Category Archives: clmooc

Weekly Photo Challenge: Odds and Ends

Most days I turn to my camera for inspiration, for relaxation, for opportunities for creativity.  It’s flexible and convenient and I find ways to fit picture taking into even the busiest days.  Except when I don’t.  Those days are rare, but this last week was one of those weeks.  I did turn to my camera, but with less frequency and less inspiration…and I ended up with some odds and ends.

Like the afternoon that I wandered about my yard looking for something I wanted to take a picture of.  Actually, I was probably avoiding the pile of work I needed to do…but I did find inspiration…in the light and color of the faucet on the rain barrel on the side of my house.  One of those odds and ends…

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It has been tricky going directly from the end of my school year on Monday to the first day of the Summer Institute on Tuesday.  I missed having a day or a few to take a few deep breaths and reset my brain for summer learning.  I noticed this table and umbrella with the solar panels fueling a charging station while walking to the room where we hold the SI the other day.  I like that the UCSD triton is visible in the background.  I’ll have to try out the charging station one of these days.  Another of my odds and ends.

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During my teaching demo I asked the teachers in the room to play and reminded them that robust and long-lasting learning comes from play and playfulness.  There’s nothing like an index card with a piece of tissue paper and some colored markers to encourage a bit of play.  Here’s a couple of creations.  (The photos are mine, the creations belong to others.)

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A trip to the airport late at night to pick up my husband…right in the middle of the week…brought me face to face with this sculpture of travelers.  Hands full, facing forward, waiting in line…it takes some seriousness to navigates the perils of travel.  The airport was surprisingly full, and ripe for people watching, as the hour approached midnight.  Another shot to add to my odds and ends collection.

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One of the highlights of the Summer Institute (SI) is the opportunity (or pressure) to write…and to share that writing for feedback in Writing Response Groups.  As I was working with my group, this view of the long corridor caught my attention, reminding me that thinking and writing and teaching–at its best–requires that we explore the corridors of our minds, making connections, taking twists and turns, opening doors that we might not even have known existed.

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So…what odds and ends have you collected this week?  Even when you are at your busiest and it seems that an interesting photo is impossible, pause for just a moment and snap one of those odds and ends.

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #oddsandends for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Take a moment and snap some of those odds and ends this week.  The advantage of that camera in your pocket or purse (you know, your phone!) is that it is always with you.  Pull it out and see what you can see.  Be sure to share with us!

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Endings

Things end.  Sometimes we look forward to endings, anticipating what will follow.  Other endings are more bittersweet. June can be gray and overcast here along the coast, what we fondly (or not so fondly) refer to as “June Gloom.”  Last week was gray…and by the weekend, I was ready for the sun to shine through.  Saturday the gloom was so thick that we needed windshield wipers, and even Sunday morning things were gray.  But as we headed out for breakfast, we noticed the coast was brighter than inland.  So after breakfast and some much needed work in my classroom, we headed up to Oceanside to walk along the pier since the tide was too high for walking at our local beach.

Once there, the gloom ended and the sun shone through.  We spied this sailboat from the pier.  There’s something beautiful and calming about the monochromatic blue.

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Under the pier is always an interesting view.  I particularly like way the light and shadow plays with the pilings and the pier deck, ending in the sand below.  It isn’t easy to take “new” pictures under the pier…but I feel like this one has a bit of a different vibe.

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This was the last week of school, so endings have been front and center both in my mind and in this week’s activities.  In our multiage class we have a tradition of ending the year with a musical production.  It takes the form of a review of the school year, highlighting learning with third graders as featured speakers and all the kids singing and dancing.  This year also marks the end of the multiage class.  After 23 years of teaching students in this format that features three grade levels in the same class with two teachers, next year I will be in a single grade classroom with third graders on my own.  I am both sad and excited, knowing that change brings new opportunity.

We were surprised at the end of the musical on Monday evening to not only have the third grade parents and their children present us with a book of 23-word stories (inspired by some 25-word stories we had done earlier in the year) to honor the 23 years of the class (yes, I’ve taught it all 23 years, with two different teaching partners!), but then to have a third grade parent who also happens to be the mayor of our local community step up to the microphone.  When she introduced herself as the mayor rather than as third grade mom, I realized that something more was coming.  She presented us with a Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition highlighting the work we have done through our multiage teaching…such a touching gesture and honor.

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Busy weeks make daily photography a bit of a challenge.  In spite of that I try not to end the day without a picture or two.  Sometimes it means trying to find a new angle on something that is ordinary.  I noticed the fuzz on this tree on our walk in the neighborhood the other day…and the light seemed to magnify it.

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And these wildflowers with the sun dropping behind them reminded me of a sunset at the end of the day.  I kind of like the green of the solar flare in the center.

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Busy days mean resorting to eating out, including a quick trip to a Mexican seafood place the other night.  This is your quick and informal kind of place, yet the small jars of wildflowers caught my eye, especially with the light coming in the window and the flier in reverse since it was posted on the outside of the window.  I did play around with the light balance and contrast in the app Snapseed to brighten this display.

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School ended yesterday…at least the part with students.  As I worked to downsize my classroom from two rooms to one, I found myself making tough decisions about materials, files, books and more.  By the time I got home in the evening, I was exhausted.  But when my husband suggested a trip to the beach to watch the sunset, I was eager…and grabbed my camera as we headed out.

The tide was pretty high, not ideal for walking, but we noticed a guy with a large bubble making wand on the shore.  With the sunsetting behind him, it was fun to try to catch shots of the bubbles before the kids ran up and poked and popped them.  I got some interesting shots, but this is my favorite…and it was such a perfect ending to an emotional and tiring day.  After taking photos and talking with the bubble guy, we sat in the sand and watched as the sun dipped lower and lower into the ocean.  Taking time to breathe and appreciate nature’s beauty is a perfect way to end the day…and the school year.

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So, what do endings look like where you are?  Feel free to interpret ending in whatever way works for you…it might be a physical ending like the end of the pier, an emotional ending, or something only you can imagine and photograph, you always get to choose!

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #endings for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Grab your camera and find those endings…be they happy, sad, bittersweet, or something else entirely.  Be sure to share your endings with the rest of us!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

With 5 more student days of the school year ahead of me, I’m working to keep myself focused and in the moment.  These are those bittersweet endings that are inextricably intertwined with the anxiety of pending deadlines (report cards, classroom organization, classroom musical…), the excitement of summer, and the uncertainties of the changes ahead. So this week, my photos remind me about perspective.

A meeting earlier this week to do some planning for this year’s Invitational Summer Institute (SI), brought me into contact with a friend’s dog.  I couldn’t resist this photo of Siggy curled up in a favorite chair, complete with a red wrap to both give him that fashion flair and to keep him comfy. Siggy definitely reminds me of the importance of self-care and the value of down time.

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This is the last year of my beloved multiage class.  We have so many traditions…one of which is taking our third graders rock climbing as a way to celebrate the end of their three years with us.  Rock climbing seems like such a perfect metaphor for all that happens over the course of three years with the same students.  We get to witness such growth in confidence and risk-taking as they take on more and more leadership within the safety of the classroom.  And who can resist the perspective of a student in flight, hanging in midair perfectly relaxed, enjoying the view from new heights?

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The fair’s in town!  The state fair is always here in June, running through the 4th of July.  I’ve been going to this fair my whole life, walking through exhibits, sitting through cooking demonstrations, viewing student art, and petting goats.  Living where I do, the arrival of the fair also means an increase in already heavy traffic.  I knew I would be dealing with fair traffic as I headed home from the university the other day.  I started to feel annoyed, knowing the commute would crawl through Del Mar.  Instead, I decided to change my perspective and pull off to take some pictures.  I found a parking place and walked up to the mouth of the lagoon where you can see the fun zone of the fair from the back.  It was fun taking photos and looking at the fair with fresh eyes.

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I crossed the street and found this dramatic entry to the beach.  I ended up walking back to my car by strolling on the shore of the beach, enjoying the sea breeze and watching egrets navigate the surf.   When I got back in my car, the traffic was no longer irritating me!

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Back in the classroom it’s been Ocean Week.  Every year our entire school takes a week to focus attention on the ocean (it is right outside our door, after all!).  Traditionally we have a sing-a-long and ocean parade on the last day, with all our young students wearing ocean-themed “costumes.” In our class, we decided to stretch the definition of costume this year and instead have the kids make signs to carry.  They came up with informative slogans for one side, collected beach plastics and other trash in the week or so before the parade, and created a watercolor sea creature to swim among the trash on the other side of the sign.  Wearing all blue, we became a sea of activists advocating for the sea!  (And hopefully changed some perspectives about this precious resource along the way!)

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A Friday afternoon walk on the beach has become a pretty regular habit for me, and as the weather warms, for others as well.  As I knelt to take a picture of some trash I was picking up, I ended up with this shot of a woman reading as she walked along the beach. You can see that I missed the trash in my shot, but I kinda like the blurred shot of the reader.

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I’ve included quite a few shots of stacks of rocks along the beach lately. And yesterday there were more stacks in some different places along my route.  I was drawn to this tall stack that looks out on one of my favorite parts of the beach.

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So head out in search of a new perspective.  What will you find when you look at the world from a different angle?  You might literally move behind a familiar scene or kneel low to change you view or simply change your outlook and look with fresh eyes.

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #perspective for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Grab your camera and change your perspective.  What will you see?  Be sure to share your photos with us here!