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Dedicated to Teachers


Assembling a #CreativityShelf

Assembling a #CreativityShelf
by Tanny McGregor

A few years ago, my family and I decided to move from our small townhouse to a larger place where our two daughters could have their own bedrooms. I have no idea how many houses we toured with our realtor, but I always noticed one thing in particular while walking through a potential new residence. No, it wasn’t the kitchen cabinets or the size of the bedrooms. In fact, it had little, if any, connection to whether we wanted to buy the house. It was the books. Whether on shelves, in stacks, or scattered across a coffee table, I read the titles curiously, eager to make inferences about the homeowners. What are their hobbies? Do they read some of the same authors I do? Anything interesting I’d like to read sometime soon? Books tell so much, especially when they’ve been chosen to “live” in someone’s house.

I thought about this recently as I sat at my desk, working to meet a writing deadline. When someone visits my house for the first time, what do my books say about me? No doubt they show I’m interested in literacy, historical fiction, and Appalachia. But there is another subject also heavily represented. Books about creativity are sprinkled through my bookshelves, stacked on my nightstand, and stored in boxes in my basement. I’m interested in creativity and have been for a long, long time. It’s time to pull these books together, physically, so I can see what I have and share them with friends who are interested in the same topic.  These books are coming together virtually as well, with a hashtag of their own: #CreativityShelf.

Viewing this collection, both in my home and on Twitter, I see how complex creativity is, how so many of us struggle to define it. What is creativity, anyway? I recently posed this question to colleagues across the country and charted a few of their responses (see below).

As I write a new book about creativity and how it drives great instruction, I’ll keep adding to my creativity collection—and I invite you to join me. Which titles have deepened your thinking about creativity and the creative process? Snap a photo of the cover, jump on Twitter, and don’t forget the hashtag. And continue to check out #CreativityShelf from time to time. It is growing and changing, just as our thinking about creativity is growing and changing.

Tanny McGregor is the author of Comprehension Connections and Genre Connections.  Tanny has been teaching and learning in Cincinnati for more than two decades. She is a staff developer, a nationally-known keynoter and workshop presenter, and a member of Heinemann Professional Development Services.

Topics: Literature, Reading, Tanny McGregor, Writing, Inquiry

Date Published: 09/29/14

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