Tag Archives: layers


Today’s Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to think about layers…how they reveal, conceal, and make things more complex.  When I think about layers, I think about teaching and learning.


When I teach I have to decide if I will start with the broad overview…the big picture and then zoom into the details.  Or if I will start with a detail and continue to pull back to let the bigger picture be revealed.  The best teaching is layered…creating a foundation that is continually built up so that learners can access the tools they need to keep growing.  Learners need to see the beauty so they will continue to dig and uncover the magic of the subject at hand.  This pier makes me think of all those different views, it’s like windows layered on each other, creating a view of possibility.


Some layers are more like the supportive structure of bridges or scaffolding.  The layers create footholds and braces for continual progress.  They are less about the view, but more about feeling safe enough to take some risks.  It helps to know that when you stretch to reach the next rung, there are some toe holds to prevent a total collapse.  When I teach, I want to layer supports like this bridge does, allowing students places to hang on to as they reach and stretch toward the next level.


Other layers are more like the stripes on these monarch caterpillars.  The stripes represent the way our knowledge and skills continue to grow and build, layer upon layer.  It makes me think of the small group of students who gathered in the classroom before school this morning.  We’ve been learning computer programming…and some made a bit of a breakthrough earlier this week (see this post), and have been working in whatever stolen moments they can find to continue the designs they started.  They’re excited and motivated…and they’re teaching each other and learning from each other as they learn from their successes and their mistakes along the way.

Like these caterpillars, they have been layering on their knowledge, black on white on yellow, black on white on yellow…as they experiment with the programming tools in Hopscotch.  And like these caterpillars, they are getting bigger and stronger…and closer and closer to transforming into beautiful butterflies.


Layers are like that!