Kayley Dull and Tyler ElveyLLED 401
November 17, 2009Synthesis – Ideal Language Arts Program

Child’s Creativity in Transmediation

We decided to take a part of our ideal language arts program, child’s creativity in transmediation, and focus more directly on that.Transmediation is the process of recreating the meaning of a text from one medium to another.Transmediation can be recreated using many different sign systems, such as photography, music, art, dance, video, comic, podcast, website, and many others.A child’s creativity can be enhanced using many of these different sign systems. The materials available to children in today’s society allow this enhancement of creativity.
However, our current education system does not necessarily engage in children’s creativity in the classroom. In her book, Integrating the Arts Across the Elementary School Curriculum, Phyllis Gelineau explains that current instruction in the classroom is directed more towards the “left side” of the brain rather than the “right side” of the brain.The left side of our brains is used for reading, hearing, speaking, math, logic, time management, and verbal memory. Our right side is used for visual memory, spatial perception, visualizing, synthesizing, insight, and understanding analogies and metaphors. A possible solution to this problem is to move instruction from test-based to a balance between testing and creativity.Children’s knowledge should not necessarily be assessed just on logic, but logic and exploration using transmediation as a central guide for exploration.
For children to be creative, it is important that they become risk takers.R. Phyllis Gelineau talks about Michael LeBoeuf’s book, Imagineering.LeBoeuf states, “More good creative ability is wasted due to fear than anything else.People with good voices are afraid to sing, those with artistic talents hide their paintings, writers are too embarrassed to show their writing to anyone.”It will be our job as the teacher to encourage our children to become risk takers while they are exploring each sign system.We have to give the students the tools and make them feel comfortable while creating the projects and publishing them.
Let’s explore the sign system of photography. Technological advances in photography from just plain black and white to color, digital, re-mastered black and white, and computerized photographs give children endless topics to write about just from a simple photograph. A picture is truly worth a thousand words. There is also terminology to go along with interpreting photographs. By understanding this terminology, children can possess multiple ways to respond to a photograph. Some of the terminology includes top, bottom, left, right, vector, gaze, colors, exaggeration, and center. A vector, for example, is the line that separates the grass from the sky. It separates the real from the ideal (Hartse, 55). Black is an example of a dominant color in a photograph. It stands out by itself when blended with lighter colors. One of the greatest activities involving photography is to give students a camera and have them be the photographer. Giving students the option to take a picture of anything they want opens the door to creative writing. The right side of the brain would definitely be at work here.
Another sign system that is extremely important to implement in the classroom is art. Art offers hundreds of creativity pathways that students can walk and explore. A perfect example of how effective arts can be in the classroom is our own LLED class. Throughout the semester, our class has constructed posters to reflect many of our various assigned readings. An example is the myths about acquiring a second language (Power & Hubbard). Our class created posters that reflected the myths.A simple activity such as giving a child a piece of paper and markers and telling him or her to draw anything can make their imagination run wild. An important thing to remember when implementing art into the classroom at an elementary level is craftsmanship is not the most important priority. A child’s artwork should reflect his or her creative side as much as possible.It is possible for their artwork to mean something that only they can understand.As long as they understand what is in their artwork and can explain it, we feel that this sign system would be effective for them.
In her article, “Music in the Classroom”, Jennifer Prescott concurs that students enjoy, gain nourishment, and build confidence through participation in music and the arts. Implementing music in the classroom can cover an array of subjects. For example, singing songs about math formulas can help students remember them better.Another example is that music can be divided into historical contexts. A history lesson can be incorporated with the popular music at the time of the lesson. Music can also be used for active engagement in the classroom. Children can move their bodies as well as their minds with music. Teachers can give a history lesson about a particular type of dance and actually have their children practice it in class. In today’s world, music covers hundreds of genres from classical to hip-hop. From these genres, there are endless ways music could be used in schools. A current and popular tool being used across the country is using hip-hop music to help children better remember terminology. Music also opens the mind to more creative thinking. In fact, a 2001 College Entrance Examination Board Study showed that students with coursework and experience in music actually scored higher on the verbal and math sections of the SAT than students who had little or no experience in music (Prescott). From this study, we believe it is imperative for schools to make music in the classroom a requirement when constructing curriculum.
Transmediation in the classroom is so important because of all the sign systems that are involved.Teaching children multiple sign systems will increase their chances for success.Taking an individualized approach will help highlight the miracle that is each child’s contribution to our ideal language arts program.


Gelineau, R.P. (2004). Integrating the arts across the elementary school curriculum. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Leland, C.H, & Harste, J.C. (1994). Mulitple ways of knowing: curriculum in a new key. Language Arts, 71(5), 52-59.
Power, B.M., & Hubbard, R.S. (2002). Language development: a reader for teachers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Prescott, J.O. (2005, January). Music in the classroom. Retrieved from http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/instructor/Jan05_music.htm