Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5 Minute Survey

I want to offer some deeply soulful classes for teachers this summer and during the upcoming school year.  I have asked teachers what would support them both personally and professionally in a little 5 minute survey.

If you haven't answered it, please take just a couple minutes to let your voice be heard HERE.

In exchange for your input I will send you a one of a kind giant 4x6 sticker for your favorite notebook, file cabinet or any spot that can use some inspiration!


Monday, March 21, 2016

My First Grader Taught Me To Knit

There is so much power in learning from a child.  I can't even count all the lessons I've learned from my son about slowing down, enjoying life, etc.  But to learn a practical skill from a seven year old. . .

Sam attends a Waldorf school, and one of the subjects is Handwork.  In first grade their eighth grade buddies teach them to knit.

So I ask him if he want to teach me to knit, and he explains that I need to make or buy knitting needles and yarn.  I opted for buying them!

He was a patient teacher, and I was quickly hooked.  I'm already looking up videos and he is explaining to me projects I could be making.

Why is this so good?  It's amazing to see your own child as the "expert" and yourself as the "novice."  It gives children confidence in their abilities.  It makes us both more open to learning and trying new things.

What can you learn from your kids or students?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thumbprint Art

When I was a kid I adored the book by Ed Emberley.   This cover was the one I remember, but there are several new versions, too.  Thumbprint art is fun and inexpensive.  It doesn't require fancy materials or extensive set up or clean up.

Now I have a son who also enjoys thumbprint art!  Here is work he recently  created on his own.

How could we use this in the classroom?
  • Illustrations for a writing narrative
  • Reviewing characters in an animal story
  • Creating a character to write about
  • Illustrations for math number stories
  • Art component for science unit on animals
Other possibilities include:  greeting cards, indoor recess, free choice center, art or creative expression, and creative thinking.

Some tips:
  • Have a moist paper towel close at hand
  • Don't have colorful stamp pads?  Use washable markers.
  • Pintrest has many examples
  • Have examples younger students can recreate and model the process, and then the rest can be independent
Happy thumbprint creating!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sabbatical Year Recap: November - January

As you may know I have been on a sabbatical this year from the classroom.  I am pursuing several of my passions:  art, writing, yoga, and consulting with educators.  I have found great joy in being a mom who gets to take her son to school.  I am learning so much about myself and how I interact with the world around me.

Here is a recap of the past few months by specific passion:

November started with me being chosen as one of ten local arts to participate in Reworks project, Make Art Not Waste.  It was an intense 3 day project that ended with a show at Summit Art Space.
See that project HERE and HERE and HERE

I held my first ever Pop Up Sale at my studio in November

My Art made its way into the Wayne Center for the Arts gift shop in Wooster, Ohio

My Art adorns the walls at Sweet Mary's Bakery in Akron, Ohio

I participated in the Barberton Art Mart in December

I offered various workshops for families, children, and adults at the Art Center on Tusc {ACoT}

I continue to create acrylic paintings, paper and book arts--while preparing for upcoming shows and events.  See some on my blog.

Four of my newer paintings art at Nine Muses Gallery from mid-January to February 21.

I spent the month of November doing something I have wanted to do for the past several years.  I participated in NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to complete an entire 50,000 word first draft of a novel in just one month.  I did it!  It was an amazing experience to see the work morph and develop on its own.  March will be my revise and edit month.  I hope to have it in good enough shape to send off to several publishers later in the spring.

I have continued slowly on The Transformational Classroom, a manual for teachers on self care and classroom management.  I have cleared the focus and divided it into 3 distinct sections with an introduction.  I hope to send it to several publishers by the end of spring/start of summer.  I have selected two publishers that I would love to have birth this work with me.

I continue to write here, at Brave Teachers, at Brave Art by Miriam Daniel, Brave Yoga and at various social media outlets.

I continue to teach yoga every Saturday morning at Grace Loyal Oak UCC.  See classes on Brave Yoga website.

I completed another round of Just 4 Girls Yoga in November and December.  It is now open for grades 3 - 8 for February and March.

I continue to teach a Wednesday evening private class.

I shared yoga at another Norton District Girl Scout Event, Free to be Me.  {I was even quoted in the Barberton Herald.}

I wrote and started to sell Yoga Story Scripts on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I also created a video of poses to accompany the story scripts.

I offer concierge yoga services, and I am now working a marketing plan for summer camps and schools.

The week between Christmas and New Year I offered an email retreat for teachers, Restoration and Renewal.  This was given as a gift to dozens of teachers.  I have taken all of those materials and created an online home/classroom, The Restoration and Renewal Toolbox, that anyone can access anytime for a small fee.

In November I offered the workshop Creativity in the Common Core Classroom.  I am compiling those materials and creating new materials so that it may evolve into an open online classroom.

I am letting Will U rest until I have the time to expand him into a full program of social and emotional development for children.

I have met with several school administrators and numerous teachers who encourage me to continue this holistic work for teachers and children everywhere.

I continue to hone my mission while expanding my reach.

This has been a powerful time of personal exploration and growth.  Some days I feel like I'm evolving and light speed,  and other days the movement feels painfully slow.
Here are a few of the lessons that pop to mind today:

  • It is tough work to maintain motivation and focus without the framework of a traditional work day.
  • Daily progress is essential, even when it is slower than anticipated.
  • It takes brutal honesty to see that I fall back into old habits even when I have time to hone new habits.
  • Failure and rejection are all part of the path to success.
  • Writing down daily, weekly, monthly goals expand opportunities for success, even though it seems like they would limit options.
  • If you don't ask the answer is already no.
  • I LOVE having more time to be a mom and find a gentle rhythm for my quirky kid and his quirky mom!  
  • It might be smart to combine my passions under one big brave umbrella.  {This is in the works!}
  • There is a difference between being lonely and alone.
  • It takes a HUGE amount of energy to create something new and fresh every single day.
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway.
  • Growth usually doesn't come to us--it's something that must be pursued.
  • Rest is essential and a rebellious act in the nonstop go world.
This is such an amazing gift.  It's hard and scary and beautiful all at once.  

  • I opened a Patreon site so that you can make a monthly contribution to the work I'm doing and get some sweet thank you gifts.
  • You can also support me by buying something that I have made.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sharing Interest for Valentine Celebration

Valentine celebrations are a great time to invite children to share their interests with classmates.  It's a great way to personalize a holiday that becomes more and more homogenized.  My son, Sam, is a total little science nerd.  He also makes valentines for his classmates.  We talked about a couple options, and I told him I thought this one would be really cool.  He had to see a demonstration before he was convinced!

This year Sam and I are making Borax Crystal Hearts for each of his classmates.  My greatest contribution is adding the boiling water to the borax powder and helping form hearts with the pipe cleaners.

We started adding Borax to a container.  It takes more than one might think!  {Add about 3 tablespoons per object.}
Then an adult fills the container with boiling water and stirs.

Twist pipe cleaners into any shape.  These make stunning snowflakes!

Suspend the shapes in the solution.  We hung ours from chopsticks.

Take them out the next day and let them dry.

When they dry they look like they're covered in gems.  They sparkle in a window when the sun shines!

HERE is a great site for specific directions and the science behind it.

What ways do you encourage your children or students to celebrate their individuality for Valentine's Day or other holidays?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Harry Potter Birthday Party

So this weekend sweet Sam turned 7.  He is always interested in fairies and wizards and gnomes and magic, so when he first listened to Harry Potter on CD this summer he was hooked.

He gets to choose a theme for his birthday, with parent guidance, of course.  We settled on Harry Potter, and then we proceeded to see how we could pull of something that felt magical for Sam and inexpensive for his parents.

Here is where we ended up:

We made a Hogwarts trunk that we added a scarf I made, glasses bought online, a wand we made, spell book and map printed from the internet.  We enjoyed playing with these in the week leading up to the birthday.

With a piece of kraft paper that was sponged and a printable from the internet our backdoor became Platform 9 3/4 

We printed out a banner from the internet and other free Harry Potter finds--maps, et al.

We made snitches

We made wands

We made chocolate frogs with trading cards, but they did NOT come to life1

Cupcakes with wizard hats and lightening bolts.

Crescent rolls baked up as sorting hats.

And here is out very own Harry Potter!

It was a fun challenge to limit expenses, but make it fun.  This was a great theme because lots of grown ups enjoyed it, too.  Our other food was mostly salads because that's what the birthday boy wanted.  There were only two other children, cousins, and they painted their own paper mache trunks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

More Yoga Story Scripts on Sale

Earlier this school year I started writing down the stories I tell as part of my kid yoga programs.  I just put 5 {and a bonus one} of them together in a little PDF over at Brave Teachers Teachers Pay Teachers Shop.  This is not a cutesy resource.  It's a basic text document that gives you the exact words to read while you lead a group of children in a mindful calming practice.  I've also included a link to a goofy video I made if you need a little refresher in the basic breathing or postures of these routines.

Yoga Story Scripts:  Seasons, Nature, and Imagination, Volume 1, includes five unique original Yoga Story Scripts to give your students more exposure to a mindful yoga practice.  Yoga can improve, flexibility, strength, focus, body awareness, and self confidence, while reducing stress and anxiety, among other benefits.  This set includes these Yoga Story Scripts:  Walk in a Winter Wonderland,  Walk in the Rainforest, On the Hunt for Pirates, Walk Along the Beach, and Relaxing Robot{Corpse Pose for Kids}.  There is also a bonus script:  Suggestions for Warm Up or Cool Down that can be used first thing in the morning, after recess, before a test, or at the end of the day.

You can grab the whole bundle for $7.50 or for the next couple days at 20% off!  Check out the other scripts and lots of FREEBIES in the TpT shop.