My favourite colour is purple. I like most colours, except that I'm not too fond of yellow. I'm a teacher, a student, a wife and a step-mom to four young adult-ish kids. My favourite room is my craft room. I like to play with photography, paper, scrapbooking, book and card making. Thanks for checking out my blog!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

collage #5 of 2011 Peace in the river

A friend of mine thought his expression was like that of a new born baby, fresh in the world.
I kind of liked that imagery for this shot.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

collage #4 of 2011

Ah yes. IKEA was a big part of last week in our household. Not much colour in those instructions. Also, a high proportion of frowny face characters to smiley ones. I get that. I know that this is not my language. I am thankful that others in my house speak and read IKEA. I even misspelled 'illiteracy' in the title on the page. Sigh.

The River

So this week in class we drew/painted a river to represent our learning inquiry that began last September. We were to think symbolically of the obstacles, the banks of the river, whether there was anything in the river, and any bends along the way. I used watercolour pencils, watercolour crayons, and watercolour from tubes. I figured it's water, so why not use WATERcolour? 

I enjoyed the process. The next step was to bring 12 or more collected quotes that we have read during our inquiry that were meaningful. We wrote them on post-it notes and then placed them on top of our river painting in appropriate places along the river. Then we reflected on our river pieces and wrote about them.

My river/waterfall painting:
Narrow at the top, widening with time
More beautiful than the original intention
As we progress down the waterfall, the boulders become less visible. They are still there- in that they guide the water down the specific path. Some boulders may be just under the surface, but not clearly visible. But they are not constricting, they don’t need to be present any more. I become less and less, as the students become more and more independent and familiar with the writing process and things to try.
The water is made up of various blues and greens, with different painting techniques. Like the individuals in my class- they are individual writers with their own style and flair. All together, they make up a beautiful group of authors.
All together, their writing creates a variety of expression, the most unique shelf in a library.  The students enjoy writing together, they enjoy sharing their writing aloud. They appreciate each other. The water and swirls represent this sharing, this overlapping.
 In the DR of my childhood, the river is the source of life for the small rural farming village. Pipes can guide the water to feed the thirsty land, to make it arable for planting at any time of year. The river is the place where girls collect heavy cans of water, confidently balanced on their heads, bringing the valuable water for cooking and drinking and cleaning to the proud but humble homes with thatched roofs. The river, with surrounding rocks, is also the Laundromat, where girls and women beat the clothes on the rocks to clean them and rinse them in the flowing water. Gossip is shared around these rocks. In the heat of the day, the cooling river and falls bring welcome relief and are a Playground for the kids, who scream and play in the water. The river is a source of life. Without it, life in the village is different and more difficult. 
In the church with the precariously tippy benches and hard swept dirt floor, they sing of the joy in their soul that is like a river of living water in their being. This song is full of life, with a syncopated beat that is hard not to tap a toe to. It lifts them from the struggle of daily life. It reminds them that they believe in something more than what they see day to day. The river is a beautiful symbol yet also a dependent reality in their lives. 

I think of this too, as I think of my inquiry and what I am learning and what my students are creating with their authoring: It is living, it is changing, it is somewhat predictable, but still breathtaking with beauty. It is a source of life- students crave the sharing time, the double block of writing time, the huddled trio discussing Pumpkin’s next adventure, the pleading with me to take their Writer's Notebooks home. These are the swirls, the sprays that form the whole body of water.

 I can’t just arrive at the swirls. The water needs to wind its way around the rocks and boulders. It needs to meander until it hits the more rapid flow. I could zoom in with a camera lens on just the froth and flow. That has its beauty on its own. But I would miss so much if all I looked at was that part. It’s beauty in the whole. The beauty is in being on the whole journey.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I was pulled over on the way home today...


Bird nest sighted in a bare winter's tree=hopeful sign of spring to come!

It took my breath away, and I really did pull  over, go into my trunk to grab my camera and walked down the street a little so I could take these photos! 

I looked at my watch and it was 5:15pm! Which means we have already gained almost an HOUR of daylight...and more daylight means... MORE time to delight in MORE COLOUR!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fieldstone Artisan Breads

This was the colour of my breakfast yesterday: Raspberry with White Chocolate Scone. 

We drove to Fieldstone Artisan Breads because we had heard of its deliciousness and wanted to try it out for ourselves. It was an experience for the senses! The smell was warm and welcoming, with fresh bread baking and the whole place busy with anticipation of customers. The display cases were full of tempting treats. The bakers were friendly, and the servers treated us like they knew us. It was so delicious! 

Granola in baskets.


You can tell this was made with a lot of love!

This is a place I would like to visit again! 

There were so many eagles on the drive to and from the bakery. 
On one tree alone, I lost track after counting seven large ones!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Colour amidst the Slushy grey skies

 I took this picture from my classroom fire escape this morning, as it was snowing. Isn't it grey? I bet you can't tell if it's done in a black and white, right?

Here's the same picture, but with a black and white treatment. Can you tell a difference?

Nope. I couldn't.

So because it was so slushy and grey, I decided to look again at some art that my students made that was up in our hallways. I had the Burnaby Art Gallery come in and do a hands-on workshop. Students learned how to do story boards of a social story, how to show feeling through collage, water colour, pastels. Then they picked a phrase or sentence that represented their picture.

There's my colour for the day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Siu Mai and Snowmen

My collage is made up of papers that all crossed my path this week:
  • innocent coffee was my breakfast date last Saturday
  • frederick buechner, who was part of my reading and creativity (photo and quotes)
  • the plumeria flowers were on the mauna loa bag of macadamia nuts that I finished off
  • across the street at spicy court for dim sum lunch was my date this Saturday
  • the joys of winter with cute snowman was off my coffee sleeve today
  • black and white wrist band from one of my gym days
  • I cut apart  the window envelope that brought me my December VISA bill
This week I was comforting a student in the classroom cloakroom. Not one to usually show emotion, he was sullen and I could tell he was holding back a bother. Someone had alerted me saying that she didn’t realize that in a recess game she had destroyed his snow- a big ball on the gravel field left over from the snow last week. I explained this to the boy, who nodded to let me know that this was indeed what he was upset about. I tried to console  him by reminding him that it will snow again. And that’s when the tears really started rolling down his cheeks. He exclaimed in a broken voice, “But it was my first snowman!”

It was so innocent. His pain was so real. There was such a finality to his declaration. There was nothing more I could do or say but a gentle, “I’m so sorry.”

So I’m glad the snowman got into my collage this week. It will remind me of the what I learned this week: to try to understand the very real issues that some of my students go through. To my eyes, it may not seem like such a big deal. But if I try to see it through their eyes, maybe I can understand them better and give them space to grieve their smashed snowmen that will never be again.