Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Acorns To Oaks (Wellness Initiative and Proposal)

Here is the first of many post on this subject...Mindfulness and Wellness. This year Visual Arts have worked with Administration and Guidance to help our community try and find a good balance with in their own lives. The flyer below is a quick way we have been engaging with our Maclay faculty, staff and students after school. 
How did this get started? Well, we just sat last year watched and listened. Saw that there was a need. We gathered and wrote a proposal.




Maclay School, Visual Arts
Acorn Initiative (Art and Wellness / Mindfulness and eMpathy) 
“People without vision see an acorn. People with visions see an oak.” -Tony Evans

The Visual Arts Department at Maclay School has been asked several times exactly; “What should a Maclay graduate look like?” We think this answer is simple. Our answer is The Oak Inside The Acorn. Why? Think about it. We as teachers see such potential in all of our students. We see how truly great they can become.

With the implementation of the Fine Arts Department’s 5-year strategic plan, a priority was given to build excitement in the programs vertically and horizontally. Facilitating interaction and contact with community, alumni, faculty and families. With using this theme our artists can be exposed to a variety of creative experiences, artistic disciplines, and mediums in this process at the same time focusing on executive functioning skills and eMpathy / Mindfulness. Formalizing the Acorn Initiative program ensures that these experiences are offered in the best way to support the School’s overall mission.

Program Goals:
-       We would like to amplify our learning and teaching in the Visual Arts by continuing our eMpathy charge and choosing a symbol that represents all we are trying to encompass. The Acorn symbol will provide opportunities for exposure in a cross curricular manner as part of Maclay’s liberal arts education.
-       The program will integrate research-informed practices to foster culturally sensitive graduates who understand and apply the power of the visual arts and therapeutic relationships to promote personal and community wellness. The power of art for social justice and societal change is not only infused in our philosophy but is the overarching theme that pervades our curriculum and coursework. *Kenzie and Haley   Mental Health Awareness Month presentation to US Facutly on May 1, 2019
-       To enhance our academic and artistic endeavors. We want to give them a purpose and meaning. Fostering positive relationships with parents, teachers, peers and community. eMpathy and Mindfulness go hand in hand and with those concepts being interwoven into our curriculums we should see an increase positive in behavior, increase in academic performance, motivation and achievement, decrease risk factors and increase resiliency factors. We would like to prepare our students and not repair them.
-       Students will deeply explore other aspects of Maclay’s rigorous academic experience through this type of arts integration and will have the opportunity to create artwork in connection with other areas of the curriculum while at the same time build relationships with local colleges and businesses.
-       We will continue our eMpathy Project from the past 2 years of being awarded A Faculty Excellence Grant from Maclay. Empathy is a huge part of Design Thinking.
o   Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving. Design thinking has a human-centered core. It encourages organizations to focus on the people they're creating for, which leads to better products, services, and internal processes.
o   Mark Brackett is leading some outstanding work at Yale on emotional intelligence, which includes empathy. Corbett Preparatory in Tampa is partnering in that project. Research and reach out to other schools.
-       It will help define what the portrait of a Maclay graduate.
o   Professional Development
  •  More training in difficult conversations


Areas of Emphasis: (Why We Should Teach Empathy / Mindfulness through Art Education)

-       Purpose and Outcomes The goal of this theme is to examine the best way to incorporate empathy / mindfulness into our art lessons. How do you talk to your kids about empathy? How do you teach such abstract concepts, so they really understand? Empathy is an important skill for students to learn throughout their childhood as they interact with all sorts of different people in various situations. The ability to mentally put themselves in someone else’s shoes can help kids understand their own emotions and treat others with compassion. We will use the Honor Code in these lessons.

-       Organization of Content This theme will offer lesson plans to help mentor our students in the understandings of the 5 pillars of Character Education: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, and Citizenship. This can be done in our classroom through teaching Art History, Self Portraits, Graffiti and many other mediums that we will discuss. As we see a rise in anxiety and stress in our students, we see a need for enhancing our skill sets and capabilities in these teachable moments. Navigating through difficult conversations to help everyone see they are not alone.

-       Relevance of Topic What is the best way we can prepare our students for the real world? What does a Maclay graduate look like? As educators we can see the direction the world is taking, and we can make an educated guess as to what our students will need in order to be successful; hence the creation of the 21st Century Skills.  When we look at those skills like collaboration, cooperation, communication, problem-solving, and creativity what we see is empathy.  Without empathy any one of those skills would be impossible to attain. Art has a great capacity to help people develop empathy and choose kindness. As we dig deeper into the executive functions in the Visual Arts we should see not only growth mindsets, but a shift in positive behaviors.

-       Impact on Practice We encourage kids to think outside of the box or as if there was no box at all. Cooperative learning is like a puzzle piece. It naturally builds empathy as students rely on each other to share pieces of a bigger picture. It is through the creative arts that we experience each other’s hearts. Developing character education and implementing through empathy and art education. The Acorn Initiative will acquaint teachers with a pay it forward out look towards other humans by being creative, taking the time to do something for others, and imagining how crafting that connection with other people will make you and them feel. Hands on lessons will be discussed and examined. Participants will be actively engaged in a round table dialogue and demonstrate critical thinking skills.

-       The Nature of the Art Room These events provide opportunities for students to reflect on and talk about what they have learned, the process of creation, and their own personal insights. This art room environment / community offers another moment where everything learned and experienced can sink deeper into students' memories and working knowledge. It's also a way for adults to show our children that what they do has value and that we appreciate their efforts.

Key Partners:
As this theme / concept grows, the Visual Arts Department will partner with the Division Heads and Guidance to determine ideal methods to further grow this concept for the school.
-   We would like to reach out and possibly partner with  https://www.progressivepediatric.org/
-       COTA Class can reach out to local businesses
-       Visual Arts is in the process of gathering information to host student interns from local college programs
-       TMH Children’s Hospital – delivering “eMergency Art Therapy Kits” for the kids who are too sick to leave their room. Maclay kids will prepare each kit for delivery.
-       Our Community. Initiate an after school & summer program’s to offer classes to the community. If approved, Dressel would like to have set hours for the community as well as our Malcay family to full take advantage of our amazing resources in the Beck Research Center. *This will not be a club and will need to figure out logistics as far as sign ups, cost for each class, and “rental agreement” to Maclay.
o   Set hours; sign up for ceramic classes. The “Smile Factory”
  Wheel throwing
  Paint a pot
o   Summer Workshops:
  Wheel throwing
 Intro to Photography
  Intro to LR and PS

Administration:
The coordination of the Acorn Initiative will be administered through the Visual Arts Department and supported by funds from our respective budgets at this time.
-       We have used the left-over Faculty Excellence Grant money to buy several things for next year
-       If this is a passion for someone, we might be able to secure funding in the future for more First Friday’s / Smile Factory voluntary activities for students and faculty / staff. This is a work in progress.

Timeline:
In order to allow faculty to best plan for and optimize the Acorn Initiative we need to roll out the concept in the fall of 2019 (pre-planning). Ideally, we would like a snap-shot of this to be introduced at 2019 (post planning).

-       Symbol was selected from our Maclay history (Acorns To Oaks)
-       Visual Arts have researched ways to implement this into our culture at Maclay.
-       Sought out Guidance Department.
-       Reached out to FCIS for other schools like Maclay who are following this same kind of embedded curriculum
-       Maybe use this idea of eMpathy / Mindfulness to tie into our annual Celebration of the Arts. (life size chess set that could be used on campus for brain breaks)
-       Acorn information is shared with faculty.
-       Faculty process ideal ways to work the acorn theme into their goals, curriculum plans, etc.
-       Information on the Acorn Initiative is promoted to community, parents, alumni, etc.
-       Prototypes are created (Spring / Summer 2019)
-       Make a calendar for school year that spotlight First Friday – Art Activities for students. (A day to throw on the wheel in the pod, black light painting in Middle School)
-       Promote the Acorn theme on social media, email blast and website
-       Follow up information is shared (Pros / Cons) How to make it even better for following year. Growing this theme.
-       Evaluation and analysis of Acorn theme and concept.
-       Start planning for the next school year (2020-2021)

Brainstorming / Planning
In setting up the Acorn Initiative at our school, we should consider these suggestions and ideas:
-       Present our idea as theme that has a beneficial impact on the entire community. That includes board members, parents, students, and faculty.
-       Design the Acorn Initiative program – Visual Arts will lead by example. Basically, we need to spread the word and build excitement.
-       Use the Acorn Initiative to address specific topics and subjects that include both academic and non-academic subjects. Need to pick a one school theme to base the direction of this concept so this experience is meaningful to all involved.
-       Create opportunities for interdisciplinary projects between various classes. The arts often serve as the ideal bridge for breaking down silos and forming collaborations. Visual Arts are already in conversation with guidance.
-       Reach out to alumni, parents, and faculty who might have experience in or connections to the arts. This will help deepen our knowledge of our community and make art that much more relevant to the students. (Incorporate in the Leadership Maclay Program / Networking)
-       Let the Acorn Initiative serve as a bridge to the local community. Very often there is a gap between a school and the neighborhood where it’s located. In the future offer evening programs or weekend events that draw in people who might not have a direct connection to the school. This can only benefit our school and strengthen its connections to the local community. Example, create and take to a local preschool a care package full of all things Acorn. We are all a part of the enrollment management team.


Acorns on Campus: (working ideas)
-       Create small 3D acorns and place in a candy dish for perspective parents to take on a visit.
-       Create an acorn coloring page for admissions.
-       Design Acorn themed note cards
-       A curriculum being made to use in advisory / community time that is this concept
-       A classroom curriculum based on the life and cycle of acorns to oaks
-       T-shirts for graduating seniors
-       Possibly have Kyle aid in an illustrating a children’s book. Book can be used in the LS as well as given to each senior when they graduate as well.
-       “Smile Mugs” with acorn added
o   Your favorite beverage tastes even better with a SMILE! Each mug is proudly handmade and is a unique, functional piece of art.
o   The Smile Factory is the place where we create the seeds, but it’s up to you to make the story grow. Each smile is handcrafted with love by our team of Smile Artists. Another way to spread empathy throughout campus.
-       Sticker Pack (acorns with smile face)
-       “Decorated Acorn” for each holiday/event on campus. Get graphic design kids to create.

Why The Acorn Symbol?

-       it is a symbol of what Maclay stand for. Acorn = Strength It just evolves into a "family" tree
-       Other words that describe an Acorn: Wisdom, Strength, Durability and Constancy
-       the mighty oak would be nothing without the acorn.  The acorn, as a seed, is a symbol of growth and unlimited potential.  It possesses the “oak knowledge” – or all that it needs within to create the mighty oak. 
-       The acorn teaches us about our own potential – how one acorn can grow into a massive oak and seed a whole forest.  If we connect to our authentic selves – we hope to spread this type of mindset in the world around us.
-       The oak is considered the storehouse of wisdom embodied with its towering strength – and within the small acorn.  The oak is a powerful life-affirming symbol, but so is the acorn.  Because the acorn only appears on a fully mature oak, it is often considered a symbol of patience needed to attain goals over long periods of time. 
o   The ideal portrait of a Maclay graduate would be a legacy student. Pk-12
-       Great things come from small beginnings.  Every conscious action, word, step, decision that we make can grow into something great.  Let the Visual Arts be the spark that ignites that growth on our campus.

Collaborating On Campus
-       We have to pool our resources and think outside of the box to make it happen.
-       Alumni / local artists and art groups may also be interested or know someone who fits the needs and the culture of Maclay.

Researched “Acorn” Theme for next year
·         Austine Kleon’s books have been a discussion in our department meetings this year. (*This one has taken on a mind of its own…the more we think the more we create)
  • Possible to apply for Professional Development using his 3 books
  • Steal Like An Artist (book)
  • Show Your Work (book)
  • Keep Going (book)
  • Acorn = Symbol of Maclay
  • Acorn = Strong / Unity (family)
  • Collaborate cross-curricular with other subject areas
  • Collaborate multi divisional through spiraling and scaffolding the Visual Arts Curriculum
  • Acorns to Oaks – Family Tree
  • Work with Mr. Beamer to solidify details for 2019-2020 school year
  • Possibly secured a donor April, 2019*
  • Create an outline for a strategic plan using this theme
  • Order eM stamp (Etsy)
  • Use left over Faculty Excellence Grant $ to order supplies (Clay) @ Dick Blick
  • Order Acorn cookie cutters (Amazon)
  • Research ideas to incorporate into our Maclay Culture
  • Schedule 2 Make and Takes for Faculty and Staff
  • Design Acorn for stickers
  • Keep small ones on desk in front office for guest to take
  • Mail one to all freshman in college – work with Advancement Office (Debbie Hurley) to get them incorporated into the Exam Care Package
*This is a work in progress as we are in the brainstorming phase

Why eM? eM Concept Has Grown:
-       History
-       Year 1: bracelets, rolling it out
-       Year 2: evolved into clay ornament hearts, etc..
-       Potentially, Year 3: evolve into clay ornaments using acorns. This idea oozes possibility for 1 school / family. As previously stated, we could even send small clay acorns to alumni as freshmen in college. We can so see an acorn used in printmaking lessons. Create a coloring page for little kids for admissions. Working with Beamer on the concept of a Portrait of a Marauder. Collaborate with Guidance. Do a deep dive into Executive Functions and Visual Arts, Midfulness, eMpathy, First Friday / Smile Factory, and Brain Breaks. We submitted a proposal to FCIS to present on eMpathy and the Visual Arts.

Thoughts from the Visual Art Teachers:
-       I like the thinking...every oak tree is strong and majestic looking (in my opinion) and they each grow with different turns and twists. Each student/acorn has its own “make-up”, but what is similar is it can become a strong and massive oak.  At Maclay each student belongs.
-        I love the acorn idea because of the one school concept and how acorns grow into oak trees shedding their leaves annually, much like the way the students grow from PreK through 12th grade (Legacy)
-       With or without the Faculty Excellence Grant monies – unanimously we want to keep this eMpathy idea evolving. There is a need as it was made obvious at the Upper School faculty meeting on 5.1.18 with the 2 students that came forth and spoke on their battle with Mental Health.

Overarching Goals:
  1. Engage Administration in supporting, role modeling, and communicating wellness in the workplace.
  2. Raise awareness of preventive care needed for optimal health.
  3. Create healthier work environments and foster a culture of wellness.
  4. Offer wellness programs in the areas of tobacco cessation, weight management/healthy eating, physical activity, medical self-care and stress management.
  5. *Visual Arts have the unique ability to connect before you enroll in Maclay and after you leave Maclay. How? Using the Acorn theme. There is a reason the Maclay Visual Arts Program has shown growth in the last 5 year. It is not all about scores, grade, and top academic honors. While academic achievement is the result of student effort, student effort is the result of a balance of physical, social and emotional well-being. Students without well-being tend to produce less academically and it is with this Acorn Initiative that we hope to help our students in our community to further develop this much needed balance not only Maclay but our world. 
We found some really artsy ideas from this link: https://www.seedsofhappiness.com/


Stay tuned for more exciting happenings on this subject...

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