April 2008
Vol 5 No 4

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.4 April 2008

Cover Story by Marvin Marshall
Immaculate Perception
There is no such thing as immaculate perception. What you see is what you thought before you looked.

Harry & Rosemary Wong
Effective Teaching
Schools That Beat the Academic Odds

»Are We Demanding Enough of Our Students?
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five
»Podcasting 101
»Think Outside the Box
»Problem-Based Learning Part 2: Good problems
»Ten Ways to Foster Resiliency in Children

»Finger in the Dike Protects Half the Kingdom
»April 2008 Writing Prompts
»Amusing Abacus
»Making the Grade
»The Disrespecting of Social Studies
»Classroom Magazines: More Than Just Shared Reading
»The Silenced Majority
»I Won't Learn What You Teach!
»Dear Laura Bush
»Choice, Access, and Relevance: Reading Workshop in the High School Classroom
»Stay Inside the Lines
»Chat with Grant Writing Expert LaVerne Hamlin
»Proofreading and Learning Disability
»Drexel Online Education Program

»Featured Lessons: April 2008
»Video Bytes: Abbott and Costello, Earth Day rant and more
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration for April 2008
»Live on Teachers.Net: April 2008
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers
»HELP! Grading: How Do You Do It?
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Marvin Marshall

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Cheryl Sigmon, Marjan Glavac, Rob Reilly, Barbara & Sue Gruber, Hal Portner, Leah Davies, Tim Newlin, James Wayne, P.R. Guruprasad, Todd Nelson, Alan Haskvitz, Mandy Yates, Bill Page, Susan Rismiller, Bradley Cook, Kimberly Payne, Kevin Coffey, John Keegan, and YENDOR.

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Kevin Coffey

Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Stay Inside the Lines

How to control creativity and keep it on point.
by Kevin Coffey
April 1, 2008

What did you learn back in the first grade about coloring? Take your black crayon, if you can find one, with the black crayon, outline the picture you want to color. Then color it whatever color you want to color it.

Just stay inside the lines. Stay inside the lines. If you go outside the lines, your work looks sloppy. Color it whatever crazy, hopped up, non-realistic, spasmodic, operatic, rinky-dink color you want, but STAY INSIDE THE LINES!!!

This month, my son’s Cub Scout den (I’m the Den Leader) is in charge of the Pack meeting. We have to do the flag ceremony and a skit. During our planning session, I thought I could use the skit as an opportunity to earn the Webeloes’ Showman badge. Since I am an actor, I’m the one who has to figure out how to get this done. One of requirements to get this badge is to write a script for a puppet show.

First, my nine boys each made a sock puppet. When I asked them what they would like to name their puppet, mostly I got “I don’t know; What do we have to name them for?" "Crusher; Destroyer, Godzilla.”

Then I told them the theme of this month’s Pack meeting: Litter to Glitter. We then tried to come up with ideas for a story to put the puppets in. Here’s a list of the puppets’ names and various ideas they came up with once they were provided with the lines:

The Junk Man Collects Trash and makes sculptures out of it.
Midnight the Owl Flies around and gets hit in the eye by litter
The Litter Bug Gets crushed by falling trash
Monsieur Garbage CEO of French Company S. Cargo, pollutes everything
Monsieur Debris Monsieur Garbage’s personal assistant
Glitterman Superhero of Recycling
Mary Monsieur Garbage’s wife
The Unknown Man Not quite sure about him yet
Godzilla Destroys and eats things of course

Suddenly, they could see the lines and immediately began to color inside them. Probably while you’re looking at the ideas and the characters, you can see a story emerging there too. Creativity, art, only happens inside boundaries. If there are no boundaries, it just seems sloppy. It looks like an accident, a mistake rather than on purpose. So have outlines for kids to color inside, whether they’re acting in your play or writing their own.

And don’t worry. No matter what your boundaries are, you’ll always have a Godzilla.

» More Gazette articles...

About Kevin Coffey ...

Kevin Coffey is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and the Acting Studio Conservatory in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as a stage veteran of 28 years. He's performed in a range of theatre from Shakespeare to musicals, drama to comedy. Since memorizing Bill Cosby and Flip Wilson routines in the fourth grade, Kevin has done stand-up comedy, singing and dancing, writing radio advertisements, DJing and even dressing up like a chicken. Visit his web site at

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