Tag Archives: signs

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

I’ve been noticing signs lately.  Not those metaphorical signs like falling leaves or the proliferation of pumpkin flavored foods and drinks in the local Trader Joe’s (although I’ve seen those too), but actual signs that give information in one way or another.

I love these vintage-style signs that many communities in San Diego have. Yesterday I happened by the Carlsbad sign right after sunset, while the sky was still pink and yet the lights of the sign were visible.  I took this one through the car window (and no, I wasn’t driving!).


Not far from this sign I also saw a sign specifically for walkers.  This struck me as unusual since so many of our signs are geared to automobile traffic.


And I was surprised by the kindness meters I came across the other day that seem to be encouraging passersby to donate to charity.  I wonder how effective these are…most of us don’t really love to “feed” a parking meter!


I was struck by the warning sign I see everyday down the street near the mailboxes.  After an excruciatingly hot day (100 degrees on the coast!) on Monday, this warning seemed so tame in comparison!


I love to play around with ways to frame signs, trying to create interesting and unexpected compositions.  In this one you can see the sign on the restaurant peeking out behind this robust succulent.


In Tucson in August, we ducked into the macaroni and cheese dive for a quick bite before we headed to the airport.  I liked the backwards view of the signage painted on the window.


And who can resist a neon sign?  I was lucky enough to come across this one at night when it was brilliantly lit.


I started to think about what makes a sign a sign.  Are they always word dependent?  Or is it about the message the viewer takes away?  I’m not sure if this is a light fixture or a bug zapper, but it certainly caught my interest in a local taco shop.  Do the skate/surf stickers qualify as signage?


So, this is your week to be on the lookout for signs.  What signs do you come across as you go about your day?  Which ones have you stopped noticing become they have become commonplace?  Which grab your attention day after day after day?  Which will you notice only because you are now looking for signs?

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

Start looking for signs…and snap a shot or two to share with the rest of us.  What will catch your attention…I can’t wait to see signs through your lens!

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,

orange and red kelp

the orange beach umbrella near the lifeguard tower,

orange umbrella

and the golden sun highlighting the surfer atop the bigger than usual waves.

golden surfer

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.

elke's reflection

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,

reflectionand 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?