Tag Archives: watercolor

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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reach

February has been a whirlwind and we are less than a week into it!  I’ve been across the state…and across the county, lucky enough to squeeze in a few  minutes to appreciate my surroundings.

Yesterday I spent the day at the San Diego Natural History Museum as part of the Intersections project my writing project is involved in.  After a full day spent observing a class in action on a field trip, my teaching partner and I headed off to a local cafe to do some planning for our upcoming focus on community with our class.  And as we walked we noticed the cherry trees in bloom.  When I headed back to my car to head off to another meeting, I took a few minutes to snap a few shots.  I love this one of the tree reaching up toward the warm February sun.

reach-cherry tree

Using the macro feature on my camera, I reached as high as I could to snap some close ups of the buds.  When I got home, I decided to play around with a new app called Waterlogue that transforms photos into watercolor paintings.  It was fun to experiment with the changes that the watercolor effect made to the photo using this app.


Over the weekend I had been at UC Davis with my California Writing Project colleagues and a group from our local writing project learning about Connected Learning.  And part of our connecting was some playful photography.  In this photo you can see a photo of my colleague taking a photo of another colleague…and me taking a photo of the two of them, and all of us reaching up.


After work on Tuesday, feeling a bit stressed by the demands of the month so far…and a kitchen remodel in full swing, I decided to stop by the beach.  And as I parked, I noticed that the tide was low–and I had thrown my tennies into the car with me when I left home that morning. So I headed out for a walk with the seagulls.  At one point as I almost reached this group of seagulls, they took flight, soaring and swooping, dipping and turning.  And I snapped and snapped trying to capture the energy and beauty of the moment.


And I can feel my students reaching too.  In their rolling systems lab they had to work in groups of five to complete a number of tasks, rotating the jobs with each trial.  Coordinating their efforts and coordinating their actions was challenging.  Making the stopwatch work, lifting the starting line, measuring distance, lining up wheels…and getting along in the process kept them reaching.  Luckily, they will get another try…and an opportunity to reach again.


So this week’s challenge is about reaching…up, out, beyond…  To help, to learn, to explore, to lend a helping hand.  Where are you reaching right now?

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

So reach out…and take some photographs.  What are you reaching for?  Show us through your lens!