Sunday, October 5, 2014

Art for Children ages 2-5 Project "A"

Introducing creativity to children at a young age is important. It is a growth pattern that shows them that there is logic in the movements they seem to want to do naturally. This is a time when they realize they can start to control the "scribbles" and make objects. It's exciting to see when they realize they can create beauty. What's important right at first is that they simply go through the process of creating. We can "model" the process to them and then they can follow along.
For those that want to "help" them make something perfect, you're missing the point. They have to be exposed to the process of creating many, many times before they may have a recognizable product.
What this is about is guiding them in the process, allowing them to feel the creativity and helping build good synaptic pathways in their developing brains. Let them get their hands dirty and FEEL what art is. Help them feel joy in everything they do. Praise is so very important at this critical time.

* Start out simple, like turning a hand print into a picture that they can recognize as an object they may have just learned about.
* Connect the art project to a lesson, song or story that you just did. (ie. 5 Little Fishies song, What do you call a bunch of fish question, or any number of stories about fish)
* Show them the connection between words and pictures. This little project could be captioned "I'm not a fish but I go to school."
* Ask them to come up with their own creature that they can make out of their hand print.
* Have plenty of googly eyes, yarn, markers, crayons and laughter on hand.

Just have fun!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Creative Ideas Video Blog

My first video blog post for you. Check it out, then tell me what you think.

Peace, Love and Light
Carol Lee

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Exercise Your Creative Muscles!!

What have you done lately to get your creative juices flowing?
Have you taken brush in hand or sat down to see what words you could form on paper? Or maybe you doodled on a napkin while waiting for your food to arrive. No matter what it is, you need to get to creatively jogging in your brain, just like you might tone your muscles by jogging. 

 Now I'm not telling you anything I wouldn't tell myself. In fact, I followed my own advice and painted 15 paintings in a week. Then made four "A Study on Paper" series. That's what it took to get me out of my creativity funk.

 Sometimes all it takes is a little step in the creative direction and then you can get your creativity moving.

Don't be afraid to push past your comfort zone and explore new things. It is in exploration that we stretch and grow.

Close your eyes and imagine what you want to do.

 It's in those moments when you have ideas that you should go for it. Do it before you have time to talk yourself out of it, or forget what it is.

Be like the little mustard seed that is ever do tiny when planted, but with great determination grows to be a very big plant.

Have you ever thought of setting gem stones or creating a sculpture from your own imagination?


What ever it may be just do it or at least try it. Pick up a paint brush, pencil, wet clump of clay, sit at the sewing machine or even just sit down and color a picture with a wide eyed child.

Jog around your creativity and don't tell me that you aren't creative because I know better. Far too many people sell themselves short. Often times what they are really saying is "I can't do it perfect so I'm not going to try it." Pish Posh!!! Perfection is over rated and many times not even needed.

Okay, now that I have given you this friendly lecture (or mom would call it a scolding) I'd like to hear from you about what you've been doing to play on the creative side of life.

One suggestion that I give people, if they are having trouble with creativity, is to use a creativity journal. I make my own, but you can buy something like this one in stores or online. They can be small or large, I'd suggest one about the size of an average book. Tuck it away in your backpack, or briefcase, or even in your suitcase if you're traveling.
The point is to have it with you so that if an idea comes along you will have it right there. It's also a perfect thing to have with you to take a break from something else that is taxing your brain. Shoot even Einstein needed a break when he was working. Reportedly he would often times stop and play the piano, or violin to relax enough to be able to solve problems. So why not follow his lead and take a creativity break? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


So, where do you go to find your creativity?

Can you find it in a pile of rocks? Will you allow yourself enough time to play and create? Is it a balancing act that seems to defy gravity and logic?

If you can't see the sun for the clouds that are in your way, do you rise above it all so that you can be in the light?
Creativity is something that can't be forced, but you can help it along so that you're able to break through the clouds and start tapping into your creativity.
Just like the rock statue that was created out of the pile of hundreds of rocks, creativity takes time and a bit of imagination. Sometimes it will involve withstanding some heat and maybe even a little grouchiness from others around you that don't understand that creativity does take time.
And just like the ride up through the clouds, it can be a bit bumpy as you white knuckle it during the ride. In the end it's worth it though. The quiet peace that surrounds you as you drink in the beauty and calm helps to melt away the fear that was felt on the climb to be in the light.

Once you let yourself go and allow the creativity to flow, you might be surprised as to what you discover. Sometimes we rush so fast through life that we don't stop to see the creativity that we have springing up within ourselves.
In the next few weeks I hope to share some simple exercises that can be done to help you discover your hidden creative talents, or rediscover what you might have thought was lost.
All of us need a little encouragement and support from time to time.. Even the teacher, the CEO, the King, Queen or President all need encouragement. I don't care how much a person makes, as the money doesn't give them everything. Sometimes being in charge not only carries a lot of responsibility, but it can also carry some loneliness. With so many others looking to the leaders for answers, very few will take the time to say "thank you" or be encouraging.

So there you are, a short blog telling you that I will write more..
I will leave you with a challenge..
Study my photos and write something creative about one of them. If you would like to share, please post what you have written in the comment section. Please remember that children can read this, so keep that in mind when you are posting..
Thank you and hugs!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Creativity and Education

Creativity is in all of us. So why are we sitting around and letting it be phased out of the school system?

It’s a sad trend that we are seeing in public education. As school budgets get tighter, the first classes on the chopping block are usually the creative arts programs. Why would anyone want to take away the very programs that will enhance the student’s ability to learn more effectively? In the last 20 years, studies have proven that the stimulation of creativity is so very important in the school environment.
With an increased focus on “No Child Left Behind” and an increased push to achieve higher marks, often times budgets are stretched to buy more books, provide more testing time and increase more computer usage. While all of this is well and good, we (the American people) are missing the whole picture. Stress is put on the teachers to drill knowledge into children’s heads. Children are stressed by trying to cram as many facts as possible into their brains. It seems like an endless cycle with no way out. There is hope though.
Keeping the whole brain active allows people to stay alert and helps the neurons to establish new connections. Diversifying study materials and sparking imagination helps this. Interestingly enough researchers are also studying the affects of an “active whole brain” in the prevention of degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. So what do we need to do to achieve whole brain learning by including creative arts programs and how does it really help?
Albert Einstein understood how important music was to his work. He would often take time out (when needing a break) and play his piano or violin. The musical stimulation was exactly what he needed to continue his work. Whether he knew it or not (he was a genius, so I’m sure knew it) his musical “time out” relaxed his mind and lowered his stress level. This in turn increased the alpha levels in his brain. You see we generally function in a beta brain rhythm. When the alpha brain rhythm levels increase, the students are put in the perfect conditions to learn new information and retain those new facts. Not only that but performance is elevated to where learning languages and solving complex problems are much easier. In her book An Introduction to the Music Revolution Dr. Jeannette Vot outlines eight ways to use music to teach and learn. Her simple outline sets the foundation for teachers to build upon. Another music theory is called “The Mozart Effect”. Basically, the music of Mozart has been linked to improve student’s IQ. In a study at the University of California, researchers found that the effects of listening to Mozart increased the student’s spatial temporal reasoning.
With nearly one third of all students being visual learners, it would make sense that visual art is helpful as well. In fact research again points to that very fact. Children that are allowed to create art often times score higher in math, science and reading.  Art teaches creativity and creative thinking. It also:
  • Strengthens the thinking process
  • Helps students develop problem solving skills
  • Increases mastery of eye-hand coordination
  • Relaxes most students because it’s a different type of thinking than what academic thinking is
  • It’s a way for the student to express themselves and
  • It brings enjoyment to most students

In Visual art the use of different colors will stimulate different emotions. The act of moving the hand in the creative process stimulates the brain as well. Whether it’s drawing a picture, scribbling colors to and fro or penning beautifully scrolled letters, that type of stimulation is needed. It has also been proven that the smell of crayons actually cause a relaxing effect, thus reducing stress.
So why, with all of the evidence, do school districts still continue to cut creative arts programs? We need to stand up for the children and their future. The facts are creativity & creative exercises stimulate the imagination. Imagination creates ways to solve problems. Problem solving creates hope, and hope makes the student (and teachers) feel empowered. Empowerment and hope lead to a positive movement towards a good and brighter future. With that in mind, won’t you stand with me in the quest to bring back the creative arts into our school districts?   

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Asymmetry of the Brain and Issues of Intelligence

At first glance, a butterfly's wings look totally symmetrical. The designs on one wing seems to mirror the designs on the other side, yet upon a closer examination of the butterfly, it becomes evident that even though they may be similar, that in fact they are asymmetrical. That is the same way with the human brain. The sides look like they are the same, and yet they are not. Each hemisphere of the brain is mapped out a little different than the other.
In his book "Hemispheric Asymmetry" Joseph Hellige convincingly outlines and explains about the Asymmetry of the brain. He is very careful to repeatedly point out that even though we have hemispheres of our brain, they still function together as a whole. Rightfully so, he encourages us to look at the whole brain and to consider how it works, much like a multi-part computer. His book is not light reading, but it is very informative even for being over 17 years old. Some would find the subject of neuroscience quite heavy to read about, but Hellige's writings are peppered with a bit of dry humor that tickled my funny bone at times. If you find the subject of brain function interesting, I would suggest this book as a place to start.
Robert Ornstein gives us a Psychologists view of the hemispheres of the brain and our mind in his book entitled "The Right Mind". Even though it was written over 13 years ago it still holds a great deal of good information and gives us a much deeper understanding of the origin of sided-ness in our world. The book is written in such a way as to make you feel like Ornstein is actually having a conversion with you, rather than talking at you. Since it is written in this manner, then it seems to flow and before you know it, you have worked your way through large bits of it. I feel that Ornstein's writings are a good compliment to Hellige's studies, so I would recommend that the two be studied sequentially.
If you want to follow another road to brain function, than you might want to read Howard Gardner's book entitled, "Multiple Intelligences; The Theory in Practice" which gives us a whole different road map of what the brain (or intelligence) is like. He relies not on what "sided" the brain is, but what classification of intelligence we fall within. His theories have been embraced by educators around the world. His book "Frames of the Mind" sparked the imagination of an audience that he hadn't even thought about writing for, as his efforts were aimed at colleagues. Instead and much to his surprise the spark ignited a Multiple Intelligence movement that is alive and well to this date.
Other authors have taken on his theory and have written their own views of Mutliple Intelligence. One such author is Dr. Thomas Armstrong who has taken the subject and ran with it. He has authored multiple books on the subject, one of which addresses children that are labeled as ADD. He contends that the ADD child is mislabeled as having a "learning disability" when in fact they are using one of the many "intelligence" that aren't readily addressed in public education.
Interestingly enough co-authors Jeffery Freed, M.A.T & Laurie Parsons attack the same subject of ADD from a right-brained, left-brained approach. In their book, "Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World" the co-authors show that "right-brained" teaching methods can be employed to address the learning needs of these mislabeled children. In doing so the children make leaps and bounds towards learning the same skills that other so called "normal" children learn in school.
 Two different (either Armstrong's views of intelligence and learning or Freed and Parson's Right-Brained teaching) approaches or ways of thinking still point to the same type of conclusion, not everyone learns the same and teaching methods need to be altered and tailored to the learner.
In the same fashion, whether you look at Hellige's views of the make up of the hemispheres of the brain or Gardener's view of intelligence one common conclusion can be found, our brain, mind and personalities are very complex indeed.