LCI to Join WNET Celebration of Teaching & Learning on March 16

In three weeks, more than 10,000 North American educators will converge on the Hilton New York for WNET’s seventh annual Celebration of Teaching & Learning. The Celebration is a major professional development conference that includes over 40 featured speakers and 100 interactive workshops, as well as two exhibition halls full of education resources. This year, as in 2011, I’ll have the privilege of presenting there, on a panel with Madeleine Holzer, director of educational development at Lincoln Center Institute, and 2010 National Teacher of the Year Sarah Wessling.

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Lincoln Center Institute’s 2012 Annual Benefit Gala on March 7

Patrick McMullan Company © 2011

Once a year, supporters of Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) gather, enjoy dinner and a world-class musical performance, and honor individuals and organizations that embody LCI’s ideals. These fundraisers celebrate LCI’s tireless efforts to bring the arts to young people, and to develop their skills of imagination, creativity, and innovation. So it is with great anticipation that I announce this year’s Annual Benefit Gala, to be held on March 7 at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

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Lincoln Center Institute Is on Twitter

A quick announcement for readers of Imagination Now: Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) is now on Twitter as LCInstitute. This is another highly useful way to interact with LCI online. Follow us to keep up with our efforts to promote imagination, creativity, and innovation in education and society, and to stay informed about relevant news from around the world. We look forward to meeting you, and conversing with you (in 140 characters or less), on Twitter!

Imagination Lesson Plans Now Available on Curriki

As reported over on Lincoln Center Institute’s (LCI’s) website, LCI’s Imagination Lesson Plans are now available for download on Curriki! You may recall that we announced our new partnership with Curriki, the leading online community for educators around the globe, at America’s Imagination Summit in July. This week marks the official launch of LCI’s Curriki group, which currently offers two sets of Imagination Lesson Plans for the use of K-12 teachers everywhere. More will be uploaded soon.

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Watch America’s Imagination Summit

In case you were on vacation in August or just spending some quality time away from the computer, Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) would like to remind you that comprehensive video footage of America’s Imagination Summit, the major event we hosted here in New York City on July 21-22, is available online.

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Imagination Now Is Back

My fellow bloggers and I are thrilled to announce the return of Imagination Now after a brief summer hiatus. Let me tell you about a few of the exciting developments that have kept Lincoln Center Institute busy in recent months.

LCI hosted America’s Imagination Summit—the capstone of our two-year, national Imagination Conversations initiative—on July 21 and 22 at Lincoln Center in New York City. The Summit gathered nearly 200 influencers—in business, government, science, and the arts, among other fields—to determine how to put imagination, creativity, and innovation at the center of U.S. public education. The event was streamed live to thousands of viewers across the country.

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Imagination First Comes Out in Paperback

In their 2009 book Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility, Imagination Now contributors Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon debunked a few myths, took imagination off its lofty pedestal, and made their premise clear: everyone has imagination! It is an essential cognitive skill that this society needs in large supplies if it is to meet the future head-on, and since it is a skill, it must be practiced.

The pragmatic approach, resulting in the description of actual imagination practices that are at the core of the book, paid off: the readers were at the very least intrigued, at best they were inspired to change their work strategies, their academic practices, even their private lives. They came from fields of interest as diverse as those of the imagination practitioners described on the book’s pages: think food retailer, teacher, marine corps officers.

Imagination First has just been reprinted in paperback edition. There was a specific purpose to this second edition: to reflect on what had been learned since the first edition, to “enhance” the book with additional texts and information, and, given its original success, to make sure that it reached the widest audience ever. Continue reading

Congratulations to the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies—Winner of the 2011 Imagination Award

Drama Teacher Kori Rushton, Principal Alyce Barr, and Music Teacher Christine Piccirillo from the Brooklyn School of Collaborative Studies. Photo: Patrick McMullan Company ©2011

As many know, Lincoln Center Institute created the annual Imagination Award to encourage and acknowledge New York City public schools that successfully incorporate and foster imaginative thinking in their teaching and learning practices. It is our pleasure to announce the 2011 winner: Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies.

The school is a 6th through 12th grade school, winning for its middle school efforts. Before we even read its application, we gave thumbs up to the words “Collaborative Studies” in the school’s name. BSC promotes rigorous study and an engaging curriculum, and pedagogy based on inquiry — meaning that questioning is encouraged. Also, it has created a school culture that demands and teaches compassion and good citizenship—all pedagogical qualities that LCI support.

Congratulations to the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, and to all the staff, headed by Principal Alyce Barr, who give the school its direction and guide its students toward desirable goals with imaginative learning.

2nd Imagination Practice Winner Announced

Image by Orin Zebest*

We recently announced that the next winning imagination practice might find its way into the upcoming revised edition of Imagination First. Well, so might the winner of the current contest round. Let’s have California teacher Betty Cavanaugh tell you about her imagination practice in her own words:

“What is the world’s biggest secret? That is the prompt I use with students. Their imagination soars with that question because the answers are limitless. After working in a group to generate ridiculous answers, students select their favorite response to develop into a colorful drawing and written story. Some favorite answers include: All the dinosaurs migrated to the center of the earth and their movement causes earthquakes. Animals are actually alien life forms from other planets. Tiny gnomes and fairies come out at night and paint the colors on all the flowers and leaves. Students enjoy playing this ‘game’ that also generates creative, imaginative written responses and dynamic artwork. I have also used this lesson during long car rides with my children.”

Cavanaugh is also an author. For a peek at her book, Multicultural Art Activities, check it out here on Google Books.

Cavanaugh joins our first winner Randy Compton, a Colorado teacher and creator of educational toys called Think-ets, in winning an iPod as a prize. Both might be included in the second edition of Imagination First. The third round of the competition is now underway! Read Imagination First and think about other practices of possibility from your own work and life. Write them up and submit them. Our team will read and review all the practices you submit and post them online. Don’t delay: the deadline to submit your practice for the next round of the competition is November 15th!

*There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.

Submit an Imagination Practice and Your Idea May Be Featured in the New Paperback Edition of Imagination First!

Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility will be out in paperback in spring of 2011! This time around, Lincoln Center Institute will take an interactive approach with our readers by incorporating some of your ideas into this publication—you never know, you may just end up with your name in print!

To submit an imagination practice that you would like us to consider for inclusion in the spring 2011 Imagination First paperback edition, we ask that you enter our ongoing imagination practices contest. As you may know, LCI has been running this contest since spring 2010 and awarding winners with an iPod. (Our first winner was a wonderfully imaginative Colorado teacher who had come up with a toy to get families to use their imaginations.) As you also know, Imagination First is based on real-life imagination practices used “routinely” by those in the workforce, including educators, inventors, businesspeople, and even army officers. The new edition will have a greater focus on education.

So, we invite you to send in your own imagination practice NOW. Practices must be sent to us by November 15th to be in the running for prizes including an iPod, and, now, the possible inclusion of your entry in the new edition of the book as well.

What do you do to fire up your imagination and the imaginations of others?

Please visit http://lciweb.lincolncenter.org/imaginationfirst/index.php/participate/share-your-practice for more information, to view the imagination practices contest rules and to enter. Let us hear from you today!