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Fill the page… will you pass this challenge?

“Fill the page.” Those were the only words spoken by the professor in the first assignment in my first master’s class. In front of me was one of those manila drawing sheets of paper I remember so well from my elementary school years. Surrounding the paper were an assortment of creative goodies I was told I would need for the class. Of course being at artsy sort I went a wee bit over board. I had colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks and a bottle of glue, PostIt notes in assorted colors and patterns, a regular pencil. markers, and  my beloved gummed eraser. Oh. MY. GOSH. So many decisions and no clue what he wants!

If you asked a child back in 1968 to fill a manila sheet of paper, the child would not hesitate. In fact, the child might jump right to coloring and drawing before ever being told what to do. Creativity and excitement of the manila piece of paper and coloring tools was an invitation to indulge in a fantasy moment of wonder. Asking a child in 2015 to do the same assignment anxiety and an endless string of questions will flow. What happened over time?

It is a sad fact that individualism and creativity has been stifled. As adults we have become a society of pleasers, followers, and suck ups. Our ability to creative and dream without judgment or guidance is a thing of the past. And we wonder, why are so many people frustrated and cannot seem to make decisions.

Manila paper is a thing of the past. Very few adults and fewer children than in the past, have drawing tools such as crayons and markers. But you can draw  with anything, even a stick in the dirt if you must. I challenge you to “fill the page.” Discover what is hiding in that creative mind of yours that so wants to come out and play upon the paper. This is a wonderful exercise if you are at a roadblock in your job or life. It might help if you turn on some music to encourage your creativeness to flow upon the paper. You will never know until you try. Stop by the store and grab some crayons or markers. As an adult, there are no rules. You can even buy those scented ones if you want.

I would love to see your “fill the page” challenge results.

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Time Out Twist We Can All Enjoy

Photo of Glitter Particles

Photo of Glitter Particles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, you read that right. Time out is often a negative thing. I don’t know about you but for the antsy sorts and those who enjoy a moment of fit pitching during said Time Out, this can be a great alternative. Not an original discovery but one I have used with success.

Time Out Jars or, in a new forum I found this delightful name, Mind Jar.  This is a self-made project. It helps distract and gain focus during a short period after a misbehavior moment. In fact, I enjoy using it when my brain decides to run a muck. We all love snow globes. This works on a the same principle but with glitter. I use plastic bottles because at times students get a bit excited and knock things over. A broken glass container with glitter becomes a huge mess to clean up.


* small plastic jar the size of a baby food or small mason jar

* Glitter glue

*Food coloring

*Warm Water


Mix 1 tablespoon of glitter glue with 1 cup of warm water. These two measurements might change if you use a large jar. The ratio should be 1:1, so if you have a 2 cup jar then use 2 tablespoons of glitter glue. You can use any choice of food coloring but calming colors such as blue make a difference. Make sure you use warm water, it helps to dissolve the glue. Make sure to secure the lid tight or glue it in place. Sometimes I like to use decorative duct tape.

When a child needs a time out session, shake the jar. The glitter will take a few minutes to fall to the bottom. You might want to test this out, it will depend on the jar size as well. When all the glitter is at the bottom of the jar time out is finished. You will find children will calm down as they watch the glitter in the jar fall.

If you have  a new twist to this project, please share.


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Art at Heart

English: A heart-shaped cookie

English: A heart-shaped cookie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tis February, the month we all think a bit more about both art and hearts. The artistic chocolates in their fancy boxes, romantic cards, the… not what I am thinking about. Did you know creating art is good for the heart? Art releases both tension and those wonderful feelie good hormones. Music, dance, painting,writing, creative baking, or scribbling can influence your day in a positive way.

I dare you to create your special Valentine a card. Whip up a special chocolate treat (yes, cooking is very artistic as well as creative). Karaoke his or her favorite song. Plan a nice slow dance just because. Or you can get the kids to decorate the house (this works well for the classroom, too) with hearts and all sorts of festive creations. Encourage your kids to make creative Valentines instead of buying them. Check out Family Fun Magazine for lots of awesome family creative activities. Art does affect kids behavior so get them involved!

Turn on the music, get that pen doodling, and put a little kick in your step as you make your way to the copy room. I can promise it will enlighten and brighten your day of you add a wee bit of art to your heart today.

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Can you visualize that?


Some old ways just change names. Back some 25 years ago collage was a part of every kid’s elementary and middle school experience. Nothing like tearing through bunches of magazines to find the perfect picture, cutting it out and lathering on Elmer’s glue before placing in the perfect spot on construction paper. It always looked great because you could find awesome pictures that you couldn’t draw. Collage is back with a rage among us folks who grew up with it. Now it is called Smash Book or Soul Collage, among other things. When you find something good you just cannot do without it even in adulthood. We gather up the magazines and now pictures off the internet. Oh, I must add the latest internet fad, Pinterest!!! A type of collage in a digital well-organized and sharable format. Collecting pictures and ideas revolving around central themes has been a way of life for us. So glad to see it come back into style. Wish it would in the classroom.

Collages are a means of triggering that visual recall. It also incorporates kinesthetic properties. As many senses as you can apply to the learning experience the more likely a child is to recall the information. To be able to find pictures on a topic requires a higher level of thinking. Try collaging with your child. You might be surprised how simply looking for pictures and ideas helps to develop a broader form of understanding and application. Ask your child to explain why he/she choose each picture and how it relates to the topic or theme. Being able to express and explain choices will enhance understanding as well as give you, the parent or teacher, a better understanding of the child’s learning process. So break out those old magazines that have piled in the corner. Go get some glue sticks and Elmer’s glue, construction paper, and those purple  scissors! Make learning fun as well as a multi-sensory experience. You just might find yourself enjoying it as well. It is never too late to awaken that inner child!!

ADHD adventures art businesss storytelling continuous progress creativity dream big education Elmer's glue homework imagination increasing productivity sensory awareness Uncategorized

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