As part of my participation in the bookstagram community on Instagram, I often take pictures of book covers. I take these pictures outside sometimes so that the background to the book may look a little interesting.
I take these photos no matter what the weather:
Sometimes I take them at home and surround them with silk flowers:
Or I place the book next to my potted plants and pair it with a snack,
or even a drink.
Sometimes I photograph the book with only the potted plant accompanying it, showing off its green leaves
and sometimes its flowers.
From time to time, I pair a book cover with some of my students’ work:
Recently I have taken to listening to audiobooks during the social isolation period and have even shared these tops with the community.
I enjoy opening the covers of the books I read and often try to think of ways in which I can show off the work created by the artists who designed them.
On my neighbourhood walk, I pass a retreat that I always wished for when I was a child: a tree house.
The structure has been sturdily built and hugs the tree all the way up to a well-made platform. I can imagine myself creating a cozy spot on that platform and reading while listening to the wind move the leaves around me.
As I pass by the tree house on my morning walk, I hope that someone does enjoy the space high up in the trees – especially during the summer.
A section of my morning walk is quite hilly and gives the leg muscles quite a good workout. On this particular stretch of road, a number of houses require stairs to reach the front door. I love the look of this home’s entrance with the tree-covered stairway hinting at a small showing of a rooftop.
At the moment the entrance way is brown with splashes of green. In full summer, though, the path to the top looks magnificent.
In grade 1 and 2, children are introduced to the concept of area. The learning goal of the activities I prepare for them is for them to measure the surfaces of objects using non-standard units of measure and in class I usually offer them math manipulatives such as pattern blocks and interlocking cubes. Parents, however, do not have these resources at home so I had to be a little creative with my task when planning a lesson for my students to do at home.
The curriculum does not state precisely what unit of measure children are to use, so I instructed the children to use a household object. I showed them an example that I did in which I used forks:
In addition, I gave my students the sentence starter to use when they wrote down their response. Translated, the sentence states: I measured a(name of object). The surface of the (name of object) is (number used) (name of household object used).
I liked seeing my students’ innovative choices of units.
Food played a role in some responses:
As did the games they play with:
Other responses included the use of business cards, Lego, and toilet paper rolls (I loved this one!).
I am sure these children will not forget what it is to measure the surface area of an object – even when thy have to use standardised units of measure in the higher grades.
What would you use to measure the surface of an area?
A couple of weeks ago, I wanted a change of background for my Bookstagram photos. Packing a couple of books inside a bag, I set out for a nearby stream that I often walk past.
On arriving at the stream, I saw the top of a tree stump that would be perfect to place my books on for a shot.
Unpacking my books, I placed them on the space. Luckily I had gone out early in the morning so there were not many people around to interfere with the aesthetic of my photo.
While at the stream, I decided to walk a little as I have always enjoyed this spot.
The stream ripples along quite a bit a the bottom of this ravine and I followed along with it until I could no longer.
Stones have been placed alongside the stream to prevent erosion and, as I walked along, I wondered if the stream ever becomes a gushing river.
In all the years I have lived in this neighbourhood and walked this way, I have not seen the level higher than this.
My curiosity is peaked though and I think to myself I need to come by here the next time we are issued with a flood warning. In the meantime, though, my task was done and my walk at an end. I will return another time to enjoy the sight of the stream.
Do you have a stream nearby your home that you can enjoy?
Before schools were closed in response to the COVID-19 virus, my class and I had almost finished the unit on Communities. We had explored mapping and had competed a number of tasks. Unfortunately I am unable to introduce them to the final activity that I had planned for the class but I did come up with an alternative.
Using the Google Maps application, I encouraged them to explore the aerial view of their neighbourhood (we had explored the school’s neighbourhood in class). Once that was done, I asked them to to draw a two block radius of their own neighbourhood using Google Maps as a reference. When assigning the task, I listed the success criteria for them so that they would know my expectations. The task was a perfect way for them to put into practice what we had been learning in class.
The children have done a magnificent job. Here is a section of the first submission I received:
I could see that the student had spent a long time on the task and that she had replicated her neighbourhood block accurately. Another student did not draw her immediate surrounding area but instead chose a block that was more interesting to draw:
I love that she coloured it in so beautifully and her legend showed a knowledge of the area. My favourite aerial map submitted took the student over a week to draw:
Her map followed all of the success criteria and shows an excellent understanding of mapping. If we were in the classroom, her map would have been pinned to the board outside:
I am currently thinking of another long-term assignment that my students can work on. Next week is an oral one – but the week after? I am not sure yet.
Remember last week I shared with you a house in our neighbourhood that has a moose on its roof? It seems that these home owners are not the only people in the neighbourhood who share a love of animal art on their homes.
A few blocks away from the stone Canadian caribou, I pass a house that has ants crawling over it.
These giant ants may not be real but they sure do look like they belong in a scene from a horror movie. When I pass this home, I cannot help but think that the owner has a sense of humour.
I love the uniqueness of this home art – it definitely makes one look at the house twice!
Would you decorate the front of your home with ants?
Last week I started walking every morning to ensure that I get some exercise and breathe in a little outside air. Walking in the morning has made going outside more regular for me instead of waiting for the afternoon to go out. By the afternoon, my energy is spent and I have no desire to go out. At least morning walks prevent me from spending day after day within our apartment walls.
Besides the exercise, another benefit of going outside has been the chance to see the signs of spring. Slowly the grass has turned green and, a few days ago, I saw that the daffodils in gardens have bloomed.
The sight of the yellow flowers is a cheerful one – especially when they are surrounded by plants that have not yet woken up from winter.
Each morning I pass these clusters of daffodils and I cannot help but smile. I now look forward to seeing the tulips flower.
Have you noticed any daffodils flowering on your daily walks?
I love the Weeping Willow. To me it has always been a tree that seems wise and comforting. On my morning walk, I pass a small Willow that has not yet grown to its full height.
At the moment, the tree stands naked on the side of a busy road. Even though the grass beneath it has started to green, buds have not yet started to show on this wizened-looking tree and cover it with its green beauty.
Despite its lack of buds, the tree has within it the promise of green and sanctuary.
The sunlight filters through its branches, warming the life within it. The tree’s awakening will be slow but, when it comes, it will be magnificent.
As I pass by the tree, I know that within a few weeks its beauty will begin to show as Spring takes hold of the land. I look forward to passing this tree covered in all its glory.