Published by Lori Pickert on February 16, 2010 at 03:24 PM

If things need to change, it means that what we do becomes incredibly more important. Do. Action suddenly becomes more valuable. It means that there is opportunity, if one can perceive everyone else’s blind spot and find some white space for themselves. If everyone is getting together and complaining, it means that there’s a lot of unoccupied space somewhere.

Basically, it means that your contribution matters. And if you can muster up the strength to push against your fear, you might be able to do something that changes the game… It isn’t about being Anti. It’s about being pro-something-good and making and acting and moving towards Pre-something-incredible.

Frank Chimero

The hardest thing

Published by Lori Pickert on February 15, 2010 at 04:10 PM

The whole problem with people is … they know what matters, but they don’t choose it … The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters. — Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

Our willingness to reimagine

Published by Lori Pickert on June 29, 2009 at 01:16 PM

There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice,” is Mary Oliver’s description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world. -- Paul Hawken’s commencement address, University of Portland, May 3, 2009

Wreck this journal

Published by Lori Pickert on April 22, 2009 at 08:15 PM

Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal is full of prompts to help perfectionists and nervous nellies get over the fear of making a mistake and ruining a blank journal or sketchbook.

You could also just write a whole lot of journal prompts on little slips of paper and put them in a jar. Pull one out each day or just when you can’t think of anything to do or draw. We used to do this at school; in fact, I think I have a big jar of prompts somewhere around here.

Sketchbooks/journals are valuable tools for project learning — it’s good to build your skills by exploring everything you can do with them! The more comfortable you get with facing that blank page and filling it up, the better.


Sketchbooks in schools

Published by Lori Pickert on April 21, 2009 at 05:31 PM

Sketchbooks/journals are a big part of project work — it’s important to keep your ideas, thoughts, plans, and questions together (you and your child!) and keep track of your ideas and all the iterations of your representations from the initial idea of a sketch to the list of materials you need to pasting in photographs, items torn out of magazines and newspapers, etc. etc. etc.

Sketchbooks are a fantatsic learning tool!

Check out Sketchbooks in Schools — lots of great stuff!

Hat tip: Thriving Too.

Their trueness can surface

Published by Lori Pickert on April 4, 2009 at 01:35 AM

“The more I’m out of the way the more I see who my young ones are. Their trueness can surface because I’m not crowding it with my ideas and my way or the highway baby which usually only leads to a battle. I see their strengths and weaknesses and can note how they respond and learn best.”

“When there is no energy, a flatness or a wandering I go back to previous notes [in my project journal] and remind them of things that they were talking about or wondering.”

Some beautiful words and photos about project work on Skye’s blog — check it out!

Taking time to look

Published by Lori Pickert on January 16, 2009 at 01:52 PM

Parent 4: Sometimes we don’t recognize how capable children are of drawing what they see and how much they take in and the value they give everything they see. And how they build upon what they know. Sometimes we have to provide help for that to happen. Children are very intelligent and we don’t take the time to realize their capabilities. We don’t build upon what we think they need to know in order to grow. Sometimes it’s easy, when the child hands you a picture, to say, “Wow this is a wonderful picture,” and then you put it away. But, you should take time to look at that picture as we are doing right now and look beyond that one picture and save it. And give it the significance that the child has given it. Do that with everything the child gives you.

Parent 2: You know, she’s absolutely right because just the other day my son drew me a picture of my family and I just threw it in a drawer without giving any thought to what he was really trying to say.

Parent 4: The children always try to be the center of attention, but as a parent sometimes you’re just too busy, you’re just trying to redirect them to do something else.

Parent 3: …Five minutes is not too much of your time to come work with a child who gives you a picture; five minutes to actually explain, and understand, and to take that time to ask, “What were you thinking?” “What are your ideas and why did you draw this?” …

Parent 1: …[A]s a parent, when a child gives you a picture, I think it’s important to document yourself, what your child said to you and what they felt and what that represented [to them] and write that on the picture. Because once that child has given it to you and you have placed it away, they might not remember it again and then that moment is gone.

We Are All Explorers: Learning and Teaching with Reggio Principles in Urban Settings, by Scheinfeld et al.

Golden hours

Published by Lori Pickert on January 15, 2009 at 01:10 AM

You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip. — James M. Barrie

The value of hard work

Published by Lori Pickert on December 17, 2008 at 03:19 PM

I learned the value of hard work by working hard. — Margaret Mead


Published by Lori Pickert on December 12, 2008 at 03:22 PM

Two readers have started doing projects about building and buildings — I thought you might like to see this provocation of photographs (mostly taken from old National Geographic magazines) that we set up in our block area.

(Old National Geographics are ubiquitous and wonderful for collaging. You can find them in the free box at garage sales, very inexpensively at thrift stores, and often offered for free in Craigslist. You might also inquire at your local library — people tend to donate them, and they may have some extras to get rid of.)

Play is serious business. At stake for us are the ways we socialize and teach future generations of scientists, inventors, artists, explorers, and other individuals who will shape the work in which we live. — Arthur Molella, Creativity at Work