So much. So exciting. So scary.


After a small summer break from blogging, I am back.

I felt a bit overwhelmed on where to start, so a list came to mind.

It is always amplified, this idea of seasons and cycles for a teacher.

The end of the year is filled with urgency, rituals and release

(That’s our cd release/exhibition/parent appreciation celebration at The Atlas Theatre)

The summer is filled with ample sleep, sun, reflection, rejuvenation and exploration.

peru2(That’s my daughter and I in Ollantaytambo, Peru)

The new upcoming school year is filled with ideas, goals, and the known and unknown.

So here’s a list.

The things I will miss most from school year 2009-2010:


Louise Chapman:

Although she lives down the street from SWS, I will miss her daily presence in my life. She deserves this wonderful time, for travel, family, music, art and hopefully visiting us.

The Exiting Kindergarten Students:


Here are some self-portraits from the exiting class. Each class had such individual and group personality. I think these acrylic paintings evoke their spirit.







The outgoing families: Keep in touch!

On the last week of school, Laila’s Mom (Thonya) and Grandmom  (Rebecca) gave me the gift of studio office workplace renovation, with lots of SWS volunteers in tow like Scott Montrey, Nikki Territo, Laura Marks and more.   Here’s a picture of Melissa Brisbane modeling my new space. If anyone ever saw my desk before…actually, you couldn’t see the desk.

new desk

What the summer gave me:

With summer came travel, art and family. My trip to Peru reminded me of the importance of experiencing wonder and the awareness of being out of my comfort zone. Both are vital to growth for all human beings.




With summer came a full house, and I was reminded of the joy and tenderness that occurs with a full home. It is very similar to the joys and tenderness of the studio. The mess and chaos make way for conversation and relationship.

family group

In my personal studio I was reminded of the necessity of time within the process of creating and constructing, the highs and lows of frustration and elation during the process, and the need to express oneself.

McLean_Marla_3 McLean_Marla1detail

Things I look forward to with anticipation for school year 2010-2011:


The Garden Lady. She was erected and planted with a little help from my friends. I will post her “after” shot in a few weeks.

The Story of Food:

flowelady handsOur whole school provocation. I am excited about the SWS Reggio inspired approach in conjunction with this idea, the garden, the food, the collaborations…

My Pre-K Students who are now K students:

I posted the Bird Machines, which highlighted their amazing thinking and risk taking, but I neglected to highlight a year-end experience that left me gleeful.

When Ms. Rick’s class let me have their newborn chicks in the studio to sketch, a magical thing happened. They were positively musical and energetically hopping and dancing. The peeping and chirping was so intense, it became the focal point of conversation. Spontaneously I asked, Well, how could you show all the peeping and movement with your pen?




The kids just blew me away with their “making visible the invisible.”

Wow! Like I said, can’t wait to return to these kids with such great vision.

JereJere Lorenzen-Strait:  The new teacher on the block is not so new. He was a student teacher at SWS and stayed connected both professionally and personally after his time here. How exciting to have a new collaborator!

The new incoming families and children:  Always a combined sense of joy and worry, as I get to know the names, faces and new community that will become my daily life.

Energy, time and space:


Despite the constraints and schedules that exist within a system, I will continue to explore how energy, flow, space and time affect children (and myself/staff) as we navigate the school day.  It’s both a challenge and a fascination.

New possibilities and provocations:  Once again a combination of joy and fear. There’s always a part that’s a little scary that comes with the new.


So much. So exciting. So scary.