It has begun! Students and teachers are together again! I have missed my students a lot. Seeing them in the classroom, creating and smiling. Its been too long since we had this type of interaction. There is nothing like creating art together with other people.
Over the past year I have taught students art virtually. In doing so, I have learned so much about myself, teaching, and digital space. Learning what I love and what I can let go of. Seeing what I have to offer my students, even without being in their presence. Realizing that our energies can still influence each other, even if we are miles apart.
We can create as a community. We get to gather and share. We get to feel that energy flowing through the classroom. Even though we are missing a few of our fellow artists in person, we have been able to nicely integrate both in person and digital work space!
RMS Together Again
Our PTA is the best ever, I just have to give them a huge shout out. They are so supportive of the teachers at Ridgely, and always go beyond to show us how much!
Some days I wake up feeling not so beautiful…no matter what I try on, nothing fits right, nothing looks right, nothing feels right.
My mind questions and reflects, spending a lot of time figuring out where things I think come from, why I am thinking them, what is keeping me in this thought pattern?! I mean… if it makes me unhappy… then why am I choosing to dwell on it. I say DWELL because its OK to feel what we feel, but to sit there and continue to feel a feeling that is not going to uplift me on my path is not beneficial!
So after reflecting on the question, why do I feel “not beautiful”?, I realized that it was a lot about how I felt about what I looked like… if i wore this shirt or those jeans… if the jeans were too tight, or the shirt didn’t match. If my hair doesn’t look right or my clothes don’t fit… I do not feel beautiful…. you know what I have to say about that… THAT’S BULLSHIT!
I am beautiful, my clothes do not make me beautiful. My hair and makeup doesn’t make me beautiful! I had to ask myself, what does!? When do I feel beautiful? So I complied a list…
I feel beautiful when:
I am hiking in nature
I am digging in the dirt
I am smiling
I focus on seeing the beauty around me
I wear clothes that I like
I am well rested
I have gratitude
I am engaged in listening and seeing other people as they are
Now its time for ACTION… because whats the use in questioning and reflecting if there is no action taken on what’s found out?
Its time to create, explore and experiment on what I’ve questioned, reflected up and expressed.
This is truly a Ceeqer’s life.
Every day I will do at least one thing that makes me feel beautiful, even if it’s just to smile at a stranger.
A lot has happened in the past month, so much I haven’t had time to keep up with writing about it all!
I taught two faculty paint nights as team building workshops! Both went extremely well and everyone left feeling like an artist! First we painted a lighthouse, because Ridgely is a Baltimore County Lighthouse School, we each hung our paintings up in our classrooms. The second party we painted cherry blossom trees, which were more for our houses.
I also taught a dream catcher workshop at my friends yoga studio Life in Balance. There were 12 people in attendance and each created their own unique dream catcher!
There was also a birthday painting party! Lots of middle school girls painting circle designs, or any designs they desired! Each piece turned out awesome, and the girls had a blast!
The last learn to paint session I held was on circle designs. Participants learned about mandalas and techniques to create their own one of a kind sacred circle. This session was a bit different than my other learn to paint parties. Each guest was able to choose from an array of supplies to complete their art. There were even multiple resources artists could look through for inspiration! It was truly a unique and amazing experience.
The word “mandala” Sanskrit translated to mean “circle.” It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself. Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.
I prefer to call it a Sacred Circle, one that was created with purpose by the artist and has meaning to the viewer.
If you want to begin your journey creating your own mandalas, all you have to do is start by setting your intentions.
What do you hold sacred, what resonates with you?
Once you have a few things listed, create symbols to represent those things. The symbols do not have to be recognizable and do not need to be understood by anyone other than yourself. The viewer will make their own interpretation of what they feel it means for them.
My only suggestions for materials are paper, a compass, ruler, pencil and eraser. Go from there and create something beautiful, adding colors how you wish, with whatever materials resonate with you.
Another added layer could be to research the meanings of certain colors words, and symbols that represent the energy and intent you have for your creation. For example: if you wish create a mandala to show love, you might us the color green, as the heart chakra color is green.
2015 was a year of progress, it felt as though I sprinted to the end! Everything moved forward and fast.
I like to write down all of the amazing things I’ve done in an ending year as a reminder to be grateful for what I have and to be excited for what’s to come in the new year.
As I sit here and make a list in my head, I realize I did a lot in 2015.
Such beautiful art!
I taught amazing adults how to let their creative self out and go with the flow. Meeting so many new people and making some really close friends.
The networking I did at events opened up doors and gave me new inspiration. My creativity really exploded into making new pieces of art and selling a lot of it.
I’ve learned that I really enjoy making grow with me chalkboards, and personalized art. Looking to make more art in 2016 and really market my work as well as my abilities as an artist and an instructor.
I see many opportunities to share what I know with people everywhere and amplify the creative energy in the world! In April I will be teaching a continuing education dreamcatcher class at Catonsville Community College, and have been asked to do a dreamcatcher workshop at a friends yoga studio. In July I will be teaching two classes during summer camp at the community college as well.
Brass Performance Hall
There were a few unexpected professional development travels. In March I went to the National Art Education Association Convention, and learned all about new art supplies and networked with new friends from twitter. The 2016 NAEA convention will be held in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s day weekend…and I will be there! I have already registered for the artisan gallery where art educators set up and sell their personal work! I visited Fort Worth Texas in June for the Balfour Advisor Workshop and Malibu California in July to attend the Balfour Ignite Journalism Workshop. I am also looking to take some students to Malibu this year for the workshop!
This year I had the privilege to become a new board member for Historic Hampton Inc.. So far this experience has been one of the best, working with amazing people to represent art and education at a national historic site! We’ve teamed up with our first artist in residence, wrote an arts integrated lesson plan to use with the site as well as held our first artist educator workshop! There is so much to look forward to in 2016…another artist educator workshop before spring, and a painting day with our artist in residence.
2015 started with a great softball season as my first year coaching my middle school’s girls softball team and in August I began my 7th year teaching at Ridgely Middle School, with a new principal and a whole new way of doing things. Learner centered environments are the way to go, and digital technology really does enhance learning. I am really enjoying the kids having devices available. The Seesaw app is really turning out to be a great way to keep portfolios! I can not wait to do more projects with my students and see how they use the C.E.E.Q.E.R. model to find solutions to the curriculum! Soon I will have completed my department chair training and I will be applying for the pool of candidates. Perhaps there is something new waiting for me at the end of 2016.
I also started blogging more. I made it a point to at least write once a month; I will be making it a goal in 2016 to write once a week. Using instagram to share our students awesomeness, along with what’s happening in the school, was a huge success. I also started tweeting more, and building my #PLN (professional learning network.) #k12artchat has been my favorite thing to do on Thursday nights, and has even inspired me to create a chat of my own (keep an eye out for more details coming.)
I spent a lot of time with my two amazing children this year, watching them grow and learn. They have really been a light and joy. We made a lot of crafts and went on many new adventures. I am so excited to see what we do in 2016!
I feel like I might be leaving things out, but man was that a lot!
A poinsettia is more than just a beautiful red petaled Christmas plant!
Did you know that it is indigenous to Mexico and Central America!
The Aztecs used the petals to produce a red dye and the white sap from the steam is an antipyretic medication… which means its a FEVER reducer! The Aztecs call the plant is called Cuetlaxochitl, meaning “flower that grows in residues.”
Today it is known in Mexico and Guatemala as Flor de Noche Buena, meaning Christmas Eve Flower. In Spain it is known as Flor de Pascua or Pascua, meaning Easter flower. In Chile and Peru, the plant became known as Crown of the Andes. In Turkey, it is called Atatürk’s flower because Atatürk, the founder of the Republic, liked this flower and made a significant contribution to its cultivation in Turkey.
The plant’s association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.
I find it so interesting that the plant comes from a specific place in Mexico, and had medicinal purposes, yet when I grew up learning about it I was told that the white sap was toxic and I could get sick from it. Before doing a little exploring and questioning, I did not see it for anymore more than just a decorative plant! Now reflecting on this fact…I know that all plants from this earth have a purpose that benefits the human race in one way or another. This is an important thing to be conscious of when realizing the amazing power we have to be self-sufficient.
All of this research came about because of my learn to paint poinsettia class! It was a nice party, and we created some beautiful paintings! Thank you ladies for coming!!
My student artists have completed a variety of projects, focusing on the Elements and Principles of Art along with other techniques. They have had multiple opportunities to be Ceeqers and to really personalize their learning.
Our first big project was our locker name tags. It was a group decision by our faculty to hang plastic sleeves on every locker with the first installation being a name tag for each student. So in art class, every student created their own personalized name tag that focused on an element and principle of design. The results were fantastic! Our halls went from dull grey lockers to a personalized space that the students truly feel is theirs.
The 8th grade GT Artists created puzzles to represent the Elements and Principles of Design, using multiple materials and techniques!
Student artists in my studio created Zentangle masterpieces next! We did contour line drawings of objects, then artists chose any object or image they wanted, and zentangled it in with patterns and designs. After creating their zentangle objects, artists experimented with watercolor to create a fun background.
We have had a lot of fun so far, I am looking forward to more fun!! The 8th grade GT artists are working on their Mantle of the Expert presentations where they have to create an art materials sales persona and will present their art material at an art expo. Half of the class will perform and present their materials and activities while the other half are the artists looking for art materials to work with. Each art material salesperson has to create a vendor table with at least 5 techniques, 2 art examples, a 5 minute art activity, and business cards.
6th and 7th grade artists went outside today and created nature art inspired by Andy Goldsworthy! Each group took photos of their work in progress to create a stop motion video of their art coming to life. Some artists decided that they would like to create a time-lapse video on their phones!
I hope you enjoyed our projects as much as we did creating them!!
Wow, September just FLEW by!! I was absent the first two weeks of school because of a family emergency, my other half is feeling a lot better today. Not being at work those days was a big challenge for me, not only with taking care of Theo, but missing school. Its tough when you’re gone for one day let alone eight! There is an energy to being a teacher and starting school, and when I finally returned to work I had to mentally prepare myself to have that same energy so my students wouldn’t miss out on all the amazing things I had planned just because the plan didn’t go the way I thought it would.
I am totally enjoying my students. We are having a wonderful time exploring and experimenting. The energy in the classroom studio buzzes with excitement and creative thinking. So far the worst part of my day is when school is over and I have to wait for the next day. Seeing the progress they are making on their projects and with their artistic expression brings me such joy!
Show your work off!
Ms. Valentines Art Studio
We even put work on the ceiling.
Learner centered Environment
Writing our Social Contract, a behavior agreement we created.
Students are currently completing their name tags which will be inserted into plastic sleeves that will be adhered to their lockers! Every student in the building will have a plastic sleeve attached to their lockers to share their art, good grades or just a positive message.
The GT 8th grade art class just completed their first sketchbook homework assignment; use every material in their exploration packets to create a piece of art. Students needed to also come up with one new technique for using a material.
Students also have more blended learning, the 6th grade class has started our lighthouse digital conversion this year. Each student has a device with them every day. This has been wonderful in the art studio. Students are able to look up reference images that they might need to help them with their projects, or even just listen to music while they work.
Our school system is starting a new objective statement for what the students will do in class. They are call the “I can” statements. I believe the I can statements are a great start, but without the will to do what you know you can do…nothing would ever get done! “I will” means I can and I am going to. I want to and I can! That is what being a C.E.E.Q.E.R. is all about, knowing we can and then putting the effort into doing. Creating, Exploring, Experimenting, Questioning, Expressing and Reflecting.