Hope, once in the fall and another in the summer as a remembrance to their family. The church and Dr. Petit’s family, friends and neighbors have all tried to be there in his time of grief. We put the luminaries up every year and so do all of our neighbors. We never met the man or his family but we are part of this community and that tragedy touched all of us very deeply.

From what I’ve learned about community I can tell you that any community can be successful as long as the people in it legitimately care about each other. If everyone in the town was a hermit then parks would be overgrown by weeds and recreational areas would become extinct. If everyone thought they were the boss then everyone would fight and nothing would get done. A community is a shared experience among individuals and if you get the right group of people it can flourish.

Manifesto (not in order of importance)

By Laurie Lukasavage
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut
  1. Accept that you’re not perfect. You never will be, so don’t fight it.
  2. Acknowledge that you don’t live in a perfect world. You are here to try to make it better.
  3. Become comfortable in your own skin. It doesn’t matter how thin, heavy, attractive or ordinary you are, the people who matter will remember you for your personality.
  4. Don’t dwell on what you cannot do, develop what you can do.
  5. It’s ok to change your mind/opinion about something. That’s called “growth."
  6. When you solve a problem ... spice it up! Use puppets to act it out.
  7. Money may not mean that much to you, but it’s everything to some people and you will never change that.
  8. Talk to someone you never liked or understood. Try to find out what makes them tick. They will be suspicious of you, but you’ll learn something.
  9. Don’t take mean comments from people personally. Some people were born ornery.
  10. Find humor in bad situations.
  11. Remember when someone does something nice for you. Smile at them often.
  12. Reward others with praise as if they are your own children.
  13. Avoid snooty self-centered people, they’re not part of the human race.
  14. Don’t let others measure your ability. You are infinite.
  15. If you don’t like something, change it. If you do like something, build on it.
  16. Let yourself feel good.
  17. Let yourself feel bad.
  18. Learn to recognize an opportunity. This will prevent them from sneaking past you unnoticed.
  19. Make your own happiness.(Who knows what you really want, better than yourself?)
  20. Forgive yourself and past hurts from others, and then give it to God to tuck it in his pocket.

Creativity Manifesto for Life

By April Belanger
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut

Creativity and Innovation can be seen in everyone.

Creativity can be seen in any light, by anyone individual.

Hands-on Creativity needs to be seen in all realms of life; personal, work, and education.

Continuity and Creativity are essential for the creativity process.

Creativity can be fun yet it offers structured plans for work and in your life. Example: Offering creativity in other disciplines in school can result in more creativity in the community.

Trust yourself when making judgments in your life.

Confidence and enthusiasm can create new ideas and experiences.

Keep yourself open to new ways of learning and showing your creative side.