Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Time Flies - and So Do I!

When I stepped into the elevator last fall, I wondered if this padding was a sign of things to come!
It is absolutely delightful to have some time to catch up.  Catch up on life!  A new semester begins this week and I am extremely thankful it is a light one for me.  The fall was too heavily focused on "work," and there was little or no time for me to write, photograph, and enjoy my family.  Last night I set about putting last semesters photos from my classes into Shutterfly so I could share them with my fall students - and it brought some closure to the courses, and relationships I built with my students.

In the fall I taught 2 sections of an Introduction to Education course, and 1 of Inclusion for the General Education Teacher.  When I walk into my collegiate classroom for the first time, this is typically what I see:

And then it quickly becomes this:

Of course, I do not teach in a lecture format, and this course is an exploratory of the teaching field, and the importance of professionalism, so I have to get to know the students well to help them make the most informed program decision they can.  That focus leads to this:

And this:

By the end of the semester they have learned to process the information and synthesize their findings into a more informed decision about their career path.  A wrap-up mind-mapping activity draws from their connections to content over the course of the semester:

And in the end they leave wiser, for the most part, and ready to tackle the next step on whatever path they decide to take.

One more semester in the books, and I will admit I am glad to be taking a break from the campus classroom this current semester to head back into the field.  I LOVE to mentor student teachers as they learn how to navigate the mysteries of lesson planning, classroom management, professional skills, building relationships and networks...and so much more.  My group of 6 began in their area classrooms today and I am anxious to hear about their start.

So...we are off again!  But hopefully I will also be able to squeeze in my writing and photography a bit more, as well as catch up with my blogging friends and acquaintances.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Breath of Fresh Air

A beautiful weekend.  Perhaps not as colorful as we have had in the past, but time in nature is time well spent.  Time with those you love, doing what you love, is a breath of fresh air in a far too busy life.

Each October we try to take a photo adventure of some sort, searching out the color and beauty of our  wonderful state.  Usually it is our anniversary weekend, and this year we were just a couple of weeks early.  But we celebrate our time together whether it is on a specific date, or not.

One thing we have noticed since we got the pup is that our photography has had to evolve.  No longer can we each take our time to set up shots, look for that perfect angle and have both hands free.  If we have Kaycee with us, she either has to wait in the car for us, or be part of the photo shoot!  The other option we also exercise, is one of us takes photos while the other walks the dog.  Or be her talent agent - as she draws so much attention wherever we go.  It is very good for her, as we are working on socialization skills and behavior, but it is almost a full-time job at tourist attractions!

                             Here are some highlights from our adventure North of the Bridge.  
                                                         At Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Cut River Bridge walk

Foliage and Fungi

Running Free at the Airport in Munising

Fall Decorations in Town

A Swim in Pete's Lake - gentle water with no waves.

No Swim in Lake Superior - too much action and noise!

Quiet, Off-the-Beaten-Path Finds

Photographer or Subject?  Both!

Au Train Falls

Whitefish Point Coast Guard Light Station

Memorial on the Beach to Lives Lost on Lake Superior

Beautiful Sunset as Peace Settles on the Soul

What are some of YOUR favorite locations?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Storytelling - One Stitch at a Time

A number of years ago I was drawn down a path I had never imagined I would walk.  The world of quilting.  Well, technically it's "sewing," and "creating," but my own product does not become a quilt until I take it to the magic-weaver.  The person who transforms my imagined product into the real-deal.  The quilter.  The person behind the machine.  And the woman I go to works true magic and turns my story into a work of art.
Valerie Reynolds...quilter extraordinaire!
Get comfortable - for here the story begins.

 My daughter is a fantastic fine arts teacher - middle school theatre arts, no less!  She opens the minds and hearts of these wonderfully energetic young people and shows them that drama is not always a bad thing!  She had moved schools a couple of times and worked her magic on many before deciding to explore the world of administration.  More power to her!  Not my gig, that is for sure.  The story begins with a collection of t-shirts she had from her years teaching, and the fact that I had previously made t-shirt quilts for both my children.
Made for my daughter from shirts collected from a variety of fine arts productions.
Made for my son from shirts collected in sporting, performing arts and other activities he was involved in.  Makes a great picnic blanket for the family!
Setting the scene:

The phone rings.

"Mom.  I love you so much!   Would you be willing to make me a t-shirt quilt out of all these old shirts I have around the house?  I'll never wear them again."


"Sure," I answer.  "But it will be a while because I'm working on something else right now.  Besides my day job.  Send them to me and we'll see what they look like."

"Thanks, Mom!"

And so the journey begins.  The box arrives.  T-shirts from 2 schools for sure, maybe 3.  I have a few minutes so start cutting them down to an approximate size.  Stacked and ready to craft into a quilt, I set them aside.

About a month later (timeline is a bit foggy because the focus changed a couple of times).

Phone rings.

"Hey mom - don't do anything with those shirts right away.  I am applying for an administrative position at my old school, and if I get it I will need some shirts back.  Wouldn't that be cool!? "

"Um....yes!  But it's too late.  Cutting done."

"Oh...okay.  Well don't sew until I know about the job.  We might do just one group of t-shirts."

And so she gets the job, and now I am tasked with designing something to display in an office!  No pressure!

It was a fun project, actually, and I found a really cute pattern I hadn't seen before.  So I got to work in earnest so she could have it done when school started.  For both of us!

First to figure out the fabric to use as borders around the shirts.  Then how to arrange the blocks into a pleasing design.
Then the struggle to find the right angle to cut so there was continuity across the whole quilt.
Then to sew them all together and take them to the quilter for her creative touch.  Ta da!

When the quilt came home from Valerie's, I sewed the binding around the edge - that finishing touch - and sewed a label on the back.  I did have a little too much help doing my finish work!

Off in the mail it went, with strict instructions on washing - and getting me a photo of the quilt hanging in it's place of honor in her new office.  Thankfully my daughter knows that this is a serious endeavor and she crafts a lovely finished product.
The new Assistant Principal, Ms. Wortham, in her office.
And every Assistant Principal needs a helper!  Miss Choe looks right at home here!

Well, just in time.  I begin work tomorrow and the rest of the semester is laid out ahead of me.  I am so glad this story-telling quilt has finally come together and is hanging "at home."  It brings me great joy to create something for someone else, whether it's a quilt, scarf, photograph or book.  And knowing my work is appreciated and loved back is all the reward I need.

(On a side note - apparently I could go into business doing quilts.  
Christine says the orders are piling up!)

What do YOU create that brings joy to yourself and/or someone else? 
 Living a creative life is very rewarding.