Monday, March 27, 2017

Visual Arts Teachers Awarded a Faculty Excellence Grant (Innovation / eM Bracelets)

The Faculty Excellence Grant was created in 2014 to enhance the quality of the liberal arts program at Maclay School in a meaningful and substantial way. Stipends are offered to faculty or staff members who have the potential and desire to make a meaningful impact and sustain the excellence of the Maclay academic program. Any employee of the school may apply, but preference is given to applications in the areas of differentiation, technology integration, or innovation. Grants were awarded for those proposals leading to significant curricular innovation beyond the normal annual revision or growth. A committee reviewed the submitted proposals and the following grants were awarded for that particular school year.

What do Artists, Mathematicians, Engineers, and Nurses all have in common? They want to make the community a better place.  Just like the Maclay Visual Arts teachers; Kim Daniel, Cathy Hicks, Kyle Maurey and Kaitlyn Dressel, want to raise awareness of empathy on our campus through the visual arts. They are all working together to be positive instigators on and off of our Maclay School campus. This grant model will be an innovative hand crafted project that unites our school directly with the community. The big idea is to take the "friendship bracelet" concept to help mentor our students in the understandings of the 5 pillars of Character Education: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, and Citizenship. With this art lesson, they want our students to create and give these Maclay Artlets to others as a reminder of how they can help others feel through being cared for by a random act of kindness. They are promoting this project and calling it Maclay Artlets with the #maclaycares in order to teach empathy within our school. Each Malcay Artlet will serve as a as a beautiful and simple reminder that you are loved and we care. (Character Education Implementation through empathy and art education) It is through the creative arts that we experience each other’s hearts. It is a pay it forward towards other human beings by being creative, and imagining how crafting that connection with other people will make you and them feel.
*If you want to volunteer to help, please contact one of the art teachers listed above via email.
We are still coming up with a brand: What if we called them “eM” bracelets… for eMpathy and Marauders? It also spells “me” backwards which could translate as putting others before yourself. Let me keep thinking!!

How did the Maclay Visual Arts Team approach this idea? We took some time to brainstorm and prepare. We wanted an idea that would encompass the whole school and others in our community. Doing this at the same time as we try to build excitement for our new ceramics class in the Upper School. Below is our proposal.

Character Education
Learning about Empathy
Artistic Attitudes in the art room
You CARE and so do we

Proposing Committee: Maclay Visual Arts Teachers
Kim Daniel, Cathy Hicks, Kyle Maurey and Katilyn Dressel

In the area of innovation, the committee values proposals that establish new programs which will open up new avenues of learning and experience to our students: The Maclay Visual Arts Department wants to become a POSITIVE INSTIGATOR! We often associate the word “instigator” with someone “causing problems” when in reality instigators are simply those who rebel against the “status quo” that has been established or in this case allowed to persist or exist. Our society and country was founded on such enthusiastic instigators for change and if you feel as strongly about the improvement of the moral fabric of our society / “Maclay Culture” – that is why we want to become an instigator for positive change within our school community on and off of our campus. This small act of kindness might evolve into something much bigger. This may lead to larger initiatives down the road and instigating a change within our school, our area and our community. We want to promote opportunities for demonstrating Empathy.

How about a Community Crafts Project? Yes, we mean our community off and on our campus…
How did this idea come to fruition? Last year, MS Art had a student that was in a DIS class with her. She took the wheel twice for Visual Arts. She was mentored by US Art class the second time as she was being taught in the TAB method. TAB, is teaching for artistic behavior. TAB or Choice Based Art Education fosters imagination. Teachers all across the country are discovering a new way to motivate children through the method of instruction known as Choice Based Art Education - See more at:
This student last year made a bracelet with extra time in class for a friend’s birthday gift. It was blogged about and placed on Pinterest.

It has now been pinned over 1.5K times. It is simple yet very compassionate. All 4 art teachers were brainstorming on an idea to grow our 3D ceramics program. We pondered how we need to educate others on campus in our endeavors and spread some artistic cheer in the process. This is our idea which will be explained in more detail as this proposal is read.

  • We want K-12 art students to make 2 clay bracelets (1 to keep and 1 to donate) *Demonstrating Empathy
  • Would like to incorporate Random Acts of Kindness and the Character Education words / program to help build empathy in our students. As we lead by example, we want the bracelets to be donated to different programs. (Words can be on bracelet or card) Example ideas listed below:
    • ·       Nurses that work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients
    • ·       Parents of children at Shands (maybe work with Dance Marathon)
    • ·       Employees at nursing homes
    • ·       Police Officer (wives)
    • ·       Basically people who make a difference in our community
    • ·       TMH NICU
    • ·       *Each grade can have the power to choose where theirs goes / or group up based on choice. This will give the students more ownership in the process. Plus they might have thought of something that we didn’t.
    • ·       We are open to suggestions on where to donate the bracelets. This can be an evolving process as the needs of our school community might deter where we donate and reach out.
    • We feel like this is taking an idea that is old like a “friendship” bracelet and giving it a face lift to help mentor our students on the 6 pillars of Character Education: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. As we create in class, these are topics that will be relevant on why we are doing this particular project.
    • We will have an art student design a card that the bracelet will be attached to.
      • We would like to deliver 25 to each venue that we see fit
  • Card design will have a specific #hashtag and a Maclay Visual Arts Logo. #maclaycares 
Address the purpose of the project, project goals, implementation, and management.

·       Project: Making a clay bracelet to donate for a community crafts project

·       Project Goal: To grow our ceramics program and raise awareness of empathy on campus

·       Implementation: During Art class. We can tap into Advisory meeting and US grade level meetings. We can create a power point to show kids, faculty and board our intentions

·       Management: Make sure an art teacher is at each event to help facilitate the process.

Describe how your project will promote one or more of these priorities.

The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people! At the same time, we will be discussing Character Education in our classrooms.

Character Education Words:Honor, Leadership, Gratefulness, Kindness, Compassion, Responsibility, Determination, Courage, Confidence, Enthusiasm
  • We spoke with Guidance Department on our idea and are willing to collaborate with them on this endeavor.
  • We are willing to work with other clubs on campus in this effort to create a Positive Instigation Movement.
  • ***Goal: Spending time looking for ways to express unconditional love towards other human beings by being creative, and imagining how crafting that connection with other souls will make you and them feel. As Elvis put it – “Walk a mile in my shoes before you criticize and abuse.” We want to promote opportunities for demonstrating Empathy.
Include a brief description of the desired outcomes.
  • ·       Our overall theme for the Visual Arts in 2017-2018 can be Positive Instigators through the Arts
  • ·       Generate Positive Energy throughout the community on and off campus
  • ·       Lead by example
  • ·       Reach out to others on campus, Guidance, Anchor Club, Key Clubs
  • ·       We will be implementing our 3 Pillars of Education on campus: Visual arts being involved, teaching each individual kid and helping them be accountable citizens.
  • ·       We will work together in vertical and horizontal alignment with our curriculums
  • ·       Grow our ceramics program
·       The article below describes this project very well:

Have you ever stopped to think about what random acts of kindness really do? I mean, sure, they make you feel pretty good about yourself and make somebody else feel pretty good, too, but have you ever considered their impact on an energetic level? It might surprise you to learn that the small gesture you made toward someone this morning actually had a far-reaching, powerful, lasting effect on the planet. How, you say? Well, here are three big ways you just changed the world:

1) Perception of Life
When you participate in a random act of kindness, what you are doing, in essence, is giving and receiving love... Unconditional love, no strings attached, no feeling of obligation. When you are giving, you acknowledge the goodness in your life and the spiritual presence that is always at work, encouraging you to continue to connect with others, to give love and compassion without need of reward or recognition.

When we do something on behalf of another, we can think of ourselves as being half of it. That means we do not sacrifice or hurt ourselves to help another. It means we become part of the help and receive help in the process. An elevation takes place in your vibration and in your spirit when you think of how you are able to contribute to another person’s well-being. The focus is taken off of you and any challenges you may be having and is placed on that which you can do on behalf of another dear soul. As you act on those thoughts with the purest of intentions, life becomes a new and hopeful experience to embrace in faith and joy. Giving to others is never about doing without. It is about making greater room within to receive. You may not have much to give at this time in your life, but what makes the act of giving so special is showing that you do the best you can with what you have... maybe it’s just a smile or opening the door for someone. A quality life does not depend on how much you have. It depends on how much you have given of your heart.

2) Universal Shift
Random acts of kindness are feedback loops of positive energy creation. Helping others not only raises your vibration, but also, the vibrations of those you help and that of the entire human collective. Creating something unexpected and wonderful in someone else’s life, no matter how small, sets into motion a dramatic shift in a positive direction that can profoundly change lives. You can never really know how deep of an impact you’ve made in someone’s life...what you consider a little bit of kindness may just turn a person’s life completely around and give them hope for the future. The universe responds to these shifts by bringing more and more abundance to you, them, and everyone on the planet. Changing another’s reality through your actions has a ripple effect which changes the world.

3) Humanity’s Evolution
Performing random acts of kindness makes you an example of what is possible. You become an inspiration, opening the awareness of others to their own potential. Most of us want our lives to inspire love in others. So for instance, when our children witness us doing good in the world, they are taught gratitude, compassion, love, and unity. Generations of individuals can learn from this that happiness is a choice, but you have to be open to it and take action to help spread it around. The world is evolving in such a way that requires each of us to take responsibility to create and grow positive energy any way we can. We are transforming the old ways into newer, lighter, more loving ways of being and living. The most important thing is to send your love out into the world no matter what form it takes.

A simple random act of kindness could very easily be life-giving to both the giver and receiver. When one is coming from a place of generosity, of giving and kindness that is pure and without any expectation or reward in return, what is occurring is the manifestation of a deeper reality, a deeper meaning and knowing that you are not so alone, that you are united and connected to more than you may have ever realized...
Donna Labermeier Author, “The Healers Trilogy”

Outline and estimated budget:

·       Clay                                                                                         $500.00
·       Glass Beads                                                                             $300.00
·       Cord                                                                                         $300.00
·       Pasta (alphabet)                                                                       $  20.00
·       4 sets for storage containers (1 per art teacher)                      $  30.00
·       Over & Under Glaze                                                               $400.00
·       Kiln Stilts                                                                                $  50.00
·       Kiln Wash                                                                                $  50.00
·       Ice Picks                                                                                  $  10.00
·       M charms (1,000)                                                                   $100.00’ish
·       Shipment costs: envelopes, stamps, etc.                                 $ *Depends on our outreach
·       Printing cost of Cards                                                             $ In House 0 cost
·       Cardstock                                                                                $  50.00
·       Plastic Cellophane                                                                  $  20.00
                                                                              Total:              $1,930.00
Rounded :       $2,000.00                         

Describe the initial and ongoing mechanisms and systems required to ensure this work will make a sustained impact on the Maclay academic program.
·       We are growing our 3D ceramics program PK-12
·       We can do a Professional Development for our Faculty
·       Reaching out to the community
·       Teaching Character Education Traits in a hands on method
·       Connecting with others using something handmade
·       Promoting Positivity
·       Vertical and Horizontal curriculum alignment with the same project teaching the Elements and Principles of Art
·       Learning clay techniques
o   Learning clay vocabulary
o   Learning how the kiln works
o   Learning how to (load and unload) the kiln
o   Learning glazing techniques
·       Graphic Design Lesson in creating the card for the bracelet

Building Empathy in Classrooms and Schools
By Brianna Crowley & Barry Saide

Empathy is a complex concept and a difficult skill. It’s time for educators to recognize the strength it takes to create, balance, and sustain an empathic mindset in a culture that doesn’t always value it.
Empathy in education is often deemed a “soft skill.” Sometimes we equate empathy to coddling, weakness, or even label it as a gender-specific trait. It is none of these things. We’re neither born with it, predisposed to it, or incapable of it. Empathy doesn’t happen because we do a few icebreakers in the beginning of the school year.

As educators, many of us begin each school year by celebrating individuals’ uniqueness, striving to understand differences, and setting goals for embracing the cultures of all learners. Then, the academic rush starts. Lesson plans are due. Grades pile up. Parent conferences begin. Student behavior disrupts our lessons and strains our patience. IEP, PLC, and faculty meetings fill our calendars.

With a full plate every day, what do we often dismiss first? Empathy—for our students, our colleagues, and ourselves. But without empathy, we cannot understand the diverse students and communities we serve. That lack of understanding may limit our focus to generalizations and assumptions. A mindset without intentional empathy narrows focus, and prevents us from accurately identifying the barriers to learning for our students. In turn, students come to be viewed as academic producers rather than social-emotional beings.
Content knowledge and concrete skills can be assessed with answer keys and rubrics, yet empathy can be difficult to measure. Despite all of this, empathy should and must remain a priority in our classrooms and in our schools, even if additional programs and initiatives are secondary or eliminated.

So what does empathy in a classroom look like? And how can teachers cultivate it? Here are some ideas.

Modeling Empathy: It’s Difficult, But Essential
Teachers’ own behaviors and actions are the culture and the climate control in the room once the bell rings. This means if we treat students as respected co-learners, we are modeling our belief about how all people should be treated. If, or when, that modeling is not reciprocated by a student, that’s a second opportunity for us to model and reaffirm a positive, empathic response for all students. The more often we remain consistent in our pro-actions and reactions, the more times we are reaffirming to our students ‘this is who I am.’ This creates the accepting atmosphere that embraces all our learners, regardless of the baggage they (or we) bring in each day.

When a student seems upset, teachers should take the time, no matter how inconvenient, to demonstrate empathy by making eye contact, taking the student aside to speak privately, and maintaining respect in words and actions during conversation. In working with a student who is in an emotional state, we should remember that as adults, we usually have the coping mechanisms and experience to recognize and handle these emotions. Students may not, and we cannot expect that from them unless we expressly teach them these strategies.

Sustaining this mindset can be difficult. Teachers pour hours into creative lessons and activities; it is hard to not take it personally when a student behaves rudely or disrupts a lesson or activity. However, educators’ empathic responses need to be as intentional as lesson-planning time, not as impulsive as student behavior. When a student is upset, disengaged, or reactive, we as teachers should remember that he or she may now be battling a similar internal strife as we once endured as younger students. The response we would have wanted when we were in this emotional place is the same one we should embody to students.

That response will look different depending on student age, student-teacher comfort level, specific knowledge of student need, and the level and type of disruption. However, in every case, an empathic response does NOT seek to embarrass, belittle, or punish the student. Instead, an empathic response seeks to protect the learning environment at all times for all students, and address the disruption with attention to the context and the emotions of individual students.

Owning our mistakes publicly, especially the more educationally embarrassing ones, demonstrates to students that it’s OK for them to take risks, too. When we call attention to, or are corrected by a student for a spelling mistake or other careless error, how we respond sets the tone for the empathic culture we’re trying to create. Defusing with humor and humility reminds students that empathy also means accepting yourself, flaws and all.

Putting Empathy in the Curriculum
Take a poll in your classroom tomorrow: How many students can define “empathy?” How many can provide an example of empathy? You may be surprised by the lack of knowledge students have about empathy as an idea, a skill, or a mindset. If educators believe empathy is important, we need to find ways to explicitly discuss it with students. In the pressure-cooker of curriculum maps, testing regimes, and pacing guides, adding one more thing can feel overwhelming. To diffuse that feeling, here are a few ways empathy can pair with and deepen lessons or skills teachers already teach in the classroom:
  • Language Arts: Define empathy as a class. Then ask students to identify characters in stories, novels, or plays that demonstrated empathy or could be described as empathic. Compare and contrast empathic levels across characters or thematic units.
  • STEM classes: Introduce the design-thinking model for approaching a problem. Ask students to identify the “user” of the problem or product. Then, ask them to empathize with that user by identifying their thoughts, feelings, values, and worries. (See this resource and this one for a start!)
  • Public Speaking: Any time you require a presentation, ask students to spend time empathizing with their audience. Who are they? What interests them? Then, ask students to use their skill of empathizing with the audience as they strategize the presentation, and develop the introductory hook to connect the topic to the audience.
  • Behavior Management: When introducing behavioral expectations to students at the beginning of the year, define empathy and ask students to role-play different scenarios that can occur in the classroom. Ask them to brainstorm how empathy could change or shape those hypothetical scenarios to sustain a culture of caring, respect, and significance in the classroom.
Take Action, Be Intentional
The ultimate goal is to create the atmosphere that enables teachers to meet the needs of all students. If teachers don’t take time to know students, how can we expect to reach them? If a student comes in hungry or tired from a challenging day-to-day environment, he or she may not be in the best position to succeed. How we act and react will determine whether we reach that student and their peers who may need a safe space. If teachers create that environment and personify that culture, we will reduce the empathic mindset gap that currently exists between teachers and students.
To build an empathic mindset, here are a few concrete actions every teacher can take:
  • Read stories from the perspective of characters similar to your students. Ask your students to share their favorite literature, whether it aligns to the current curriculum, or not. This can remind teachers of the thoughts, perspectives, and worries influencing students every day. Middle and high school teachers: Read Young Adult literature. Elementary teachers: Read the books your students love from the classroom library. Be intentional about choosing diverse literature that reflects the diversity of your classroom.
  • Follow a student schedule for a day. Or, if administration isn’t supportive of this, simply ask a student to list all the assignments they’ve completed before arriving in your classroom and what his or her schedule looks like after school. We must keep in mind that this applies to all students. Students in 2nd grade can be overwhelmed just as readily as high school students. Read what one adult learned when she dared to take this challenge.
  • Survey students frequently. These surveys can use technology or not. Post-it notes and exit slips can be as informative as their digitized counterparts, Padlet and Google Forms. One of the most powerful questions a teacher can ask a student is this: “What’s one thing teachers should know about students?” or “What’s the most important thing I should know about you?” Either question can provide data to drive instruction with an empathic mindset. Whether we use high-tech or low-tech, other questions to survey students may include: What are your passions? What brings you anxiety in school? Whom do you admire? Teachers, keep these answers on file to reference when having a particularly trying time with students. Keep these answers private (unless the answers wander into mandated reporter territory), but reference them to help adopt a mindset of empathy for students. Here’s an example of a Google Forms survey for high school students at the beginning of the year.
Empathy Includes Our Adult Interactions
Students watch teachers constantly, and our actions can unintentionally model unempathetic behavior. An eye-roll after a fellow teacher makes a comment, or dismissing what a peer says in earshot of student’s models a mindset that lacks empathy. In doing so, teachers are tacitly demonstrating these behaviors as acceptable. If teachers don’t want students to make a face, roll their eyes, or respond sarcastically to a serious comment, then they must model how to respond differently when interacting with other adults.

By modeling the citizenship we want students to embody we can create the culture and climate that validates all, excludes none. This can be modeled by offering a solutions-based perspective, instead of joining in or validating complaints students have about other teachers. Ask students how they can think about the situation empathetically: “What do you think that teacher is trying to show you with that assignment? How could you approach him with a question that may provide your perspective, but also show you want to understand?”

In our educational roles, it is vitally important that we model how empathy has power to influence a variety of contexts and interactions. Investing in the well-being of both our students and our colleagues promotes a positive, empathic culture that makes classrooms and school a safe haven. If we want to make a lasting impact on our students and prepare them to for success in college, career, and citizenship, we must prioritize empathy as an essential mindset.

We are updating the friendship bracelet to include
A friendship bracelet is a bracelet given by one person to another as a symbol of friendship. Friendship bracelets are often handmade, usually of embroidery floss or thread and are a type of macrame. There are various styles and patterns, but most are based on the same simple half-hitch knot.

Meaning of Friendship Bracelets
Updated on June 25, 2012

Most people wear friendship bracelets not knowing what they’re about and where they come from. Their name has significance. They’re typically homespun items with little if any rules for wearing them. And they became most popular in the United States and around the world at a certain time in history. If you wear or have worn a friendship bracelet (who hasn’t?), then knowing what these enigmatic little trinkets mean and where they come from could be a fun eye-opener that could be part of the story the next time you get one tied around your wrist.

First, what’s the significance of friendship bracelets? Well, theoretically, a friendship bracelet is a cloth bracelet given from one friend to another. It’s tied at the wrist in a knot that is often difficult to untie afterwards, since the bracelet is often left on until it wears out. Because this “knot jewelry” is difficult to both tie and untie by the wearer alone, it requires a “friend” to tie and untie: hence “friendship bracelet”.

Friendship bracelets are typically homemade and vary in patterns. The patterns themselves often have little to no significance, other than adornment. Letters and symbols, chevrons, diagonal stripes, hearts, staircases, zigzags, etc., are all common patterns found on these cloth bracelets. They’re often worn many at a time, and traditions for wearing them are non-existent. There are even “bracelets” worn as anklets and others made to be necklaces.

All of this is in keeping with the friendship bracelet’s rise in popularity in the United States. The art form first became widespread in the 1970s as a by-product of the youth movements of the 1960s and the hippie era. By decade’s end, the friendship bracelet had become the part of the uniform of the typical American teenager. The string bracelet became extremely popular throughout the world as well, especially Western Europe. Today, friendship bracelets are as popular as ever, seen now as an American classic.

And that should do it for friendship bracelets, their meaning, and their history. They're meant to signify a friendship with a friend who tied it around the wearer's wrist. They're typically worn anywhere from the wrist to the ankle. They came of age with young wearers in the United State in the 1970s. So next time you see one, remember their meaning and you'll smile to yourself, maybe remembering a friend.

We are currenlty in the process of branding out innovative grant.
We will post again for you to see how all of this will unfold.
As of now, we are in the process of branding, and working on our logo and hashtag
Our name is Maclay Artlets

Check out our planning stages on Pinterest
Kim Daniel
Teaching Empathy through Art. Handmade Ceramic bracelets. Friendship Bracelets.

Project Instigator: Maclay Visual Arts Team (FLYER)
Update: The bracelet that was featured on our original proposal has now been pinned 1.5K times
Presented by: Kim, Kyle, Cathy & Kaitlyn            (3/9/2017 at 3:00 pm)

Have you ever heard this line, “I feel like I am flying a plane and building it at the same time?” So many things get thrown at art teachers throughout the year on any given day with the climate and culture of the school. We feel like this is a great lesson to introduce many of those ideas and encompass them into a simple but powerful art lesson that has the potential to go global.

What is trending these days? 2 post from Twitter / hearts & people = empathy

What do we want our students to remember from this when they are 40?
·        If someone dies, bake a casserole for the family (Thoughtful)
·        If someone is experiencing a rough time just listen. Life can be messy, but with love, we can help each other survive even the toughest times. (Care & Advocacy)

Essential Questions: How can local actions create global impacts?

Big Idea: What do Artists, Mathematicians, Engineers, Nurses all have in common? Want to make the community a better place. *student input is key here, because if they put their heart into this and not their brain they will remember it for years to come.

Defining empathy skills: Viewing the world through a different lens is often the easiest definition of empathy. Rather than sympathy, which can often mean maintaining outsider status while judging another, empathy requires active and integrated interaction with the values and experiences of someone different from themselves.

We can all relate to music, How about a little – Elvis? WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES
If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour
If we could find a way to get inside
Each other's mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead of your ego
I believe you'd be, I believe you'd be surprised to see
That you've been blind
Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize, and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes…..

Purpose: To create and give these bracelets is a beautiful and simple reminder that you are loved and we care. (Character Education Implementation)

Respectfully submitted by the Maclay Visual Arts Team 2/27/2017

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