Tag Archives: tulips

Tulips and Poetry: SOL22 Day 29

As March comes to an end, National Poetry Month is right around the corner. To get a bit of a head start–especially since we begin our Spring Break next week–I decided we needed to immerse ourselves in some poetry this week.

Poetry is nothing new in our class. We study a poem each week and then illustrate it, creating an anthology of poems we’ve worked with during the school year. We’ve written some poems of our own here and there. But the time is right for a deeper dive.

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer is a perfect book to get started. The first graders loved that the poem Daniel wrote was a compilation of the answers from all the animals that answered Daniel’s question, “What is poetry?” And it set the perfect stage for our own Poetry Is… brainstorm. After a start yesterday, we took this idea further today, stretching out ideas and embellishing them with vivid description. Here’s a few examples:

  • Poetry is a glass of warm hot chocolate on a cold, snowy winter day.
  • Poetry is a grasshopper jumping and hopping and bouncing all around the fields.
  • Poetry is a coconut with the flavor inside and the outside is so hard and thick like a layer of armor.
  • Poetry is a slippery fish, as beautiful as a butterfly.
  • Poetry is the sound of my dad snoring.

And somehow, in my mind, poetry and flowers are a perfect pairing. I had purchased some tulips and daffodils from Trader Joes over the weekend, knowing I wanted students to have a close up look at these symbols of spring (that are not commonly found growing around here). Yesterday students used a black oil pastel on watercolor paper to do a directed drawing of tulips in a vase. Today, we used liquid watercolor to create vibrant paintings of these beautiful spring flowers. The results are stunning!

Watercolor paintings drying on the classroom floor.

I plan to matte them along with the “Poetry Is…” writing. And I think I may have each student contribute one line to create a class Poetry Is poem for a poster to hang on our door! After all, National Poetry Month is right around the corner!

It’s the Small Things: SOL22 Day 27

Some days it’s all about the small things.

Not setting the alarm clock and sleeping in on Sunday morning. (Or at least not getting out of bed when you wake up even though there is no alarm going off.)

A walk on the beach with my sister who is visiting from the northern part of the state. And the sun even decided to come out to play after two days of thick, gray marine layer over the coast.

Dinner cooked by my husband (that part is not unusual) for my mom, my sister, and me–complete with a from scratch chocolate cake dessert. He manages to cook with love and care, even at a moment’s notice. He’s definitely a keeper!

Trader Joe’s flowers: tulips and daffodils to bring spring inside. And because I am planning an art project with my students tomorrow that features tulips, I wanted to bring the real thing into the classroom.

So I indulged and bought both tulips and daffodils. Last week we read a poem that included daffodils and my students didn’t seem familiar with them–so I was on the lookout for those inexpensive bunches that are around every spring at Trader Joes. And I had to have the tulips, even though they were only available in the larger bunch that was a bit pricier than I wanted. But…I have enough of each type of flower to bring some in the classroom and leave myself the bright beauty of spring on the dining room table!

Any small things bring you joy and appreciation today?

Looking Beyond Ugly

When I walked into the house today after work I noticed that the tulips in the vase on my dining room table were ready to throw out.  They were leaning over, their dried blossoms hanging upside down nearly touching the table.  I started to move them to the trash can…and then the afternoon light through the window shining on the near-dead plant caught my eye.  And suddenly I could see the beauty in the crumbling blossoms that had seemed so ugly only moments before.

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A  photography tip aside: It was just last week that Joy from Joyfully Green had posted an article where she described the place–her dining room–that served as a photo studio because of the light it offers.  (Joy has many tips to share…about photography and about living green.)

As a teacher, it’s my job to look beyond the ugly–the spaces where learning isn’t happening in the ways we want or expect–and figure out how to find the light that transforms.  And it isn’t always easy.  Sometimes it just seems easier to place blame, give in to frustration, or pass the buck.  But then the light shines through my dining room window and I can look beyond the ugly and find the beauty.

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(Five Stories…not sure if I followed the rules, but thanks for encouraging me to tell a story today!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light and Shadow

I notice light…the way it washes over images, bringing vibrance to colors and highlighting details. And I notice shadow, spaces between light and color that create texture and definition. I love the interplay of the two…and the challenge of capturing what my eyes see through my camera lens.

I came home today to my tulip plant opening in the light of the late afternoon shining through the window. The yellow blossom seems to bring the spirit of spring right into the house.

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Last week when I was back east, I was mesmerized by the shadow of bare tree limbs.  Spring wasn’t much in evidence, but the beauty of nature in all its shadow was.  I love the way that looking up into the tree branches creates images of lace.

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And when I looked up inside the the train station in Baltimore, I noticed light playing with the intricate stained glass ceiling.  My photo doesn’t begin to capture the beauty of the glass and the light!

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Earlier this week at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum my students and i entered this Native American kiicha made of willow branches and wetland reeds.  Looking up I noticed the way the light played with the shadows inside.

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And after school today I treated myself to a short walk on the beach–this is the beginning of my spring break–a much needed week off to gather energy and inspiration for the rest of the school year.  It was warm today…and spring breakers were out in full force.  I noticed the kites flying above the lifeguard tower and the way the sun created silhouettes in the distance.

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So, whether you are on spring break or yours is long over, take some time this week to notice light and shadow.  What time of day does the light catch your eye?  What do the shadows reveal?

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

So go into the light and explore the shadows in your life.  I can’t wait to experience light and shadow through your lens!