Tagged art

The Visionary and the Implementer

I’ve been having a ton of fun at school! I am really enjoying doing many types of activities with the kids each day. I love getting messy, making things, and facilitating activities for kids to try out.

 

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From top, then left-right: Paint pendulum activity, baking cookies, making playdough, open art studio, Spanish restaurant, Mystery Science lessons (bridges and slides), more art studio – making magnets and painting peg people for our castle blocks. 

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Fire station tour and bike ride to Uptown (last week and this week).

In a class with Kristen Oliver this week, we revisited concepts around divine feminine/divine masculine traits. I loved the idea of re-naming the feminine and masculine to “Visionary” and “Implementer!” We all have these traits within us, so it feels nice to have different words to explain them that are not gender-related.

I posted a bit about this in a previous blog post, and I’ll re-share the traits but this time use Visionary/Implementer rather than feminine/masculine:


Words to describe the Implementer:

positive attributes: active, intelligent, logical, rational, linear, determined, reliable, strong, stable, protective, sensible, heroic, focused, single-minded, practical, goal-oriented, consistent, predictable, capable, smart, rugged, ordered, disciplined.

negative attributes: rigid, stubborn, aggressive, tough, ruthless, violent, non-communicative, self-centered, authoritative, dominating, dogmatic, closed-minded, autocratic, rule-bound, heartless.

Words to describe the Visionary:

positive attributes: soft, warm, sweet, kind, loving, nurturing, gentle, creative, receptive, flexible, adaptable, yielding, forgiving, understanding, caring, care-giving, serving, passive, peaceful, open-minded, beautiful, mysterious, spontaneous, ever-changing, inspirational.

negative attributes: weak, dramatic*, irrational, illogical, unpredictable, bitchy, stupid, powerless, manipulative, controlling, indecisive, fickle.

* This word list is from energyenlighten.com “emotional” is the word they use. I would rather see the world “dramatic” here. Emotional implies that having emotions are negative, which I disagree. Dramatic, I think, is a better fit because it describes one being emotional for the sake of gaining attention from others, “woe is me!!” “look at me!” “feel sorry for me!” 


I think this is super important to think about as an educator. Am I creating a space that only serves to express Implementers? Or am I supporting the expression of Visionaries too? Most of the world does not support the expression of mature feminine – so you have a lot of negative words to describe the artists of the world – indecisive, fickle, unpredictable. They can’t “commit” or be depended on. Well now I don’t see it like that – I think about the environment that one is in and try to consider what can be changed to support that one in expressing their powerful Visionary traits. They can be considered as spontaneous rather than fickle, they are inspirational, ever-changing! 

I think it’s important for Agile Learning Facilitators to remember that we are creating environments that are inclusive to all ways of being, all people. Our tools and practices, like Set the Week, Kanbans, Spawn Points, Change-Up are really great ways for us to help structure the community so we can all stay connected, informed, plan group activities and make decisions about what we want to do as a community.

However, if adults in the space aren’t careful, they can easily fall into the trap of only celebrating the traits the conventional schools celebrate – typically those on the Implementer list, like: intelligent, logical, rational, determined, reliable, sensible, focused, practical, goal-oriented, predictable, disciplined.

These are great traits to have, and also, if only these traits are encouraged and celebrated, then we’ll see an imbalance. We’ll notice that we’re getting a lot of the negative Visionary traits expressed rather than the positive. It’s important that we are a space where a person can express themselves as a Visionary, because the Visionaries keep the Implementers (others and within themselves) from  being cogs in a machine. If you carefully examine those Implementer traits – they are traits of really good, complicit students and employees. The ones who can do and be depended on – great traits, but in the wrong environment, they are also the ones who are more susceptible to blindly follow (ever hear of the Migram experiment? Controversial, but interesting to learn about).

If we only produce Implementers, than we aren’t doing a service to the world. We need to create environments that allow for the expression of Implementer and Visionary to express within individuals, knowing that we all have at least some of both. Some may have balance within themselves, while others may learn how to pair themselves with those who complement their own expression. There are even times when I can see in a relationship with one person that I am more of an Implementor, but in others, I am the Visionary.

Due to this awareness, I am careful to observe the students at school and think about how I can encourage positive Visionary expression. I think this deserves a lot of attention because the world already tells us all the message that intelligent, dependable people are good. I want to, in addition to the positive Implementer traits, send the message that being spontaneous, ever-changing, flexible, and driven by inspiration are also positive traits. This means that when I see students who cannot plan or commit to activities in advance, or students who are wanting to observe before doing because they need to be inspired into action, aren’t condemned as lazy, fickle, or those other negative Visionary traits. I instead use this as an opportunity to say, “Oh! How can I enrich our environment to support these Visionary students?”

One way to do this is to be constantly engaged in the environment and to provide opportunities for spontaneous action and activities in addition to planned ones. The examples above are my attempt at doing this. The pendulum art project was simply inspired action – seeing a video and just doing it at school and those who joined, joined. Mystery science I always do in the big room and anyone inspired to join is welcomed! I don’t care if they planned to be there or not. After lunch each day, I’m setting out materials on the lunch table for kids to engage if they feel moved to. This is fun, and it creates opportunities for those kids who aren’t sure what they want to plan/commit to at the beginning of the week.

It’s a fun practice to think about different people and how they think/behave/act. It’s why I’m attracted to this profession. When I consider the quote that is most commonly attributed to Einstein, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid,” I recognize that when I am frustrated with what I see in another, it’s because I am seeing them through my perception of what I believe is genius. Then it’s up to me step back and consider another perspective and to do my work to open my mind to see other ways of genius.

Malcom Gladwell examines creativity and genius in this easy to listen to podcast, titled “Hallelujah,” a part of his Revisionist History podcast. I won’t summarize it here, but I will post the link if you are interested in exploring his examples of how genius can be expressed differently. I enjoyed listening to this as I thought about myself and the kids I work with, and how to recognize the different ways genius can be expressed. I think about how the Implementer and Visionaries may show this to us differently, and how to recognize and celebrate the different ways it shows up in our children so they grow up appreciating their gifts. A child who is a Visionary genius may be told by the world they are fickle and irrational, and then grow up to be this, never finding their way to express beauty to the world. When I hear about teenage suicide or a parent telling their artist child that they need to get a real job, I think about this. I work with children different than me, and it’s not my job to make them like me, my role is to open my mind and my perspectives to see the beauty and genius in them.

Gratitude in Drawings

Something I have shifted to realizing now in my 30’s is that expressing gratitude regularly can have a profound effect on your life. What I am finding is that when I take the time to be grateful for all that I have in life, I stop playing the “I’ll be happy when” game. I realize that I have everything already – I just need to take the time to remember and pay attention to what I have.

The past two weeks I’ve spent a great amount of time thinking about gratitude as I drew pictures for the parents of the children at ALC Mosaic. When I think about the parents here that are choosing to take such a courageous leap into pioneering a new model of education, I simply lack the words to tell them how much they mean to me. Being slightly socially awkward myself in person, I wanted to think of a way I could express my gratitude for them joining this ALC journey.

I decided to stretch my artistic skills to draw each one a picture of their favorite animal and write the animal’s Native American totem meaning on each. I was challenged to draw animals I never had attempted before and it was fun and hard! I did most of them at school and explained to the kids what I was doing and why. They were asked to tell me what animals to draw for their parents. Some they knew, some guessed, some went home and asked.

As I drew each animal I simply thought about the parent and sent love and gratitude through my heart and hands. My goal was to have energetic frequencies of love flow through the drawings. I’m really proud of how they turned out and for how I felt when complete with my project! This overdose of gratitude for others made my life increasingly happier each day. As I gave, I received. It’s beautiful.

 

The Most Challenging

To me, horses are the second most difficult animal to draw after humans. Their snouts and faces and body proportions have always been challenging for me. I decided to opt out of drawing their bodies so I could focus my practice on getting the eyes & nose placed well.

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This one blew me away…Elisha was browsing animal drawings with me to copy for the lion. She chose this one for me to copy (I am not at the point in my artistic career to draw without an image to copy from). I told her I thought it was too hard, but then ended up really loving how it turned out! The kids seemed pretty amazed by this one.

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The cheetah was another animal I was worried about getting right. My attempts look very different from one another, the first being a little more cartoon-like and the second more realistic.

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The Surprising

I had never drawn realistic sheep or many realistic dogs before (but plenty of cartoon versions) and it surprised me how much I loved them!

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The Power of Lines

I am amazed at how just many little lines together can show changes in fur texture, feathers, and create the shape of an animal. These animals show off this power really well:

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As I drew each hawk I was thinking about the specific person I was drawing them for, as I did with each animal. Interestingly, before I labeled them, the children of these parents came up and saw them and identified the hawks correctly as being for their parent, saying that that the first one looked more like Kristen and the second like Jim.

 

The Sea

 

When I got the sea animal request in, I wasn’t sure how to make them look smooth. I was feeling pretty good about the fur and feathers, and had to use the power of the line differently for these creatures.

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 *There are a couple of animals I didn’t get pictures of before sealing them up in their cards, and two more I need to draw for a family that is out of town! I just want to note this for parents noticing a few missing 🙂 

Love is Something If You Give It Away

There is song I sang a lot with kids at the Friends School where I previously taught that continuously ran through my head during week two of my gratitude drawings:

Love is something if you give it away, 

     give it away, give it away

Love is something if you give it away,

You end up having more. 

I ended this project with having even more gratitude for the families choosing Mosaic than I did in the beginning. Thinking about each individual parent through the drawings led me to hold sacred and honor each of them uniquely for the commitment they have made for their child(ren). Without them, I wouldn’t be blessed with this school and the life I am currently living.

What I’ve Discovered This Week

Well, I’ve been really enjoying school lately. With the working groups and @Tomis keeping their eyes on admin tasks, I’ve been purely focusing on connection with the kids. It’s been amazing.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about our community this week: 

 

1) Kids take charge!

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Our school is becoming less run by adults and more run by the kids. They are ready for, and excited to, lead our meetings. We have had a volunteer lead meetings almost every day. I can feel the shift from our “getting settled” phase from early fall to getting in our groove now. The adults can back off and let the kids lead, and as they lead, they will more powerfully co-create a space with us that works for our community.

 

2) Small schools can still have big school events.

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You don’t need a big school to have an amazing SCHOOL DANCE! The kids took this dance very seriously and we had an amazing time. Three of the girls made all the decorations and asked for the support they needed from different facilitators to make the dance happen. First they asked 3 different adults from the church to use the big cafeteria space. They needed Dan to bring his equipment and help set up, they secured a DJ, and and even got snacks. I wasn’t thrilled about the way snacks were obtained (way to expensive and with a facilitator footing the bill at the promise of the children to pay it back), but even that is a learning experience for everyone involved. There are kids in our space who love to plan events, and we have kids in our space who really enjoy being a part of the events they plan. That’s community!

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Kids asked each other to dance, and many had their first slow dance ever with their friends, as you can see above. We also had karaoke! I danced until I was dripping with sweat. It was awesome.

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The boys are incredible DJ’s! Liberty asked the boys to DJ the school dance, I think they felt honored to be asked, and took the responsibility seriously, including a sign up sheet for song requests.

 

3) The kids value the people in our community over the material resources we have. 

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Here are pictures of a hydroponics garden and worm casting set ups at the Davidson Green School, which we visited this week.

The school is beautiful – a picturesque house purchased by the founder and her partner, then remodeled to fit the school’s needs. They have woods, an incredible playground – with a zipline, and the house is just really outfitted well. Walking in, I thought, “Oh man, the kids will never want to leave!”

We were so welcomed and felt at ease with the flow – starting with a circle and check-in, and then free to do whatever we wanted to do in the house.

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The school was mostly for younger elementary students, but we still had fun. We chose from Montessori styled options like metal insets and playing in the practical life room. We played with the marble run, on the slack line, and one the zip-line after lunch during the recess time. We helped wrap trees to make sure they were protected from cankerworms. We also got to see a school play!

I really appreciate how welcoming DGS was to us, and I felt very at home and comfortable there. Once we got in the car, though, the girls kept expressing how much they loved Mosaic. In the car they played a game about “what is the one thing they would keep if they had to get rid of everything” and our community was always picked. It’s clear that the kids feel like we are a family and that’s what matters.

Despite the additional resources DGS has, the kids were so thankful and grateful to come back to our school, and I’m thrilled to help them brainstorm ways to continue to make our space better and better for all of us. I am thankful that DGS gave us an opportunity to see what is possible for us to create in a space we hopefully own one day!

 

4) Stick/Weapon Play is everywhere. 

Yeah, they had that there too! I am perplexed how every single stick-like object in our school becomes a sword.

 

5) I need to do more art projects in the school!

I draw, they draw. I paint, they paint. Sometimes just offering something isn’t enough at set the week. The kids don’t always know if they want to sign up. If I want to draw or paint one day a week, I can just do it. They watch, and most of the time, they want to do it too. They just need a little inspiration, or to simply see a person passionate about what they are doing to model after 🙂

 

Well, that’s pretty much this week in review through my discoveries! I’m excited to start next week – our last week of school before the holiday break!