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The makeSPACE Blog


A Time to Rekindle Joy

Sharing joy and inspiration with others, through whatever means necessary—Want to Zoom or FaceTime with me?—can be an antidote to the anxiety and uncertainty we’re experiencing.

As I write this blogpost, I’m listening to my good friend, Sarah; her son, Sam; and my daughter, Neala play “Leaving on a Jet Plane” on the Ukulele, guitar, and piano. There is a lovely irony to this song: no one will be going anywhere on a jet plane for some time. Together with our two older sons, the six of us have been in social isolation together for 16 days. Like many others adapting to this strange reality, we have been finding and sharing moments of joy through music, games, gardening, cooking, and other homebound creative pursuits.

And these moments have also kept us from driving each other crazy.

Sharing joy and inspiration with others, through whatever means necessary—Want to Zoom or FaceTime with me?—can be an antidote to the anxiety and uncertainty we’re experiencing.

No doubt, fulfilling that need for connection and community has generated a great deal of creativity. Several friends have organized or taken part in video-based, online synchronous dance gatherings. Others have returned to one of our oldest means for sharing across distances—hand-written letters.

Our shared experience in this current crisis can also raise awareness about the anxiety and uncertainty that many young people we work with face on a daily basis. Their uncertainty may stem from food insecurity, familial challenges, or feeling connected to peers or adults in their lives. Joyful experiences in the classroom can be a stress-reliever for teachers and students, alike. Creative engagement in learning can catalyze new opportunities for creating and sharing joy.

I explore these ideas in the video below capturing a brief talk I gave to open the 2020 makeSPACE Winter Institute in February. In this video, I emphasize the importance for each of us to rekindle joy in our work—both for ourselves and our students. I share current research about the growing disengagement and dissatisfaction in the teaching profession, due to increasingly stressful conditions. I also share teachers’ perspectives to illustrate how their creative engagement in teaching has instilled new joy, curiosity, and satisfaction in their work—each an antidote to stress.

The new circumstances of distance-learning will be challenging for teachers and students to continue to nurture a sense of community and care. Perhaps, the integration of joyful experiences in creative engagement can be a cure to the sense of uncertainty and disconnection that many of us—and our students—will continue to experience. If you have time, please watch the video and share your thoughts and ideas below.

Read More from the makeSPACE Team

Creative Routines: a Primer

Creative routines help us establish the conditions for how we engage in mental challenges. To shape a creative classroom environment, they provide an accessible entry point… and endless possibilities.

A Second Post on Reflection

Arts integrated reflection is a core practice in makeSPACE. Check out this blog post for examples of how regular engagement in reflection helps students own their learning and grow their creative resources.

How Are You Creative?

Societally, we have come to believe that only some people are capable of creativity. From this vantage, you’re either born with creative traits and talents or not. But are things a bit more nuanced? Let’s explore this idea further!

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We want young people and their teachers to be fulfilled, to feel agency, and to shape their own lives and the world around them. We want them to thrive within the possible - as the world offers them moment after moment of uncertainty.