Well worth the effort for problem solving
Jan 25th, 2012 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

This is a great problem solving puzzle.  My students and I in Oxford worked on this one during our Advisory Period.  Give it a go – a great stretch of the brain.  Click on the image to link out.

The Rules:

The group consists of a woman and two girls, a man and two boys, and a policeman with a thief. If you leave certain people alone with others, trouble will ensue. For example, the thief will only behave if the policeman is on the same bank.

  • A maximum of two people can be on the raft at a time.
  • One adult must be on the raft to operate it.
  • The man cannot be with any of the girls without the woman present.
  • Conversely, the woman can’t stay with the boys without the man there.
  • The thief must be with the policeman or be alone.



Expecting the “right” answers
Jan 19th, 2012 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I have long been an advocate for conceptual learning – big ideas. At the heart of good conceptual teaching is quality assessment. It is HARD to ask good questions of students. But I sometimes wonder if teachers are always looking for the “right” answer. I have always felt that it is better to find the “best” answer. Here’s a list of questions with some interesting answers. Of course, most of these questions are lower-order thinking factual recall. However, I love the divergent thinking!

Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die?
* his last battle

Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
* at the bottom of the page

Q3. River Ravi flows in which state?
* liquid

Q4. What is the main reason for divorce?
* marriage

Q5. What is the main reason for failure?
* exams

Q6. What can you never eat for breakfast?
* Lunch &dinner

Q7. What looks like half an apple?
* The other half

Q8. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
* Wet

Q9. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ?
* He sleeps at night.

Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
* You will never find an elephant that has only one hand..

Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have ?
* Very large hands

Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
* No time at all, the wall is already built.

Q13. How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
*Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

The Qualitative Report Conference Friday Plenary
Jan 15th, 2012 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

These are my notes from Valerie Janesick’s opening presentation at the Qualitative Report Conference.

Valerie’s presentation focused on how creativity manifests in research. She made connections between dance and research, but I think some of her statements highlight the importance of creativity in research.

Here were her key features to the creative process:

I really liked the following “Creativity Myth”

The lone artist/the lone ranger. You work with others. In the moment of insight – you can’t let it go. You need vision and you need feedback. There has to be a “loop.” You need a critique.

Here are some of the key ideas that highlight the essence of her presentation:

Having creative habit – not once and while – its an everyday thing – a job with its own routine
Preparation: “muscle memory” – observation
Incubation: ideas are always coming in and out of the mind – not static. Don’t stay in the linear track
Insight: Practice: How can you help someone claim their history if you don’t know your own.’
Elaboration: People don’t get it until you explain what your interpretation is. Since you are immersed in the context, you see feedback.
Creativity is about change. It is change of participants, change in the researcher.
Be playful and joyful – have a happiness about your work.
A creative person is both an extrovert and an introvert in one
You need a willingness to fail
Have consistency, constancy, and coherence of ideas
Keep up with your field. It’s going to change so you need to change.
When you restrict the social world you are going to restrict you answers
You extend stories by telling stories

She made some important points about writing as well.

writing is part of the process of being an artistic researcher
writing is about rewriting
if you are not going to write everyday, you are not going to get a book or an article.

The Qualitative Report Annual Conference
Jan 6th, 2012 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I am presenting my research on both problem finding and reflexivity at The Qualitative Report Annual Conference, in Ft. Laduerdale, FL. Here are the resources for the presentation:


Reflexivity Paper |
Reflexivity Presentation |
Creative Student Scientists Paper |
Creative Student Scientists Presentation


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