Tag Archives: game

Doors

Sometimes it’s hard to find openings, ways to get in and get out.

Not all doors look like doors—heavy wooden slabs with handles to turn or pull to open and close. And they are not all found on traditional structures like houses and office buildings.

Sometimes the walls that hold you out are made of reeds growing along the shore,

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and frame your view of the world.  You are bound by your idea of wall instead of freed by the open door.

Other doors aren’t doors at all, they are signs warning you of the rules, enter at your own risk,

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marking boundaries of beginning and ends.

Some doors are small, requiring you to duck low, risk the muck and slime

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as you get a glimpse at the light on the other side.

Some doors are bridges to go over or under or through, marking sides, taking sides, allowing access to both sides.

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There are doors on platforms, high enough to see above the fray, watchtowers of protection,

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hope, and possibility.

Doors can be wide angles, opening to vistas

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But you have to find them, recognize them

as openings

as doors

ways in and ways out.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sky

Sunday marked the summer solstice (along with my anniversary…and this year, Father’s Day) and our gray skies are finally clearing to let the sun shine through.

And it was a beautiful first day of summer, especially as the setting sun gave a golden glow as I looked to the sky.

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As the sun dipped low, the sky was painted in pinks with a tiny sliver of sun still shining through.

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After a delicious celebratory dinner, we headed out for a walk on the pier.  And as we looked to the sky, the moon appeared above the palms, a sliver accompanied by two bring planets nearby.

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The nighttime walk was a perfect ending to the day…as the lights of the city reflected on the ocean water.

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Earlier in the weekend, a beach walk allowed me to catch the sky’s sun silhouetting these surfers…making this unedited photo look like it was taken in black and white.

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As our San Diego Area Writing Project’s Invitational Summer Institute began this week, I found myself not paying as much attention to the outdoors as I focused, instead, on developing this community of educators, writers, and thinkers.  And then today, three days in, I had to take a few minutes at lunch to re-discover my surroundings on the UCSD campus.  It’s cold inside the building, but outdoors the skies are blue and the scenery spectacular.  I focused on this piece in the Stuart Collection (art on our campus).  The Fallen Star is perched atop the engineering building–visible from the room where we hold the SI.

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And when I turned around, there was the Geisel Library–another favorite subject for my lens, framed by the blue sky and the tall eucalyptus trees.

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So, look up.  What does the sky have to offer in your place this week?  What are you noticing when you look skyward?

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 #sky for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

So look up toward the sky…what does the sky have to offer or what does it draw your attention to?  I look forward to seeing what the sky will bring through your lens!

More than a Game

Today we played Monopoly.  We played in our Summer Institute…a leadership development program for teachers of writing.  And as you might imagine, this play had more than one purpose!

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There is something wonderful about giving a group of dedicated educators a Monopoly box and asking them to play a game during an intensive professional development experience.  In our 4th day of a four week institute, we have already begun to bond, building trust and opening up, willing to be vulnerable even when faced with difficult topics and challenging situations.

The group seemed almost giddy about the thought of playing…even though based on the previous three and a half days, they knew this was not simply a board game break.  They started by forming groups of five or six and then selecting a writing utensil from a plate on their table.  A colored pencil, a smelly marker, a highlighter, an SDAWP pencil, and either one or two Crayola markers were mystery icons of the game to come.  After spending time as a group reviewing the written rules of the game and setting up to begin, the significance of the choice of the writing utensil became apparent.

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Those holding the Crayola markers were asked to begin playing…the others at the table were only allowed to watch.  In my role as observer I got watch as some started to play with trepidation while others raced forward with delight…”Hurry, let’s get what we can while we can!”  After the first player or players had played for five or ten minutes, the second group of players were invited in.  At indeterminate intervals and not knowing which category would be called next, the players who waited and watched seemed to withdraw and lose interest in the game.

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This version of Monopoly, which immerses players in an experience where everyone plays by the same rules…but the game is still not fair, is adapted from an article by Jost and Jost.  Our goal is to get our participants to think about equity beyond what is experienced by individuals and consider the systemic influences of poverty and racism.

As the game continued we saw our participants behave in some interesting ways.  Those that entered the game early seemed to play either with zeal…or with the weight of guilt on their shoulders.  They frequently assumed the role of helper…often moving the pieces for their late starting peers or even acting with seeming generosity, offering “get out of jail free” cards or waiving some small rents due to them.  The late starters either become apathetic about the game or downright devious…sneaking money from the bank or even wishing to land in jail so they wouldn’t have to pay fees that they saw coming as their money dwindled with each turn.

We saw early players become rule sticklers…at one point carefully explaining the rules to a late starter.

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When time was called on the game, players were asked to take note of the results and then sent off to reflect on their experience.  What did they notice about themselves, their peers, the experience?  What implications does this experience have for them as educators, parents, human beings?

Our discussion was rich and layered…and sometimes downright contentious.  This experience opened up space for talking about systems: economic, social, educational…and the differences in access and equity that are often dismissed or not considered with our more typical focus on individuals.  And we’re not finished with these discussions…because although there are some who might ask, “What does equity have to do with the teaching of writing?”, we know that equity plays a crucial role in who has access to high quality teaching and learning…and who can see themselves as successful learners.  This game “hack” is just a beginning for us…we have much more in store in our next three weeks!