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An artful exercise to help learners slow down, notice details, and get curious: Misty's Newsletter

Published almost 2 years ago • 2 min read

Dear Reader,

I'm so happy to see you! Thank you for inviting me into your inbox and for opening this newsletter. I know your time is precious and I'm very honoured to spend it with you.

Children love to SEE and EXPERIENCE mystery, especially when it's created by their very own hands. If you're looking for a simple material and process to ignite slow looking, noticing emerging details, and build curiosity, you'll love the exercise below. You'll meet my friend, artist, and PhD classmate Rebecca Heyl. She'll guide us through how she uses simple materials to provoke and encourage slow looking through an artful inquiry. Get your graphite stick, a natural object + plain paper ready and let's get started :).

four person hands wrap around shoulders while looking at sunset

Y stands for Youth:

This section features a person, project, organisation, that inspires youth to thrive.

O stands for Offering:

Here’s where I share free resources, practical tips or prompts.

U stands for Uplifting:

We’ll wrap up with an uplifting quote or song to leave you feeling great-- after all, it’s good to feel good!


Youth inspire Rebecca Heyl:

Meet Rebecca, Artist-in-Residence (Atelierista)

Rebecca is a community-engaged artist, author and educator. She received a MFA from the Tufts University/SMFA program in Boston. She has taught photography and photojournalism courses at several universities. After completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Rebecca studied documentary photography at the International Center of Photography in NYC.

While Rebecca began working as a newspaper photographer in the 1990s, and continues to do freelance work, in recent years she uses photography for pedagogical documentation in early childhood and primary school settings. Rebecca has been working as an Artist in Residence with AIRS since 2017, bringing experiences with nature and wonder into Vancouver public schools.

In both her own art practice as well as her studio work with children, Rebecca seeks to create spaces in which dialogue and artistic modes of expression can flourish. I learn so much from this lovely lady and am happy I can introduce you to her!

You can view examples of Rebecca's work in schools at:

Queen Alex Exhibition

Begbie ExhibitionIn

Dialogue with the Forest

Offering that ignites: A simple way to begin an arts-based inquiry that helps learners slow down, notice details, and get curious

Like us, Rebecca loves to create spaces for children to develop inquiry-based competencies through playful, hands-on explorations that open up new pathways and possibilities. One of her favourite ways to invite students into studio work is with a simple rubbing exercise using:

  • a graphite stick
  • a plain piece of paper (not too thick)
  • a found object (nature or human made)

Press play to watch Rebecca in her process, step-by-step, from start to finish. In less than 3.5 min, Rebecca demonstrates her process for guiding the inquiry including:

  1. encouraging student observation
  2. nudging metaphorical thinking
  3. inviting student voice and choice

📷 Rebecca and I want to hear from you Reader:

Which object might you reveal first? Please hit reply and let us know or share on social! Please tag @popupstudioed on Insta or @PatersonMisty on Twitter and I'll cheer you on!

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Uplifting quote + song that illuminates:

Read and listen to this quote and song to invite reflection ⭐️

"For the people we've worked with, opening the flow of creativity is like discovering that you've been driving a car with the emergency brake on-- and suddenly experiencing what it feels like when you release the break and can drive freely."

– Tom and David Kelly, founders of Stanford's D.School and authors of Creative Confidence

Listen to the Song:

What a Wonderful World performed by Sofi Tukker

Favourite lyrics:

I see skies of blue and clouds of day...and I think to myself, what a wonderful world


Here's to noticing you Reader!

Hi! I'm Misty.

If you're an educator who loves inquiry, play, and concept-based approaches to education, we'd have so much to talk about! Sign up below for free resources, exclusive content (that I don't share anywhere else), be the first-to-know about events, and network with thought leaders. Enter your email address and check your inbox to confirm your subscription. Can't wait to get inspired together!

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