TEDxAtlanta Adventure: Design Thinking with Tier1 Performance


We are pleased to feature a piece from MACIE student, Dartez Jacobs. As part of his capstone inquiry project, Jacobs shares key insights from a recent a TEDx conference.

Coming away from a TEDx conference can be very challenging. There is so much information to soak in, activating ideas we take from them is no easy task. Tier1 Performance teamed up with TEDx to facilitate a workshop that helped to guide our ideas even further. This was my first introduction to the process and brain science behind Design Thinking. The room was set up in a way that sectioned each component of the five-stage Design Thinking Model in a different location of the space. The five stages are: Define, Test, Empathize, Ideate, and Prototype. We were instructed to go stand by whichever stage that we felt was a strong suite. My group was the sole group who couldn’t chose one specific area, so we created our own between the Empathizers and Ideators. As a conceptualist, I feel empathy is very important to business success and to create sound solutions.

A unifying theme throughout the MACIE program is participatory creativity. This Tier 1 workshop gave participants an opportunity to work through the Design Thinking process together in overcoming the limiting beliefs behind rest.

The most unifying theme of TEDxAtlanta was Saundra Dalton’s talk about the rest cycle and different rest deficiencies. Our adventure focused on how we could individually improve our rest patterns. We split up into groups and acknowledged our current state and goals related to our desired rest cycle.

Rest can be split into seven areas: mental, spiritual, emotional, social, sensory, creative, and physical. We reflected on our energy levels during the week and within a group exercise came up with ways we could rest specific to the identified areas with deficiencies.

As a group we uncovered core issues related to the rest we lacked by completing a rest log. We each came up with individual solutions that were a result of overcoming the limiting beliefs behind rest. In many ways this is exactly what we do as educators in making room for change in our education system. Seeing children as creative thinkers and innovative makers is how we move to action, from thinking to doing

Connecting MACIE students with our Community Partners

A central element of our program is building relationships between our students and our partners in the Atlanta creative community. One of our apprenticeship partners, See Beautiful, was founded by Lydia Criss Mays, PhD and this local business is committed to “seeing beautiful in every nook and cranny of the world.” See Beautiful is creating a movement through empowerment, education and strategic giving initiatives. ​Through the sale of inspiring, ethically-sourced products, Mays and the See Beautiful community have donated $190,743 to 134 non-profits. 

Recently, one of our MACIE students was awared a See Beautiful grant for her work with Whole World Improv Theatre. Bethany Rowe works with this non-profit organization to provide acting classes for children and teens with autism, PDD, learning disabilities, and other learning differences. The goal of this program is to provide a safe and fun environment where students can enhance communication, build relationships, and practice social skills. The See Beautiful grant is providing funding for children who otherwise could not have afforded to attend these classes.  Rowe explains that through these drama classes, they are “creating a space where children, teens, and parents can come together and continue to grow in communication as well as self and social acceptance.”

As the MACIE program continues to grow, we are excited to watch our students and our community partners build relationships that will work towards our larger mission to cultivate children’s creative lives. 

We thank See Beautiful and Whole World Improv Theatre for the work they’re doing to support children’s creative and innovative thinking!

Atlanta-based youth arts program to serve hurricane victims in Houston


Atlanta based non-profit, Paint Love, is traveling to Houston to support local artists and volunteers who are currently serving families at the NRG Center shelter. Paint Love will also be working with this community to plan for long term service strategies for the Houston area.

Paint Love was established in 2013 by Aaron and Julie McKevitt in response to the lack of artistic resources for youth in the Atlanta area. The McKevitts recognized the strong therapeutic benefits art can have on children, and they set out to connect local artists and non-profits for a positive impact on youth. The organization has steadily grown its mission by focusing on the power of art to spread love as they bring transformational art workshops to Atlanta area youth who face or are at risk of facing poverty or trauma.

As they prepare to bring their services across state lines, Paint Love is raising funds to purchase supplies to complete two art workshops with Houston area youth. These projects include a portrait project and a Houston Strong mural. Research has shown that “creating art after a disaster offers a way for children to make sense of their experiences, to express grief and loss, and to become active participants in their own process of healing, beginning the process of seeing themselves as ‘survivors’ rather than as ‘victims'” (Orr, 2007). Paint Love’s latest venture taps into the power of art to provide healing for children who have experienced natural disaster.

For more information about how you can donate or volunteer to serve, visit the Paint Love website.

Art therapy with children after a disaster: A content analysis (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223645086_Art_therapy_with_children_after_a_disaster_A_content_analysis [accessed Sep 11, 2017].









Do you live in Georgia? Then, you get FREE books!!

Summer is a time to slow down the clock and reset our minds. This is especially important for kids who are shuffled back and forth from school to activities seven days a week. While many schools require summer reading, it’s the perfect time to grab a book and READ!

According to Get Georgia Reading, Georgia students read 248,901 books and spent 55,831 hours reading last summer. This year, they are challenging Georgia kids to read 250,000 books and spend over 60,000 hours reading! That might sound like a lofty goal, but with the help of their partner myON, Georgians will have access to thousands of free digital books from May 3 through Aug. 31. As students log their reading hours, Get Georgia Reading will be keeping track on a reading “heat” map that shows which counties are reading the most.

For directions about logging into the myON network, check out this story by Get Georgia Reading.

Want to check out what’s available in the FREE digital library? Check out this video from myON:

myON for Students with a Shared Account from myON Fanclub on Vimeo.

Do Millennials Have What It Takes To Be Entrepreneurs?


If you’ve listened to news bites this week, you’ve likely heard the buzz about the majority of Millennials living with their parents. According to a recent study, more Millennials are living with their parents than with a significant other or on their own. These stats are a modern phenomenon because dating back to the 1880’s, 18- to 34-year-olds have always been most likely to live on their own or with a romantic partner. Although this isn’t shocking in light of many characterizations of Millennials, it does raise questions about how we are preparing this highly creative and innovative generation to pursue their dreams. Very few critics dispute the fact that today’s young people are perhaps the most creative and inspired generation in recent history, but Millennials have earned a bad rap when it comes to self-motivation, determination, and grit.

Those who’ve studied entrepreneurs have identified specific characteristics that risk-takers apply to reach their goals. For example, successful entrepreneurs do what they love, but they are also disciplined, organized, ready to compete, financially savvy, and strategic about how they will execute their plans. As educators, we must ask ourselves if we’re equipping our highly creative and innovative students with the skills they need to turn their ideas into action.

We designed the MACIE program to support our students’ individual goals. Those who come to our program seeking to do creative and innovative work with children have the opportunity to select a learning pathway that prepares them to execute their plans. Students with entrepreneurial goals can choose a business path that provides courses about topics like financing, management, and marketing. Some students come to our program to refine their artistic medium and learn how to share their process with children. These students might select a pathway of studio courses through the Fine Arts Department. Those students who seek to enter other fields like education and non-profits also have opportunities to craft pathways that will prepare them to do this work.

When the media is buzzing about Millennials, we should take the opportunity to consider how we’re equipping these 18- to 34-year-olds to take action on their world-changing ideas. If recent data is true, 60% of Millennials consider themselves to be entrepreneurs, but in reality, they’re starting companies at the lowest rate in 25 years. Perhaps we should not only be asking how we can support creative and innovative thinking, but also, how can we prepare students to take action?

If you’re ready to put your plans into action, join us.





Wondering how to create and innovate? There’s a subscription for that.

Mail order subscription boxes have become the hottest trend in online business models. Looking for cosmetics, hip clothing, or jewelry? There’s a subscription for that. Want to sample healthy snacks or have meals prepped and ready to cook waiting on your doorstep? There’s a subscription for that, too.

Do you need to stock up on fresh razors or pet supplies? Well, of course, there’s a subscription for that. If you’re willing to hand over your credit card information, you can subscribe to anything and everything under the sun. For a fee, you can have anything delivered to your door once a month.

For those of us who are interesting in cultivating children’s creative lives, we’re constantly searching for new ideas and activities to engage kids in creative and innovative thinking. In fact, there are a few businesses that are on a mission to send children inspiring activities each month.

Here are a few subscription boxes that are delivering creativity:

  1. BITSBOX. The creators behind Bitsbox believe that the younger kids start learning to code, the better. Like any language, it’s easier for kids to acquire it if they learn a little bit at time by immersing themselves in the language. Each Bitsbox includes interactive instructions with simple coding commands that allow kids to build cool apps that really work!
  2. TINKERCRATE & DODDLECRATE. Tinkercrate and Doodlecrate are designed for kids ages 9-16 and deliver STEAM experiences each month. Tinkercrate is focused on science and engineering activities, while Doodlecrate is focused on art and design activities. Created by the parent company, Kiwi Crate, their mission is to make STEAM accessible, engaging and fun for kids ages 3-16.
  3. SURPRISE RIDE. To help curve the screen time epidemic, the Surprise Ride box is created to be a monthly learning course delivered to your home. There are a variety of courses like art, science, and geography and each thematic box contains two hands activities, a book, one snack, and extras that help get kids exploring the world around them.

So, if you’re looking for something creative, but are feeling a bit uninspired–subscribe!

How much is enough screen time?

Studies show that children are spending an average of 3 hours a day on screens. This includes activities like watching television, streaming videos online, playing games, and doing school work.

Some simple multiplication tells us that that if kids are spending 3 hours a day in front of a screen, then that means they’re spending 45 days a year staring at a screen. Before we start pointing fingers and lamenting the screen-free days, we should probably take a long look in the mirror.

Studies also show that parents are spending as much time on screens as their children. Whether it be at work or at home, we adults are clocking in about 9 hours a day on our screens.

For those of us working with or raising children, these numbers are concerning, especially when we consider how little time is left for other social and hands-on learning experiences.

As with all things, screens are beneficial when we use them in moderation, but our problems are in figuring out how much is “enough,” and choosing to engage in quality screen-based activities.

Last November, The American Academy of Pediatrics released their revised guidelines for children and screen time. According to their recommendations, children should:

*Avoid screen time until over age 18 months;
*Limit screen time to one hour per day between ages 2 to 5;
*Co-view media with adults and engage in conversations about what they are seeing;
*Develop a media use plan with an adult after they reach age 6. This plan should include an appropriate amount of use time and an outline for the kinds of media that they will use.

One consistent theme throughout the guidelines is an emphasis on adults engaging with children during media use. This allows adults to help scaffold children’s learning and provides adults with authentic opportunities to teach the importance of safe-use and online citizenship.

As children reach the ages of 6 to 8, the AAP suggests that they work with their parents to develop a Media Use Plan that outlines when, how, and where they will view screens.

The Media Use Plan is an interactive template that can be found HERE.

Give the gift of presence


During the holiday hustle and bustle, sometimes we need a reminder about the gifts that really matter. When you cross on thing off your to-list only to see five more tasks pop up in its place, it’s easy to spend our days caught up in the “next thing” instead of the things right in front of us.

In his book, The Gift of Nothing, Patrick McDonnell shares the power of presence during a season obsessed with presents. The book tells the story of Mooch and Earl, two characters from his award-winning comic strip, Mutts, as Mooch searches for the perfect gift for Earl. But, what do you give to a friend to a friend who has everything? After searching high and low, Mooch finds the most special gift: friendship.

If you haven’t read this heart-warming children’s book, consider this recommendation our gift to you–it’s bound to brighten your day.

*Image credit: http://www.giftofnothing.com/book/fun.asp