best advice

Tips from other
workshop facilitators

Mia O’Connor-Smith, Multidisciplinary Artist, Dancer, Mama, Earth Tender, Founder of Deep Underground, Workshop Facilitator

Mia’s favorite flow:

Intentionally re-enter the room, check in with ourselves in the journals, write on the worry rock and (optional) share.

As far as projects, I liked starting with the OK kit  so the smaller things we made, like the Fear Less Bot or Badge can go inside and they have something to use outside of the group time.

I really recommend taking your time with the projects because if it’s rushed they usually didn’t like what they made the next week.

Best advice:

“Be flexible and prepared for things to take a different direction (more conversational, less detail, more structure/foundation work)

Jonathan Hill, cartoonist & educator / Create More, Fear Less advisor & facilitator

Jonathan’s favorite flow:

My basic idea when laying these out was to start with the smaller, more accessible projects to get students comfortable with sharing their worries and emotion more and more—also keeping projects simple in terms of just drawing, then opening it up to things that might be a little out of their comfort zone. 

1. Give Worry a Time Out (which includes making our worry stone bag)
2. Capture the Feeling
3. Make Your Own Okay Kit
4. Perfectionists Unite
5 & 6 Let Your Inside Out (this took up two sessions)
7. Spread a Little Bot Love (we adapted it and didn’t work with the dominoes, but used whatever we could find to make our own bots
8. Open Your Own Art Museum
9 & 10. Fearless T-shirt Design (one session to design, one to iron on)

Best advice:

“Be flexible and respond to the group. If they are into a project and want to spend more time on it, give it more time. If they don’t like certain activities, cut them short or find new approaches. For instance, in my first group, they were not really interested in the projects that focused on writing, but loved the drawing and making. I learned to incorporate more visual work and focus less on writing.”

Liz Kobs, she/her, school counselor. Lover of plants, office supply stores, Target, and the outdoors. Mom to Marley

Best advice:

“Let the creativity of students guide you and listen to their voices and stories.”

Jelly Sinclair, artist, Portland State student, workshop facilitator

Jelly’s favorite flow:

Sometimes (especially in the virtual realm) things can go differently than planned so I tried to keep my project order loose, leaving room for if a project took more than a day and having extra projects in mind in case we wrapped up early. 

1. Perfectionists Unite! to get us loosened up and moving forward with an awareness of our perfectionist tendencies
Meet Your Worry Beast to get us familiar with our  worry and give it a character that we could work with in the future
3. Capture the Feeling
4. Make Your Own Okay Kit
5. Tiny Books —with the intent to incorporate our favorite ideas or techniques we had learned throughout our time together.
6. On the last day we did Get to Know the Artist and a fun shapes exercise, the first of the eight video series from Jonathan Hill’s cartooning series. These last exercises were pretty quick and simple so we could use the beginning of our meeting to wrap up the worry stone activity we had been doing at the beginning of each session. Then while we were doing the more low key activities, we were able to talk and reflect on our time together while we drew.

Best advice:

“My best tip, beyond being in tune with the students and where they are at that day, is to do the project first yourself so you can be present for the students and have advice and examples ready for them.”

Jess Firestone, school counselor, potter, hugger

Jess’s favorite flow:

1. Perfectionists Unite! Before getting into vulnerability and sharing worries, and to dive into the art part, I start with this one.
2. Give Worry a Time Out
with younger students, I limit the rounds of questions and journaling. Enough to ask- what was a worry you had when you were little, what’s something you are worried about now? I bring a bunch of rocks and offer that others bring some to add to the communal pile because lots of kids will forget.
3. Take Your Brain on Vacation
I use this with students individually ALL the time as well as in groups.
4. Award Yourself
Having gold stickers/ seals, glitter, or gold ribbon help this one feel extra special.
5. Spread a Little Bot Love
I have used paper instead of dominos and brought a mini laminator.
6. Invent a New Worry
What are you definitely NOT scared of? Try to make one of your not-worries into a creature that looks a little scary. Playing with worries makes the real ones less taboo.
7. Try a New Attitude: Gratitude
Draw a picture instead of using a photo if those aren’t available.
8. Make Your Own Okay Kit
Having extra special treasures for this helps make it feel special- tiny gemstones that represent courage, nature items, stickers and colorful paper.


Best advice:

Do the projects along with your students. Start with projects that only require paper and colored pencils or markers- these require no prep!

What’s worked well for you?

Reach out and share your own experiences—we’d love to hear from you!