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English Detective # 7: 3 Aspects of Creativity, Feb. 25, 2013.
February 25, 2013

Introducing this issue:

(I’ve suggested this for Monday, but do any of these activities when it works best for you.)

Ihe last issue of English Detective looked at William Shakespeare, whose insights into human psychology and wonderful creativity with language have fed the imagination of the English-speaking world for five centuries.

This issue considers three more aspects (ways of looking at) creativity: the artistic and scientific genius of Leonardo da Vinci, the wonderful inventiveness of Chinese civilization (as well as the contributions of many nations to the foods we eat today), and ways to encourage and express our own creativity.

“Where ideas come from” in the next issue, also looks at creativity, especially as networking. It gives many examples of collaboration, and how little ideas more several people can add up to become “more than the sum of their parts.”)

Tuesday’s reading (with audio, so you can listen as you read) is about Leonardo da Vinci. His interest and talents in art, music, architecture, and engineering, made him a model of what we still call a “Renaissance man.” His experiments in perspective changed western art, and some of his engineering designs were 500 years ahead of his time.

Leonardo wrote this about how to develop a complete mind: “Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

Wednesday there is a crossword to practice this issue’s vocabulary (see below). Thursday’s reading is about what Chinese inventions have contributed to the world. Of course, Chinese civilization has contributed much more than just inventions, but this is an interesting article that is not too long or difficult. If you are interested and have the time, there is much more available online or in libraries on China’s rich heritage of history, literature, and philosophy.

Friday has more information about Art Vocabulary-- the various words that talk about seeing, sensing, and showing.

The following Monday you can practice using the perfect tenses, with a fill-in essay on the history of the potato (related to Tuesday’s reading.)

Tuesday I planned to write a model essay on food contributions of the Old and New Worlds (the eastern and western hemispheres). However, while doing some research and fact-checking I found an essay that said what I had hoped to say, so I am linking to it instead. I found its summary fascinating.

Wednesday I suggest you try to write an essay somewhat like the demonstration essays Monday and Tuesday. You can write about your own country’s contributions to human progress, literature, philosophy, sciences, the arts, etc., or write about some other contribution (from someone you admire, for example) that you find especially interesting. Why don’t you try to use the present perfect tense a couple of times?

It would be great if you would like to share your essay. Just click the Wednesday link and enter your essay into the form. You may add a picture if you have one you want to share. (I will correct any English errors, and then post any contributions to share with other readers in the next issue.)

If you prefer, you can watch the video on creative confidence Wednesday and write a short essay on creativity or your experience with it on Thursday)

Thursday (or Wed., as mentioned above) there is a short (under 12 minutes) video on “How to Build your Creative Confidence.” I especially like the fact that you can read the text as you watch (or before, or after.) The transcript of the text and the video itself are available in 30 languages, so you could read and watch it in your own language before or after the English version-- but DO listen and read it in English!

I loved the final example in the video of the way creative thinking helped sick children. By presenting the MRI machines as a pirate adventure instead of a scary medical procedure, the machines’ designer was able to change the children’s perspective. He made the experience fun instead of terrifying for them.

Friday, as usual, you can “test your deductions” with a quiz to practice the words you have been studying.

Your First Clue: Vocabulary we’ll Emphasize in this Issue

access, complex, convention (and unconventional), demonstrate, display, equipment, exhibit, export, granted, illustration, media, medium, options, perceived, percent, perspective, psychology, qualitative, route, survey, technical, trace, transformation, visual, volume.

If you already know most of the words, work on the ones you aren’t so sure of, or enjoy the readings and take a break from intensive study this week. There will be a whole different group in the new newsletter.


Click here for the reading and audio discussion of Leonardo da Vinci.


Here's the crossword. The answers are here.

Thursday: An Inventive History (of China)

A couple of explanations before you read it. A ‘tinker’ has various meanings historically, but here it means someone who can fix many different things, or who tries different approaches until something works the way he wants.

‘Gotcha!’ is short for ‘I got you,’ meaning I tricked or fooled you. In the Pasta section: “used their noodles (slang for brains) to invent noodles.” Under Fortune Cookie, ‘clairvoyant’ means able to foresee the future.

Click here for the article.

Friday-- Art Vocabulary

Here are some explanations of art vocabulary.

2nd Monday: Present and Past Perfect Tense Practice (with an essay on where potatoes come from)

Click here for the perfect tense practice.

Tuesday 2: the Columbian Exchange between Old and New Worlds

Click here for the article.

Wednesday 2: Write An Essay

Now it’s your turn to write a short essay (one or two paragraphs-- or more if you would like to.) You can write about what your country has contributed to the world or anything else you want. See if you can use some perfect tenses when talking about what started in the past and has continued until the present. Be sure to illustrate your main ideas with examples or brief stories to help make them as clear as possible.

If you would like to share what you have written, you can add it to the form here. I’ll correct any problems with the English, and other visitors to can learn more about your country. (If you write about some other topic, I may move it to the most relevant page-- or make a page for it.)

Thursday 2: Building your Creative Confidence

Here's the video.

Friday 2: Test your Deductions

Click here for the quiz.

Coming in the next 2 issues: Thinking and Learning, the Advantages of Being Bilingual, and New Research on the Brain, and Brain Development in Children.

In case you missed these: Earlier issues of English Detective have articles on a number of topics, plus practice with over 150 words from the Academic Word List. You can check them out with the link to the back issues page below (or find what words were practiced each issue here.

P.S. If you’re not already getting English Detective, you can subscribe by completing the form here. (It's free!)

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