These are my notes from Peter H. Reynolds’ closing commentary at the 4th Annual Constructivist Celebration

We are really whole brain people
– I know everyone in this room believes in the whole brain concept, we are not easily labeled
– some courses like to label kids, and measure kid with data

Great teaching is about loving kids, enjoying our jobs, not about measuring kids with data

Who here likes to make stuff? That is what today is about

I’ve written a couple of books
“The Dot” is about a little girl who says she cannot draw, and a teacher who thinks differently in more ways than one

Most powerful thing that a teacher, adult, care-giver can do
– notice me
– tap into my interests
– connect my abilities, skills, and interests to learning

Another sign of a great teacher: you have the idea first, and you figure it out later
– this is really what today is about

today we jumped into new tools and started learning them

I have a company called Fablevision in Boston in the Children’s Art Museum
– a children’s museum is not a place to drop your kids off, the best parents are in there playing with their kids

We need to show those around us that creating is really fun
– if we want our kids to read, they need to see us reading
– we need to be creating for our kids to be creators
– we have to be brave to do this
– that is what the book “The Dot” is about

If you don’t have a computer tablet to use for drawing, get one

On purpose we called this program “Animation-ish”
– I use this approach to get kids and adults to relax
– story of helping Todd who was drawing a tiger see that it was “tiger-ish”
– that helped them see they were constructing their own representations of reality

The “ish” concept allows you to tell the world to back off, because you’re doing it your way
– we cannot get better at anything we don’t do
– expertise is not handed out at the vending machine, you have to earn it


Everyone can doodle
– doodling kind of takes the pressure off
– these lines can wiggle
– I am on purpose not getting things “just right”

vision is to see something that does not exist
– this is the superhuman power we all have

At fablevision we believe stories are one of the best ways to teach
– we are all dabbling with storytelling with many of these software programs here today

Film “He Was Me”

There are 2 kinds of people
– adults
– grown up kids

WE have got to be change, the ones exposing kids to big ideas
– encouraging kids to have big ideas

real focus is to be able to transmit your ideas, you have to have an idea first

Multimedia projects often fall into 2 categories
– completely aimless
– violent

I am really worried about these violent stories
– we encourage children to have a mission, a goal, a story

WPSA: World Problem Solvers Agency
– let’s create Public Service Announcements
– only 30 sec, may be 60 sec long

A blank book is our best selling book
– I show this to kids and tell them it is my favorite book
– I ask kids why you think this is your favorite book
– the big message: it is all about possibilities
– you are in charge of writing the next chapter

I am always encouraging people to write children’s books
– children’s books are read by children as well as adults
– adults are the gatekeepers
– in our bookstores

Best children’s books are wisdom dipped in stories
– reason you love that book is because it moved you

If you have a personal mission you are trying to move forward, see if you can share that big idea with stories
– pictures can do a lot of heavy lifting

we are in a new age, a visual age
– we got used to text-based age
– we now have access to film, animation, art
– you can make those ideas come to life in ways that were impossible 10-20 years ago
– open up that blank book, plank down that mission in a way that is congruent with your vision and mission

share it with those who might need a reminder that kids are not data, not there to be tested to death
– teachers are there to be inspired, not to test kids to death

“there are so many great kids out there that don’t get recognized by the testing camera”
– standardized testing is like a Dept of Motor Vehicles camera that takes your photo for your driver’s license
– kids get saddled with labels
– it takes a long time to believe that you have something to offer
– we need compassionate teachers who can see beyond all that and connect with kids
– if you give kids animation tools, a language for expression, you will see them bloom

I am on Facebook
– my brother Paul is on Twitter

We are in Boston, we are revolutionaries, we are where the revolution began

Keep having fun!

If I could have designed my own classroom when I was a teacher, it would look like Fablevision today

I encourage you to bring your toys into your classroom

Don’t ever self-deprecate yourself in front of students!

Be brave about your own work!
– don’t denigrate it
– just enjoy it
– follow your mother’s advice, if you don’t have anything nice to say
– be supportive
– art is not a solo sport

Story about the book “North Star”

what is the “cool stuff?”
– if you look at the really great 21st century skills, they are the things that are very challenging to assess
– it is ok if you say “it doesn’t click”
– it may not be clicking right now, the way you are teaching it, or that I haven’t seen the relevance of it yet

So often when people talk about data driven decision making, they lose sight of the fact we’ve got to love the kids

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on

On this day..

Share →
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Made with Love in Oklahoma City