Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Little Rant

Dear People in Charge,

Might I make a suggestion?  Or a few?

Can you please invest more in education?  And in particular, will you direct that money toward teacher salaries?  Feel free to hold us to higher standards.  And don't let us get complacent.  Better salaries will lead to better teaching, as long as that salary is tied to performance.

Oh, and while I'm on the topic of money, could you please hire more teachers?  More teachers means smaller class sizes.  As teachers, we need smaller class sizes.  Students need more one-on-one time.  It validates them.  It improves learning.  I'm tired of having little more than one minute to to spend with each of my students during class time.  I think I'm a good teacher, but with just a little of your help I could be so much better.

Yes, I know you're saying you don't have enough money . . . but, we all know the money is there.  It's just poorly managed by politicians who can't see the future beyond the next election.  Seriously, was it necessary to pay $3.4 million to build a tunnel for turtles in Florida or $5 million to create a geothermal energy system for a dying shopping mall in Oak Ridge, Tennessee?  How many billions were spent to create new jobs building roads when the best investment would have been education?  Wouldn't a wave of highly educated, enthusiastic young minds stimulate greater growth in America than a "stimulus" plan?  Please, make education a priority and then let the educated take care of our problems.


Kevin Wasden

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A few random thoughts on creativity before sleep

While teaching the History of Art and Science at DaVinci Academy, I defined Creativity as "the ability to organize raw materials and undeveloped ideas into new and meaningful products."  It was an adequate description that worked for both the arts and sciences.  But lately I've been giving my students a different definition, one that I like better:  "Creativity is choice."   For example, a finished drawing is simply the result of the choices an artist makes, such as what to draw and how to draw it.  An artist may begin with a blank white paper, then decides where to place the first pencil stroke.  Then follows with another, and another.  The process of decision making continues until the artwork is completed.   The culmination of these choices results in something unique and creative, because no two artists will make the same decisions throughout the course of a drawing.  

An artist's creativity, or in other words, his ability to make choices,  is limited by his perceptive ability, knowledge, and mastery of techniques.  Therefore, the more an artist learns and the wider his range of mastery, the greater his potential creativity. 

The concept of creativity applies to life as well as art.  Every day, we make choices about pretty much everything.  And it is the consequences of these choices that make our lives unique and meaningful.  In essence, our lives truly are a form of art and each choice plays an important part of the "artwork" we are creating.  So, the question is, "what are the consequences of the choices you are making right now?"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hazzardous Universe Book Launch

So, you probably already know, but, the Hazzardous Universe book launch party was held Wednesday, March 9th, at Barnes & Noble in Murray, Utah.  It was a fabulous and successful evening.  There was an abundance of laughter, hugs, and book selling.  I was amazed/humbled by the number of people came out to support Julie and me.  And if you are one of them and you are reading this, thank you.  I mean it.  You're amazing.  Don't argue. 

I'm also grateful to Jeremy and his crew at Barnes & Noble for accommodating us and for putting up with my five kids running through his store all evening.

After the launch party, Julie and I headed out for sushi with Howard Tayler, Jessica Day George, and Dan Willis.  It was a great way to cap off an already great day.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A Rapidly Expanding Universe

Friday, March 4th was an amazing day for a couple of reasons.

First, Hazzardous Universe was released and the early buzz has been extremely positive (i.e.Jessica Day George, author of Dragon Slippers, gave it 5 out of 5 stars).  And I have to admit, at risk of sounding a bit egotistical, the book is amazing.  I can say that because Julie Wright is brilliant and did a wonderful job crafting the story of Hap Hazzard.  It's a fun, imaginative book that kids and parents can definitely enjoy together.  I'm very grateful to be working with Julie on this project. 

Second, my art show opened at Gallery at the Station in Ogden, Utah.  I've been looking forward to this for several months, but never dreamed it would receive such a great response.  I don't think I've ever talked to so many people in such a short span of time.  Thank you to all of you who stopped by.  You made my day . . . heck, you made my week, month, and a good chunk of my year.

I'm hoping March 9th will be an equally good day.  Julie and I will be at the Barnes and Noble in Murray (53rd South State), Utah, to celebrate the launch of Hazzardous Universe.  If you are in the area, please come by and say hello between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.  Hope to see you there.