July 2013

LOVE this idea of eco-art and thought I would pass it along.  Thanks Kodo Kids!
Eco-Art Activity
Summer is in full swing and we’re all spending time outdoors. Here in the west, while enjoying hiking trails, pathways, streams and the like, children and adults often stop to leave little “gifts” for others in the form of little rock sculptures. Piles of stones and pebbles cause us to pause and play, arrange and balance, take notice and contemplate. Locals refer to these impromptu works as Eco-Art- designs and compositions that consist of the natural materials at hand. Sand castles are one form, flower crowns another.



These temporary works of art will return to their natural states courtesy of nature, or may be transformed by the next artist who happens by. We feel experiences like these provide a wonderful opportunity to talk about and reinforce the process of creating art, rather than focusing on the end product. At the same time, using natural materials in their natural environments offer you and your children a way to connect with one another and the elements we all share.

eco art2


Questions to ponder……

  • What do you do to bring your art back home or into the classroom? Are the children given cameras to use? (appropriate use of technology) 
  • Do they use paper and pencil to sketch their creations? (writing, drawing and drawing to learn) 
  • Is the work represented in new forms with other indoor materials? (connecting experiences) 
  • Are there stories that are inspired by it or the experience of creating it? (literacy and dramatic play) 
  • How are the children involved in transforming their works in new ways? (creativity) 
  • Is the indoor work just as ecologically minded as the outdoor work? (care for the planet) 
Something as simple as balancing stones can be extended through your suggestions and guidance. It’s summer, get out there, find a pile of pebbles and let your artistry do the rest!



What kind of local Eco-art do you and your children make? We’d love to share your photos and stories with others and hear your thoughts about how your work leaves a minimal footprint, but a lasting impression. 

As always, thanks for reading!


How to Address “Yeah, But” Objections From Resisters | MindShift.

What’s stopping you or your peers from making a meaningful change in your teaching practice? What are the “yeah, but” arguments you hear when you propose a new idea, a way to do something differently?

Rob Mancabelli and Will Richardson, authors ofPersonal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, asked a few hundred teachers to list the “yeah-buts” they hear from other teachers, administrators, and parents.

The audience attending the packed ISTE Conference yesterday had a long list of complaints and objections they’ve heard along the way.

Here are just a few:

Yeah, but:

  • It’s not safe to let kids experiment on the Internet.
  • We need to block and filter sites.
  • It’s always been this way.
  • Is it standards-based?
  • We don’t have this technology in our school.
  • We don’t know how to use this technology
  • It’s disruptive to the classroom.
  • Will it help our assessment scores?
  • It’s not rigorous enough.
  • We don’t have enough bandwidth or infrastructure.
  • We don’t have enough money.
  • There’s no room for this in our curriculum.
  • Teachers can’t be trusted.
  • It has a negative effect on the brain.
  • Does everyone have to do it? Why isn’t something that you do, if you’re so interested.
  • Students are cheating when they look stuff up.
  • It’s too fun.

Richardson and Mancabelli have some advice for frustrated educators who run into the proverbial wall when they propose new ideas: appeal to the nay-sayers’ emotions, rather than their intellect.

“Often our response to a ‘yeah-but’ is one of defensiveness and this can sometimes derail the conversation,” wrote Trevor Shaw.

In addition to listing all the rational reasons why the idea might work (introducing critical thinking, introducing autonomy, showing trust, engaging thought), ask them: “What’s at the root of this for you? Why don’t you think you can’t make this change?”

Chances are you’ll hear some interesting answer, which can then be rationally addressed.

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Exercise and Academic Performance – NYTimes.com.

New study found that exercise can significantly improve children’s cognitive abilities and their academic performance, as well as their health.  This seems like a “no brainer” to me, yet, schools continue to cut recess and require students to sit still for a long time!

I remember when I was in 2nd grade ( a long time ago) Sister Mildred, who was about 110 years old and wore a full habit, would stop the class work each day  to lead us around the room singing and dancing – it was a full out dance party for 15 minutes!  That was in addition to playground and PE class.  She recognized the importance of movement and saw to it that the children in her care, not only exercised but had fun!  I will never forget the sight of her skipping and dancing- robes and habit flapping away!  I suspect she benefited as well!

What can you do, as an educator or parent, to ensure that children have exercise as part of their daily school diet?  What does exercise look like at your school?  Yoga? Stretching?  images (14)

Sitting on exercise balls instead of chairs?  Maybe, you too could have dance parties- just like Sister Mildred!