Monday, December 2, 2013


There's this comedian who writes for SNL and has a stand up routine or two. I totally can't share it with students, but he has one joke about being at a party as a high school student and yelling "Scatter!" when the cops show up. I always have his tone of voice in my head when I tell my students to SCAMPER.

. . .
What on earth is SCAMPER?
It is only the greatest and most amazing acronym I learned about in my graduate career. And as an education major, you know I learned a whole bunch of acronyms...DESE, NCLB, MTEL, MCAS, DDM, SMART, SSDD...

SCAMPER is an acronym to help one through the creative process.
I was first introduced to it through an assignment for my Creative Thinking course last year. We were asked to gather a bunch of stuff from our kitchens and design a system. I grabbed a steamer, chopper, rubber bands, can opener, baster, cheese grater and a flashlight/lantern. I was so stumped. What could I create that had a function with this junk? I played with it for over two hours before I quit and went to bed.

I thought that a clear mind and a new perspective may help to solve my problem. I also really tried to consider SCAMPER'ing. How could I use these words to help me?
And then I got it... I magnified my objects, took some apart and endlessly rearranged to come up with

a rocket ship that launches a space station (and if I remember correctly, harnesses energy)

I felt like I had such a break through.

SCAMPER is perfect for that road block situation.
Or for where my students are right now in the planning process of their long term value drawings. Many are using some printed references and wanting just to copy the image. I have challenged them to SCAMPER. Or for those that have one sketch that is just "eh," SCAMPER helps them to look at their work through a new lens.  
For me to go through the creative process and experience first hand how awesome and helpful SCAMPER is was totally a benefit. If I could make stickers and put them inside each of my student's sketchbooks, I would. It is a great tool that I can see the benefits from in the planning process.

Go SCAMPER everyone!

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