Mindful Musings

  • A Pathway To Being Better, Doing Better (Part 3 of 4)

    As our journey together continues, Being Better and Doing better will take on a significantly higher mental intensity with the 3rd thematic focus. The focus now shifts to the mirrors category. Arguably one of the areas educators, and really people in general, have many challenges doing is looking at ourselves. Developing a meaningful sense of self that requires conscious and intentional thinking is a highly valuable awareness to gain. It helps us become more understanding of both our perspectives and ideally serves as an empathetic catalyst for better understanding of others. You cannot truly understand or empathize with another person until you gain a better understanding of yourself. Another layer to gaining a deeper understanding is looking at many of our societal institutions and how they influence, shape, as well as determine many of our core beliefs.

    All of the book titles below are intentional in facilitating a high degree of self-analysis i.e. introspection. These readings will prompt you to ask yourself many questions. Lots of those questions may create discomfort, and I will request that you sit on that discomfort and lean in as to why it is making you uncomfortable and how you can use that discomfort as a catalyst for your growth rather than as a way out. Use your experience in the readings to reflect on your conscious thoughts and actions. You may discover many truths about yourself that you were not aware of. Some of those truths may not be pleasant, but awareness is the first step to understanding. Once you have that understanding you can choose to be better. One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes associated with this is "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."  I sincerely hope to have opportunities to engage in conversations with as many of you as possible on these topics, in person. 

    I'd like to add special recognition for these posts, the conversations, and workshops led with Jeff Heil have added to my depth in this area as well. We talk about these topics very often and many of those conversations include Dee Lanier. Dee has a special Smashboard EDU expansion pack that any educator can use to further explore conversations in this area and provide a great framework for personal growth. I strongly believe that we must work on ourselves before we can truly to begin meaningful work with others.

    Now our list (there are many more that could have been added to this list):

    White Like Me by Tim Wise

    So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

    White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

    Teaching/Learning Anti-Racism: A Developmental Approach by Louise Derman-Sparks 

    Everyday Antiracism by Mica Pollock

    The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege by Robert Jensen

    Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race by Derald Wing Sue

    Note: I have recently added two more books to the telescope theme. They are listed at the bottom here.

  • 52 (+1) Ways To Explore Your Visual Creativity

    I've had the pleasure of doing a number of sessions and workshops at various conferences on Visual Storytelling, Visual Literacy, and Media Literacy. I almost always include in these sessions stories about authoring your own content and developing an observational literacy (more on this in another posting). A number of years ago doing a Project 365 was quite prevalent amongst many Education circles. I found a Project 365 to be both very challenging and invigorating for creative expression. In fact, I did it for two straight years and only missed about 45 days. If you are not familiar with the concept, you make a new photo every day for a full year. One of the biggest challenges I found was getting daily inspiration to go from the mundane images of what I am eating to more creative ways of looking at daily life. I believe a solid and fun compromise to this, is to do a Project 52 instead. During the week you try to get a few images (3-5) aligned with a theme and post your favorite at the end.

    So as the saying goes "better late than never" I am sharing this post along with a doc I have put together here that can serve as your weekly inspiration for making images. The process should be fun and not a "task." You are free to use your phone or any other camera. I encourage you to try and see things differently. Ask yourself, "If I were with 10 others right now, how many would make the exact same image I am going to," and try to do something different. The benefits of doing this are many, and I will outline a few also in a later posting. Feel free to store your images using whatever platform you prefer, I recommend google photos. If you post them on twitter use the #project52 hashtag and you are more than welcome to tag me in them. Have fun creating!!

    Note: I meant to get this posted a couple of weeks ago so feel free to start from this week or from the beginning and count this week as the 1st