Monday, March 30, 2009

Spread the Word

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
~ Anne Frank

Laura Stockman lives Anne Frank's words. Her blog 25 Days to Make a Difference never fails to inspire me to do more for others and our world. Her most recent challenge, a blog carnival on the r-word to promote Spread the Word to End the Word. Blog about the r-word. Tell how it makes you feel and how you will help put an end to it. Leave a comment on her blog with a link to your post and you may win a Flip video camera.

If I were caught up with my reader and feeds I wouldn't have missed this chance with my students, but we are on spring break this week. I can't have them add their voices to my own, but I know how the r-word makes me feel.

Stupid. Idiot. Moron. What are you a re...?

Stop! Don't say it. Language makes a difference. Language can divide or it can unite. Language can lift up a person or it can tear down a person.The r-word, when I hear others say it, makes me feel awful inside. When I was young, stupid was the word my father used when he got frustrated. I hate the word stupid. Every time I hear it, I can hear Dad saying it and I am brought back to some moment where I didn't understand what I was supposed to be doing and I wasn't doing it how he wanted it done. I love my father and we've talked many a time about that s-word. Parents do the best they can and who are we to know what will and will not stick with a child. His intention was to avoid vulgarity, I'm sure. I'm glad he did. Though I know he loves me, loved me even then, and I understand his motivations and all of that now, it sure hurt then.

The r-word does to other people what stupid did to me. It leaves a mark. It tears you down.

Stop using the r-word. Take the pledge today. Share it with your friends. Talk to your kids about it. Don't wait a single minute --do something to make a difference today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What a Gift

Has it already been two weeks since my friend, Sara Holbrook visited? Can you believe she went to the elementary school where my grandmother taught third grade? Her sister might have even been in Gramma Beckwith's class at Berkley in Detroit. Amazing coincidence, isn't it?

Sara gave me the best gift while she was in town: an afternoon in my classroom working with student poets for this year's Poetry Slam. Just a small group of kids, she and I--an amazing afternoon. She talked about her poetry. She performed. I read one of my poems. Students read theirs. Sara coached, listened, laughed and share. Truly, it felt like a gift from God--just that simple--pure awesome.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wild Things

Collin and I were playing in the office tonight--he writing comics and me painting. Then we decided to try out BuiLD YouR WiLD SeLF. Here's Collin's avatar creation.

Collin's been talking a lot lately about opening up a book stand on our drive way. He thinks he should write and sell his own books instead of lemonade or brownies. I, of course, dance inside whenever I hear this. Then yesterday driving home from somewhere he said, "but you know, Mom, I have so many ideas. Sometimes I start one idea, but then I get another one and I don't finish the first one." Don't I know it!

This week's art lesson from Paulette Insall takes us through painting a layered background similar to how she paints this one:

I'm not sure about the colors of this background. Scanned here it seems as if I don't have quite enough contrast. I wanted a cloud-ish, dreamy feel, but I'm not sure that I'm there yet.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My first art class

You know, I've always wanted to be an artist. Live the art life and have kooky hair--the whole bit.

I figure now is the time to start living more in line with my dreams.

Last summer I devoted every other Friday to "art day." My friend Jennifer came over with her boys--we spent the days creating while the boys ran wild playing.

I've missed it during the school year. There is something to be said for setting aside actual time, a whole day every week and for having a community, even of one, to support you. Commitment and consistency--pledging to be creative once a week gave me time to experiment and develop my art voice and vision. Sometimes, that vision/voice can be pretty quirky and whimsical, but it was such fun to revel in it this past summer.

Jenn and I have both been busy with work and family this school year. Life takes over as does doing for others.

So, for Valentine's day, I signed up for my first ever art class, All About Faces, with Paulette Insall, an artist whose blog has inspired me this past year. We've just started. Our first lesson on sketching a face got me thinking about eyelids and proportions.

One of my classmates, Annette, is blogging her journey, so I thought I'd blog mine too. I've been a big doodler, but never a conscientious sketcher. I'm trying! These first attempts make me chuckle. I'd like to get the eyes even and not tilt the head. What do you think?