Motivational Mondays: A Week of Thanksgiving

Inspired by my friend Angie who writes a neat blog titled I Really Lived!, I took a cue from her and decided to post each day giving thanks to all that I have.

Today, I give thanks for my life. ¬†No matter how many worries I may have in my life, one thing I am definitely grateful for is life! For this occasion, I’m posting Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Apparently that is the title since my whole life, I thought the title was “Don’t Worry About a Thing.” ūüėÄ


Study: Creativity Should be Taught as a Course

From the Adobe website

“Eighty-eight Percent of U.S. Professionals Surveyed Believe Creativity Should be Built into Standard Curricula”

Study: Creativity Should be Taught as a Course.

Creativity isn’t limited in art. ¬†It’s also just as important in math and science.


Motivational Mondays: The Sweet Spot: Glee and Arts Education

I want to take the time to share this wonderful article with you about the power of the arts.  Honestly, this Motivational Monday is more for me and my need to stay positive and motivated as I continually look for work in Art Education.  I feel that for me to stay positive, I can help other people be positive too.  I gotta practice what I preach, yah know?

The Sweet Spot: Glee and Arts Education

One particular quote in the article stood out for me:

“Arts education can literally save lives. I work with kids that are struggling with a lot in life whether it is poverty or violence or trauma. Having an outlet and a teacher to guide them to express themselves creatively as opposed to internalizing or responding to violence with violence is vital. It is, in fact, an intervention.” –by writer and youth educator Carrie Leilam Love

And that is why I choose teach art.

Motivational Monday: When Inspiration Hits

I’m back after a long hiatus! ¬†For the past couple of months, I’ve been working at a sleepaway camp in Glen Spey, NY. ¬†It was quiet an experience! ¬†I’ve learned a lot and met some really amazing people.

I’m trying to get back in the blogging mode especially for Motivational Mondays and Instagram Fridays which isn’t easy when I’ve been in an established routine for two months.

Here is a Picasso quote courtesy of Blush

Geeky and Awkward is the New Cool (and long overdue!)

Lately, I’ve been thinking of a trend in the media of characters proudly identifying or at least accepting as being “geeky” or “nerdy” or “awkward.” ¬†First, I thought, “Where was all this when I was younger and wearing glasses wasn’t cool?” ¬†But you know what? ¬†Better late then never right? ¬†Here are some examples in the media about letting your freak flag fly.

Example 1:

Mindy Kaling (Kelly from “The Office) wrote a really hysterical memoir last year titled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns). ¬†She dedicates a chapter in her book on how she was always the quiet and not popular kid in the background in high school. ¬†She advises young people that it’s okay to not peak during high school.

I just want ambitious teenagers to know it is totally fine to be quiet, observant kids.  Besides being a delight to your parents, you will find you have plenty of time later to catchup.  So many people I work withРfamous actors, accomplished writersРwere overlooked in high school.  Be like Allan Pearl.  Sit next to the class clown and study him.  Then grow up, take everything you learned, and get paid to be a real-life clown, unlike whatever unexciting thing the actual high school class clown is doing now.  

Example 2:

I am a HUGE fan of the show “New Girl.” I totally relate to the main character Jess (played by Zooey Deschanel) not only because she is a teacher like me, she’s unapologetically goofy, awkward, and nurturing. ¬†She’s even been described as “adorkable.” For example, she makes home-baked goods for her guests and wraps them up in cozy blankets. ¬†She’s also kinda clueless when it comes to getting back into the dating game after being in a six year relationship. I also love the other characters especially the douchy but lovable Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield).

Bonus video! Schmidt talks about his knowledge of India:

Example 3:

Anyone who knows a middle school student probably has heard about or even read the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney or even seen the movies. ¬†The protagonist, Greg Heffley has your typical middle school problems. ¬†He’s not the most popular kid in school. ¬†Also, he’s one of the smaller kids in his grade next to Fregly, an awkward kid who loves boogers. ¬†Home life isn’t a piece of cake for him either. ¬†He’s the middle child and has an older brother Rodrick who terrorizes him at home and a little brother Manny who always gets him in trouble. ¬†I admit, after reading the first book and seeing the first movie, I thought Greg was kind of a jerk. ¬†But as I kept reading and watching, Greg is definitely relatable to your typical middle school kid. ¬†Even though he wants to fit in, he is very self aware, observant and hilarious as evidenced in his doodles. ¬†Greg has a best friend named Rowley, a chubby kid who acts a bit more childish but not because he’s immature. ¬†Rowley still likes things that most kids his age would think is childish but the cool thing about it is that he never changes for anyone. ¬†He knows who he is and won’t apologize for it, even if it makes him look less cool to your average middle schooler. ¬†Both Greg and Rowley make “wimpy” look cool.

Here is a hilarious clip from the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie where Greg and Rowley and their moms attend a “Mother-Son” Dance. Click on the link below:

Fun fact:  Robert Capron (who plays Rowley) is dancing with his real-life mom in this clip!

Another hilarious scene where Greg sings “Total Eclipse of the Heart” when auditioning for his school play. ¬†Note that the drama teacher made everyone audition with this song because I don’t know of any middle school student who would choose that song for an audition.

Example 4:

GLEE! ¬†One of my favorite shows because it embraces diversity and the power of the arts. As a quiet art kid back in high school, I’m really glad this show exists albeit 6 years after I graduated. ¬†Even though the Glee kids get slushied and bullied every week by popular jocks and Sue Sylvester, they still are proud of who they are as people. ¬†The show also deals with different issues that teens today go through such as first romances, sexuality, bullying, teen pregnancy and texting while driving. ¬†If I had to pick a song that summarizes the Glee Club as a whole, it would be the original song “Loser Like Me.”

Thanks for reading my fellow geeks! See you tomorrow for Instagram Fridays!

Building Creative Confidence: Thoughts on David Kelley’s TED Talk

I have worked with children for over five years as a teacher in both schools and camps. Besides teaching my specialty in art and other subjects such as math, reading, writing, science, and history, there’s one thing I always noticed about kids that I never really discussed with my peers. ¬†It’s how creative anxiety increases as the kids (and ourselves) get older.

When I was student teaching, I taught art once a week to kindergarten classes. ¬†Even though I always took a nap after I came home, I enjoyed the kids’ enthusiasm and joy for art. ¬†They used art materials to express their ideas in a way no other adult can. I enjoyed hearing them talk about their artwork. ¬†From what I can remember, none of the kids I worked with had any real anxiety about art. ¬†Of course, they would call out my name every 5 seconds and shout “Is this right?!?!” but for the most part, they truly enjoyed art and didn’t care if anyone thought that their ideas were crazy.

Example of kindergarten student’s work

When I started working with older kids (around 9 and up), I noticed more anxiety. ¬†Phrases such as “I can’t draw” or “I can’t do this” were becoming common. I even made a sign that says “I can’t do this” crossed out in my ceramics windmill at camp. ¬†It was frustrating because no matter how much I encourage, they feel that they are not “artists” and that they are not “creative.” ¬†Those weren’t empty words. ¬†I truly meant it when I told the reluctant kids that they are capable of making great works of art. ¬†Luckily, there were a few kids that I worked with that never thought they can create amazing works of art. ¬†Just like what David Kelley said in his Ted Talk, it was all about small steps. ¬†I worked with those kids one-on-one and encouraged and praised every step of the way. ¬†As students accomplish these small steps, they build up confidence ultimately leading to more creative risk taking.

A student’s work of art that was created with perseverance.

Something happens when we are growing up that makes us feel that we aren’t good enough or creative enough. ¬†When did we start thinking that the world is divided into “creative” people and “non-creative” people? ¬†Honestly, I don’t know how to relate to a person who feels that they’re “non-creative.” ¬†Could it be because I always enjoyed art or maybe had an active imagination or some natural talent? ¬†As an art teacher, it’s really easy to say “You can draw!” to a frustrated kid who’s probably thinking “Easy for you to say! ¬†You already know how to draw!” ¬†It’s my job to create an atmosphere where it’s okay to make mistakes and to encourage that frustrated kid every step of the way. ¬†I have to constantly remember to put myself in that frustrated kid’s shoes. ¬†Usually, I say something like, “Learning how to draw is the same as practicing the violin or throwing a football.” ¬†There is such thing as natural talent. ¬†Everyone has one but it’s nothing without a little practice and perseverance. ¬†To me, that’s more important than talent.


How can one reignite their creative spark?

When do people start feeling “creative anxiety”?

How do you build your creative confidence?

Here’s David Kelley’s TED Talk

The Creativity Gap: What’s the Role of Creativity in Society?

Just recently, Adobe conducted a study about creativity. They asked people about their own creativity and its role in the economy, society, workplace and our classrooms. I think the infographic is self-explanatory.

Adobe elaborates on how to close the creativity gap:

So, what can we do to close the creativity gap? First, we need to make time for creativity as well as provide the necessary technology tools and training. Productivity and creativity should not be mutually exclusive ‚Äď we all need to find ways to create at work, rather than considering it a weekend hobby or luxury for those with more time. As for our educational institutions, they need to foster the growth of the entire child, with more opportunities to participate in arts programs and foster ‚Äúout of the box‚ÄĚ creative thinking. Most importantly, we all need to think of creativity more broadly ‚Äď it‚Äôs not just the domain of professional designers or artists. It‚Äôs a critical capability in a successful society and one that is in all of us.

Check out the full report.