(This is for the Slice of Life challenge for March, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We are writing each day about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)
My youngest son asked if he could invite some friends over to go play in the neighborhood woods. Of course, we said yes, and I was tasked with being the ‘adult nearby’ during the nearly three hours they played Capture the Flag, and then Manhunt, and then various forms of Hide and Seek.
Three hours of fresh air in their lungs on a sort of cold day and lots of running and playing. Their clothes were all muddy when they were done. Not that they cared.
My dog was my companion, and as the kids were playing and needing no help from me (and I purposely kept myself aloof from their planning and playing), I started to notice the trees.
I dug out my phone camera and began to take shots of the various trees, moving closely in to get textures and slight colors, and I love how this collage captures the variety of tree trunks I examined.
This has not been a typical New England winter, and I am not complaining. But my boys have been. Where’s the snow? they want to know. Some arrived yesterday, so a day off school meant sledding and hot chocolate. I love this view from my back window, with the two side-by-side chairs, as if awaiting a conversation.
I am now a sixth grade teacher, so these two photographs — one of the entire sixth grade, and one of my sixth grade class — are gentle reminders of what it is like to be that age. I decided to use these two photos for a digital story.
The app I used is the free Adobe Voice, which I continue to rave about for being a free, easy-to-use tool for making digital stories. Not a whole lot of bells and whistles, but when the heart of the composition is the story, what works best is simplicity.
This week, we move into Visual Literacies with Digital Writing Month. We continue to discover ways to engage people collaboratively, and the latest project is an inspiration by my friend, Kim Douillard, whose weekly photographic prompts are just a wonder in and of themselves.
You are invited to join us, too. Head to the open Google Slide Presentation we are calling Our Eyes on the Skies, choose a slide, and upload an image of what you see when you look up. Add your geographic location, and name, if you are comfortable.
Kim had us thinking of how to capture the start of something or the end of something via an image, as part of our Photo Fridays adventure. (Actually, she is gathering folks to do an image a day for September. I don’t think I can do it, but you might want to try. At least, follow along with her ideas for photos as literacy.)
I live in New England, and already, the trees are beginning to change. We know it’s coming, this thing we call Autumn, but to see it happening in a few select trees (the same trees, changing first every year, and those are the trees we think of the dreaded Harbinger of Winter on the Horizon.)
I found this leaf on a walk and it seemed to perfectly illustrate the start of something (Autumn) and the end of something (Summer) with its color pattern. The deep green, run through with golden brown. It is as if the leaf was resisting. Resistance is futile.
A friend in the Making Learning Connected MOOC did an interesting art/media activity … her daughter had given her a nifty birthday card of a woman in a dress, but the dress was cut-out, allowing you to see the world through the folds of the dress. You hold up the card, and while the frame is the same — the woman, smiling — the layer beneath the flowing skirt is whatever you hold the card up against.
I saw that and thought: how simple and how amazingly cool, and then decided, I need to give that a try. So I did.
I made a drawing of a computer, and cut out the screen, and then decided to make a commentary on seeing the world beyond the screen. It’s a reminder of the beauty of the world all around us (ironic, I know, in that I am sharing the idea on your screen). This is a collage of some of the images that I ended up taking.
Give it a try. See what happens. The results are pretty interesting, I think.
(This is a post for Slice of Life, a writing challenge throughout March, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We notice the small moments. You write, too.)
In another writing space with National Writing Project colleagues (including Bonnie), our good friend Kim Doullard hosts a Photo Fridays feature, where she shares photos on a theme and asks us to keep our lens open for possibilities. This week’s theme is all about “the overlooked” moments. Last night as I was taking the dog out, I looked at the sky from our driveway and saw a plethora of colors in the night. The tree provides a nice frame, as does the stars in the sky, and the street/house lights give off yet another color.
It’s the perfect image for a visual slice of life, and Kim’s advice to notice the overlooked dovetails so nicely with our writing activities, of noticing those things we see all the time but now we see them in a slightly different light. Turn your head a bit. Squint your eyes. Reframe what you see. Notice the overlooked.
LATE ADD: This morning, when I went outside after writing, I saw this:
I took two of my sons, and a friend, for a hike up a local mountain. A beautiful public building sits on top, open again after two years of renovations, and on the railing, you can see … forever … or at least as forever seems in our valley area of Western Massachusetts. I used a panoramic lens app on my iPad to stitch together this view on this perfect day, with puffy clouds overhead.
I invite you to follow me into our woods, near our bike path, where a neighbor and his grandson’s work to create natural sculptures has inspired the entire neighborhood to make art, and the results are just a stunning display of creativity. I used Storehouse App to collect and annotate the images.
I’ve had the Storehouse digital storytelling app on my iPad for some time now — it was touted as the next wave of digital storytelling, from a design standpoint — and I am just now getting into figuring it out, thanks to the Make Cycle for the Making Learning Connected MOOC that has us telling a story in five images. My story is about a toy truck that I picked up at a tag sale for my oldest son (now 16) when he was three years old. It had its days as the main truck for all three boys, but now sits in rusty retirement behind our fire pit.
I can’t seem to find a reason to get rid of it. The truck comes freighted with memories.
So, for my five image story, I decided to try to pan out (with a panoramic app) to capture the entire back yard (macro), and then slowly zoom in (micro) to the truck in its hiding spot. I resisted adding text to the project, although I feel as if it probably needs it for context.
But I will let it stand as it is, and say that more playing with Storehouse has yielded a very powerful story that I will share tomorrow. You’ll be pretty amazed at it, I think.
I also added the five images into flickr. I like the Storehouse version better.
Speaking of story, I missed the entire online discussion yesterday with CLMOOC folks about the nature of storytelling and the question of “what is a story?” that has framed inquiry in the community lately, but I did create this little Tapestry to make a point about collective storytelling.