Tag Archives: angles

Curves and Angles: SOL23 Day 5

Pretty much every day is a great day to walk on the beach, and today was no exception. The weather was cool (mid 50’s) and the sun was mostly under cover, but the breeze was light and the ocean offered a nice wide walking beach.

After all the rocks yesterday (find that post here), we headed south a couple of miles for today’s walk. Rocks were few, sand was plentiful. As we walked I noticed the progress on the seawall repairs, a few brave sunbathers in bikinis, some wet-suited fishers, and a couple who seemed to be getting engagement photos taken.

As the distinctive lifeguard tower came into view, I found myself thinking about both curves and angles. Perched out on a rocky “corner,” this tower is all about the angles. It has views of the ocean to the south, to the north, and directly in front as well. And while the shape clearly has sharp angles and squared off corners, there are curves too, its shape seeming to mimic a wave swell about to break. I’d love to know more about the architecture and design process, is this shape ideal for its function?

A bit further on I spied a shore bird (I’m pretty sure this one is called a curlew). I love their long curved beaks, ideal for finding sand crabs and other tidbits buried in the sand. And as I knelt closer for a photo, the bird pulled up its wings, creating even more curves as it ran toward the water.

At the turn around point at Dog Beach, the channel that runs from the lagoon to the beach was full and running strong, creating a long curve angling from the bridge that also serves as part of the road along the coast. Just beyond it , if you look closely, you can see the horse racing grandstands at the Del Mar fairgrounds angled to have both a wonderful view of the horse racing as well as gorgeous color displays as the sun sets into the ocean.

As we headed back to the car after about four miles on the beach, I noticed a bright orange kite in the distance, curving up to catch the wind. I thought for sure it was a kite boarder heading down to the water with a surfboard. To my surprise, it was skateboarder (or something like a skateboard) on the sidewalk in front of the beach working the angles to propel himself along the ocean front.

I love the process of wandering and wondering as I walk down the beach. Today’s walk with all about curves and angles. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

SOLC Day 11: What’s Your Angle?

As we swam through the complication of terms used to describe and classify angles and triangles, it became clear how unfamiliar this language was to my third graders. How many adults know that there are three kinds of triangles that can described by their angles: right triangle, acute triangle, or obtuse triangle. Or by their sides: scalene (all sides of different length), isosceles (2 sides of equal length), or equilateral (all sides the same length).

There’s nothing like a novel tool to make learning more fun–and so, we pulled out the protractors and set to work creating and measuring some “angle fish.” After a quick demonstration, students set to work…trying hard to remember to trace and draw a semi-circle on the fold (there were only a couple of oopses!). I gave them each an angle measurement on a post-it note…and they used their protractor to measure the designated angle to cut out as the mouth. And then the fun began as students used scraps to create colorful, unique fish with definite personality!

We later sorted the fish into their angle category–discovering that my careful distribution of angle measurements (dividing the class approximately equally into acute and obtuse angles) didn’t quite work out in practice. Using a protractor actually means you have to know some things about angles before using the tool. It’s quite easy to measure 110º and end up with an acute angle instead! But the point was the learning–not perfection, and learn they did!

To top things off, we started singing a new song…another one penned by the Bazillions called Triangular Triangles. Songs are always a fun way to learn new information and my students are not shy about belting them out!

My angle in all of this is to convince my students–all of them–that math is fun! Everyone can learn math and make continual improvement if they engage with the ideas. My students were already suspecting that I would be having them do some writing (as I do with almost every kind of art we make)–I’m also always working to convince them that writing is both fun and meaningful. My students know I always have some kind of ulterior motive for my lessons–and I guess they are right! My goal is to impact each student I teach in ways that positively impact their success as contributing members of society, whatever they decide to do in their futures…and of course, to make learning enjoyable each and every day at school!

Celebration: Entering Poetry Port

I awoke yesterday morning to a tweet from a #clmooc and #nwp colleague.  I was gifted a poem that celebrated my photography!  (Thanks Kevin)  I’d love to share it here, but I’m not sure how to display the video of the poem.  Right away, I was inspired to write my own poem…you might hear echoes of Kevin’s poem here.  I am also inspired to spend some daily time in the Poetry Port.

Celebrate through the Angles


The curveballs

are inevitable

volleys come in clusters

raining down in torrents

forcing you under

take cover


Celebrations are there too


hidden among the curveballs


                           for you to raise your head

to life your eyes

to open your heart

It’s all in the angles

finding the slant

that lets the confetti pour in

that lets light in through the cracks

that shifts the weight of burden

from your tired shoulders

so giggles and squeals pour out


Protect yourself

when the curveballs burst through


stay alert

search out the diagonal

find the obtuse

embrace the acute

find the beauty


There’s always room





Beach Hues: Monochromatic

The beach offers me endless inspiration, stimulating my senses with the light, the life, the variety…and the sameness.

The ocean and the shoreline is an endless variety of blues, whites, and grays.  Some days the colors are vibrant and fully saturated, other days, they are muted–layering hues of a single color in subtle textures like this image of a seagull taking flight toward the wave rolling in.


Sometimes the sky is reflected in the wetness of the ground.  Clouds to walk in, waves to walk in…echoes of each other.


And look up and see the clouds like waves, a backdrop for a tiny airplane, perhaps a biplane, awash in blue and white.


It is the monochromatics of the beach that help me see texture, that force me to look closely to notice the daily changes and the endless variety of the cliffs, the waves, the sky, the shoreline…


Light and angle–twin photography tools–teach me about seeing and finding the beauty in the extraordinary sameness of the beach.


A Week of #Angles

My daily blog post is most often the result of a percolation of ideas throughout the day…written toward the end of the day.  Today I knew I would be writing about my week of focusing on angles –this week’s #sdawpphotovoices topic.  My morning began. as it often does on Sunday, with some time reading articles on Twitter.  Today’s @brainpicker post was about a book called On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz.

As I read the review of the book I found myself thinking about how photo-a-day has impacted the way I look and what I see as I go about my daily life.  And then I saw Janis’s post today on SDAWP Voices as she reflected on her week–and she was saying similar things about her experience (and she had also read the same post by @brainpicker this morning!).  This book focuses on the ways a different lens opens up an entirely different experience of the place.  When you walk with a toddler and pay attention to how that toddler pays attention, you see a different place than the familiar routine you are used to. What does your dog see?  How about an entomologist?

Back to angles…this week’s photo-a-day focus.  I took a lot of pictures this week, from a variety of angles, of a variety of angles…angles were everywhere!  Some of my favorite pictures of the week I never did post on Instagram.  But because I am writing every day to post to this blog, my pictures also become a stimulus for my writing and my thinking.


I love this picture of the lone fisherman with his pole angled in the surf.  I don’t often take pictures of people–it feels awkward to photograph people I don’t know…and I didn’t want him to pose.  Instead I took the picture from a distance, knowing I would lose the details of his face. The bonus is the reflection!  I can see writing a story with this photo as the prompt…I think the story is already beginning to take shape for me.


This angry bird kite was roosting in the tree above the beach.  Its angles had it caught pretty securely in the intertwining branches…in fact I saw it again several days later on a walk later in the week.  I love the play on words and images of the bird kite in the tree.


Shell fragments are common on the beach, but coming across an entire shell–especially one still connected and angled like this is a rare occurrence.  If you look closely you can see the strand of sea grass lying in the background.  I wonder if a seagull got this tasty morsel!


Coming down the ramp from the parking lot, I got to see these wonderful flat and yet angled rooftops of the new concession stand and bathrooms.  I love the way that architecture can take straight lines and create unexpected angles by the way they are placed in relation to each other.

Tomorrow I will shift my focus from angles to patterns.  Added to my photography focus and blogging focus, I will also be thinking about all the other ways I might see the world through the lens of a child, or an architect, a scientist, or an artist.  I’ll also try “seeing” the world through my other senses–how does what I hear impact what I see?  What about smell, taste, and touch?

What have you failed to notice?  How can you shift your attention to see more of your world?