Tag Archives: maps

What Students Love: #writeout

As promised, here are some of my students’ poetry inspired by Lee Bennett Hopkins’ City I Love.  (For more details, check out this previous post.)

Even before pulling out City I Love, I launched the idea of writing about place by reading All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan and Where Am I From by Yamile Saied Mendez.  Students then created heart maps of the places they love (ala Georgia Heard).  By this time students were excited about the places they love, eager to tell each other and me all about them.  But instead of diving right into the writing, I asked students to “map” themselves.  I tried to keep this direction pretty broad, letting students take it in any direction they wanted.  These watercolor and black sharpie marker masterpieces are the result!

This map is a wonderful map creature by H.


And his poem:

Morro Rock I love

Looking at the dormant volcano 

The fish swarm in the water 

The sound of the sea gulls

The smell of the salty sea.

Casting a line

Getting the bait 

catching the fish.

It’s just sitting in place

Day after day

Year after year

For hundred of years.

Walking on the beach

looking at the fish and crabs

and looking at the ocean scenery

Sitting on a dock waiting for a fish

like waiting for a train.


And a pineapple map by I.


And her poem about a very special bench that honors her grandmother:

The Bench I Love

 On the bench I sit at

      Bench I love 

I watch the flowers flowers flow 

As the birds glide slow as they pass by their home

Through the palm tree garden I go 

Past the great sun’s glow

On the bench I sit at

Bench I love 

I sit down and watch the tide curl 

Up & down it will go 

On the bench I sit at 

bench I love

The breeze flies past my hair 

And chases the ocean’s salty waves

On the bench I sit at

 bench I love

I sit down and inhale

Look up and exhale

And a horse map by S.


Accompanied by a barn poem:

Barn I Love

Barn I go to

barn I love.

Horse smelling wonder beyond city.

Gallops of emotion. Races of hearts.

Barn I go to 

barn I love.

Each morning a sweet smell of hay .

Each night a thankful nay.

Barn I go to 

barn I love.

Morning wet covers the arena.

Full of playful horses running.

Barn I go to 

barn I love.

Stardust black mares galloping in the cold moon.

 Sunset colored  butterflies leave at the end of the day.

I told my students that I would use my blog to amplify their voices (our vocabulary word from last week!).  I know they will appreciate your comments.  And know that these are just a glimpse of what my students created as they thought about the places and activities that matter to them.

How are you celebrating writing in your classroom, in your home, in your life?  #writeout


Shades of Gray

It’s not what you think…this isn’t about the book or the movie.  Instead, this is about winter and all the grays I’ve been seeing lately.

I’ve noticed icy grays…not here at home, but while I was in Chicago and the temperatures hovered between negative numbers and teens I noticed icicles hanging from the bumpers of cars in the parking lot while I was taking a brisk stroll around the hotel where I stayed.


And after some adventures in the airport, I found myself in a window seat in the last row of the plane.  On the positive side, I was able to take photos throughout the flight, including this one as we began to taxi to take off for the flight to San Francisco.


So much of the country we traversed from high in the sky was covered with snow.  At one point when I looked out I noticed this snowy map, with roads and rivers etched into the landscape below.

snowy map

I came back home to much more reasonable temperatures and headed off to Los Angeles to spend the day with my son.  (You saw some pictures on this post)  The historic Bradbury building offered a glimpse of some different gray…with lots of ornate metalwork including this amazing working elevator.

bradbury elevator

As we headed out of the downtown area, we traveled through this tunnel.  And because I wasn’t driving, I got to take a photo and capture the gray textures illuminated by the row of lights.


From up on Mulholland Drive, the entire city skyline including the Hollywood sign were on display.  Unfortunately, the day was gray and hazy, making the skyline a shadow in the distance.

la gray

And back at home, I made my way back to the beach.  It wasn’t cold…sweatshirt and bare feet weather…but it was gray.  I’ve been a bit obsessed with seagulls lately, and found myself taking shot after shot.  This one captures the shades of gray visible on the beach this week.

seagull on a gray day

So, for this week, as we head toward the end of February, look for shades of gray.  Will you find them outside or inside?  The result of weather, the color of metal, or on the feathers of a local bird?

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

So go out in search of gray…all the shades you can find!  Let’s reclaim those shades of gray and capture images that reflect the range of grays that we see.  I’m looking forward to seeing all the shades of gray in your life…through your lens!