Okay, this was scheduled for last week, but, you know, holidays. I hope you enjoyed yours – mine were fabulous and full of board games. We’re still in the first week of January, so still plenty of time for some New Year reflecting, right? And by now we’re all (hopefully) over our hangovers and a little more focused.
So what are some good ways to re-focus this year? Here are some resolutions to stretch both your creativity and your compassion.
1.Give that one kid a clean slate. You know the one. Or maybe a few. Decide, right now, that all is forgiven, for both of you, and we’re all starting over. Decide that every day, you’re going to actively look for something to appreciate about that kid. I’ve got news for you – the kid that drives you crazy is often the kid that I, as a teaching artist, especially appreciate. They have a different way of seeing things, approaching things, trying things, processing things. In a word, they’re often creative. Sometimes they just need a little appreciation and some wiggle room for coloring outside the lines.
2. Integrate one art-related activity every week. If this feels like too much, scale it back to once a month. If you’re already doing one arts-integrated activity every week, try for two. The point is – aim just a little higher than you already were. It helps to have a regular slot for it, like Friday afternoons. Or if it’s easier for you to incorporate artistic sensabilities into a particular corner of the curriculum, then commit to making at least one weekly math (or literacy, or science, or social studies) session arts-integrated.
3. Take one new risk a month. This resolution is about stretching your own creativity, allowing for failure, and modeling for your students what a life-long learner does. You know what feels risky to you. Try the hard thing. It doesn’t have to be impossibly hard, but it should lie somewhere outside the boundary of your comfort zone. This will be different for everyone. I can put together a reader’s theater production in my sleep, but I tremble at the onset of any visual arts project (even the easy ones). I know teaching artists who whip up murals when they’re feeling lazy, but who would rather have teeth pulled than try to manage a creative movement lesson. Start easy, go slow. You don’t have to conquer any new territory, just take a stroll along the shore and see what happens.
Let’s be honest – I threw this post together in about 10 minutes while my baby napped today. I bet I missed some good ones. What are your resolutions this year? I’d love to hear!