Category Archives: Uncategorized
The word #object has come up a few times in the last week or so. First I heard about composing with things…and started thinking about how “things”…particularly photographs help me with my writing. And then Annelise Wunderlich at KQED offered a Do Now focused on selecting an ordinary object, experience, or material to represent or inspire you. (You can join in by posting yours on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or Facebook using the #donowobject and #clmooc tags)
A number of ideas came to mind when I fhought about how I might objectify myself. Dandelions and other weeds come to mind…I love the way they thrive wherever they find themselves, rather than being dependent on others for ideal growth conditions.
But I think glass is the object I will pick. Geoff and I have been looking for beach glass on all of our beach walks over the last year. This glass on the beach is pretty rare–probably due to the ban on glass on the beach over the last decade. But we do find it–and that search for treasure on the shore has helped me to pay close attention the the interesting qualities of the glass.
Beach glass is not transparent. Unlike a window, it is not easy to look inside or through. Time and tumbling have created an opaque quality, no longer shiny and clear but instead the surface suggests a history hidden in the sanded surface.
My favorite pieces of beach glass are smooth to the touch and feel good in your hand. They are worn and rounded rather than sharp and angular. We often categorize the pieces of glass as we pick them up…some are young and sharp, juveniles in the glass world. But it’s the pieces worn smooth that are prizes in the glass game.
And beach glass plays well with others. It mingles with rocks and shells, sea creatures and seaweed. It hides in the sand, gets tossed in the tide, and reveals itself only when you take time to look.
Beach glass is my choice as an object of inspiration and representation.
ABCs of Summer: June’s Photo-a-Day Challenge
Unofficially summer has begun, and even though school is still in for many in this part of the world…summer is on the brain. Ironically, the weather is cool and gloomy…it’s definitely not the atmosphere to inspire beach going or outdoor sports, so let’s hope that this month’s photo-a-day challenge will put you in the mood for summer!
Let’s let the alphabet guide us this month…with a word prompt for each letter (a few extra to add up to the 30 we need for June).
After you shoot, post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you are game for some more playfulness, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, make a video or slideshow or try a learning walk! (More about learning walks here and here) You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!
Here’s the list:
I love the beach…in all seasons! There is something about the interplay of the sky and water and sand that creates interesting images.
I’m working to develop my photography skills. Here is an attempt at night photography. I like some things about this image even though it is blurry. I need to do a lot more experimenting with shooting at night…you’ll likely see some of my trials this month!
You can go literal–like this green succulent–or perhaps more figurative like green with envy or environmentally aware!
Love that this parking lot employs the honor system for charging for parking. You slide your cash in a locked metal tube and depend on your own integrity to follow the intention. (The Julian catholic church owns the lot and the proceeds supports people in need in the community.)
We paused to take a look at these electrical towers…and then found ourselves thinking about where towers like this are found. Are there any in your neighborhood?
I love the aroma of lavender…and the beauty of the plant. I wish I could get it to grow this beautifully in my yard!
Our goal is to explore, share with each other, and learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Every day of the month includes a word prompt to inspire and challenge you to create beautiful photos. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or throw in a new word prompt for the rest of us to try. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!
So let your photography get you in the summer frame of mind…and share those frames with us!
Silent Sunday: May 17, 2015
Quiet Forces of Nature
When we think of a force of nature, our thoughts often turn to those terrifying and often devastating earthquakes, tornados, avalanches, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, and wildfires. But sometimes in nature, forces whisper and almost go unnoticed.
In the solitude of the hiking trail, the rhythm of our boots joined the whoosh of the wind as it races through the tree tops. When I look closely I can see how the wind shapes those tall sentinels, bending and curving them with its quiet force.
Could have been wind or water (or the lack of water) or something else that worked this tree trunk loose from the ground. Now it continues to contribute to life in the forest as it decays, providing a home to insects and fungi, enriching the soil…and providing a natural frame for this photo!
Tiny flowers spring up, planted by the wind and passing wildlife, watered by the increasingly rare raindrops, and nibbled by the local inhabitants. In the meadows they create a carpet of color, a delight for the eyes.
Look closer and you can see the individual blossoms as they sway in the breezes, their beauty fleeting…it won’t be long before the blooms dry up and fall off and this colorful carpet will turn to dry brush.
The barbed wire hints at the cattle that graze these spaces. As I see the fences I remember a photo recently posted by a friend…and it becomes a mentor for one of my own.
I hear birds and look up. On this hike I have seen birds of prey floating on the wind currents and what I think are local woodpeckers, with bright red heads, chatting with one another in the tall oaks high above me. I see other evidence of their presence, the creation of granary trees where they store their acorns.
There are so many forces of nature at work in this magnificent place in our local mountains. Nature’s forces weren’t roaring, but they whispered their power, begging me to take notice and appreciate the intricacies of her systems at work. I’m part of this system too, and when I care I can make a positive difference, remembering that my needs and desires need to stay in balance with those of the trees and the birds and the wildflowers.
Looking for Signs…
Six weeks into the school year with unseasonably warm temperatures…I find myself looking for signs of fall. Southern California is not known for spectacular fall colors: the changing leaves, colorful gourds, and orange pumpkins decorating doorsteps. Instead, I notice things like the orange and red kelp washed up by hurricane Simon off the coast of Mexico,
the orange beach umbrella near the lifeguard tower,
and the golden sun highlighting the surfer atop the bigger than usual waves.
And I’m starting to see some even more exciting signs of fall…and of the writing community growing in my classroom. Some signs are subtle, like students settling into writing without any urging from us and sticking with the writing for longer and longer periods of time. There’s a willingness to share writing with one another and with the class as a whole…even from our shyer students. And then there’s the risk-taking…trying out new strategies for revision and composition with independence and confidence.
This third grader uses her reflection notebook to write about a tool we use in class to help with revision. It’s clear that she sees the value of revision for improving her writing…knowing writers, even good writers, have to work at improving their craft.
It’s also fun to see students bring their voice to informal, reflective writing. They are writers whenever they put words to a page…like this student describing something learned from reading a Scholastic News magazine,
and the student who began her reflection on a writing and art project with, “It all started when Ms Boyesen read us a book called Flashlight.”
Like the more obvious brilliant crimson leaves, sweet apple cider, and crisp autumn evenings that signal fall, these subtle signs in the classroom represent our growth as a community of learners and writers. We are ready to dig in, to stretch ourselves as learners, and to learn from and with each other throughout the school year.
I have to look carefully for signs of fall in my place…they aren’t easily recognized by those looking for the gorgeous iconic images we see represented in the media. The same is true in my classroom, looking carefully uncovers signs that might be overlooked otherwise. The signs are there and I’m looking forward to the journey with these young writers.
What signs of a developing learning community are you seeing in your place?
A Bear and a Bridge
This really is a month for the unexpected! On our last day at Yellowstone, we set off early knowing we were heading toward the other side of the park and hoping that an early start would bring more opportunities to see wildlife.
As we sipped our coffee and drove down the road, we suddenly saw a bear ambling across the road. You might remember from yesterday’s post that Geoff had his heart set on seeing a bear during our visit…so imagine our excitement and the jolt of adrenaline when we spied the bear ahead of us on the road! I grabbed my phone as the bear looked up and headed off to the side of the road. I started taking pictures as it headed off, stopping and looking back at us then continuing into the trees.
I was excited that the photos captured the bear…and with some editing, showed some of what we saw. After consulting with some folks at an information center, we think this is a grizzly based on the hump on the back and the fact that it is collared. (They said they believed only the grizzlies are collared in the park…not the black bears.)
This bear sighting was truly the cherry on the top of this trip to Yellowstone! Even the rainy day couldn’t dampen our spirits or spoil our adventures.
As a lark, later in the day we decided to take what we thought was a quarter mile hike to a natural bridge in the rain. Donning our rain jackets with hoods on, we headed down the path through the woods. That quarter mile turned out to be at least a three-mile round trip in a steady downpour…and totally worth it! The natural bridge was spectacular!
We ended our day with dinner at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, a delicious and relaxing ending to three days in the park. The rain stopped and the sky brightened. As we drove out of the park towards our hotel, the sun and clouds gathered to create a gorgeous skyscape. We stopped not far from the arch to take this final photo at Yellowstone.
Our time in Yellowstone has been amazing, filled with the unexpected. We’ve enjoyed exploring the natural beauty, spending lots of time outdoors, and piquing our interests to learn more about the natural world.
There is so much more to say…and so many more photos I’ve taken on this trip. I’m sure you will be hearing more about my adventures in Montana and Wyoming!