March 1, 2015 · 12:30 pm
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt a little bit helpless and a little bit unsure? That’s good.
Yes. It is good. Guess what? You don’t have the answers to all of your problems and when you are able to embrace an awareness of that fact, and let it sit for a while, you are creating the causes for creativity to be born.
When I am faced with a problem, my first response is to solve it. Give me that quick fix so I can attach the bandaid, wipe my hands clean and move on. My mother is infamous for preempting her response with “Here’s what you need to do…” and it drives me insane. Most likely because I see a little bit of that in myself, and because I wish she could just listen and let things be. There is a theory that states when people come to you with a problem, it is helpful to that person if you simply listen and let them know that you understand their feelings. In a TED talk and a new online course, Brene Brown shares that having empathy means being strong enough to just be with someone where they are. No judgment, no sharing advice or “how to”, just an ability to be in that space, whatever it may be, with another for a while. The unsettling, ambiguous and often helpless emotion you may experience is HUMAN.
So, wait, how is this connected to a Growth Mindset?
In Creative Confidence, Tom and David Kelley claim that a fundamental prerequisite for developing creative confidence is the belief that our capabilities for innovation are not set in stone, not fixed. They suggest that as “analytical thinkers, an unresolved issue hanging in the air is uncomfortable.” And in those situations, is it the uncomfortable feeling that drives us to search for and offer the quick fix. Creative thinkers who exercise a Growth Mindset recognize that there are many possible solutions and have the courage to utilize an open mind, thinking big and wide first. This helps them to become aware of a number of possibilities before settling on a single idea. People who have a growth mindset are comfortable to wade in the pool of uncertainty. They are willing to just be where they are for a while.
So, the next time you are faced with a situation that brings up these unsettling emotions that make you feel helpless or unsure, try to pause and notice what you are feeling. Know that these emotions are human. Get pumped for this new opportunity, a challenge to swim in the unknown. Think of it simply as an experiment to see where it will take you. Reflect on the experience. And then tell someone about it.
September 23, 2014 · 9:20 pm
PEOPLE. That is what we are. Super complex beings on the inside and out. Have you ever sat down to draw the human figure? Drawing people from observation is quite challenging let alone creating one from our imagination. There is so much to include, so where do we begin?
SHAPE. We begin with geometric shapes. Read on, I will tell you all about it.
First graders have been exploring geometric shapes through paper collage. We have discovered that many shapes can be made by simply cutting a square into smaller pieces. Cutting on a diagonal can create two triangles and cutting horizontally can make two rectangles, or even four more squares. A circle can be made by trimming corners. We use our shapes to form the recognizable things that make up our world. One of which, is people. We begin building people in paper collage.
We ALWAYS PLAY FIRST by arranging our shapes until we are satisfied with our design, then glue is introduced to make it permanent. We discover how our body is made up of ovals of all sizes! We discover that our arms and legs bend and that we can show action of these parts by snipping a rectangle in half and arranging it at an angle. We discover that shapes make up our world.
Let me ask you this: If I gave you a pencil, could you draw a simple square? How about an oval? Now try a rectangle? Yes! I thought so. Children begin a second work of art in pencil. While looking at their collage, students illustrate a human figure beginning with simple shapes and adding color and details when necessary.
Children discover how a drawing of absolutely anything can be achieved by breaking it down into simple shapes. It is empowering to know that you have the potential to manifest anything your imagination can possibly dream.
Why Collage before Drawing?
Offering children an actual shape to hold in their hand, manipulate and feel, offers them the kinesthetic experience that we all need to build new knowledge. Hearing the idea is one thing, but experiencing it with our own hands makes it real. Furthermore, the act of holding the shape while working in collage helps them to “see” where the shape ends and begins. We feel its corners and sides and the shape is distinctly defined for us.
Shapes are all around us. Take a walk outside and embark on a shape scavenger hunt. See what you find and notice how your mind opens up to new discoveries. You may even “see” something in a way.
Have an artful day,
August 21, 2014 · 12:58 pm
Maybe it is because my birthday falls in the month of August that I perceive the annual cycle to end and begin in the summer; I finished each grade level as one age, and began the next as a year older. Or maybe it is because being an educator is written in my genetic code and that is just the way I was programmed. This time of year brings excitement and the promise of a brand new adventure.
Are you eager for the beginning of school? How do you feel when you anticipate the initiation of a new routine?
I am eating up any anxiety by focusing my energy on productivity. Literally. I am producing worksheets to help develop learning experiences. Because if they are interesting to look at, I will be more likely to use them, right?
Heather at The Bees Knees Cousin developed her own planner which inspired me to do the same. I have been playing around just in Word and am discovering how much I appreciate soft shapes and grey tones.
Here’s a look at what I have generated so far…
and if you fancy the portrait layout,
If you want to test them out, download a copy here: Visual Planner 2014
How do you spend these early days prepping for the new year?
Have a productive day,