Friday, December 7, 2018

Professional Development with Mountain View Schools

This past month I was invited to share perspectives and techniques in my style of art to 5 and under instructors from Mountain View Schools. During my site visit I was inspired with the layout of the school- numerous zones with different features- trees and grass and sand amidst the concrete jungle of Mountain View. I began visualizing my session.

I've led many groups through my workshops, but this was the first time I would be breaking down what I was doing and therefore sharing not just the activities and experience, but the logic and intentionality of everything I would share. I worked on a heady presentation with theory and concepts and then a couple days before showtime, I scrapped that plan and instead focused on giving the teachers a deep experience of the concepts so that they would feel interested in pursuing whatever inspired them in what I was presenting. After stressing about the details of my workshop, when it came down to it, being relaxed, real, and playful was the way to go.

On the night before the event I found a voicemail telling me that due to smoke from fires in Northern California I would need to conduct all my activities inside. Oh no! I had planned to use the entire school grounds, moving from area to area and seeing the inspirations that were around us (one of my guiding principles- work with what's around you).

I was squeezed into the (sufficiently spacious) teachers lounge/kitchen and had to come up with a way of adapting all the activities onto paper sheets (rather than sand boxes, forested pathway, pavement squares, and so much more that I had intended! to engage). Everything t worked! It wasn't at all the same as roving about the school grounds, but it worked anyhow- all the activities translated well, even the many experimental ones. Lots of stuff I *couldn't* do, but I had enough to carry the session, letting everyone experience the magic of collaborative art.

We played painting games with water, sand, and chalk. It was a sight to have 25 adults huddled on the floor around squares of paper.

This session was mostly adapted from a teacher's resource I've been working on for making largescale art. (It's a work in progress that has been stalled for a few years, awaiting renewed vigor as well as real teacher input. If it sounds intriguing to you to work on with me, give me a holler!) In a future post I will speak about the principles I follow which I shared with the teachers, ones I feel form the basis of powerful explorations into self expression and group connection.

I send a 'thank you' to the teachers who were game for something different.

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