Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



Join the largest creative community established exclusively for visual arts educators, college professors, researchers, administrators, and museum educators.

Join NAEA Renew Membership

« August 2020 | Main | October 2020 »

Tuesday 09.29.20

Writing An Individual Positionality Statement to Support Anti-Racism In Classrooms and Museums

By Noël Bella Merriam

We are sometimes unaware of just how much our individual positionality impacts our daily interactions with those we work with and teach.  This may in turn lead us to overlook the myriad of factors that shape how we communicate, receive, and shape information.  In our work as art educators, reflecting on our positionality is essential for us to move forward in being more equitable and inclusive as we work to advance social justice and anti-racism in art classrooms and museums.

As I prepared to write a positionality statement in order to better reflect on the DEAI work I’m leading for my museum at this moment, I did a bit of research.  Positionality statements are written by researchers from many fields in order to acknowledge the conscious and sometimes subconscious power of our identity on the work we do.  As a cis-gender female Latina artist and educator, I found the process both revealing and helpful.  My positionality shapes the stories I tell about my work, and it has shaped the priorities I’ve focused on in my career.

When writing your positionality statement, it is important to review your race, ethnic/cultural background, gender, class, social status, and abilities. Reflecting on our positionality and taking the time to write a statement allows each of us to explore the context of our personal histories, and how these shape our teaching approach.  It can also reveal implicit bias and help us to identify areas for personal growth.

What are the factors that converge to produce our positionality? I found this diagram from the Weingarten Learning Resources Center at the University of Pennsylvania to be a helpful starting point.

Writing a positionality statement for yourself at the beginning of the school year can also be helpful in framing where you are and where you would like to go in your personal development towards social justice and anti-racism for the upcoming year.  Furthermore, having a current understanding of your positionality will help you to be more empathetic with your students in their positionality, whether it is expressed or unspoken.  White culture often presents itself in a structured and linear fashion, while other communities have different ways of knowing and communicating information and ideas.

To more fully understand your students and your school or museum, spend some time exploring the history of your community.  What socio-political forces determined the structure of neighborhoods, school districts, and political boundaries?  Events that took place long ago can continue to influence the distribution of resources in communities.  History also affects how your school or museum is perceived within the community.

Discussing your positionality with your students will help them to understand better who you are and why you may frame things in certain ways.  It will also establish an atmosphere of open communication that encourages your students to share with you, either verbally or through their art. Race and Pedagogy is a website with many helpful resources that can guide you in understanding your own identity as a racialized individual and the assumptions your students make about you that influence your teaching and how it is received by them.

What I’m doing now is constantly re-evaluating.  I want to hear the BIPOC voices of the students, families, and the community my museum serves amplified and integrated into the work we do.  I want them to be the center of our work and my efforts.  It’s a journey that is bringing others with me, and I know we will stumble along the way but we will keep moving upward.

I share this last blog post with in the hope that you will take a moment to reflect on your positionality and that of those you teach in your classroom or serve in your community. How does your positionality impact the work you do each day? As we move towards an anti-racist curriculum in art and museum education, we must stay cognizant of who is talking, who is listening, and what space they occupy when they speak.

Thank you for sharing this space with me this month – it’s been an honor.


Thursday 09.24.20

Diversify Your Art Curriculum With Contemporary Artists From San Antonio and Beyond

By Noël Bella Merriam

When schools around the country shut down suddenly last spring, one ubiquitous art project that students could easily create at home was the found object color wheel.  Many iterations of this project circulated on social media last spring.  It was also a great way for students working from home with limited resources to combine assemblage with photography.

In the spirit of found object assemblage and photography, I’d like to introduce two San Antonio artists to you who embraced these media: Linda Pace and Chuck Ramirez.

Artist, collector, and visionary Linda Pace left an indelible mark on San Antonio’s contemporary art scene.  A descendant of the Pace family that brought us Pace picante sauce, Linda Pace dedicated her life to enriching the visual arts scene in San Antonio.  She founded Artpace, a unique non-profit contemporary gallery that provides residencies and space for international, national, and regional artists to focus on their work.  If you are looking for a resource for a diverse range of global contemporary artists to enrich your arts curriculum and generate interesting discussions with your students, I suggest you spend some time exploring their online archive

Linda Pace was also the founder of the recently opened Ruby City, San Antonio’s newest contemporary art space.  Local lore tells how Linda saw a vision for a ruby red building in a dream and sketched it upon awakening.  Her dream became a reality when Ruby City opened in 2019.  The striking architectural design is the work of David Adjaye OBE, the architect who also designed NMAAHC, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.   

Linda sowed the seeds for San Antonio’s newest contemporary art center prior to her passing, and she collected the work of numerous San Antonio artists, including Chuck Ramirez.  Like Linda, Chuck used found objects as the starting point for the majority of his artwork.  He created his work in series format, and many of his large-scale photographs of everyday, mundane objects take on aspects of portraiture, such as his Broom series and his Purse Portrait series.  His work can be explored on the website of the Ruiz-Healy Art gallery, a great resource for learning about contemporary Latinx and Latin-American artists.

My favorite works of Linda Pace’s are her enormous monochromatic assemblages.  Her Red Project from 2001 is in the collection of Ruby City, and Greenpeace is in the permanent collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art.   It’s always tremendous fun to spend time exploring Greenpeace with students visiting our museum when the assemblage is on view.

Image 1 blog post 5Linda Pace (American, 1945-2007)
Green Peace, 2003
Mixed media on wood panels
San Antonio Museum of Art, gift of Crown Equipment Corporation, New Bremen, Ohio, 2016.24

Look closely and you will see some things you usually associate with green: grass, grapes, an avocado, and several frogs.  You will also see some unexpected green things: plastic elephants, a rubber ducky, and high heels.  We used this fascinating work as the inspiration for an at-home art project on social media during Earth Day, encouraging our community to gather natural materials found outside and create a nature assemblage. Students learning in remote or hybrid environments this fall could explore the concept of monochromatic color by gathering objects around their house and constructing a temporary monochromatic found object assemblage that they photograph.

Perhaps the work of Linda Pace and Chuck Ramirez will inspire you to come up with some new photography or assemblage projects with your students.  Their rich and creative lives, as well as their strong sense of community, certainly inspired many artists living in San Antonio. I’ve enjoyed sharing a bit about each of them with you in this blog post.  I hope you discover interesting global, Latinx, and Latin-American contemporary artists through the Art Pace, Ruby City, and Ruiz-Healy art gallery websites that you can integrate into your curriculum to make your artroom more inclusive.


Friday 09.18.20

Modifying Museum Family Programs During A Pandemic

By Noël Bella Merriam

Our museum offers family days eight times a year.  These fun-filled Sundays are wonderful events, with bilingual family tours and local teaching artists leading five to six art activities.  Four of these family days are partnership family days with local school districts, and admission is free for all students and their families during those days.  We also feature pop-up exhibitions of the artwork created by students in our START school partnership program.  Two of the family days are completely free to the community. Museum admission is free on Sundays for the first two hours that we are open, making participation accessible to our community. 

Image 1 Blog Post 4A pop-up student exhibition of drawings at a pre-pandemic family day.

It was heartbreaking to cancel our Spring Break family day in mid-March just before we closed, but the pandemic was gaining strength and large crowds attend this annual event.  It did not seem responsible to put our staff, teaching artists, or visitors in this situation.  Our family days for May and July were cancelled also.

Image 2 Blog Post 4The delightful, creative chaos of painting during a typical family day.

While closed, we brainstormed ways to modify our family programs to touch free versions.  We knew from family day surveys that 42% of our families who attend family day are Latinx.  (San Antonio is 63% Latinx).  These surveys also let us know just how important the artmaking component of family day was. By August, we were ready to implement our new system.

Image 3 blog post 4 finalDistributing family day art kits from behind a plexi barrier.

Our solution has been to develop touch-free family days featuring free, individually packaged art kits containing materials and video demos for two art activities, along with self-directed scavenger hunts that use QR codes.  The new version of our Art Crawl program features free baby swag bags with touch materials and flash cards that parents use to explore the museum’s galleries on their own.  Our teaching artists help with materials prep as well as art kit and baby swag bag distribution.  We’ve done our best to create a new variation of family engagement that fits the parameters of the times we find ourselves living in.

Image 4 blog post 4Participating in a self-directed scavenger hunt during a modified, touch-free family day.

As we worked out logistics for these modified programs, it was important to review access to our family programs.  While we were losing the group interaction inherent in family days and Art Crawl, perhaps we could overcome the timeframes that were previously a barrier to participation for some in our community.   Art Crawl is facilitated on Thursday mornings, when many parents and caregivers are working.  Was there a silver lining here?

I posed these questions to my team: Who has traditionally had access to our family programs?  How can we increase access to family programs for our community, both during the pandemic and afterwards?  What are our new measures of success?

Image 5 blog post 4 finalDistributing Art Crawl baby swag bags during free hours on a Tuesday for increased community access.

To increase community accessibility, we added additional distribution times during our free hours on Tuesday evenings.  There is now an extra family day art kit distribution on the second Tuesday night of the month, and an extra Art Crawl swag bag distribution on the third Tuesday night of the month.  It is going well so far, with an entirely new group of families participating on these Tuesdays.

Image 6 blog post 4Baby swag bag pick up in the Great Hall of SAMA     

I hope that you have been able to transition some of your programs into new models that fit your museum’s protocols if your museum has reopened.  If your museum is still closed, I hope that you find inspiration for ways to keep your community engaged in the future, and to make everyone who is involved feel safe.


Thursday 09.10.20

Adapting Museum Community Outreach During A Pandemic

By Noël Bella Merriam

When our museum closed in mid-March, we quickly pivoted to a new way of staying connected with our community and launched into a world of digital engagement that was new for us. 

There is tremendous disparity in our community when it comes to technology and wifi access, but we were fortunate to have our local school districts distribute ipads or laptops to students and they also set up wifi hotspots in school parking lots.  While this did not completely close the digital divide, it helped substantially. 

My team created bilingual video storytimes and art activities using simple materials found around the house for social media.  One of our favorites is inspired by a project from our START school partnership program, Museum in a Box.  When facilitated at the museum, this project involves students critically exploring all aspects of two galleries and then curating their own miniature museum gallery complete with lights, exit signs, and works of art – all in a box.  Our Family Programs Manager Michelle Trevino adapted this project for home use with whatever children might have around the house, and after posting it on our museum’s Facebook page, Parent magazine featured it online, found here

We did this quickly, but there were definitely growing pains.  My Docent Program Manager, Tripp Cardiff, volunteered to edit our videos and we quickly realized how time consuming this was.  We are also limited by the number of hi-res images we have of our collection.  While we have over 30,000 objects in our collection, we have only recently embarked on digitizing our collection as a resource.  I’m grateful to my entire team for the endless hours they devoted to developing social media content while we were closed.

We reopened our doors in late May, and scaled back social media content in order to devote time to modifying our family, educator, and school programs for the upcoming school year.  While our public programs will remain online through the end of the year, we’ve begun to explore how to reconnect with our community in safe and meaningful ways. 

Image 1 Blog Post 3Two of our teaching artists pack art kits for Haven for Hope.

Prior to the pandemic, our teaching artists taught art workshops twice a month for women and children at Haven for Hope, a homeless facility in our city.  These workshops were paused in March when our city’s quarantine began.  In May, we determined the safest way to continue this program was to pack individual art kits for participants with instructions containing links to demo videos.  Our teaching artists pack the art kits and create the videos, and the art kits are dropped off twice a month. 

Image 2 Blog Post 3A sample art kit for Haven for Hope’s children.

Along the way, my team has been reflecting:  How do we continue to support our community and teaching artists by providing safe, interactive experiences with our collection during this pandemic?  What aspects of our new online programs and social media content will we keep in place as we move forward?  Which of these resources are the most meaningful for our community?  How do we stay connected with our community partners in a way that feels safe for everyone involved?

I’d love to hear how your museum has adapted your social media content and community outreach in the comments below.  What have your challenges and successes been?


Wednesday 09. 2.20

Holding Space for the Processing the Changes We’ve Experienced, Part 2

By Noël Bella Merriam

When contemplating the environment which museum and art educators find ourselves in nearly six months after the pandemic first changed our lives, I find myself sometimes grieving pre-pandemic work life.  Somehow I miss the little things the most – the laughter and camaraderie during education team meetings as we sat around our old wooden table, or popping into museum staffers’ offices for a quick chat, hearing a group of 120 excited students crowding through the entrance of our museum as they arrived for a tour, and the sight of children gathered around my teaching artists and museum educators during a family day or toddler art program.  I know I have been fortunate on many levels during this pandemic, yet I’m also continually processing that some things may never be the same, or that it will be quite some time before things are somewhat similar to what they were before.  I am grateful to have myself and my team employed in museum education at a time when many museum educators and front line staff have seen their positions eliminated – a crisis that our field has not reckoned with yet, and one that will have lasting ramifications.

One of the good things to emerge out of my quarantine time has been connecting more deeply with a group of talented and highly creative friends I have the good fortune to know.  We’ve met many times since April via zoom to share our writing and how we are processing the pandemic’s impact on our lives.  One night, a member of our group, Joyous Windrider Jiménez, asked us three times how we would change our lives moving forward.  It was an insightful moment for all of us connected via zoom in that moment.   

In this blog post, I interview the multi-faceted and talented Joy about why she asked us that question three times, her interdisciplinary arts practice, social justice in the classroom, and how she’s feeling about arts education and the pandemic as the school year begins.

NBM: You approach life with such kindness and generous energy.  Can you share a bit about your arts teaching philosophy with me?  It seems to me that you teach from a place of tremendous compassion for your students.

JWJ: First, I try to acknowledge basic realities in our daily practice of artmaking.  The basic realities include “times are tough.” I know that our current collective trauma is a reality that I can’t overlook in the classroom. I personally carry trauma in my body memory, and art is a tool for my own processing.

Art is how I act upon my environment, and how I articulate the mysteries of my own experience. When I’m in learning spaces, I stay focused on my main goal of practicing this same empowerment with those in the room.

I believe that acknowledging the whole person in our creative approach – including our needs for safety, community, connection, and acceptance – is the best way to support the practice of empowered creative action and to encourage student investment and motivation in the classroom. I know that the safer and more connected the class feels, the bolder we’ll be in our creative choices and determination to take the creative risks necessary to effectively articulate our unique perspectives and experiences.

NBM:  That night we were sharing about how the pandemic has changed our priorities, you asked us the same question three times – “What will you change?”  Why did you do that? Can you explain a bit more about that practice and how that can be helpful?

JWJ: I’m a big fan of bringing centering, purposeful questions to ourselves so that our body can provide us its intuitive wisdom. Repeating the question and listening for the answers that bubble up from within allows us to go deeper into the answers that already exist within us.

In the context of this pandemic, there are unfamiliar challenges and new parameters for us to consider about our “place” in the world. How do we want to rise up to meet this new world and affect change? On that particular night, this was the question that arose.  But there are many questions that you can ask yourself.  

A great question to ask yourself is “Why is it important?” that you do what you do. You are the only one who can truly answer that question. I credit acting coach Jo Kelly for this practice.  Asking a question about your life’s purpose, then going deeper and deeper into it is a wonderful way to discover things you may have forgotten or haven’t consciously recognized yet.

NBM: What are some ways that you incorporate social justice into your classroom?

JWJ: I work in Title I schools, so over 90% of the population is below poverty. 95% of the students are POC, and I am POC. One of the most mind-blowing realizations for me when I first became a teaching artist was that we practice social justice every time we practice empowerment of our brown and black voices and wield our creative decision-making power to create original works that are presented to the public. Our stories are important. They are medicine to ourselves and our communities.

The main purpose of my classroom facilitation is for my students to find a space where their voice and ideas are met with interest and joy, their vision and creativity is met with support, and their creative leadership is met with trust and celebration. My students deserve to feel this empowerment in their whole system, as often and as deeply as possible. We do it in small ways every day, that build up into a final result they can be proud of.

For instance, when I teach theatre we produce original shows created, designed, and performed by the group for their communities. Their experiences, ideas, language, creativity, and leadership are all validated through the creative process, and that validation is cemented with the final audience feedback when the show is presented to the public.  Watching their transformation after a year of being leaders in their own creative process - from inception to reception - is one of my favorite things to behold.

I further incorporate social justice by remembering to step back and make room for the young creative voices at the table, and by elevating and supporting those voices so that they will be empowered to affect their communities through their art.

NBM: You are a multi-disciplinary artist who practices theatre, poetry, and visual art.  How did you bring these arts disciplines together?  In what ways do the combination of these three art forms benefit your practice and the students you teach, especially in an online or hybrid learning environment?

JWJ: I personally use more than one art form because I am always looking for the most immediate and accessible way for me to work through my own trauma and understanding of my world. Where I live, we have a term near to our hearts - rasquache. This was once a derogatory (Spanish) term for the practice of using whatever you had on hand to create something useful or decorative. This term has since been reclaimed to celebrate resourcefulness and creativity.  

I think it’s important for students to understand that all of the art forms are accessible to them – that art is not only what is hung in a museum (not knocking museums!), theatre is not only on Broadway, and poetry is not just “printed words from dead writers.” I want to students to discover the art that is everywhere – that is spoken, sung, drawn, crafted by their relatives and community members – and is vital and relevant to their life experience.

Now that we are in this hybrid learning situation, we are all getting a taste of what it means to use whatever is on hand. How do we tell a story with these new parameters? What tools are available to us? How do we adjust our usual modalities and explore these new frontiers?

I believe a multi-disciplinary approach in collaborative projects allows a chance to integrate more into our bodies as we make personal choices and explorations with different media and avenues to articulate our personal experiences.

NBM:  Your centering and self-awareness work is so powerful.  What is a technique you’ve been using with your students this year? 

JWJ: Since we are just beginning the year and I’m meeting my students for the first time via online meetings, I’ve spent this first couple of weeks building a simple ritual of quick self-reflections, so that we can move into longer practices once they trust me to facilitate that.

We’ve been starting each online session with “quick draw” check-ins. I’ll call out emotions or specific reflective questions for them to quick draw a response to. This gives a chance for the student to check-in with their bodies and the emotions that may be going on in that moment. When we’re done, we place our quick draw in the camera and make sure to view everyone else’s. We’ve used this method to share our highlights and bummers, explore big emotions that we’ve all experienced, and to just take a few moments to calm down and re-center.

We’ve also been focusing on the art of doodling these first couple of weeks. I adore doodling because it’s a practice of letting go and allowing the pen or the line to guide you. I want my students to tap into that ability and develop their own lexicon of doodles while reflecting upon experiences and emotions. My aim is that they’ll organically hone their ability to read and visually articulate the specifics of their own emotional landscape through the basic elements of line and shape.

The most powerful language is the one that already resides within us. I love finding ways to tap into that.

NBM: What has been a surprise or challenge as you’ve begun teaching this fall?

JWJ: Moving to online last spring was challenging but at that point we were encouraged to be as gentle and lenient as possible, because we were in the middle of a national crisis and the upheaval was stressful and challenging.

This fall expectations on both student and educators are much more stringent, and what has surprised me the most is the amount of technical prowess and database management skills I’m required to have to do my job as a teaching artist.  These new technical demands are taxing to my whole human system, since that is not a strength of mine. Also, the looming prospect of returning to a physical classroom in the middle of a pandemic without medical insurance is a heavy burden to carry.

Then I look at my students. We are at the beginning of the school year and they already show signs of exhaustion, especially the younger ones, and it worries me. At the end of the first week of school I noticed how tired they looked, so we ended class with an extended check-in (a sharing of highlights and bummers). The conversation moved quickly to the deaths they’ve experienced this year. They shared their losses and then began to ask questions like “Miss, is it okay to to smile when someone has passed?” We ended the conversation by considering how to honor the loved ones they’ve lost this year through their current art project. As we said goodbye, I noticed renewed energy in their faces and bodies. 

Taking time for this sort of communal discussion is a centering practice of connection with self and others. It’s needed more than ever right now and it’s worth the extra time required to address this need.

NBM: Your interdisciplinary practice also informs your personal art and writing.  What can you share about the pieces linked here?

 Quarantine is a Dragon:

JWJ: I wrote this story in May for our end-of-year virtual poetry event. We had been working on a video poem in class around our quarantine experiences. It made me ask myself what kind of houseguest quarantine would embody, and I came to this image of an inconveniently present, almost overbearing, yet solidly protective dragon. The illustrations and time-lapse video were created later as an element for an online writing lesson. I googled dragon images and grabbed what was near me, puro rasquache: printer paper, colored pencils, an open window for light, and a milk crate to prop my phone and tripod. It was my first time sketching a dragon, but oh well! The video landed a spot in San Francisco’s Roxie Theater Film Festival, “Mixtape-In-Place.”

For Isaac: 

JWJ: I was asked to create a workshop around my video poem process, and I made a couple more videos to ensure I understood my own process. For this piece I created the video before I knew what words would be laid over the top. I once again gathered what I had on hand to express my current processing, including an unclaimed teddy bear and various “life debris.” The gloved hands working on the teddy bear represent a younger me that had vowed to keep herself safe by swiftly and methodically repairing any occurring emotional breaches in my system. The bear’s new insides represent my internalized experiences. When I overlaid the audio, the spontaneous words were an experiment, a raw message to a loved one who knew me as a child and declared he still knew me at my current age. The juxtaposition of those three layers really works for me. I feel empowered and seen when I replay this video poem, especially when others view and respond to it.

I want this feeling for the young creatives in my classroom.

NBM: Thank you, Joy, for sharing about your practice and work.  Your creativity is always inspirational!

Readers, as you begin to envision your post-pandemic life or your new priorities in the present, ask yourself what you will change – and ask the same question of yourself three times.  This is a unique opportunity to reimagine our futures and reorder our priorities.  I wish you all the best in the upcoming school year.


Tuesday 09. 1.20

Holding Space for Processing the Changes We’ve Experienced, Part 1

By Noël Bella Merriam

As the 2020 school year begins, I find myself reflecting on the two decades I spent as a K-8 art instructor and teaching artist-poet in Texas schools.  I transitioned into museum education six years ago, and from time to time, I become nostalgic for those days of joyful creativity with art students – usually when boxes of art supplies are unpacked at the museum or when I recall setting up my classroom for the beginning of school.  However, as the summer of 2020 unfolded and the pandemic continued, I’ve watched art educators I know in San Antonio and across the country become increasingly anxious as they tried to prepare for the uncertainty of the upcoming school year. 

I am overwhelmed with admiration for the Herculean efforts each educator I know is putting into the safety and creative art instruction of their students in these difficult circumstances.  As it became evident that we would be dealing with the pandemic well into the new school year, I knew the art educators in my community would be returning to very challenging environments that still incorporated online learning.  I collaborated with our museum’s Teacher and School Programs Manager, Carrie Avery, to develop our first online Summer Teacher Institute, The Importance of Art: Creating Community and Culture During Covid-19. 

Our goal was to provide art educators in our community with tool kits for online teaching through sessions on building virtual bitmoji art rooms and making step-by-step art demo videos.  We had keynotes speakers address the role of art in our communities during COVID-19 and the importance of this summer’s protests and focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.  We knew these were essential conversations to have with each other.

One of the most valuable components of our online Summer Teacher Institute was lunchtime, when we made space for processing and sharing what art educators were experiencing. Participation was optional, and everyone could spend as much or as little time in this space as they wanted. These open-ended sharing sessions validated what participating art educators were feeling in that moment.  Each day, I saw the supportive community and dialogue that I had feared might be missing from an online Summer Teacher Institute blossom.  At the end of the week, our attendees felt centered, more prepared for the upcoming year, and connected with each other. 

I’d like to share two self-care exercises for you and your students from SAMA’s 2020 Summer Teacher Institute facilitator Joyous Windrider Jiménez.  I’ll be interviewing Joy in my next blog post.

Centering Our Awareness:

1. Awareness of Breath:Become aware of what is happening to your breath (Are you breathing?). Instead of trying to control it, let it adjust naturally.

2. Awareness of Body:Become aware of your body in space. Where does it touch other objects (chair, floor, clothes, hand on leg, etc)? Do you feel tension anywhere? Can you choose to relax those places?

3. Orienting to Environment:Turn your head to whichever side and find a spot in the room your head/eyes naturally want to rest on. Move your gaze naturally through the room. Use your eyes like a finger, caressing the lines and shapes of your environment. Take your time with this. (Orienting to our environment is something we naturally do in nature.)

Calming our Anxiety:

1. Containment: Dominant hand under arm, non-dominant hand on upper arm.
2. Tenderness: Hand over heart, feel tenderness flowing from hand to heart.
3. Safe Place: Where is your safe place? Use your imagination to visualize and connect.

I wish you all a safe and creative school year, filled with moments of self-care for you and those in your life.  Be gentle with yourself and your students as we move forward together into the future.