Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Our upcoming summer is going to feature some programs for kids at the farmers market. recyle art, can planters, seed art and who knows. What is your idea?

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Neverlands Inc. Arts.  on Facebook

Recycle wood art

Wooden scrap shapes were painted and arranged on a wooden board. This was a summer project for the Museum of Chicot County and Neverlands Inc.  Arts event. Neverlands offers free consulting to enhance your fund raiser, events and cultural history programs.

contact laurabotsford@yahoo.com


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Tooty Fruity

   The people of our fair village in Portland, Arkansas have all formed a city wide circle of friends and neighbors.

Our wonderful group is called the

Portland Downtown Beautification Project

Non-profit Neverlands Inc. Arts is planning some very unique, and wonderfilled  exciting programs for all of             the community.

Soon it will be picking time and with the start of the summer season we plan to bring an artist in to work with our area kids with a  hands on workshop to polish up their drawing skills.  How about some local farm and garden tools in works of cool  recycled art?  Let’s make some  Tooty Fruity projects to commenmerate our first Farmers Market event downtown. What can an old can become or a piece of fruit? Check back to see what our kids come up with.  In the meantime, you can be thinking of what dress will your orange be wearing?

   –  Mrs. Potato Head

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Imagine What Creative Writing Slides

Free writing slides for your class to get the juices flowing.

Posing questions and spark the imagination. Starting with a power point slide show is very effective. The age group for these slides is K through 5th grade.

Oftentimes music will aid in the imaginative process as well. Chose something that is in kinship for the project. Fast and action packed for adventure stories, slow and dreamy for fairy tales. Writing to classical songs can also spur the student to dramatize in a cinematic style.

Each class seems to set on a beat that appeals to them. So you might want to play a couple of songs and let them choose what the stories will be about and add them into the finished on line book or oral reading in a production.

I have even taken instrumentals and wrote lyrics for them to sing. In our Portland Elementary School Spring musical, Whispering Spring,  I wrote lyrics to Secret Garden’s, Frozen in Time; which by the way I am honored to say they liked very much.    There is much more I can share with you or your students if you are interested in a United Imaginations Workshop, feel free to visit my website to see all the wonderful things we can create together or contact me at laurabotsford@yahoo.com      website: Laura Botsford AIE 

Whats Your Story?

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by Michael Cheval

Drawing in Imagination

The beginning surprise of directing classroom imagination is that it is very, almost always random.

On first onset, the marvelous direction of a young mind to be able to connect with a field of possibilities is as natural to them as breathing.  It takes little coaxing and only one to get the baton twirling. There are many points of interest to note as the process begins. So I am going to illustrate by recalling a class that was going to write and illustrate a storybook.

“Choose a super hero who is someone made up by you that no one has ever seen before in a comic book or action adventure?” I cheerfully say this with abandon, like I picked out the winning ticket from a hat. The student was quick to raise his hand. The light bulb was brightly shinning as he waved his hand back and forth. No one in the room was as vibrant as he and this is where one starts to generate the dialogue from.  Begin with the ones who have a fire lit. This inspires others to talk because it is a spontaneous spark that lifts the silence from the room and transforms it into a living vapor that all can draw from.

“Ok young man, what is your super hero?”

“A funny man who can make people laugh so hard that bad guys quit being mean. He can make people laugh so hard that they just fall down laughing.

“I love it! What could be his name?” I asked in an open air of whatever he decided would be the right name. The student fervently thought for a moment. I could see a list of names passing across his eyes as he systematically checked them off until he came to…”


I am gathering insights and tools for a book so please add comments to this blog and agree to me possibly using them in the book. Thanks for your interest.

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I am starting a new section of this blog called, “The Heart of Art Matters” where I find inspiring and informative pieces on the importance of the arts in our daily lives. I welcome you to add your own ideas and comments. This is from Garrison Keillor’s wonderful book I received from my children for Christmas, “Good Poems for Hard Times.

“Our culture – Jazz especially, and movies – once united us, a point of pride, uniquely American, but school boards are slaughtering arts education on every hand programs are dead or dying that used to bus kids to hear an orchestra or see a play – children are cheated out of poetry and French and the cello-meanwhile, interscholastic football, the great passion of unhappy men, grows by leaps and bounds, and children are  conditioned for the passive life in which commercial trademarks become their insignia here in the United Corporations of America. You lie in a hotel bed at night, remote control in hand and surf a hundred channels of television, Weather, Golf, History, Shopping, Food, Disney, Rerun, Rerun 2 and 3, Cartoons, Movie, News, Fox News, and you can drift for hours among the flotsam and you will never see anything that shows that you are in Knoxville or Seattle or Santa Fe or Chicago and nobody will ever speak to you as straightforwardly and clearly as poetry does.

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  The Power of Make and Believe is Transformational

Believe in your incarnate essence, and hold fast to all the wonderment ribbons in the sky;  allowing your natural velocity to carry you to new lands.

“Fairy Tales can come true, it could happen to you, when your young at heart

Unicorn Giraffe


Book of Make and Believe

Book of Make and Believe

“This inspiring tale will get the kids juices flowing into their own imaginative river of collaboration.”

This is the prologue from an upcoming book I am writing  called,  How to Write With Children.

This I Believe

   When unenlightened natures tend to dominate universal atmospheres and are sadly allowed to over shadow the joy of being present, only the purest of heart will be able to create the positive shift that truly changes the world. This is always the calling for each new generation; to preserve and encourage every positive and compassionate thought, deed and expression of love and reason. A child possess this capability, in what I call natural velocity.

   In 2004 I was honored to witness this miraculous appearance of collective consciousness. I was hired to teach an after school theater program at Lakeside Elementary, located in Lake Village, which is located in the rural delta of Southern Arkansas. With sixteen very intuitive children, we embarked on an amazing journey through an improvisation into a company of “think alikes.”  It was as if they all knew the same story. The lines flowed, the kinetic dialog emerged effortlessly, and the entire young cast knew just what to do. The only direction I gave them was to say that the story was about a magical wish-giving sunflower that was dying because everybody in the town was too busy to make time to care for her.

   Before my eyes, they began to act out the most eloquent examples of *The Seven Spiritual Laws by Deepak Chopra: The Law of Pure Potentiality, The Law Of Giving, The Law of Cause and Effect, The Law Of Least Effort, The Law Of Intention and Desire, The Law Of Detachment, The Law of Purpose in Life. These spiritual perspectives were already written into them by Grace and what I have come to refer to as, inherent generational self-realizations. It is a shared state of awareness that transmits into their generation’s personal place in the world and rises to a collective understanding of one’s place as a whole, in the history of mankind at this time. Each generation reflects the time that are born into and they carry with them the particular answers to make an evolutionary difference.

   I was introduced to this insight through the first story called, Make and Believe. I dreamt this story many years ago, and I also believe that it was a way for me to understand that the universe wanted me to go out into the classrooms and gather these stories that are so readily written in children. I traveled as a bird might over head, following Emma and Brody as they were called to adventures outside of their home land to distant worlds troubled by the Angerdahs and Yicca the Awful One.  They went out to bring the knowledge of Make and Believe to them so that they too might co-create and make the world a better place to live in.

   In the course of writing down their incredibly perceptive story, I experienced a profound calling for more children’s literature to be written with and by children that allows them at a very young age to illustrate through a pure, conscious hand how to shape thought, deed and moral structures in the world.   So I included a section in the back for children to write and illustrate their own story with parents or teachers entitled, My World.  This can also be used in classrooms for reading and writing skills as well as an art/storyboard project.   Every person has a depictive opportunity to generate something positive.  My World is a hands-on approach to consciously engage a child in productive creativity. Developing a child’s mind to choose to invite happiness into their consciousness is the first step to a good life; a life that one authentically welcomes and thereby attracts positivity into their lives.

   I believe now more than ever, that occupying a child with creative endeavors at an early age helps to make well–rounded, successful adults.  Going on the happier note of this proven path, involves we adults to subtly plant positive seeds, thereby transforming change into the global design. This process through imaginative collaboration can truly shape not only the course of a child’s life, but also redirect the world in a collective positive awareness.

   Change is brought about by the Law of Giving as Deepak Chopra writes in the Seven Spiritual Laws,

“The Universe operates through dynamic exchange…giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.” – Deepak Chopra

“All true education is the drawing out from the student what is already there. Teaching is never about helping others to learn but about helping them to remember. All learning is remembering. All teaching is reminding. All lessons are memories, recaptured.”

                – Neale Donald Walsh

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   In spring 2004, the National School Boards Association and Americans for the Arts convened to discuss opportunities for collaboration in a nationwide campaign to increase the presence and quality of arts education in American public schools. The arts serve as a critical component to a complete education and are proven to increase student academic achievement. Young people who consistently participate in comprehensive, sequential, and rigorous arts programs are:

  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem*

For many of America’s youth, public schools serve as the major provider of formalized arts instruction. Therefore, it is critical that the arts maintain their status as a core academic subject within a school district’s educational mission and that they are adequately funded.

            Learn more about how you, as a school board leader and arts education advocate, can secure a place for the arts in your district.

          * Living the Arts through Language + Learning: A Report on Community-based Youth Organizations, Shirley Brice Heath, Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Americans for the Arts Monograph, November 1998.


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