Monthly Archives: August 2014

Curiosity

Day Two

I’ve been attending ACAD’s summer institute. I think I am beginning to understand something about the ways I learn and the ways that I want to learn. I am beginning to learn about what drives my curiosity to learn.

My art mentor, Alison, retired this past June. Alison is a phenomenal woman, artist and educator. I met Alison my first year teaching. I had asked to sit on our division’s Arts Council, which Alison then chaired.

During the next few years Alison and I (and others) collaborated on a multitude of projects; Alison became as much of a resource, connection, and support for me as the projects and high school arts community seemed to offer for the students in our division.

This early June this year Alison called. She shared that she had heard of ACAD’s summer institute and that she felt I would delight in being part of the learning community. I had felt a similar support from Alison when she nominated me to chair the Arts Council this past year.

I sent my registration forms to ACAD that day. The choice of what sessions I would attend was left to my students. The what didn’t really matter.

Alison understood. She wanted me to attend because she wanted me to continue to be curious.

And I was.

My fellow ACAD institute artists/educators and I have been in the studio everyday.

We are perhaps learning or perhaps relearning or perhaps re-fine-tuning skills.

I enjoy these hours and I enjoy the feedback. However, I often feel missing Alison’s reason to attend; scaffolding of skill never feels quite as beautiful as the ‘something more.’

At our noon break Canadian artists/educators share their reflections, wonderments, and art all linked by collaborative themes.

At noon my heart sings. I set aside my box lunch, leave my sketch book untouched, and lean in. Tuesday, I cried. Wayne Baerwaldt, the director & curator at ACAD shared for an hour. He spoke of work that focused on bringing community together to become intimate with art and artist, and to give voice to space and the experience of the artists.

As he shared I thought: our kids can do this!

In June, before Alison had called, I had approached several administrators, had found a location and started steps in forming a division wide high school arts collective.

I know, the potential of this space is the joyful stuff that makes me want to stroll through the city streets in the rain.

I am curious about ideas. I am curious about relearning, remaking, and rethinking. And I delight in reflection.

There is comfort in curiosity.

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In the Beginning

Day one.

I am spending a week in Calgary attending ACAD’s summer institute, offering educators 24 different two full day sessions. We participate in six hours of studio sessions each day. I spent today slipping into the comfortable space with line & shadow, the space where I am safe, the space where I enter through sketch(book).

I like storying this way.

I am comfortable here. Here is where I longed to spend the afternoon days of summer.

And this is my professional learning. What joy!

Our studio work was slow. We rejoiced in our failures. Our instructor called our process ‘learning to see.’

There were nine educators registered for our small studio session. Seven educators showed up. Each of us admitted that we knew and had taught a set of rigid rules to this same process. We shared that we had been taught the rules and that we had grown up trusting in these rules.

However, by noon today the seven of us were questioning the rules. By the end of the day we knew we never again wanted creative ‘rules’ to govern our classrooms.

Tomorrow, we shift our stations. Tomorrow, we continue to create.

Tomorrow, we continue our process of leaning to see.

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coyote chalk

I’ve been blogging since I was a running-full-out, blinders-on, curiosity-driven-in-nineteen-directions, let’s-plan-like-there’s-no-tomorrow undergrad. Then, I had two courses remaining in my B.Ed., both electives. Was it happenstance that made me sign up for these courses, both becoming the courses that would most resonate, most inform my educational journey?

These courses most informing me how to best listen to students.

One was a course in Inclusive Education. The other was titled Introduction to Computers in the Classroom, #ECMP355.

Then, I was heading into the summer before internship. I had just completed a methodologies course where I had been asked to create a paper portfolio. I had not been keen on making a paper portfolio that no one without a forklift and a long weekend could enjoy. So when my instructor for the ecmp class asked what I wanted to create, I told him I might want to put my portfolio online, or perhaps, learn about spreadsheets.

But when a conversation emerged soon thereafter, ideas that connected the two courses came to light: people, caring about people and listing to people.

To show the idea of connections, I think, the ecmp teacher shared something or rather had others share something about him via twitter. And I learned some things about this dude. I was new to story and new to his story, so I quickly began forming a narrative in my own mind of him. I saw him as nuts to move out of an old home to build a new one and to golf instead of to hike, like really! But I liked the way he talked about his thinking; I liked that he shared his story. Then, he asked each of us to share one thing about ourselves. I shared that I had a stuffed great horned owl in my car that I had borrowed from the science lab. But, it was okay. I would put the owl back in three days.

I found that it was the stories of experience that I shared those fast few weeks of that spring short course that continued to reverberate. From those beginning connections I have found mentors, supports, and colleagues.

And then last spring my Dad had a stroke. Friends, friends from all over the world sent public and private messages and have continued to walk this journey with me.

I have found many platforms that I enjoy. However, I admit, I love a blog. I love reading your words and letting them play near me as I imagine your voice, image your space, and for those moments, I live alongside you, story with you in the midst. I wonder, is it in this space that I am beginning to understand? Usually this is early morning or the tired waning hours of day, while the hallway lights are off, the room next to me feels still, and the world, like the wind outside my window, pauses. Here, I am allowed to simply lean in and to wonder alongside you…

I love storying.

All those years ago my instructor gave his students a final challenge, “If you can, get your own domain.” I wonder if this was another way of asking us to retell and relive our own stories of experience? the challenge is one that I have never forgotten.

And so, my blog name as it has always been, named for the trickiest storier; may our stories forever be retold and relived. This happened yesterday.

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