The Natural History Society of Maryland is a private nonprofit dedicated to conserving Maryland’s natural heritage and educating its citizens on the natural sciences since 1929. We are a volunteer-run organization with a few part-time staff. We manage a small museum in Baltimore County where we offer programs, lectures, workshops, and courses on a wide variety of natural science subjects. The lower level of our building is a collections facility that houses over 200,000 natural history specimens and artifacts.
They recently hosted a Teachers Night at the museum, a free event for teachers to learn about and experience the museum in order to get inspired to collaborate with local organizations.
I talked with Natural History experts of fossils and geology, competed a museum-wide scavenger hunt and left with resources for my classroom. All teachers that attended received a complimentary year membership to NHSM. During the visit I made a connection with the Fossil Curator of the museum who delivered an amazing set of fossils to our school! The students started using them right away.
Students used the fossils as a reference to create a new character for their parade drawings!
I am so glad I attended the event and excited about new possibilities with integrating environmental education into my art classroom.
It is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
Every human possess a certain spirituality in some manner. For all of time, humans have searched for a power grater than themselves. We all have questioned and formulated a belief we had or still have in the soul. Whether is through religion or some sort of life altering experience.
So, as an art educator I naturally ask the question…how do we define spirituality in the context of art education?
Or better yet…how do I explain that the two are intertwined?
We process all of life’s experiences through themental/spiritualand material/physical. These are the yin and yang that make up existence.
When we are concerned with our soul we go on vision quests, we seek through meditation and prayer, we call to a force outside of our material world, and deep within ourselves. We have always seeked to connect to source, creator, or our definition if God.
Art is, too, this way… deep within us. Since the beginning of time we have used art to record and to express our inner thoughts and visions.
When we are concerned with our soul, a beautiful things happens… alignment. We begin to create beautiful things without a second thought. We begin to find our authentic voice, which allows us to best communicate our truth to the world.
This alignment allows for a redefining of the word art… as an expression of ones inner self, rather than only the ability to perform a skill to create something new, such as observational drawing in order to make something look realistic.
*Dive deep into the meaning of words.*
When we leave words at their base definitions, we lose a whole world of possibilities. When we dive deeper into what a word means to us, and pay more attention to the intentions behind our words…we begin to find synergy.
Art and spirituality are one in the same.
As educators we strive to assist our students in knowing themselves better, and teach them how to be creative, curious, and caring citizens. Art and Spirituality are vital parts to the human experience and should be celebrated, explored, and discovered through expressing and creating.
I would love to collaborate with you in expressing and creating a dialogue on the importance of spirituality in art education.
So, how we can assist learners of all ages to tap into their inner self to create and express themselves in whatever life experiences they have. This is the C.E.E.Q.E.R. model.
The C.E.E.Q.E.R. model is a way to use the tools around you to uncover a clearer sense of things. It stands for, Create, Explore, Experiment, Question, Express, Reflect. These 6 things bring art and science together.
Please leave your questions, comments, or ideas….lets start a conversation!
The best way to find answers is through dialogue, with others or with self.
On March 11th, 2019 educators and community members join together wearing red, to march for approval of the Kirwan Commission:
It brings together representatives from across the State to review the findings of the Study of Adequacy of Funding for Education in Maryland, hear from national experts on world class education systems, and make recommendations for improving education in Maryland through funding, policies, and resources that will prepare Maryland students “to meet the challenges of a changing global economy, to meet the State’s workforce needs, to be prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce, and to be successful citizens in the 21st century.”
This commission was created to work towards…
“…more effective supports for flailing students; bona fide high school pathways pointing toward remediation-free college and life-sustaining careers; teachers whose preparation, compensation and career prospects will lead abler individuals to enter and remain in this honorable profession. And because of this, significantly higher academic outcomes for our students.”
There were over 8,500 teachers from Maryland came out to march for school funding. Maryland schools are underfunded by $2.9 billion every year, about $2 million on average per school, and teachers are underpaid by 25 percent, compared to other professions.
I rode a bus from Carver Center for the Arts, in Towson, to Annapolis with other Baltimore County Public School educators. County Executive Johnny Olszewski also road the bus with us down to Annapolis. TABCO paid for and provided not only the transportation, but also boxed lunches. We also received posters, cow bells, and beanie hats! Check out the poster I made below!
The march was so inspiring, as we walked side by side, everyone together for one purpose…To see our children walking and cheering for a better future. They deserve better than what we’ve been settling for, and the state of the future depends on making a change.
I am proud to speak up for the hard work that teachers in Maryland do, and how our students deserve happy teachers. Teachers who do not have to work an extra job during the school year, or who have to pay for supplies from their own pockets. It is mind blowing to me that we are shaping our future, yet there is so little importance given to making sure teachers have all the tools necessary to develop students who are creative, curious and caring citizens.
On April 1st we are organizing a demonstration at the County Executive’s office in Towson. We will present hundreds of postcards to the County Executive and ask the County Executive to find the resources needed to fund our schools, our raises and the additional staff we need so we can provide the world class education our students deserve.
Walking in to work yesterday,
I received a large white envelope from the Baltimore Ravens.
Thinking to myself….what is this?!
Opening it in the office lobby…
I found a letter from the Baltimore Ravens…
WOW, was it a nice surprise!
Touchdown for Teachers is a program that recognizes local teachers
for outstanding service to their schools and communities.
“It’s important to recognize the outstanding work our teachers are doing in the community,” said Augie Chiasera, President of M&T Bank’s Greater Baltimore and Chesapeake markets.
“Teachers can literally turn lives around and inspire our young people to reach their potential. The Touchdown for Teachers program is a way to celebrate the positive impact teachers have on students and the entire community.”
I am so grateful for my students, my coworkers, and my position.