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!
March 13th marks one year since we stopped teaching from our classrooms, and stepped into the virtual world.
One year ago I was excited and eager to head to Minneapolis for the NAEA conference. My students were beginning some amazing personal projects in class. The green club had just been approved to go on a canoeing field trip. There were so many beautiful things about to take place!
On March 12th, I was preparing my students and myself for the unknown. The only advice I could give them was to take time to breathe and do things they love to keep them relaxed. To go with the flow. They had been prepared in other ways throughout the year, by teaching them to have a growth mindset.
Teaching a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is so vital during these times. Being able to experience challenges and perceived setbacks in a healthy way, learning and growing no matter what.
Nothing is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Having awareness and understanding of self, through an open mindset, creates huge opportunities for growth.
2020 was a hear of growth and transformation. Allowing the things no longer serving our goals to be washed away, making room for a bright new dawn. A new era of living, experiencing, connecting, and sharing. A new era of finance and self sovereignty. Taking back our power to create a life we are worthy of living, to know our worth.
As I sit here, remembering how it used to be… I am filled with gratitude and excitement for this new year. I am excited to see my students in person starting next week. Excited to see their faces light up when they are able to create something they never thought possible. Looking forward to watching them problem solve and express themselves!
This new year has so much to offer. If we step into it with gratitude and love, all the riches that are divinely ours will come to us in perfect ways.
As a small business owner, I am finding myself living in two worlds at once. The world that is my passion for life, creating and teaching, and the world that allows that passion to be shared with others, digital marketing.
Everyday I am learning something new, and growing in my knowledge on how to be most effective in sharing my passions with the world.
Why else do we own businesses but to reach people and share our gifts. Just having a business isn’t enough… we have to create an invisible structure for the energy of that business to flow to others.
Being sovereign means to have complete rule over something. To be sovereign in my business I need to know things I might never had thought to know. So I spend time learning about the digital marketing side of business, as this is the 21st century.
COVID19 has really given us a whole new perspective into the digital world. We have been forced to do more on our computers… students are learning online, and most are now working from home.
I know as a public school teacher, I am traversing a whole new paradigm on teaching. Incorporating technology into my classroom was one thing, teaching only online is another. I have even more of a reason to learn new ways to engage my students, since we will be doing virtual learning for the first half of the 2020-2021 school year.
All of this has me excited about learning ways to connect with other people and other businesses.
Some people think just having social media accounts or websites are enough. That sharing your business cards with people is an effective form of networking. What I’ve found is that networking is so much more than just having an account that you post on every now and then, or sending an email to your list. Digital networking needs to be coupled with engagement. People do not just want to read things, they want to share too! They want to be asked for their opinion and be acknowledged.
There is such a parallel between teaching students and networking for my small business. I didn’t always see it, but now that I do…and I want to share and be of service to others who are also in the same boat.
Though sometimes it might be overwhelming, seeing the many to-do lists and feeling like I am living in two worlds… I know eventually these two worlds will synergize. When I feel overwhelmed I just keep moving one step at a time. Finding like minded people who have also been through this journey, and want to share their knowledge. Connecting and engaging with others.
We grow in many ways when we share and learn together!
Diving deep into my shadows, I’ve found a level of insecurity in presenting myself in this new realm of reality.
I am used to engaging and interacting with people of all ages and all backgrounds, in real life. Being in a room of 30 middle school students working on their art produces an energy like no other. Interacting with people one on one while I share the gift of henna produces an energy that I have only found through that interaction.
The giving and receiving. I receive from each person and each student, just as I am giving to them. There is nothing like giving gratitude to each person for sharing their time and energy with me. I would always say, I couldn’t do this without you.
But now I am forced to continue on my path without the real life interaction from other people. So I dive deep… to find ways I can be me, and do what I do without other people around. How do I give my gifts without that energy of the room of students, or the one on one contact with another person?
This is proving to be more difficult for me than I would’ve imagined. I am coming upon so many blocks in my mindset. Now I realize, a deeper shadow I am facing… Insecurities, unworthiness, and self doubt when it comes to presenting myself when there is no one around to reflect back to me. Each person is like a mirror, and I judged how good I was based off of how good everyone else felt. Like their happiness and pleasure in creating was a direct reflection of who I am.
Without those people around… I am here feeling a bit empty. Doing instructional videos online won’t be the same as instructing people in person. This new venture brings up fears surround my ability to share who I am with others and how others will receive what I am giving when not being in the same physical space. I guess it’s just the energy of the week, with the Scorpio full moon, and the adjustment to this new norm in our society at the moment. The only way I will find out is if I keep moving forward and try something new.
I wonder if there are others out there feeling the same way… feeling a sense of loss from the energy of the classroom, or a sense of insecurity in switching our presentations over to a digital platform. I am sure there must be others feeling like I am.
The Frozen movies come to mind… just let it go and head into the unknown.
The big karmic lesson is to learn to let go of the past and more forward into the new paradigm. Let go of the fear, and keep moving forward one step at a time. Remember to have compassion for and be gentle with yourself. The one thing that matters in the end, is simply being your own best friend. You are doing amazing things in this new world. Thank you for sharing what you know, and who you are, with the world. <3
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:
The fog was really heavy as I drove in to work today.
With the message from the governor last night, everything seems a little more surreal.
While driving into work, my mind bounced around between many different thoughts: what was today going to be like? Will there be a lot of students out? Can we even get anything done? Should we even worry about school work? How can I make today a less stressful day for myself and my students.
Coming into work, the halls are less crowded… the teachers are all in shock… so surreal.
What do we even do? Just keep moving forward… steady.
I found out this morning that I will have to upload and share teaching resources with my students while we are on this 2 week break. I am not sure what the looks like exactly… will I have to teach all day? Will I just have to grade work? Will I have to be available if they need me for something? Are students simply going to complete the work at their own pace?
So many questions, not much answers at the moment. It seems that things are slowly dripping down to us.
The students cleaned their lockers out this morning. Our morning art meeting was canceled due to an emergency leadership team meeting. The visual arts office of BCPS uploaded files to our resource page labeled COVID 19 remote learning, at home resources. I am not sure yet what I am supposed to do with them.
With class about to start… I am sitting here deciding… do I have the student continue to work on their projects as normal? Or do I do something “special” for these special times?
I think we will explore our emotions through a group project I did once, where students received cards with emotions on them and they had to work in groups to create a piece of art that represented that emotion. Groups would guess one another’s emotions based off the artwork!
All Maryland public schools will be closed from Monday March 16th until March 27th because of the coronavirus.
As of this moment, we will not have to teach for those two weeks. However they mentioned that we will have to use our spring break time to make it up.
This is the first time something like this has happened to me, as I am sure its a first for many. We are history in the making.
So to keep track of my experience with this virus, I thought I would write about it.
Students are aware of a lot of information about the virus. They have researched, watched and listened to information about it. A lot of students mention to me that they didn’t understand the hysteria around it. While there were a few who voiced their anxiety about it. Most students were excited by the idea of getting out of school, and being apart of something so… historical. They even shared information that in every decade in the 20th year, there was some type of pandemic! The black plague, spanish flu, and now the coronavirus.
Most of my friends online have expressed concern for the elderly and the sick, however they also do not understand the hype. Why are people purchasing all of the toilet paper? We went to the grocery store and the toilet paper was all gone, as were all of the cleaning supplies! Those were the only two things missing on the shelves.
I also want to mention that the stock market is crashing, and people are promoting using digital platforms to help eliminate spread of the virus. There could be a correlation between the idea of money spreading the virus and the use of digital platforms as a financial solution. Though cryptocurrency is also tanking… at this moment, it is down to $5k.
So as I prepare for my last day of school tomorrow before our 2 week closure, I want to remind you, change is inevitable… so just breathe.
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.
6th graders went outside and created nature mandalas with our student teacher Anne Scott, which were inspired by Morning Altars artist Day Schildkret…
I have quite an unusual mission: To make impermanent earth art every day. Ever since I was five years old, I have been creating art with the flowers, leaves, berries, and bark right outside my front door. This has always been a way for me to feel connected, both to my imagination and the whole earth. About five years ago, after a big break-up with my partner, I started this as a daily mindfulness practice to heal my heart, help me feel gratitude, connect with the earth and make meaning in my life. However, this art wanted to have a life of its own. Over the last decade, I have created over a thousand small and large earth installations that have inspired an international movement of people to get outside and make earth art. I even have a book coming out this October! And, here’s the unique thing: Every single piece of art I have made no longer exists and that is its power: Learning how ephemeral life truly is and to love what is here right now.
Students watched a video where Day describes a little about the process of morning altars and how it can transform our perspective. Then we went outside and walked the land to gather our own natural elements. We also provided the students with flowers, beans and strings. My student teacher lead the students to create group nature mandalas!
This was such an awesome day for this assignment. The sun was shining and it felt like spring. The outdoor classroom tables and benches that were created by George Washington Carver Center for the Arts students created were the perfect place for the groups to work.
Each team member of the group had to direct a specific ring of the mandala, sharing with the students how to place the materials. I found that a few groups decided on all rings together, while others really stuck to the one ring per person.
When it was time to clean up, the students were sad and disappointed that they had to clean up their mandala. Taking a picture of their mandalas before they cleaned them, seemed to relieve their anxiety of having to disassemble it.