The Power of Encouragement

Every Child Needs a Champion

Encouragement means more than you know.  If things come easy to you, you may not be aware of its power.  But, if you have ever struggled with learning anything, encouragement can mean the difference between giving up and giving it another go.

This summer, both of my children agreed to sign up for swimming lessons.  This was an easy decision for my daughter, who loves the water, but not such an easy decision for my son.  Like me, my son is a bit uncomfortable in the water.  His entire first class was spent just getting into the pool.

By the end of the first week of classes (the sessions were two weeks in length), each student was given a progress report.  Rather than handing the reports to the parents, they were given directly to the students.  I held my breath, because I knew that it hadn’t been an easy week.

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My son smiled from ear to ear!  The message from his instructor was clear:  that she saw how hard he was working, and that she had faith he could move forward.  Our family celebrated that day, because it meant so much to all of us (yes, learning is a family phenomenon)!

Always, always, always, look for the good.  It may be big or really small, but treasure it. Those who show only a little bit of good may be working harder than anyone can see.

p.s. After two weeks of lessons, my son felt comfortable enough in the water to begin enjoying a bit of time in our backyard pool.  :)

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Posted in Education, Growing Success | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Can You Move Forward?

For sale on Etsy: The Blooming of Madness #251. Link to buy in bio. Much love!

A photo posted by Christopher Poindexter (@christopherpoindexter) on

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We play it safe.  We follow the rules, we toe the line, we are pleasers.

If education isn’t meeting our needs or the needs of our students, how is our complacency helping?

Amy Burvall’s recent post on Instagram caught my attention:

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"I'd like to be the builder of bridges"… Connecting people through her art is @selahmooon for #3ofme

A photo posted by Amy Burvall (@amyburvall) on

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The idea of building a bridge to help others is significant, because we are creatures of habit, and sometimes the idea of making changes for ourselves is too overwhelming to handle. Thank God for those who are bridge-builders, supporters, encouragers.

If the idea of a bridge is too much…

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…consider the way a canal works instead. You may need to make changes, but at a slower pace. If you are hesitant, think of a way you can move forward, even if it’s gradually.

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The Rideau Canal #Ottawa

A photo posted by Colleen Rose (@colleenkr) on

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“What do you do with the fire in your belly?”

~ Christopher Poindexter

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Posted in Education, Education Reform | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

ArtEscapes & The Group of Seven

In just over a week, ArtEscapes will be held at the Red Rock Marina and Interpretive Centre.  Seven local artists will be participating, and I’m looking forward to being part of this exciting event.

Over the past week, I have worked with some friends from the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (many thanks to Sylvio (Hoss) Pelletier & Sadie Gross for the invitation!).  Together, we have looked at some of Frank Johnston’s paintings which were created in Nipigon in the early- to mid-1900s.

When Johnston's painting is  superimposed on a picture of the Nipigon River, you can see how much wider the river has become.

When Johnston’s painting is superimposed on a picture of the Nipigon River, you can see how much wider the river has become.

We’ve had some interesting discussions about the landscape and the reasons why the river’s appearance has changed so much since the time when Frank Johnston would have visited our area.

It’s going to be very interesting to discuss Frank Johnston’s over the next while, now that we have located the areas where he worked.  Parks Canada will be using historical (topographical) maps to help show the gradual widening of the river — what a fantastic way to combine art with geography!

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Posted in NorthWestern Ontario, Ontario, Regional Art | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Learning About #EDM (Electronic Dance Music) With @JLucas

I’ve been learning a lot about #EDM thanks to a student who is interested in developing his skills for the future.  This is all new territory for me, but thank goodness for the help of Jay Lucas, our school board’s IT Services Coordinator, who has experience creating electronic dance music!

After installing FL Studio 12 on our class computer, Jay offered to come and speak to my Media Art students to provide information about the program, creating digital music and to provide some demos.  It’s so great to be able to take advantage of the knowledge & strengths of others in our own school board!

Getting ready to learn all about #EDM with @jjlucas! #mediaart #NipRockArt

A video posted by Colleen Rose (@colleenkr) on

Our class has transformed with @jjlucas in the house! #EDM #NipRockArt #mediaart

A photo posted by Colleen Rose (@colleenkr) on

#EDM Lesson with @jjlucas #mediaart #FLStudio12

A video posted by Colleen Rose (@colleenkr) on

Great #EDM session today with @jjlucas! (Many thanks!)

A photo posted by Colleen Rose (@colleenkr) on

Thanks again for coming in, Jay!  We really appreciated all of your help.

 

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Posted in Ed tech, media art, media arts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Learning About E-Learning

I always rolled my eyes at the jokes about commitment on sit-coms.  When the topic of marriage popped up, you would see the deer-in-the-headlights look, sweating, and panicked avoidance (this seemed to happen to men on shows that thrive on stereotypes).

Now I’m rolling my eyes at myself.

Next year, I will be teaching an e-learning course for our school board.  It’s not just going to be a blended learning course.  Nope.  It’s the real deal.  A genuine, grade-A,  certified e-learning course.  Holy cow.

Technology has been a big part of my teaching and learning, especially over the past 5 years.  I enjoy blogging and share these skills with my students.  My students collaborate with other classes using Google tools.  We use Twitter to organize and share information.  We experiment with a ton of fun stuff.  It’s totally awesome.

The silly thing:  now that it’s expected, it kind-of freaks me out.  

Today, the e-learning teachers in our board had the chance to get together and learn about tools (and techniques) we’ll be using next year with our students.  Stacey Wallwin welcomed us to the world of online teaching by providing a ton of helpful information and tips, including access to CourseHelp and Google tools.  She was ready with encouragement and reassurance — two tools that I definitely needed today!

Time to dig deep, get a bit of grit, face this learning curve and move forward.  I’m really glad to have so much support on this new journey and honestly can’t wait to figure things out.

Posted in e-learning, Education, Ontario, technology | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Walk The Walk

When I began teaching, did I stop learning?

I certainly hope not.

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I wonder if any other teachers ever question their position as ‘teacher’?  Is the role of teacher better (or different) than the role of student?  

Are we missing out by limiting our job description to one who instructs?

Before I became a teacher, I loved learning, and I loved school.  Whenever I discover something new, it’s like a tiny piece of the universe has been revealed to me.  Why would I act as if I know everything in front of a class of students?  Learning continues, as does the joy.  If I don’t continue to learn, I’m sapping the life out of my own education.

Besides, kids can spot a faker from a mile away.  If I’m not enjoying myself, they’re not going to buy anything I’m selling.

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Learning can be scary.  Anything new can be scary.  My students and I have been talking about fear, and how it holds us back from so many new experiences.  It’s kind-of freaky how many opportunities are lost when we started to think about it.

Listen to Norman Seeff discuss his findings, and compare the creative process with the learning process:

Isn’t it interesting to listen to successful people talk about facing their fears and committing to their work?  I’m grateful to Norman for documenting these experiences, and for presenting his findings — my students and I were mesmerized by the ideas and reflections shared between Norman and his subjects.

His “Seven Stage Diagram of the Creative Process” helps us to consider how important it is to recognize the factors that stall our progress when we attempt to create (or to innovate… or even learn).

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Last week, some of my students met with our Director to talk about these ideas (and many more).  I’m so proud of them for sharing their questions and concerns… and so happy to be part of a school board where we are encouraged to learn together.

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This post is pushing my thinking: “Personalizing Our Approach To Supporting Change” **make sure to read through the comments (and links)**

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Posted in Art Education | 5 Comments

Lego Literacy

This morning, I read “LEGO Handwriting Mats — Read, Build, and Write“.  The idea of using Lego to encourage kids to improve their handwriting skills is so helpful!  I gathered some supplies together and asked my son to try the activity with me.

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The activity went well, but I noticed that Ethan was still having difficulty with spacing and orientation.  I decided to try something different, so I grabbed my iPad & opened up SketchBook Pro.  I took a picture of his Lego pieces we had used to spell the word Titanic.

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Then, I added a layer so that Ethan could write on top of the picture of the Lego pieces.

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Finally, I made the “Lego layer” invisible so that he could see if his letters were spaced correctly.

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Not bad!  He was pleased with his progress and I was glad to see him gain confidence with printing.

I wonder if Lego would consider making an app that allowed users to drag & drop Lego pieces to form letters, and then write on top of them.  It might help kids develop their printing skills while having fun!

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