Monthly Archives: February 2008

Announcement: Creative Goal Group

Creative Goal Group

Facilitator Kim Nixon will help “Creative Workers” set and reach goals in a round table atmosphere at the Peter White Library, Marquette, Michigan. This 1.5 hour meeting will work to form a supportive-team environment by offering community and motivation, prompts and tools. “I often find being accountable to another pushes me to meet deadlines and challenges.” Kim says, “Come let’s create!” This workshop is ideal for those wanting to be more productive in their life no matter what the goal. Limit 6-8 people. For further details visit, Creative Health.

Tuesday Twelve–Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

A couple months ago I was substitute teaching in a second grade classroom. A student’s snack-bag of chips had fallen out of her cubby in the coat room and it resulted in everyone stepping on her bag of chips. She came into the classroom with a very sad face and a smashed bag of chips.

I asked how many students had noticed a bag of chips on the floor. Almost every student raised their hand. One small voice commented they did not know whose snack it was.

My next question was, “Who thought they should pick it up?” Half the students that had noticed the bag raised their hands.

I took a jump, a leap, and commented probably you did not think what would come next and continued to state if someone picked up the bag they could have come to me and said I found this on the floor–it would be the kind thing to do.

That day had been full of tattling, eye-rolling, kicking each other under the desk. The students were quick to point out wrong doing. It was so easy to see what was wrong with their room and their world. But to choose the right and kind thing not so easy.

How can we promote kindness? Teach Kindness?

1. Create kindness badges or tokens as a class project. Use tags, buttons, or some other small object that can be decorated. Use these tokens to reward kind activity in the classroom. At the end of the week recognize the “Kind Student of the Week.” This can be a lesson in being a good citizen.

2. As a follow-up or lesson to go in tandem with kindness badges have students collect current events that point out good deeds and positive actions in their community. Try to involve parents if possible. Bring up a story of kindness each week with students. Have a bulletin board for posting topics brought in.

3. Thank You Projects. Have students practice letter writing by sending thank you notes. Have students create a kindness award for volunteers in the classroom.

4. Check out the many grade school and middle school lessons pre-planned at The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

5. With older students discuss the idea of “Paying it Forward.” How does this change a persons perspective both for the person receiving the kindness and the person giving. An Internet search will bring up current events as examples.

6. Pick a service project as a class or start a school effort to help in your community. Think Summer, too! Having a bulletin board or posting area with summer opportunities for students.

7. Encourage students to use their manners, please, thank you, your welcome, and holding doors open or helping carry packages. Simple but wonderfully effective. Give lots of praise to students.

8. Teach and practice thoughtful listening. Here is a resource to use with 3-4 graders. 

9. Have you ever seen a “Happy Face” poster that shows many different expressions?Have a unit on expressions. Morning eye-openers could include how many words can you come up with that mean ‘happy” or “sad”. This could be excellent for journal activities as well.

10. Role playing or puppet shows on topics can be an excellent way to illustrate any of the lessons posted above.

11. Emoticons. Those experssions  we have become accustomed to in Instant Messenging and Texting have become a shorthand for “real” expression :-( this makes me sad. I think something is being lost here :-/. What can we do :-? I was thinking of a poster project where we pick and emoticon and then illustrate it in real emotions or actions.

12. Body Language Lesson–Break students up in small groups and have them pantomime scenario’s and then discuss the body language sued to act out each scene. use this as a launching point to further discussions on body language and communication.

Free Write Fling–Come on Baby Express Yourself

Come on Baby Express Yourself! Think of singing that phrase to the tune, Come on Baby and Rescue Me.

Today I woke with no voice. Calling in sick as a substitute teacher is always a difficult thing. Calling in when your voice squeaks, cracks, and is not even a hoarse whisper at 7 a.m. (when you need to be teaching at 7:45) is not good and I thank the school secretary ’cause I know the awkward search she had to pursue to find someone else on such short notice. I have a doctor appointment today at 10:15.

I am going to dedicate this day to expression without voice.

Nurture–I made breakfast for Mike. Our lunches are black bean, mango, chicken salad on Ryekrisp w/grapes. Dinner maybe baked chicken breast w/baked sweet potatoes but will depend on my trip to the Marquette Food Co-op.

Nature–water the plants, trim back old leaves, mist. Play with arrangements of driftwood and stone. Listen to nature sounds and transfer some to ipod.

Care and Pamper– Massage my feet with essential oils. Massage Mike’s feet with essential oils. Light candles. Pet the animals.

Replenish– Fruit, tea, nuts, whole foods, typing paper, and do so without using voice. Take index cards to write and converse with store clerks.

I am going to think tea and honey, warm liquids. Place a bit of tea tree in each ear to flush lymphatic system. Work on circulation and rest, too. I want music, birds twittering and sun shining and singing. I can be quiet. But I want Expression!

Come on Baby and Express Yourself! Come on and sing to me! 

How do I feel about this Free Write:

Communicative through written word. Spoken, but Heard? Recovering.

Short Winter Walk

Down Street, copyright Kim Nixon 

View Upstreet, copyright Kim nixon

Home Again, copyright Kim Nixon

Salvation, copyright Kim Nixon

Summer Sick In February

Bluesy Mike, Marquette Area Blues Festival 2008, copyright Kim Nixon

This is a shot of my Magic Man during Blues Fest ’08, Mattson Lower Harbor Marquette. This was taken with a disposable camera, Fuji 400 Film.

Tuesday Twelve—How to Jump Start your Muse in February

Happy Leap Year! Oh my Gosh! 8 years ago today I wrote a poem entitled, “I am bored with the 29 days in February” and here we are another long winter where I dream of long walks under hemlocks on spring days when the soil releases aromas held under the snow for months. I could just sleep until the start of an Upper Peninsula Spring. The bear in me wants nothing more than to hibernate and dream of summer blueberries and thimbleberries. 

1. Make Goal Lists

2. Share Goal List with a supportive Friend or Colleague

3. Challenge self with a new pursuit

4. Reward self with a spa treatment

5. Purchase new Music.

6. Light candles, lots of candles.

7. Pull out supplies not used in a  long time–play!

8. Have friends over for a potluck dinner.

9. Use vibrant scents such as Sweet Orange to awaken your mind!

10. Do heart opening Yoga poses such as—Camel Pose  or Cobra .

 

11. Use bright color in your art, your food, your clothing.

 12. Sing! Chant! Open your throat Chakra. 

Free Write Fling, February 18, 2008

Refocusing my Efforts

Perhaps what I did last week was short myself out-I put myself out there with a new art form and then needed almost 6 days to recover. Was I hiding from myself? Or just in recovery? I went for massage and to the chiropractor for my arm/shoulder/neck. I put up posters on behalf of the co-op. Watched lots of snow fall and fall and fall.  I filled the time with family and friends–babysat the grand-baby-boy who is turning into a giant of a boy and had a family dinner on Sunday. But what I did not do? Write. Take photos. Finish my Creative Leap Story Board.

Even this morning as I sit at my desk I am antsy, unsettled, and needing bright sunshine accompanied by heat and joy. I need soft music that pulls me into a meditative state. Warmth. Inspiration.

Last week I found a small book of six-word memoirs, pulling it from the nearby stack I become distracted and straighten the office until I realize I am still avoiding the written word. So, I get back to that book turning to page 155.

Things happen cause

I see holes.

–Susan Chi

(source: Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure from Smith Magazine)

Perfect! That is why I bought this book in the first place–profound 6-word memoirs–I can relate to this one.

At the close of each day, I run through the days happenings. Many of these come to me in the form of images. I am blessed with a partner that as we drift to sleep he, too, is sorting.

It might be someone we are worried about; their image filters through our minds-eye.  Maybe there is a hole. Something we see that needs healing, a new direction, an open door awaiting passage. Of course, you always wish for the highest good for that person-a prayer of sorts-hoping they find what they need and a hole gets filled.

I still have my share of holes. As my arm flares up once more and I seek release from numbness and pain. The therapy appointments. The mourning of the loss of the best career-massage therapist, now an uncertain reality, a closed practice, and me still waiting for what open door to walk through.

Yes. I can relate to that 6-word memoir. More to come, please stay tuned.

How do I feel about this free write?

  • Things rising to surface.
  • The need to take a breath and pace.
  • Unanswered questions.

Free Write Fling, February 12, 2008

Creative Leap Story Board

Today I needed the mindlessness of clipping images and words from old magazines. It was perfect to curl up on the couch with a stack of magazines and let my mind be attracted to other people’s inspirations and words.I have been feeling overwhelmed with the decisions before me and putting my self out in the world in new ways. I want to clarify and refine. I want to take back some decisions and start over.

What came to mind while I was clipping away was Cynthia Morris’ suggestion of making our “Creative Leaps” visual. She suggests, playing with mind maps, timelines or collages.

I began envisioning a poster board hinged into sections, each section representing a chapter of what I want to accomplish in the coming year. Colors and textures began to draw me and I saw these chapters becoming almost 3-dimensional, a structure or sculpture of found objects and paper that could zig-zag across the mantle or worktable.

Now that my clippings had direction, I saw myself choosing words and phrases that were goals and areas of my life that needed attention. It was magical. I came across the Smithsonian issue with Hemingway in Cuba. I thought of the adventure of his life–fishing off the shore of Cuba–connecting with the locals-and how I wanted my passport even if I could not afford to travel this year and my feeling that having a passport means opportunities will arise.

The colors of my “Leap” took on tropical accents, orange and turquoise. I thought of beach sand and pebbles. I felt my heart warm and my smile widen.

This weekend I have time to work on my project. I cleared the space for creation to take place.

How I feel about this free write:

Happy. Eager. Inspired.

Free Write Fling, February 11, 2008

Courage

Sometimes it comes from an unexpected friend, a clerk in a local store who says, “I’d like to see your photos.” And making a date to show up exactly one week later. I shared my photos with Sherry who enjoyed my shots taken this fall at the Porcupine Mountains.

Migraine Art, Now on Sale at Elixir, copyright Kim NixonI got back in my car and headed to Ishpeming on empty-not daring to stop for gas and avoiding red lights so as not to run for home instead. 20 some odd miles later I was taking the photos into Elixir in Ishpeming. Fran, the store owner took on 3 of my photos. One is the shot of the breakwall in Marquette and two are fall landscapes from the Porcupine Mountain trip. Of course, I was disappointed that he only took 3 and that I did not agree with pricing. So I thought what next?

Two stops. I walked into Art UP Style on Washington in Marquette but the store owner, Carol Papaleo was not available. So I headed across the street to Dead River Coffee.

Today is Theo McCracken’s birthday and he shares a cup of coffee and a chocolate with me and looks at my shots. Then surprise, he offers me “The Wall” starting in early April, this year. Theo is a great supporter of the arts and young artists. On the wall right now are Emily Nyman’s black and whites. He has had many talented artists on display.

Let me tell you I did everything to avoid walking out the door today but I did at shortly after 1pm this afternoon. I had framed photos, and some matted photos. I have been getting this ready for what seems like months. Oh, yes, it has been months. First, came the decision of where to print photos-was there some one local-who do the professionals use-what quality could I expect from online companies. I decide on Snapfish, for now.

I gathered mats, and frames, and fretted over which shots to print. Just before Christmas, I chose the shots and some of them turned out fantastic. The “Mist Woods” shot I had professionally matted at Art of Framing and the photo really popped. I have since had 5 more matted the same way. I have sold one and gave one away to my father.

Now I am seeing things come to fruition. I am thinking of promoting my photos by doing a poetry reading in Ishpeming and inviting people to a more formal opening as well.

My writing I am used to sharing. I have read aloud in large and intimate gatherings. I have sent my work out with great hopes to receive form rejection letters. But this was new, walking my photos in and facing someone head on-I had to have value for my work. I had to be brave. And you know what, I survived the experience.

How do I feel about this free write:

Excellent. Powered-up. Ready.

Free Write Fling, February 10, 2008

First Sale

Wondering where I head after closing my massage practice has been an ongoing question since my car accident 4 years ago. And I am beginning to realize that being a substitute teacher and artist is okay. I love my creative pursuits. I want to inspire others to heal through fostering a connection with community and creativity.

Tonight, I made my first sale. The photo, “Mist Woods” which has been professionally matted and framed.

This feels fantastic and I have a new budding dream. It feels a bit like spring, vulnerable to frost and criticism but promising lush green fruitful growth.

Creative Space

Cynthia Morris challenged her readers to “Make a Creative Leap” and to, Make Space for Reflection. I have cleared Mondays but I am finding this is not enough. I need more time. Monday is a work day. I need a recharge day, one where I do not leave the house and can lounge and pull out paints, markers or do a collage. Where those are not my primary pursuits I find they fuel me.

This week I will create more space for myself on Friday.

I Sing Myself

Mike was in the office/studio today and asked about the old man, Walt Whitman. The old man is a black and white gift card purchased at Chapter II Books in Marquette. Walt Whitman-I sing myself!

It is a reminder that I can celebrate everyday and be glad for life. I can create any adventure I want and any perception I want.

This Week

  • I will make a creative and visual prompt as a focal point. Let it represent my Creative Leap.
  • I will choose some ice shots to print and mat.
  • I will open my business account and organize receipts.
  • I will get back to morning writes.
  • I will play with my grandson.
  • I will spend romantic time with Mike.

How do I feel about this free write?

Short on words. Short on Quality. Taking Stock.

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