Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Loving Photographs

              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, those who link up share fabulous non-fiction picture books. I am grateful for all that I've learned through reading non-fiction picture books. 

I finally received this from my library. It had many holds, hopefully giving hope to children who are "antsy" in school as Ansel Adams was. Fortunately his father went against convention and understood that his "wiggly" son, often in trouble in school, needed to be active and outside in a lively place so he could be "antsy". Ansel's father pulled him out of school and hired a tutor and a piano teacher. Ansel was finally free to spend a lot of time on the dunes where they lived near the Golden Gate bridge. He loved nature, a hint of how much of its beauty he captured later with a camera.
     There were other inspirations as he grew up, but seemingly the biggest was a first visit to Yosemite, and the surprise gift of a camera. One could say he was "captured" by it, as he later "captured" his photo subjects.
           Ansel returned to Yosemite often, eventually meeting and marrying a young woman whose family lived there, and making it their home, too.
      I loved the illustrations which are a mix of collage paintings that include some of the sites Ansel photographed. There is a detailed piece about Ansel Adams and a list of resources in the back matter.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Authenticity Means Something!

       I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today. It's always a pleasure to read what everyone writes about their lives.

         When I taught, the search continued to find ways to use the students' individually chosen topics in authentic ways. The topics varied, and often research had to happen first so that the student could find a direction that would be something of interest, something that will help the community, or one group. For example, one student who studied child psychology gave a series of lectures about the stages of emotional development to her classmates and to other older classes, to help them understand their own growth. Imagine the kind of learning she had to do in order to deliver something of interest and something helpful to her classmates! Another student began studying cartooning, and developed a number of key characters in a four-cell strip. He copied and distributed these to every student in the school, and began a dialogue with the classes of students as his audience. He asked what they thought of the drawings, the content, the characters. And he asked for ideas they would like to see. I guess you see where I'm heading, that learning through a topic of passion and finding ways that one can learn by offering something of value is meaningful both to the learner and the recipients of that learning. One final example involved those in the class who wanted to learn how to start a business. A group who volunteered helped set up a used bookstore in the school, found a place to house the books, advertised for 'gently used' books, set prices and store hours, and managed the inventory. It was a wonderful opportunity for those who loved the idea of being business entrepreneurs.

        This weekend my daughter and son-in-law gave a pumpkin carving party for mostly neighborhood friends and their children.They found old worn out trophies and spray-painted them orange. They found a few neighbors without children to serve as judges, offered lots of treats, and the party happened! Here are a few pics of the results, and one picture of Ingrid with the judges. She opted to be one of the judges instead of entering the contest, created a jack o'lantern for a "model" and set the categories ahead of time. They were categories like "most creative", "funniest", "scariest" and a few others. As the pumpkins were completed, she gave them a number and took notes in her journal. When the other judges arrived, she was ready to share what she knew already, and to take notes for them as they all decided on prizes. She loved being part of this group, contributed as she could, and I believe felt very empowered as part of the group. FYI- she read to the adult judges the winners' names so they could hand out the trophies! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It's Monday -More Books To Love

 Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. My TBR list grows longer each week!

          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.   

       I just bought this book, and I am so pleased that I did. I don’t know how much to share because it is a beautiful surprise of a story. The poem in rhyme by Joyce Sidman trails through the story, about a night when a mother arrives home, sits with the children for a while, and then you see her getting ready to go again, off to the airport. She appears to be a pilot.  You’ll need to read the book to discover what happens next. The scratchboard and watercolor illustrations by Beth Kromme are exquisite, carrying the story along as time moves from late afternoon through the evening, till morning.

        This is a clever book that shows a grasshopper ordering other insects to bring it a rock. It wants to pile them high so it can sit on top, and be the king. There is some making fun, there are delightful expressions on each of the insects, and there is a wonderful ending that shows everyone has something to contribute.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Celebrating - Good Things

  Celebrating with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build.  and linking with others who share their celebrations, too. I am grateful to Ruth for helping us celebrate together!  

I missed last week because I stayed the weekend with Ingrid and Imogene while their parents went away for a couple of days to celebrate their anniversary. I wrote about this "play fest" last Tuesday. 

On Monday, Imi had a day off from school, so she spent a day at my house, and we ended up going to our wonderful Museum of Nature and Science. It is so much fun, and I'm fortunate to live close.

Tuesday was "my day" (I celebrated some down time!), and Wednesday was my birthday, most of the day spent visiting on the phone, then going out to dinner with Sarah, Dave, Ingrid and Imogene. Birthdays come and go rather uneventfully, but I celebrate the joy of the granddaughters when they watch me open my gifts. It helps me remember again how exciting these special days are, and makes me excited too.

It was a great week, and was topped with my son calling last night saying he was sending me a plane ticket to come visit next weekend! I am excited again, to be able to see Carter and his marching band, to help with all the parent volunteer things, simply to "be" together will be cause for celebration all that weekend, too. So I won't be blogging next weekend, but will be celebrating!

A note: Imi loved the rocks, especially the sparkly ones. There was an amazing "floor" movie with sounds of streams running and birds chirping, fish swimming through, Imi with a sweet sea lion sculpture, and always the end: feeding the lion to make it roar. Birthday dinner: the girls were being silly, sliding down, down onto the floor. Isn't that what silly kids do? And that last, with Ingrid on Thursday, running back from getting the mail.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Poetry Friday - Election Changes

         Irene Latham at Live Your Poem hosts this mid-October Poetry Friday, sharing some fabulous, creative scarecrows and a poem about them, too. Thanks, Irene, for a perfect autumn post!

         Of all the craziness in this election time, my mind continues to return to those who are not answering questions put to them. I listen with focus, and it happens time and time again. I've been writing this poem for a while, mostly done "before" these recent events more alarming than simply not answering a question. It is not meant as a joke, but serious because I want the answers, and not the lies. 
         I have rarely heard or used the word “pivot” since my high school basketball days. However, in this election frenzy, this word has appeared often in the mouths of newscasters. It varies with the breaking news shared, but most of the time it means that a question is asked, a dilemma is faced, and the central person turns away to talk or effect a different, and meaningless, response, in order to change the direction of the topic. Argh, so frustrating!


I will avert my eyes,
avoid all you surmise
about anything.

I will bend the query;
when you lunge, I parry
away your sting.