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6th Grade Early Entry

Today we had 6th grade early entry for new students to our school. Since I teach art, we have two groups of students… A day and B day students. Today we met with the A day students for 15 mins on google meets for a team building activity!

Usually in normal circumstances, I would have students come in and paint their hands and stamp them on a canvas for our class mural.

We talk about making our mark, and expressing ourselves as artists. I ask them to think of a symbol or design that would represent who they are. We discussed collaboration and how we come together to make a masterpiece. Each one of us an important part of the whole.

Since we aren’t in school… I wanted to create this same experience in the virtual world. One tool I learned about this week in our professional development meetings, was Jamboard!

Jamboard is a google app that allows people to collaborate in order to create. There are different tools, such as marker, pen, paintbrush, and highlighter. Sticky notes are great for adding text.

So students got to work on their digital class mural, making their mark and expressing themselves in the digital world.

It was so amazing watching the mural to unfold! Seeing the students mark making in the moment and how everyone was working on their own ideas and at the same time we were all working together!

This was a great team building activity, and I we had a final piece of art after 15 mins!

I am looking forward to doing this with the rest of my students.

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Sacred Retreat

I know many people who are entrepreneurs, and small business owners. The world is different from the point of view of owning and operating your own business, whether it’s making art to sell at craft fairs and events, or doing reiki in a room you rent at a wellness center.

As practitioners, makers, and vendors we have in essence two jobs. One is to practice and create the thing we are passionate about. The other is to manage and structure the flow of that passion into a sustainable living.

The REVIVE, REFILL, REFRESH retreat was planned with a vision, hosting a space for people to come and find their center. To come and revive, refill and refresh their soul. What we received was far more powerful then we could’ve ever imagined.

There were 8 participants, and 8 vendors. Each vendor presented a 30-45 min workshop about something they were passionate about.

Auria Faith lead us in an active listening activity where we were partnered up and then given a sheet of questions to ask the other person. The trick was we could only listen to their responses. We were not to talk back or have a conversation about the answers.

She also led us in a guided meditation using essential oils to envision our passions as a seed growing and expanding out into the universe. The choice of oils were Lavender, Wild Orange, and Manuka. Most everyone went for the meditative qualities of Manuka.

Merlin Peters discussed Tensor Rings and how he was lead to being creating them. Marlin discusses how the length of the copper wire is important to how the ring works. Tensor rings transmute negative ions into positive flows. It clears out energy from EMF’s as well.

Joanna Baker lead us in a guided meditation to our shadow selves to see and accept ourselves as we truly are, from all points of view. This was a very peaceful meditation for me, as I felt my shadows were simply there as way showers for the path.

Johanna Geister talked about our energy bodies, discussing the different energy lines and points of our body. She also led us in a grounding visualization where we all went barefoot to the grass to connect with the earth and envision our energy flowing through us as we breathed. It was such a beautiful experience with a little mist coming from the clouds rolling over. She also taught restorative yoga which was a perfect ending to the day.

Brenda Solonoski from Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat gave everyone a tour of her gardens, and identified plants that most people would find in their environments.

She also led a bundle, and tea or steam blend making workshop where people created their own smudge bundles from freshly picked herbs.

Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman from Therapeutic Thymes shared with the group ways to take their business to the next level through target marketing. Therapeutic Thymes is a holistic and nature magazine based out of York.

Jill Reed from Green Healing Room shared her journey to practicing stone readings and was available for readings for everyone. She read EVERYONE at the retreat, each reading was spot on and exactly what each person needed to hear. After her readings she gave each person a stone that was called for them. I received two rough cut jades. These stones have really been powerful for me lately. Holding them while I meditate. Jill has a gift to translating messages she’s open to receiving for each person she reads.

I shared how creativity is spirituality, using the flower of life and sacred geometry to tie everything together. Everyone explored creating the flower of life as we discussed how the meditative process opens up your mind to seeing new perspectives. I also was blessed to share intuitive henna with a few people <3

Each of us has a passion and a desire to share that passion with others. Most of our time is spent working on our goals to keep our fire burning, as well as learning ways to share what we know with others. When we do events and vend at places, a lot of energy goes into preparing our gifts, as well as our hearts and minds for the many people we will interact with throughout the event.

Rarely do we have time to commune with one another. Let alone share and learn from one another. We each have so many gifts we offer the world, but we are also the people who miss receiving those gifts. We give so much of our time to goals, that we rarely have time to be open to receiving.

This retreat was a time for vendors to come together and share and receive from one another. This retreat showed us how important this was for each of us. We need to remember we too deserve to receive our gifts. It gave us time to listen, and process what we learned. To sit and communicate our own experiences and thoughts. To be there for eachother, witnessing each others light and standing in our own.

When we heal ourselves, we help others on their journey by sharing what we’ve learned. Supporting one another by holding space for self expression and authenticity is vital, we are all connected.

I am forever grateful for those who participated in the Revive, Refill and Refresh Retreat in August. Miigwetch to all my relations.

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Growth Mindset & Creativity

A growth mindset is when people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

A fixed mindset in this scenario is convincing yourself that you can’t make them happy or that things won’t go well for you at all. A growth mindset example for this is having the confidence that you’ll make it through. Sure, it’s possible that you will make mistakes, but it’s an opportunity for you to learn.

As an educator.. I see many new initiatives and programs coming in that are changing how things are done. I have had the opportunity of being under the leadership of both types of people. Those who only follow the system, and those who take risks to try new things for the benefit of developing a growth mindset in our students. The difference between the two is that one group has not developed a growth mindset.  

Most people have not developed a sense of self around creativity, which does not allow them to be able to stand confident in the role as a leader and educator of a new reality where creativity is the answer.  

When there is a new initiative for restorative practices, arts integration or mindfulness… the teachers that have not developed a growth mindset are usually the first to give pushback. The thoughts of having too much to do already, make them feel like they wouldn’t ever be able to handle anything else. That’s because they will have to first LEARN something new for themselves. But in reality, if you begin with a growth mindset, then the other things fall into place exactly how they need to.

KNOWLEDGE of SELF is key for both students AND EDUCATORS! We all are first humans… we all are first on a journey of self awareness. True education comes first from the awareness of self. Once on that journey we become aware that we ARE CREATORS!

Having a growth mindset allows us to begin the journey standing in our power, knowing the universe works with us to receive what is ours by divine right. Even though tough times and challenges… we are constantly growing. Just like an artist painting a picture, we paint and edit and continue to paint some more until the painting becomes a picture into our mindset.

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Creativity is Spirituality

Art and creativity are VITAL to life.

Most adults I speak to do not see themselves as creative at all. So before we can “change the system”: we have to first realize how creativity is key to a growth mindset which is vital to true learning. This can only be done if we are actively seeking knowledge of self.

Our imagination is what we use to create our realities. So therefore creativity is spirituality. A creative person is connected to their soul and has unique ways of showcasing their spiritual connection through art and imagination. Spiritual intelligence is an all-encompassing form of intelligence.

Creativity and the use of our imaginations is the first step to everything we do, even our spirituality. When we are praying or meditating, we are using our ‘imagination” to envision our higher selves, our spirit guides, or our prayers coming into fruition. The mind’s eye sets the stage for what we draw to us in the astral realm. Our thoughts and visions of the world come from our perception which is molded and created by our choices and experiences.

Spirituality is an ongoing journey and learning experience from the inside out. Where as creativity is the ability to take that learning and apply it to our reality.

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Summer art camp experience during COVID19

This summer I took an art camp job, in person at The New Century School in Fells Point MD.

The New Century School is a small multi-lingual charter school in Baltimore City. Art camp runs from now until August 21st, 2020.

Two weeks down, and we’ve been having a wonderful time creating!

With 12 students a week, we have navigated this COVID paradigm with unconditional understanding and grace amidst of the unknown. Working for this school has shown me there are a lot of differences between public county schools and charter schools in the city.

The first week of camp the theme was Mythical, Magical Creatures.

We made dragons, unicorns, imaginary worlds, fairies, mermaids and more!

The second week of camp the theme was Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies!

We zentangled birds and butterflies, made styrofoam stamps of bugs, build birds from model magic and pipe cleaners!

The students are having a wonderful time, even with having to wear masks all day, and having to stay at their own table 6 feet from other students. It has been a little challenging to get the kids to remember to keep their mask up or not to get to close to other students. But overall the experience has been fun.

Everything is better with ART!

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Watercolor Exploration

Usually I am the teacher, but sometimes my daughter Element wants to teach as well! She made the beautiful painting featured in this blog, and showed me how she did it!

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RMS after Quarantine

Today I went into my classroom to grab a few things.

It was like the twilight zone.

I felt like the kids would walk in any minute!

It felt so familiar, yet students working in the classroom is such a distant memory.

I took pictures of some unfinished artwork; that really had me feeling disappointed and sad. The students were doing so well and created so many amazing things that they just had to leave behind.

It felt like I’m living in two realities at once.

Such amazing artwork… So much to look forward to. My only hope is that the time we had together taught them how to be creative no matter how good they thought they were at “art”.

I miss my students and my classroom.

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Meditative Mandalas

Mandalas are one of my all time favorite things to create.

Each mandala resonates its own energy.

When creating a mandala, I meditate with the certain energy

Putting my intentions into each piece.

Each color is chosen to be symbolic, as are the designs.

Representing the movement of energy.

Mandala means sacred circle, and represents all of life above and below.

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Stone Creek

The water at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat that flows beautifully through the woods, has been named Stone Creek, for the many stones you can find there.

Stone Creek houses many little waterfalls and surrounds a few little islands! These islands have been cleared and named as well… Solomons Stone Island, and Circle Stone Island.  Each island has been cleared so that people can camp and enjoy the water all around them.

My friend Eli ArtSparkle came to visit last weekend and I took her out to the woods and let her pick the spot we would sit for our artmaking. This specific spot is a beautiful place to sit on huge rocks that Brenda and Theo arranged.

Having Eli here really reinforced that my idea of a Plein Air workshop here at Burns Valley is something that I must plan! I can only imagine what beautiful work would be created from having many different artists here, inspired by the land.

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MAEOE 2020: The Shore

In February I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the 2020 MAEOE conference: Exploring Connections: Linking Nature, People, and Mindfulness.

The conference committee reached out and asked if I was interested in creating the logo for the conference, of course I said YES!  Art, nature, people, and mindfulness are all passions of mine. It was such a fun project to work on, and they asked me to create the logo again for next year’s convention: Climate, Nature, People and Education: It’s All Connected.

February 6-9, 2020, the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education brought together educators, resource personnel, scientists and researchers to share their experiences and ideas at the Princess Royale in Ocean City, MD. The weather was all rainy and cloudy most of the time, but we had a nice sunny day and a beautiful clear sky for a beautiful full moon.

The weekend began on Thursday with breakfast at the Bayside Skillet, it was delicious and hugemongous!  Perfect for keeping my fueled for the amazing Leopold Educational Program workshop. Peggy Eppig shared with us the land ethic and conservation education of Aldo Leopold.

Aldo Leopold was an American author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac, which has sold more than two million copies.  

This full day workshop was full of learning and inspirational moments. We first went outside to the beach to spend time in nature. The beach provided a moment of clarity as well as discovery, of self and the world around me.

Learning about land ethics was a transformative moment for me. I am ever grateful for what Peggy shared with us that day.  I see another layer to my being and how it all connects to the path of knowledge of self.  Creative expression is simply a part of the whole. Our interconnectedness to all of creation is the energy, stewardship is the interaction of our connectedness…the product is beauty and love through creative expression.

Friday was a day of  hands-on sessions. One session I attended that day was taught me how to dye with natural plants. We experimented with cranberries, turmeric, and onions to name a few. I was excited to take it back to school and share it with my students!

Friday was also full of social time! I love that MAEOE schedules in time for us to network and mingle. We had lunch, a first timers meeting, and happy hour! I also created a banner for people to fill in with their intentions for the conference! It turned out so cool!

Fridays field experience was a trip to the Indian River Lifesaving Station. That place showed me the shore in a whole new light.

Saturday sessions were jam packed and the exhibit hall was super busy. There was a silent auction in which I won a few things!  Then we had a social dance costume party in the ballroom. MAEOE had an Eco Superhero contest that Ridgely entered! My green club students turned me into Rainebow Earth Brite! The kids made everything from recycled materials! My motto was I turn litter into glitter and trashy into flashy! We didn’t win the contest, however it was SUPER fun!

I left on Sunday after a morning meditation.

The shore gave me clarity and peace, to my center and on my journey in this life.