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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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Share your Small Business Journey

As a small business owner, I have had to learn the in’s and out’s of this new digital age. From websites, advertising, SEO, and marketing… it has been a huge learning curve.

I am at a place now where I feel confident in my knowledge base around marketing and networking on the world wide web, and I want to share what I’ve learned with others.

Isn’t that what being in business for ourselves is all about, networking… sharing and growing together.

If you are a small business owner, please take a few minutes to complete my short questionnaire! The information provided will help me with developing a project to assist new small business owners on their journey!

Let’s learn and grow together.

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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.

 

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RMS before Quarantine

Here are images taken throughout Ridgely Middle school before quarantine.

TEAM RIDGELY STAGS

ART STUDIO 200

 

MANNEQUINS & DOODLES

 

MIDDLE SCHOOL ART PROJECTS!

 

TEAM RIDGELY STAGS!!

 

TEAM RIDGELY FACULTY!

 

6th GRADE ARTISTS

 

7th GRADE ARTISTS

 

8th GRADE ARTISTS

 

GREEN CLUB!

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Remote Education

Wow. Yesterday was tiring.

Between doing my own work, and getting Landyn and Element to do their work…. whoa. Element was more interested in the magic she found from dangling her pen from a strand of hair, then creating a word math problem. We took a few breaks, made rice crispy treats! Their work is to complete online packets, sent by their teachers through Google classroom. They go to school in SYCSD in Pennsylvania. It’s interesting to see the different between the two school systems approaches. I had to stop and take some deep breaths a few times.

Overall, the professional development BCPS created for us was easy enough. There were a few things I had to figure out on my own that could’ve been described better, however it wasn’t that difficult just a little time consuming.

The county has created a streamlined remote learning template for all BCPS teachers to use on their class pages. We were asked to put all of our previous materials in a folder labeled “Previous Q1 Q2 Q3”, and then create a few new pages and folders to reflect the BCPS default layout. Once those folders and pages were created in one class, I was able to easily copy each of them to my 9 other courses. There’s a weird glitch in Schoology when I try to copy folders to all of my other courses at once, some of the courses don’t receive the folder so I have to go in and copy it again individually.

All of my classes have been set up to the default template, and I am awaiting our art teacher meeting on Wednesday so I can see what lessons we have available to upload. The Visual Arts office and a team of awesome art educators have created lessons for us to use, so if we do not have the ability to create our own we do not have to. What’s nice is that we have the ability to alter or create our own if we want to!

I just finished setting up and creating my first Google Meet so that I can meet with my students!! I am so excited to see them, I’m going to send out an email to all of them to see if they want to meet up to say hi!!

I have to say this morning was a lot smoother than yesterday.

At 1pm today we had our first virtual faculty meeting! We used Microsoft teams. It was a good meeting, learned a lot about the expectations we have as teachers…

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  • Upload 2 mini-lessons by 8am on Monday morning, with a due date set for that Friday by midnight. Each lesson should be about 20-25 mins in length,
  • Have a live virtual meetup for 30 mins with each class… I will only be teaching my students on Thursday and Friday mornings between 9-11:30.
  • Maintain 2 hrs per day of office hours for student and parent questions and concerns.
  • Provide students with feedback at least once a week.

This all feels a little better now that I know the expectations!

Happy day 2!

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4 more weeks

Wow so much has happened in a week….yet so little at the same time!

This time last week I was writing about how it felt after 3 days of being off of work.

I feel different than I did last week, that’s for sure. Still a little uneasy, however I feel like this has strengthened my center so I might be more balanced in all things.

So we found out on Wednesday that all Maryland schools will be closed until April 24th. We will find out more about how we are going to implement online learning, sometime next week. I am excited about this new adventure and the opportunity to flip my classroom and lead the way into this digital age! I’ve messaged my students to ask them what type of things they would like to learn about so I can start making some videos. Friday we had our first Zoom faculty meet up! It was nice seeing everyone’s faces!

It’s almost time to get out of my comfy clothes!

Tomorrow starts a week of online professional development about how e-learning will go with my students. Anxious to find out what I am going to have to do so I can start preparing!

I have been messaging my students on Schoology for the past two weeks. A few students have emailed me and sent pictures of their artwork! Check some out below:

<3 Be well

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Mother to Teacher

While being off of work we are getting into a totally new schedule. This whole time has been about transitioning and adapting… changing old ways of doing things so they are effective for the now. Or sometimes letting go of things completely to make room for something totally new, like with the online learning!

Not only is a new chapter beginning in my teaching career, but also in my role as mother.  Previously, as mother I would come home and spend time playing and doing fun things with the kids. Also making them do their chores and holding them accountable for completing the work their teachers gave them.

My previous role description no longer suits the current situation. Now more than ever I am fulfilling my role as a leader and a teacher. I feel right now we are all being called to step up, knowing ourselves deeper and sharing our gifts as they serve us in this moment in time.

Having a career as a teacher gives me a slight advantage over this home e-learning business, however it is also proving to be challenging. There is a HUGE difference between teaching students in school every other day, and teaching your own children in your home, while being with them all day every day, 24/7.  I am feeling for those parents who are not natural educators. If you are charting the new territory of teaching, here are few tips:

  1. Breathe, what’s important is not necessarily what you are teaching, but that you are getting your kids to think!
  2. Learning can happen in all ways, not just in a school type setting where kids sit still at a desk and do their work. Think of different ways to incorporate learning into the things you are already doing.
  3. Create a schedule or structure that you and your kids can agree upon. My kids aren’t waking up by an alarm, we have let them wake up on their own, but once they are up they get themselves ready for the day and then begin their school work for the day.
  4. Be flexible and adapt!
  5. Don’t take things personally.
  6. Let most things go!
  7. Remember to smile <3
  8. Give lots of hugs!
  9. Take a break.
  10. Remember to breathe

<3 Be well

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Processing

Today went well…

I could tell students were really in shock and didn’t know what to do. They were quieter.

Today I spoke to them about what was happening, and shared where the online art resources were located for them to do over the next two weeks. These digital resource folders were uploaded to each class, and they are for practice only. If students want to use them over the 2 weeks they can, but they are not mandatory.

We discussed how things might be longer than 2 weeks, and we might have to go to online learning if that happens. They’re responses were, “That would not be good. I can’t focus at home. I won’t ever do any work! I need accountability. I’ll get distracted by Minecraft!” Its funny to me because when everything is normal they don’t want to be in school… but when presented with the opportunity to not being school, they realize they might not have the self control to keep learning up to their potential!

Well then shared with them again that the best thing for them to do right now is to take care of themselves mentally and physically. To take time to rest and breath, not allowing themselves to be overwhelmed with stress or fear.  Using art to help you express how you’re feeling and how your processing this new experience. I encouraged them to keep a journal about it all, and to spend some time creating art that represents this experience for them. 

Also I mentioned they should eat less processed sugar if they can help it, since it does not help their immune system. You should’ve heard how almost every class responded to my sugar comment! It was amazing how defensive they became. So many students said, “What?! Oh No! I dont think I could do that. I love sugar.”    If they only knew how much better they would feel if they had less sugar in their diet!

After school was over I realized I needed to take my plants home with me, because there would be no one there to water them for 2 weeks. So many things I had to consider and contemplate today. Even before going to the grocery store at 4pm.

When I parked at Shoprite, I knew what I was getting myself into.  There wasn’t too much missing when I arrived. The bananas were gone, and so was all the rubbing alcohol, peroxide, toilet paper, and bread. The rest of the store was pretty much stocked. It was so weird.

And then I went to stand in line… and I had to go pretty much halfway down the aisle to get to the end of the line. I waited in line for about 40 mins at least. Everyone was very friendly and polite. Helping each other find what they needed and waiting line while having small talk. It was nice to see people being kind.

Today went well, but was also very overwhelming.

The amount of information, what ifs and questions I had to process today put my mind on overload, and being around all of those people in the grocery store added a level of emotions that were tough to balance.

When I got home from the store all I wanted to do was sit by myself alone, and cry. Releasing all of that tension and energy back into a neutral space of love and balance.

Being alone to process what we experience and feel is a very important part of learning and growing… of knowing thy self.

The energy of this experience is quite new… so slow and steady is the only way to navigate.

Keep breathing, in and out.