Just Draw

Jojo — a friend and colleague — greeted me at the door of my classroom, “You have to come to my car. I have something for you.” She pulled a Strand bag out of the trunk of her car and handed it to me. “I was at the Strand, and realized you had to read this book. So I bought it for you.”

The book is Living Color by Natalie Goldberg.  I began reading it as soon as I got home. I’ve only read the introduction, but wow, I have to agree with Jojo. I do have to read this book!

This is from the introduction:

“But let’s get back to the feeling that you can’t draw. Don’t pay attention to your feeling. It’s giving you the wrong information. … And you’ve probably heard the rule: no erasing, no tearing up the paper. Accept the way it comes out. If you practice this acceptance, more will come out. Space and freedom will open up.  You won’t edit and crimp yourself before you begin to explore.” (Goldberg, N. (2014) Book. NY: STC Craft.)

I love that!

I have to read this passage to my kindergartners!

Yes, I know everyone says all kindergartners believe they’re artists. It’s not true. They don’t all believe that. Some do, but lots of them are really not sure they’re artists, at least not very good artists. They fret, and erase, and compare themselves with others they believe are better artists.

I wonder if I can read this to them on the first day?!?! *big smile*

No, I won’t do that.

I’ll wait — at least a day.  *wink*

Trust me, I am going to read this to them — sooner rather than later. But first I’ll let Natalie’s words inform me about my drawing, my understanding of art, and my sense of myself as an artist.

I just bought an art journal on my last trip to the art store. I didn’t have a plan for it, I just liked it, so I bought it. (I should tell you, I don’t think you can have too many art journals!)

Here it is with some of my favorite things — river rocks, and an awesome pencil and marker! It’s good to have things you love beside you as you begin to explore.

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I’m excited, and just the slightest bit daunted, to begin my exploration of drawing without erasing or tearing out the page. I’ll have to keep track of my emotions and thoughts as I draw. They will be powerful to share with my students — perhaps even more powerful than my drawings.

It’s a plan! Wish me luck.

 

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To Examine or Not to Examine

I’m enjoying the look and content of the latest Flow magazine. Beautiful designs and thought provoking ideas fill the pages.

This is one of them.

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That statement made me think … a lot.

With all due respect to Mr. Albee, after much consideration, I must disagree.

Yes, yes! There are definitely moments when creativity feels like magic. There are moments of inspiration, and moments where we proclaim “Oh, now I see! That’s it!!!” But, I think if we examine those moments carefully, we frequently, if not always, discover a copious amount of thought, research, making, and/or, hard work which preceeded, and helped create, our “magical moments.”

I love the moments that seem steeped in magic. Part of me wants to protect the moments, the experience, and the phrase, by embracing them and, like Albee, discouraging others from examining them too deeply. But, I think that may be detrimental to creativity because sometimes magic is elusive, and creativity is actually so much more than magic!

Better, I think, to closely and carefully examine creativity, and its magic. The study need not detract from those deliciously wonderful aha-moments.

Understanding the creative process, the environments that support it, and the plethora of things that often help, or hinder it, may help us experience more “creative magic,” be creative — in all aspects of our lives and work — and impact the world in beautiful, amazing ways.

Meanwhile, don’t give up if the magic is eluding you. Work. Think. Imagine. Make. Believe in yourself. Be confident in your own creativity and your ability to experience awesome “creative magic.”

But, bear in mind, creativity often requires a lot of hard work and time. Don’t avoid it.

And, sometimes, when the magic finally does appear, it appears as a simple little spark. Don’t miss it.

T4D – Teach for Delight!

While reading Tom and David Kelley’s book – Creative Confidence – I came upon Design for Delight. D4D (Design for Delight) is the brainchild of Intuit’s Kaaren Hansen. D4D involves “evoking positive emotion by going beyond customer expectations in delivering ease and benefit so people buy more and tell others about the experience.” (p. 176)

As I read, I immediately thought – OH!!! T4D! How fabulous would that be?

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T4D … Teach for DELIGHT!

It’s an interesting twist isn’t it? Not teach for meaning. Not teach for skills. Not teach for understanding. Not teach for learning.Teach for delight!!! Cool, creative and fabulous, right?!?!!!

Now, before our educator heads explode, let me reiterate – for something to be truly creative it must be useful and appropriate. Meaning, understanding and skills are essential parts of teaching and learning. Therefore, they remain an integral part of my vision of T4D. So, let’s revisit. T4D is cool, creative and fabulous, right?!!!

Think about it. What if our focus, as educators, was delight? What if our goal and intention was for all constituents to experience delight in the learning/teaching journey.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Delighted students would engage, think and learn more deeply. They would discover the pleasure and satisfaction of learning, questioning, experimenting and even struggling. Hopefully they would seek to know and understand far beyond our classrooms. Delighted parents, might partner, more fully, in their children’s learning. And we, delighted educators, could, breathe, smile, and engage in the process of learning and teaching with increased fervor and purpose.

AND WE WOULD ALL BE DELIGHTED!!!

Yes, I know, I’m yelling, lol. I’m yelling because T4D  is a concept I’d like everyone to hear and embrace!

T4D. Increase the joy, and deep learning. Teach for Delight!

Resources:

Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley, 2013, Crown Business Publishing