Monday, July 30, 2012

Macro Monday

I discovered this new meme tonight and even though I am backtracking and posting twice in one night (!), I couldn't resist. Taking macro shots of flowers is one of my favourite past times. Here is a lovely lily.

Be sure to check out the other macro shots here.

Slice of Life Tuesday

As our children grow and face challenges, we are always there to guide and help them. Once they become adults though, stepping in to help is not desirable. I know we may want to, but they have their own lives and their own solutions.

I know this and accept it, but this past week I have wanted to be a mother lion and come charging in and protect my daughter. She has been wronged by her workplace and I have to hold myself back strongly not to go in and demand restitution. That is one of the hardest things I have had to do - to do nothing. Not even a letter to the editor which I have written several times!

I admire her and hurt for her. She is a strong woman. I can't wait for her to be able to leave there and pursue employment that respects her intelligence and ability.

Slice of Life Tuesday participants can be found here.

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Although I have been reading, much of my reading this past week has been on education books for book clubs. A few chapters here and there but not yet finished these books. I am enjoying the sharing of thoughts on these books though and so am spending a bit more time online.

I did read these books though:

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

I finally read this book that has had such wonderful reviews. I enjoyed it immensely. Such a sensitive story and well written.

Willow Run by Patricia Reilly Giff

I enjoyed this story and main character Meggie, whose life is upturned when her family must move to Willow Run  in 1944.

Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie by Norton Jester Cillus and Chris Roschka

I saw this in a bargain bin and bought it because of Chris Roschka. I did enjoy the story about a little girl's two sides. Interesting illustrations a s well.

A Page out of Life by Kathleen Reid

A book for me,  about scrapbooking friends and how they support each other. A bit farfetched at times, but it was an enjoyable light read.

Still reading - a number of teaching books and art books.

Next I will be reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I had resolved not to buy any more books, but saw this and remembered the reviews and knew I had to read it.
I still have 5 or 6 other books started but not finished! I have to be in a certain frame of mind to read books and some books just call to be read. The Book Thief was one of them.
I also finally made it back to the library last week and picked up a number of YA books. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis and Inside Out and Back Again by Thannhha Lai  will be next on my list to read.

Be sure to check out the reviews here and here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadows are either sought after or despaired, depending on what you are seeking. For the legion of SSS seekers, shadows are an obsession. I know I am obsessed - many times it is the shadows I notice before the place or the people!
Here are a few shadows from the this week, a week of mostly, sun and heat.

Our last baby dove was flexing his wings yesterday. His sibling had left 2 days before but he was not so sure. Both parents came back to encourage him. This morning the nest was empty - our boarders were all gone.

Be sure to check out the shadow chasers from around the world here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sky Watch Friday

Although I am always taking photos of the sky, I have not taken part in Skywatch  Friday for some time. Time to get back to posting skies for this fun meme!

Tonight the skies went from grey to white clouds and blue within a few hours. We almost got caught in the downpour while at the store. We waited it out and bought more!

These are the skies when we arrived home:

Be sure to stop by here to see some awesome skies from around the world.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Slice of Life Tuesday

So much of what is happening in the world comes down to making decisions, whether right or wrong. Too often people blame their upbringing, their boss or other things in their life.

A quote by Stephen Covey really struck home this week with all the tragedies, especially in Colorado and Toronto:

"I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions. "

Albert Camus said: " Life is the sum of all your choices."

To pick up a gun and carry it is a decision. To take it out and fire it in public is a decision. And those decisions have huge ramifications.
The mayor of Toronto made the decision to cut funding for social programmes that affect young people. He also made  the decision to push for greater police presence and stricter laws.

We too have choices and decisions to make in the face of such evil. The people of Colorado are facing their fears and standing up for all the victims.

There are so many places in the world where injustice rules and the value of each person is diminished. We need to raise our voices in justice, hope and anger as well.

As Jane Goodall has said:
"We have a choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place - or not to bother."

It comes down to choice, to making decisions that are for the greater good. We all must work towards:
 granting dignity for everyone;
to reducing poverty and violence against women and especially children;
 to closing the gap between rich and poor;
to allowing everyone to live life with all their needs met.

"Each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others is a prayer of action."
(Richard J. Foster

Be sure to visit "Two Writing Teachers" for other slices of life.

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

I have tried to read a variety of books this past week, from picture books to YA to fun reads for me.

This past week I read:

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

It had been billed as the next Hunger Games. I had lent it to a former student to read and get her opinion. She actually enjoyed it. So did I.  There is a sequel - to be out in a few months.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dagliesh
One of my favourite units in our grade 3 social studies curriculum is a look at early Native people. I had picked up this book at a yard sale and wanted to see if it was suitable. But the term "Indian" used throughout and some of the negative expressions made me uneasy. So it won't be used in my classroom.
The Stories Julian Tell by Ann Cameron

I picked this up as well and enjoyed the stories by Julian - especially on catalogue cats!

The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand

A fun read for me. Interesting characters and how they interact.

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

Just finished this yesterday and really enjoyed it. It details the long marriage of Jack and Laurel Cooper and the weekly letters Jack wrote to his wife during their 40 years together, through the eyes of their children, quite a motley crew. There is even a website to upload your own Wednesday Letter.

I am still working on several teacher book clubs and these books take up some of time for reading:
Guiding Readers, The Daily Five, Guided Math, and now, Opening Minds. They have all been worthwhile reading.I will be continuing these books over the next few weeks.

Currently I am reading:

Notebook Know-How; Strategies for the Writer's Notebook by Aimee Buckner

Take Joy; A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft by Jane Yolen

The Breadwinner Tril0gy by Deborah Ellis

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Be sure to check out the great reads here and here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday

What a glorious morning! The heat and humidity have finally departed (at least for  awhile)
I got up at 6:30 this morning and watched and waited for  the sun  to wash over  the back of our yard. About 9 am, after reading 2 newspapers and checking the blogworld, I was finally able to get outside for shadow hunting.

First shot was of our new baby dove - finally got to see it this morning, just peeping out from under its mom.

Then off to the back yard, for some shots of chairs and things.

Of course I had to get a couple of shots of our newest flowers:

Now this little bronze critter my hubby captured a couple of days ago and we have no idea what kind of bug (probably a beetle) it is. Any ideas?

Be sure to check out the great shadows from around the world here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Favourite, Must-have Picture Books

While blog surfing, I came across this teacher linky at "The Teacher Wife" and thought it an excellent one. As a teacher, I am always on the search for  great picture books. There are so many uses for them in the classroom. Many become mentor books for reading and writing strategies.
This being Tuesday Top 10, I thought I would take liberties with that meme and make my own top 10 picture books, especially for the beginning of the school year.

1. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

A fun book that helps see that even teachers can have the jitters. Great to lead to discussions of what we worry about.

Check it out here.

2. The Memory Stone by Anne Louise MacDonald

I use this book the first week of school to help children focus on a special memory and how an object can help us remember a special time.

Check it out here.

3. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

This is a special book about memories, love, generations, by a favourite author.

Check it out here.

4. It's a Book by Lane Smith

My students loved this book! Great way to discuss books and media forms.

Check it out here.

5. Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna

A gentle look at the impact of rumours and looking past appearances.

Check it out here.

6. One Green Apple by Eve Bunting

An excellent book that looks at fitting in and being different, especially for ELL students.

Check it out here.

7. Have You Filled a Bucket Today and Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud

I start the year with these 2 books and we share ways to fill each other's bucket. This is referred to all year. It's a very visual way for kids to see how their actions and words affect others.
There is even a website to give ideas and teaching hints.

Check it out here.

8. The Golden Rule by  Ilene Cooper and Gabi |Swiatkowska

A lovely book that really focuses on how we treat others.

Check it out here.

9. The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill

Love this story about how to stand up to a bully and change the way things are.

Check it out here.

10. Who is Melvin Bubble? by Nick Bruel

A great intro to point of view and how others see us. We turned their writing into books.

Check it out here.

Linking here - be sure to check out all these wonderful books and teacher blogs!

Slice of Life Tuesday

While reading the newspaper Sunday morning, I came across an ad for a cottage timeshare at Chandler Point in Haliburton. It took me back 12 years, the last time I was there, before it became a time-share.

For 6 years, my 3 children and I travelled to Haliburton to stay at a cottage for a week or two and took art courses at Haliburton School of Fine Art. What a perfect holiday! We all separate for the day, meeting at the end of the day, sharing what we had experienced in our classes. Then we went back to the cottage, for a swim, supper and then exploring or more swimming.

I took a variety of courses over our time there - basketry, silk screening, collage, watercolour. My children had excellent courses as well, from jewellery making, to computer animation to papier mache.
My favourite day of the week was Thursday, when there was walk-about - a chance to visit all the classes to see what was created.
Haliburton became my refuge from a marriage that was soon to break apart for good. Those 2 or three weeks were a balm for my soul and chance to create and learn new skills. I even taught twice at the school, teaching young children's classes - something I loved doing.
Once I divorced though, I have never gone back. That refuge is no longer needed.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life stories.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer of Color

The past 6 weeks at Twinkle, Twinkle, Kristin has held her second Summer of Colour. It has been a fun exploration of colour through the inspiration of  ice cream flavours. I have enjoyed playing with the colours and have created several backgrounds for use in other projects.
This week it was:  
Watermelon Ice

I only used red and black but used a credit and and a heart stamp sheet  in creating my background:

Last week the flavour was :  Wild n' Reckless Sherbet

I used turquoise, green and 2 shades of pink, with a sponge brush and a cardboard strip to create this background:

Be sure to check here to see how other artists have interpreted these colour inspirations.