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Teacher uses the magic of 'ish' to encourage creativity | Education

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Teacher uses the magic of 'ish' to encourage creativity

DECATUR, Ga. -- For art teacher Nick Madden at Glennwood Elementary in Decatur, it's all about the "ish."

"I like to teach them 'ish' things. Kind of an apple-ish shape or a square-ish shape," said Madden, winner of 11Alive's Class Act Award.

It's a concept he came to love after reading the book ISH by Peter Reynolds. Basically, "ish" is doing creative things in an abstract way, not concrete.

"That's kind of how I live my life-ish," Madden said.

He certainly has the right "ish" for teaching.

"Nick is the kind of teacher that teachers dream of working with," said Laurie Kezh, a former 11Alive Class Act winner who works at Glennwood with Madden and nominated him for Class Act. "He wants to know what to know what makes the students tick. Every student, not just one or two."

"At this age (elementary), they have such a raw urge to create and somewhere along the line it disappears.  So I think my job as an educator of young children is to get them inspired and excited about art and told, hold onto that," Madden said.

He's also a professional artist.

"It's highly inspired by these guys," said Madden referring to the kids in his classes.  "That sorta raw urge to create is infectious. My art is very child-like. I like to use a lot of raw materials, stuff that I find on the street that speaks to me in a weird way. I create a person or a lion."

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