Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making Art Is Awesome

Last year, I made a commitment to myself to attempt to make one piece of art everyday for a year. Yes, 365 days, one piece of art, for the entire year. (Clearly I was crazy and not thinking clearly :)

It turns out, I am really good at making art everyday for about four months. After four months, things got a little hairy in my life and I had to put it on hold. If only I had time, to make time for art.

Since my failed attempt last year, I have been thinking a lot about taking things up where I left off this year. This means I have two months or so, to get ship-shape in terms of organizing my life, my work, my family, etc. whereby I will have enough time to devote to creating a little something each and everyday.

Here is a sample of my creations from last year's pledge that I am hoping to take up again by the new year.

I think I may also submit some of these works in an exhibition proposal around Assumptions and Paranoia for the new year as well. Here's to hoping. Again.

Art and Wandering Website/Blog:

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I hosted a March Break Art Camp this year at my studio, and it was a really great experience for me and the students that participated. I think that everyone who came had a good time and learned some pretty cool things about some pretty cool artists throughout the week.

One of the things I love about teaching art is that I get just as excited about what the kids create as they do! Watching their smiles and engagement in their creating is so amazing, it keeps me motivated to do what I do.

I think that through creating we can fuel that part of us that connects our minds and bodies to one another and that there is nothing else quite like it.  Through the catalyst of creativity, our imagination opens up, and thoughts and feelings that perhaps lay dorment are let out through art making.  It is really something spectacular to watch with kids, they have so much to get out!  Awesome.      

So, here are some of the wonderful things my students created over the March Break. I am sure the influences from the great artists that we learned about are recognizable.   :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New York City - A Change in Perspective

On Monday, I returned home from New York City after attending the 2012 National Art Education Association Convention for four days.  I was fortunate enough to be a participant in many of the amazing presentations by art educators from around the globe and also got to be a presenter myself at the conference as well. Right on.


From the great experiences I had over the four days (including an awesome Saturday night in Greenwich Village - the vibe there is almost unexplainable, so warm and jovial!) and the knowledge I gained from the conference, I came home with a few particular learnings that I will take with me on my journey from now on as a teacher.

Specifically, I had the pleasure of listening to Chuck Close talk about his experiences as a burgeoning artist, struggling through art school and trying to formulate himself as an individual in the art world. He said "Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work."

Chuck Close "Lucas" 1986-87 

Chuck's quote made me think about how many times I have wasted time in my life looking for the perfect moment, opportunity or circumstance to begin something I needed or wanted to do.  I have decided that now, I am just going to 'get to work', do it, and go with what comes of it! I believe this is also sound advice for my students. I want to encourage them to be able to forego excuses and just seize the moment for creating. I believe this has the potential to lead to very successful and rich experiences for them. A way to pave the road to the unexpected.

I also learned from a session that I attended that "Art education is a way to acknowledge the self, outside the self" and that "meanings in life are made through the interactions we have with others."

While I believe that art is a way for us to step outside ourselves and view things from a perspective we wouldn't have done so otherwise, I also think this kind of learning is not limited specifically to art education. There is a lesson in this idea that every educator can benefit from.

Fostering experiences through and with art, partnered with other academic subjects can create a vantage point that adds to the perspective we as teachers initially provide for our students around something.  A component in which they can bring their own understanding and connection to an idea that we cannot give them. This is fundamental in all knowledge isn't it? Make it relative to us in a way that is meaningful.......and why not do it using art?

Furthermore, in terms of the meanings that can be created through our interactions with others, this was something I already did, I just never really thought about how important it was until now.   Through my own experiences and the opportunities I give my students to collaborate with one another, quite often it leads to a richness of learning that is not privy to individual experience.  As a way to facilitate dialogue or discussion and deep thinking about things, interactions are simply pivotal.

I look back on my time at NAEA 2012 and am very grateful for my opportunity to be a part of it.  I am thankful that I was able to engage in interactions with others and gain new perspectives in my life by acknowledging who I am and what I do, outside of myself.

Among many other things, this experience has motivated me to stop looking for inspiration (that may or may not come) but to just 'show up' and get 'er done each and every day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Identity and Learning

I assume that everyone’s life story isn’t complete without a perceptual saga to carry around to shape us as a beings.
Lately, I have been delving deep into my memories and developing associated meanings around the significant experiences I have had in my life. 
This process has made me realize that I have not fully acknowledged certain events in my life and by not doing so, I have been living a life that has been personally filtered by my own discretions (in that I let myself come to terms with only the things I consciously want to come to terms with).  Thus, I have potentially created a superficial lens through which I view the world at times.
Thinking of this revelation in terms of what it means for me as a teacher, I believe it means that it is important for me to understand this happenstance in the context of my students' lives.  Maybe they at times, don't acknowledge certain experiences (or lack thereof) in their life which  inherently guide the choices they make when it comes to their learning.  Conversely, perhaps they bring a perspective of themselves into the classroom that is a result of over-acknowledging experiences.   
It seems that this can be quite complicated, but overall, I think it is important for my students to be in tune with who they are, how they interact with others, and how they learn as a result of all of their experiences throughout life.   It is important for me to provide opportunities for them to be both reflective and accountable as learners in the classroom but also to let them know that the person they are, created through the good, the bad and the ugly happenings in life, is just the person they are suppose to be.     

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lego Mania and Destiny

In a class I attended a while back, I was to create a visual representation of my philosophy as a teacher.  Moreover, my philosophy identified by which category we fit into after completing a survey questionnaire.  (By adding up our score based on answers chosen and then aligning with the category defined by our number of points.)

I fit into the category that:  sees the student as individual, encourages individual choice and is committed to living authentically.  Yep, that is me.  I think it is crazy that a survey can characterize me as a teacher based on a few a questions, however, I have to admit, it is pretty darn accurate.

I love authenticity and being individual, because that IS what we are.   We are all authentic, (original).......and individual.  When I recollect and reminisce on my life, I remember that I have made choices and decisions that led me down certain paths, paths that I was destined to go down.  What I think is interesting about this is, these choices and experiences have now led me to more questions and choices to seems to be eternally perpetual.

Being the creator of your own destiny is awesome, that way, you have no one else to answer to but yourself;  no one else to blame for bad choices, no one else to praise for good ones, it all comes down to you.   Control your destiny and make yourself smile.

Here is my visual representation of "individual" in the medium of lego, symbolizing that we all turn the wheel in the directions we want to go in, which ultimately defines and overarches, our own happiness/contentment in life.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Creativity and Thinking

NAEA March 2012 Creative and Critical Thinking: Say What?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fruit Fiasco

I just had to get this out of my brain.

These images are drawings I did around this idea that has been a focal point in my thoughts of late:

Fruit fiascos.

So tonight I needed to just get them out as I can't spend any more sleepless hours having them bounce around in my head.

I feel better already.  :)

Great # 5 Awe-inspiring

I think this is a great blog to be finishing this little segment of blog review posts I have been doing lately.


I have to be honest, this guy's blog has me kinda intimidated.  As a recent B.Ed. Grad and a (potential) Secondary School Art Teacher myself, this blog blows me away.  From what I can gather from the blog and linked class Facebook page, this teacher is only an LTO or equivalent as the students are asking him if he is returning in the Fall.   He really SHOULD be in my opinion (if admin can help it!).

David Dunlop IS a Secondary School Art Teacher (I believe in the UK) and has a classroom blog set up that he facilitates with all kinds of student work examples presented.

He hosts an "Artwork of the Week" post in which a student's artwork is showcased on the blog with a brief explanation of the student's intent with the piece.  He also provides of student podcasts uploaded to YouTube creating a "magazine" entitled "Art Clast" where the students are demonstrating/instructing lessons to viewers themselves!  There is also a video on the blog done by his students in particular that is with a view, called "The Black Box."  It is a short film created by his students in their SPARE time as a club during lunch breaks and such.   David also has links to posts entitled " ARTSPIRATION"  where the class focuses on a certain artist that is successful and/or influential each month.

I also love his little image box that proclaims: "It's Not Homework, It's Work From Home!" which displays tasks/artwork the students have been working on while they are outside of his classroom.

The final thing I will comment on is his creation of a "Doodle Book".  I have used Blurb books before myself to create a student book of poetry but I love the idea of a collaborative book of doodles!!  Very cool.

There is so much more to see on this blog and if you are a teacher that loves art or needs inspiration, go ahead and check this blog out, you won't be disappointed.

I, on the other  hand, have to get to planning.  David has inspired ME to inspire someone else.

Great # 4

Craig Roland is an art educator/professor/artist and like myself, has a special affinity for combining art education and technology.

He is an inspiration.  


On Craig's blog, he has an Animoto video outlining summer courses (via images) for Art Teachers (I believe at Florida University), his latest educational experiences: ie: ISTE 2011, TAGS that link to countless resources for the discerning and innovative teacher looking for the perfect resource for a class and "108 WEBTOOLS and RESOURCES" page at the top of his blog.   I love that Craig is passionate about creativity and provides inspirational ideas and practices for Art Teachers and others alike.

He also includes an extensive BLOG ROLL on his own blog leading to other educators and people with the same passion and drive for arts education and technology.

My favourite thing shared on his blog is item #7 on his post: "10 More Creativity Resources" list.  The link is to a collaborative Google Lab that outlines 106 ideas and web projects from people around the world.

Here is the link:

The Creative Internet: The World is Full of Interesting Things


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Great # 3

Another edublog I want to highlight is also from a teacher who's practice is wrapped with the use of technology in the classroom.

Funny,  I am not sure how these teachers find the time to delve into the "cloud" and provide such great resources and information to us other educators in the world.  I gotta say that I am VERY grateful for them as they have taken out all the leg work for me.  It's just sometimes I feel like I just don't reciprocate the favor and what's worse is, I am not sure how I even could.

While I am thinking about it and trying to figure out a way, please take the time to check out Mr. Richard Byrne's blog and enjoy what he throws at you.  :)

Likewise to my post about Kelly, Richard provides resources and ideas for classroom use including access to FREE technology to use for learning/teaching.  He includes lesson plans, tutorials for google,  provides E-books for teachers,  a link to a list of his own favourite resources, free downloads, and how to create blogs and websites.  All of this is available (as links to pages) even before you hit his first blog post.

He also provides a gadget on his blog to his Facebook page where more than 14, 000 people have "liked" him and his sharing: "Free Technology for Teachers"

Richard's blog is all about sharing.  He shares the information he finds/uses/creates with other educators around the world just for the sake of sharing.  His passion for education is evident and by providing these tools and resources for others, he is helping to change the way students learn and teachers teach.

Here is a like to one of his posts from June:

77 Web Resources for Teachers to Try This Summer

In this posts he has created a PDF file and a Slideshare-type presentation outlining 77 web resources for teachers to try out over the summer and see which ones they like and think would be helpful in their practice come the Fall.

Have fun going through them I hope you find some you like as well.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Great # 2

I am going to acknowledge another edublog that I visit frequently for ideas and to keep on top of things as a teacher.

Look out, it’s amazing.

This is a blog created by Kelly Tenkely who is an educator and leading technology consultant when it comes to integrating technology in education.

Kelly is not someone I know personally but is someone that is a part of my PLN – my Professional Learning Network.

I follow her on twitter and her blog posts when I can, where she is always updating her learning community to new events, key learning concepts and resources for teachers when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. She provides access to lesson plans online (for a small fee) and e-zines about news in education in relation to technology. (The e-zines are really quite amazing and rich with information.) Furthermore, she is always posting new and exciting apps, web 2.0 tools for the classroom and information from worldwide conferences with educators around the globe.

Kelly is a teacher but of late has left the classroom to pursue her dream of being a technology consultant as well as starting her own school! Yes, she has just recently opened a private school for students: where technology is an over-arching tool in learning for the students.

It is very worthwhile as an educator in the 21st century to be connected with people like Kelly and the work they are doing for/in education. I suggest you check out her blog post on “Ideas to Inspire” specifically just to get a taste of what is happening or can be happening in the classroom from educators throughout the world.

Beware though, it can be a little intimidating and overwhelming so buckle in and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Few Greats

Over the next little while I will be dedicating a some blog posts to highlight a few inspiring and innovative educational blogs I have come across by educators around the world.

I hope by sharing these, you can learn something from them, gather resources that may be helpful and/or be inspired yourself by them as I have been.


To begin I would like to acknowledge the blog:

This blog by Zoe Branigan-Pipe is awe-inspiring and such an amazing example of what educators are doing in the world today.

This past year, I had the privilege of being a student in Zoe's technology class at Brock University as well as having her as a cohort leader for my B.Ed.  Zoe's passion for education and technology and her amalgamation of the two has been so motivating for me as well as eye-opening.

The teaching and learning dynamic in the 21st century is changing.  Never before has social media, mobile devices, Smart technology and online software/programming been thought of as being educational.  The students of today are learning with these tools at an exponential rate and as teachers, we need to learn how to use these tools in pedagogical practice to reach our students.

I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from Zoe this year and to have learned so much from her .  As you will see from her blog, she is on top of the changes happening in education and provides countless resources to other people, information and ideas for educators.  

Hope you like it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Does It Mean?

Here is one of my lesson plans for a senior visual arts class.

Students create a piece to display the change in meaning of an artwork given a change in medium. 
It is a lesson that incorporates traditional drawing media (ie: chalk) with contemporary art creation (ie: digital photography).  Senior students are able to hone their drawing skills as well as to work on their skills as digital photographers/manipulators with this lesson.  This lesson meets the Intermediate/Senior students’ Art Development Stage of VISUAL MODE and fits into the Student Profile,      Modes of Art Expression, Instructional Strategies dynamic of a Grade 12 student.

Artwork 1
Title: “Healing”
Medium: Chalk Pastel
Size: 8” x 8” each (8 drawings)
Date: 2007

Artwork 2
Title: “Scarred”
Medium: Digital Photography
Size: 18” x 24”
Date: 2011
(This digital photo-manipulation software I used was very basic called: Image Zone: it came with my digital camera)

A1.3, A3.1, A3.2, B1.4, C2.1 

*Students are given project outlining the two-step process: Create an artwork (using a traditional medium of their choice) that incorporates three of the elements and principles of design covered in the unit; photograph their artwork and then use digital photo-manipulation software to re-invent the work through digital media.  (The process of this activity is to enhance student awareness to the capabilities of meaning creation in an artwork and the inherent change in meaning via media. Students provide dialogue (presentation) explaining their intentions/outcomes to the class/teacher)
*Students gather thoughts and plans around the artwork they will create using the three Principles/Elements learned and get final approval from teacher before beginning to create.
*Work on artwork and teacher will provide a feedback meeting during the working process
*One the non-digital piece is completed the student will begin the photographic documentation of the work in desired angles/positions
*Photos are uploaded to computer and student works on digital manipulation of the photographs using Photoshop or other photo software
*Students print photos and create a display of their photographic piece
*Students document intentions and the different artwork meanings derived from the two pieces 
*Students present their two-works to a small group and generate discussion around the double meaning generated by the work
*Teacher marks artwork using a rubric that was given to students upon beginning unit

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Take It Outside

As a concluding aspect to my teaching degree at Brock University, I decided to enroll in the Outdoor Education Certification Program.  I was lucky enough (to my surprise), to have the foresight back in January, to identify this opportunity as something I would learn a great deal from.  I did however, underestimate what it would teach me or how it would begin to shift my life in a direction that apparently I just needed a little push to get started in.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have learned many new things about the environment, about Canadian history (specifically Aboriginal origins, life and culture), various plants and their medicinal properties, what a Meromictic Lake is and more about how glaciers formed the escarpment.

I also, figured out some particular things about myself as a teacher.  I always thought of school field trips as informative, educational and a way to get out of the classroom environment to mix things up a little (for the students and the teacher!).  I did realize the great value in them but before this experience, not quite to the extent that I will value them now as a teacher with my own class.
About a month ago, I attended a webinar entitled:

Green Teacher Webinar: "Shades of Green: Developing Artistic Approaches to Environmental Education"

with Hilary Inwood.   

The Webinar in combination with my hands-on experience at Crawford Lake Conservation area have confirmed for me that learning from nature (including human contributions/impacts to/on the environment) partnered with creativity-rich methodologies is such a great way for students to solidify concepts of learning.   Furthermore, and this is what I learned specifically from my experience, is that connecting/re-connecting with the natural world is a way to be self-reflective and more importantly self-reflexive.

To realize that as humans were are part of the natural world and thus it is a part of us.  We are shaped by, learn from and adapt to and with one another.  The only flaw in this reciprocity is that without it, WE would not survive, without us the natural world would flourish.  

I think at times, regular acknowledgement of this relationship can get lost when there are so many more things to be thinking, talking, learning and teaching about. However, I think now more than ever, that this particular subject is one of the most important things we as teachers should be thinking, talking, learning and teaching about.

Throughout my experience in Outdoor Ed. I took many photographs and did many sketches of the things around me.  I will encourage my students to do the same and often.  I found that this process helped to solidify my learning (across many subject areas) as well as to expand on it, connect with it (metacognition) and change my thinking (evaluating/synthesizing).  Seems to me as a teacher, a very effective way of going about the teaching/learning process.   

Since this experience, I have made outdoor activity and learning a regular part of mine and my family's life.  To step back, connect and recognize the outside world that sustains us.

Such a simple thing, but I am so glad I now "Take it Outside".

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Drawing" From Within

Below is a collection of drawings done by the Grade 7 and 8 students during our last Visual Arts lesson.

The lesson was on value and how to incorporate tonal values into a drawing.  The parameters of the assignment involved the students creating a five value greyscale using varied pencil pressures and/or varied graphite softness/hardness.

Upon completing their greyscale, the students were then to incorporate all five values into their drawing (using a subject matter of their choice) while thinking about the various shadows and highlights that would be prevalent for their drawn object.

The results were very interesting and many different drawings via personal relevance were produced.

Here are some of them, enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Than Curriculum

Today I witnessed a moment at my school, one of those moments that words can't really explain or capture how truly monumental it was.  A moment that will transcend time and forever change life experiences at school and "the path" for one Grade 7 student in particular.

As teachers, we know we have to deliver the curriculum, provide engaging lessons, have effective assessment strategies, and get report card marks in on time.  But what we don't HAVE to do is be willing to reach out, take a stand or be a voice for a student.  That kind of thing comes from within and from what kind of person you are.

In class, the Grade 7 students created and handed in Zines (A written text with various text features, to portray a message to readers - Note: Zine is the suffix of Magazine from which it originates) and while I was teaching, my Teacher Associate @superock66 decided to peruse through them.  (I guess because they peaked his interest, he knew I would be marking them :) ) Upon doing so, he came across one student's, whom in their writing, referred to themselves as "The Ugly Duckling" as well as many other unfavourable adjectives such as: "alone,""terrible," and "miserable" and indicating that they felt they couldn't "be themselves" and that "fitting in was impossible".

Upon reading this, Steve went and talked privately with the student while I was teaching and asked her if this was how she was really feeling or if she had just written it for the assignment.  The student, without reservation, said it was exactly how she was feeling.  Steve then asked if she wanted him to talk to the class while she was present.  Again, she responded yes she want him to do that and she want to be there, because "She was brave".

At the end of my lesson, Steve read the text to class and and asked them to write down how it made them feel.  The students began to frantically write and some of them ended up with almost a full page.  The students were then asked if they wanted to share what they wrote with the rest of the class.  One boy raised his hand and indicated that he felt bad for the author but felt he also understood because sometimes he feels the same way for being shorter than everyone else.  Other students indicated in their writing that they felt bad because they felt they contributed to the author feeling the way she did.

This moment was about the kids in the class thinking and being compassionate about others as well as making them accountable for their thoughts and actions towards others.  It also gave ALL the students in the class a voice, as I am sure at one time or another, each of them have felt the exact same way as the author.

Afterwards, the author spoke out to the class and indicated to everyone that even small gestures to include her in what they were doing would help.  It was amazing, the class was silent, and then some of the students gave her their sheets of paper where they wrote about how they felt.

This was an amazing teachable moment that meant more than what can be covered by curriculum expectations.  This was a moment that helped to shape caring, compassionate, understanding individuals as well as create a more positive and effective school experience for one student in particular.  

I don't think Steve realized at the time, (or maybe he did) the (potential) affects of what he did.  You hear people talking in their adult life about how that one teacher stood out for them in school.  How that one teacher REALLY made a difference in their life and if it wasn't for them, they wouldn't be who they are today.

I am sure we all have those memories and today, for this Grade 7 student, Steve was that teacher....

I am just so glad I was in the room to see it happen.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Commanding Officer

Today while I was driving home, and this happens a lot, my mind began to wander and flash through the days' events.   Today was an interesting day as I was involved in a J/I ( Junior/Intermediate) TLCP (Teaching Learning Critical Pathway) meeting at my school.  Interestingly enough however, after all the planning, hashing out scenarios, and questions, which was all very informative (and I learned a great deal from it), my greatest learning of the day happend after we returned to the classroom post meeting.

For TLCP meetings, as it goes, supply teacher coverage is provided for the teachers in the school  so they can attend the meeting.  This is really great as it facilitates the time needed for teacher preparation and it gets those teachers on the supply list into a school and working.  Two birds, one stone.

About half way through the afternoon at nutrition break, the teacher on duty came to the staff room to inform my teacher associate Steve (@superock66) and I (as well as the grade eight teacher) that the grade seven and eight students we wildly out of control and acting "inappropriately".  Ok.........I am thinking that is very strange. The grade seven students that I have been teaching are sweet, kind, caring, mature and lovely adolescents.  What is she talking about???  (Side note: we are at the TLCP meeting and just happened to be in the staff room at that moment = not in a position to go and deal with them and also remember above, supply teacher coverage. :-) )

Time lapse........meeting continues............end of day.......return to the classroom.  Just before the bell rings, we are standing outside the classroom door and low and behold, we can hear rowdy, loud, obnoxious grade sevens!!!!! (As well as the supply teacher yelling "shut up", "be quiet" in a clearly frustrated tone).  Needless to say of course, I was in total disbelief then Steve and I entered the classroom. The students, almost immediately turned totally silent and gave US their full attention.

So, after the long premise, here is my key learning (/revelation) for the day: My teacher associate, Steve, (@superock66) has created an aura in his classroom.  An aura that resonates respect (mutually), care, compassion and facilitates a whole lot of learning when HE is THERE.  He created it and had this classroom environment all established and flourishing before I got there.  Thankfully, the students because of my connection to Steve, act the same way for me.

This got me really thinking and wondering.  HOW has he achieved this phenomenal level of unspoken understanding between teacher and student.  How in the world I am going to create this in my own classroom?  And more importantly, in the beginning years of my career, how in the hell am I going to do it as a supply teacher???!!!!

I think this is the magical part of teaching.  The part they don't and can't teach you in a faculty of education classroom or that you can't read from a textbook.  This must be the kind of thing you learn through years of experience or perhaps are lucky enough to have a natural "way" with students.  I am not sure which one it is or if its something else. I do know though that tomorrow I will be having a really long conversation with Steve.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting My Feet Wet

On Friday, I finished my first week of teaching (for my second block) at a lovely rural school in east Hamilton.  I have to say that I feel lucky to have been placed there.  I think it is a good match for me and I really lucked out with my Teacher Associate @superock66, Steven DesRoches.  He has been nothing but supportive, helpful and understanding as well as great at providing pivotal and helpful feedback on my lessons.  I am learning so much from him.

So far in the class, I have been able to introduce a unit on poetry to the grade 7 students; an intro to New France in History; Fractions in Math (which, I don’t think I would be as successful at without Steve’s help); and a few formal/design elements in Visual Arts.

Throughout our poetry unit, the students are encouraged to explore our big idea in their writing:

How can learning about others around the world, help us to be more empathetic and grateful as Canadians?

So far, their poems have been pretty successful and I think the students are starting to get the idea that areas around the world experience things that they themselves wouldn’t even dream of.  I am hoping not to scare them, but to help them to be a little more altruistic and a little less narcissistic……not an easy feat for Grade 7’s.

The introduction of the “Big Idea” mentioned above is my first step in attempting to achieve some of the things I mentioned in my last blog post.

It’s a small step, but a step.

Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find his right road.
~Dag Hammarskjold~

Needless to say, after March Break, we will be looking at the horrifying tragedy Japan is dealing with and thoughts on what can be done to help here in Canada.

The video below is an example of one of the poems the students wrote.......... A Two-Voice Poem

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Part

The past few days have left me feeling quite uneasy, (could be a culmination of a few things: the snow storm, the Egyptian crisis, the internet use cap,) but I believe I can really pinpoint its beginning.  A couple of days ago I was reading my twitter feeds and checking out some of the amazing posts made by my network. The posts I read on there are mostly:  inspiring; great resource sharings; new points of view/perspectives or links to many other really amazing things going on in the world today.
However, on Sunday night I checked out a particular post by @ballantynedj which he premised: "a sobering talk".  Of course, that got me intrigued, but I wasn't really prepared for what I watched when I clicked the link.  The link: was a Ted Talk by Canadian, Naomi Klein.  Her talk was about the Alberta Tar Sands, the BP oil spill, powerful and authoritative figures using their positions to make choices on behalf of all of us... among other things.

Upon watching it I felt like I was drowning, like I couldn't get enough air and metaphorically, I mean I felt helpless.  How am "I" going to contribute or un-contribute to these issues.  What can "I" possibly do to make a difference.  I recall thinking and discussing with my husband: we already recycle, take litter-less lunches everyday, conserve electricity, planted a vegetable garden, re-use clothing, buy eco-friendly products, and so on.  I thought we were doing our part.  But after watching the video, I felt like it didn't matter.  No matter what I do/don't do, it isn't enough.  I really wish I had the answers, truth is, now I don't even know where to begin.

You know, @ballantynedj was right, it was sobering (and depressing).  As a teacher, I am confident with my abilities to teach my students new ways to be creative; to be themselves; to embrace learning; to do their best when it comes to making good decisions or eco-friendly choices, but I don't know what to say to them about what they can do, I mean really do, to make a difference for the future.  I feel like that isn't just up to my students and me, that is up to everyone.  How does one affect that change, I need help.

So, now I am on that quest, to see what I CAN do. (Wish me luck as I am sure I will need a ton of it).

I will keep updating on how its going.