Photography Class - Day 5

Monday was the 5th day of the photography class at camp.  We worked on finalizing some images.  When you work alone on something you've been doing for a while, it makes you forget how much longer it takes to work with others - especially kids of varying ages.  I asked one student, "Do you understand what I'm asking you to do or are you just being difficult on purpose?"  LOL  It wasn't because of the work.  I just needed the image.  Sometimes with young people, middle school/high school, they don't have a sense of time.  So, once she said that she wasn't trying to be difficult, I gently reminded her that I needed her image so that I could send it to the printer in order for her to be able to take home a keepsake from camp which would end in two days.  I know I've reiterated that each day of camp and I'll probably have to say it again tomorrow, but it will be worth it.

I'm so pleased with the images the students have submitted.  I can't wait to show you them once I have them all.  When one student said that she couldn't pick her favorite from three different images, I told her that that let's her know how good they really are.  So I chose all three to be printed.

I know I mentioned earlier that camp was 8 days long, but now it has been cut back to 7 because of July 4th holiday.  So, two days of camp left - one day of teaching and the last day will be a field trip to a university and that evening we will have graduation.

Photography Class - Day 4

Thursday was a pretty exciting day.  Both groups of kids came to class excited and ready to continue working on their photography projects.  When I arrived, one of the students had already been taking photographs in all of the morning classes.  She even took the initiative to take a photograph of each teacher and the camp leaders.

A few kids started uploading the images from everyone else's sd cards and Bloggie cameras so that they could select the images to be used for the slideshow at graduation.  Others worked on finalizing an image to have on display for Parent Night.

It was a long day, but when Parent Night started, I was overjoyed to see the support from families.  We served pizza to everyone and introduced all of the staff.  Also, one of the camp facilitators informed parents of what is needed to prepare for college.  Afterwards, parents and students were able to mingle and see the exhibits from all of the classes.  The culinary group even made homemade tortilla chips and salsa!  Students wanted me to meet their parents or grandparents and I was glad to of course.  It's always so refreshing to see students proud of their work.

Here's a little video of our Parent Night.  Here you'll be able to see some of the students' work.

Photography Class - Day 3

On Wednesday, the students at camp went on a field trip.  Two buses traveled to a nearby 4-year university and one bus traveled to a community college in the neighboring county.  I was assigned to the community college group.

I got to work at 8:00 and thought we were leaving at 8:30.  I'm so glad we didn't.  Long story short, the thong part of my nice comfy flip flops broke.  With no other pair of shoes and no one wearing my size, I had to hobble over to Wal-Mart to buy a pair of shoes.  I've never understood how people can walk on asphalt or in stores without shoes on, but on Wednesday, I became one of those people.  lol  Yes, I went in the store with one shoe on and one shoe off.  Thankfully I was able to quickly find a pair of deck shoes on clearance for $9.00, a pair of no-show socks, and some antibacterial wipes.  I also got some sunscreen for another coworker and me to share.  It was 100 degrees and we were scheduled to be outside much of the time.

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At the community college, students who had no idea what career they would like to pursue took an online career test which told them possible areas for consideration.  Then the system told them the job outlook and the hourly wage for a 20 mile radius.  If the students had an email address, the system allowed them to widen their search to a 100 mile radius.

The students toured the industrial arts classes, robotics, electrical engineering, welding, and also the nursing department.  We even were able to go inside the "hospital" and see mannequin patients.  One woman was in labor.  Later that day I saw one of the nursing students and she told me the woman had a baby boy.  Fascinating!

After lunch the kids participated in a scavenger hunt.  Faculty members were not allowed to tell them the answers but were able to give hints or help them find a particular landmark.  In spite of the heat, the kids enjoyed themselves.  As for me, Gatorade never tasted so good.

One highlight for me was that I saw a few of the students I taught in 5th grade who were now in nursing school.  They were just as happy to see me as I was them.

Tomorrow will be the last day of camp for this week.  So back to editing photos and working on a slide show for the camp graduation next week.

Photography Class - Day 2

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On Tuesday, the second day of camp, the kids mainly focused on editing images.  My hope was to be able to have each student to edit one image so that I could have them printed and ready to be displayed by the time of the first Parent Night on Thursday.  However, because there were new students who needed to take images and others who got lost in all the options of Photoshop, that my friends, won't be happening this week.  Change of plans.  We'll work towards that goal for next Tuesday as well as create a slideshow of the camp experience to show during the graduation ceremony.

One student was fascinated by the filters in Photoshop and really transformed her image quite nicely.  She was very pleased with it, so what I will do is print both her original image and her edited one.  And again my star from yesterday said, "I like my image the way it is."  YES!  Although I enjoy Photoshop, my first love is to capture the image and present it as is.  Although she did change another image for the sake of practice, I was impressed by her willingness to showcase the sunflowers she captured just the way nature intended.

For the students who were absent the first day, I allowed another student who had also captured beautiful images, to show them the ropes.  They were gone for a bit, but when they came back, I was amazed.  They had been able to capture baby quails handheld by a teacher.  I loved that there were some students who focused specifically on the teacher's hands and the baby bird.  That composition makes a better statement than that of the teacher and the bird in the full frame.  In that regard, you don't know what to focus on and it becomes merely a snapshot.

Anyhoo, on Wednesday we all go on a field trip to visit nearby colleges, so hopefully students will capture a few great images from this excursion.

Photography Class - Day 1

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On Monday, I began my first attempt at teaching beginning photography to students.  I'm teaching at a camp, located in our high school, for 8 days.  The students attending the camp are rising 7th-11th graders, so I teach two classes - a middle school and high school version.

On the first day, I gave them a brief introduction to photography using this emaze presentation that I created.  There's so much to photography that I couldn't begin to give them everything, so I stuck to the basics:  styles of photography, types of cameras, lenses, rule of thirds, and composition.  We don't have access to dslr cameras, but I did bring mine for them to at least take play images with.  Since we were using point and shoot, the first thing I told them was to turn that flash OFF!
Powered by emaze

(I apologize for this super large presentation, but I didn't see how to create a smaller frame in emaze.)

The kids walked around the campus finding images to create.  Some took florals from the plants in the windowsills.  Next door, that teacher was teaching his students about agriculture and horticulture.  They had just dug up different varieties of potatoes.  The teacher cut open a purple potato and some were fascinated by that.  Others went out to the butterfly garden and captured images there.

I was impressed with their interest in photography and the time they took to truly create art.

I was intrigued by one young lady.  I hadn't noticed at first, but when I went to help her on a task, I realized that she had suffered severely from what I thought at the time were burns.  No real fingers, gauze on her arms and legs, bald patches.  Later I found out that she was born with a condition known as EB.  I admired her spirit and her eye for photography.  Even with very little, she was able to manipulate her camera on her own.  Even though I gave all the students directives, I noticed how she would pull away from the other students and create her own composition.  I saw her pick up a variety of potatoes, arrange them matter-of-factly, and crouch down as far as she could to get the right perspective.  I don't know if she'll pursue her interest in photography, but I let her know that she has some natural talent.

This camp is really a great experience for kids and teachers alike.

Hello World! Is This Mic On?

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I know.  I know.  It has been a super long time since I wrote my own blog post.  There's no true way to catch you up on everything, but I'll do my best to present a list of the highlights.

Um, this might take a while...
  • The spring wreaked havoc on my sinuses and I ended up with a sinus infection.
  • In April, my cell phone got stolen.  I got it back but I lost a lot of photos because the phone reset itself to factory settings and whatever didn't sync, I lost.  Years of photos.
  • Back in April a friend of mine got married.  I was unable to attend the wedding, but I did take her engagement photos.
  • The day of her wedding, I was at a 3-day conference for Delta Kappa Gamma Women's Educational Society.  I was able to meet the State Superintendent and take a photo with her.
All of this happened in the same week!
  • At the beginning of May, my spring semester classes ended.  I got a 3-week break, but that's when it was crunch time to prepare for end of grade testing for the students.
  • During that time, I attended a one-day Summit.  It was fantastic!  Everyone in attendance was currently or had been a teacher of the year.  I got to meet the current state Teacher of the Year as well as the one who just won for the upcoming year.  
  • At the TOY Summit, I had to create a Twitter account.  What?  Twitter!  I thought I would never.  I thought it was pointless.  I was wrong.  I only use it for professional tweets.  Oddly enough, in my summer school class, I was required to have a Twitter account so it all worked out.
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  • Summer School Session I started on May 18th.  I'm currently working on my last project that is due this Thursday and that class will be over.
  • Where I work is going through a realignment process so I'm waiting to find out my new placement.
  • My hair has gotten too thick for me to wash, so I now schedule appointments to have it washed and blow dried.  I wear it out a couple of days or up to a week, but then I twist it up.  Having these regular professional shampoos has been wonderful for my scalp, but I know I don't want to keep getting it blow dried each time.  What I also know is that I've grown a lot more gray hairs this year.

  • My brother came home for a week.  It's been a year since I've seen him face-to-face.  He came at the right time because now he can help me pack up my belongings.  Is that selfish?  LOL

  • But also, by my brother coming down here, he was able to attend my uncle's fish fry in Virginia.  It was also my uncle's birthday.  Lots of family, lots of friends, lots of food.  But it was so HOT!
  • Here it's so hot you can barely function.  I'm talking about when your car's thermometer says 105 degrees type of hot.  It's hot in the morning.  It's hot at night.  It's so hot that I hope these few little herb seedlings won't burn up.

  • This will be my gardening effort this summer.  It's all I can manage to do.
  • And finally, those who know me, know that I have issues with dogs.  I'm seriously not an animal person, but for as long as I can remember, I've been terrified of dogs (big or small).  So imagine my surprise when my cousin's dog jumped in my lap and stayed for quite some time.  I don't know why he suddenly did that.  In fact, no dog or pet has ever sat on me.  And I didn't have a heart palpitation.  Is that progress?  LOL

Did I mention that it's really hot?
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Hope you all are doing well.  :-)


Digital Citizenship - Let's Get Started!

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Hello, my faithful readers.  I'm back!  Well, almost.  I had taken a blog hiatus for a while, but hopefully I will be able to return to this space (I have so much to tell) now that the school year has officially ended for students.  I still have a few more days.  However, this particular blog post is actually a class assignment.  

In this assignment, I pretend to be a principal, and I am discussing my plan for teachers implementing digital citizenship lessons into their lessons.  Curious about what digital citizenship is?  Simply put, "digital citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately."  Now, those words aren't mine, so let me cite the source.  *wink*  

Digital Citizenship:  Using Technology Appropriately.  (n.d.)  Welcome to the Digital Citizenship Website.  Retrieved from

As always, feel free to read and comment below.

June 12, 2015

Ms. Elisabeth H., Principal
Smithfield Middle School
222 Southern Circle Dr.
Anytown, Anystate, 55555

Dr. James Phillips, Superintendent
Rockfish County Schools
111 E. Main Street,
Anytown, Anystate, 55555

Dear Dr. Phillips,

I am excited to embark upon the implementation of the digital citizenship curriculum next school year.  The School Improvement Team has developed a course of action in regards to creating and implementing this addition to our curriculum.  Per your request, I am submitting an outline of our school plans to you.  I am also forwarding them to the Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and the Director of Instructional Technology.

I look forward to your feedback so that we can move forward with our plans.  It is my hope that this course of action will strengthen teachers' knowledge of digital citizenship so that collectively we can teach our students the appropriate and responsible use of technology.

Yours in Education,

Elisabeth H., Principal
cc:  Nancy Smith, Asst. Supt. of Curriculum and Instruction
      Bob Hartwell, Director of Instructional Technology

enclosure:  Digital Citizenship Implementation Plan

Digital Citizenship Implementation Plan

Phase I
  • Discuss plan with School Improvement Team (March 2015)
  • Discuss with Staff (April 2015)
  • SIP develops a plan for implementation (May 2015)
    • Task Force group of teachers representing each grade level will be identified
Phase II
  • Task Force group and Technology Coach develop lesson series for teachers to integrate into their daily lessons based on the ISTE Standards for Teachers 4  (June 2015)
    • Each quarter, one of the four indicators for Standard 4 will be addressed (the entire school will be addressed the same indicator each quarter)
    • Each subsequent quarter, teachers are expected to continue practicing the previous indicators in addition to the one introduced in the present quarter
Phase III
  • Summer Professional Development (PD) with Staff (August)
Phase IV
  • Implementation (September 2015- June 2016)

Until next time,

Tuesday's Feature: Dorotea Gale

Meet Dewi Christina and Saerah Dewi of Dorotea Gale.


AE:  Who are you and what is it that you do/make?    
DG:  We are Dewi Cristina and Saerah Dewi- two friends sharing one name. Though we come from different countries (Australia and Spain) we met each other while living in Indonesia and realized that we have a lot of things in common beyond a name: both our fathers are from Bali and we love everything to do with textiles and design. Getting to know each other better, we realised that what really bonded us was our appreciation for the handmade, and our interest in discovering our heritage and the rich, cultural landscape of traditional textiles.

We make bags and home decor items using traditional textiles.

AE:  How did you get started/What is the motivation behind your work?  
DG:  The core of what we do centres around traditional, handmade textiles, so we always hunt them out when we travel around. Dewi Cristina has a blog about textiles (in Spanish) but we wanted to go further in sharing the beauty and craftsmanship that can be found within the textiles. That’s why we decided to create something useful for everyday life and started making handbags and home decor items.

Everything we do is a step is an action for how we want the world to be. That’s why we really want to support and promote these traditional textiles, because everything handmade is a piece of heart, a part of a soul. 

AE:  Where can we find your work? 
DG:  You can buy all our products directly from our website:

We ship worldwide!


I am in awe of the beautiful handcrafted items by this duo team.  When I visited their website, I enjoyed reading their story and all the wonderful textiles.  You know I love color and texture!

Peace & Love,

Guidelines for Organizing a Family Cleaning Day {Guest Post}


You have likely thought about it, getting your family ready for a big day of cleaning, especially when you have a large house that needs this type of approach. Before you jump onto that train of thought however, you would need to do a few things to organize your efforts:
  • You would do well to ensure you have no prior engagements before you decide to set aside some time to work on your tasks. Double check your schedule and plan well ahead of time to keep you time free and easy to deal with.
  • Invite everyone to bring some favorite music to listen to while you work together on cleaning your home. Take turns playing the music and try to determine order by random. You can even figure out a small prize for having best and worst music to jam to while you’re doing floor cleaning, carpet cleaning and more.
  • You should gather your cleaning supplies before the big day. Running off to the store for such will not only ruin the momentum of the cleaning, but it will sometimes simply require you to stop cleaning.
  • You should keep some great snacks and drinks on hand for breaks, choosing the favorites of everyone in your family. Keep some break times predetermined to allow your family a time to still enjoy their day without making things seem to bothersome to deal with.
  • You can make cleaning less of a chore by hiding some small tokens around the areas meant to be cleaned. Whoever gets a token while cleaning or completing a task on time will get some small reward for their efforts.
  • You can’t expect kids that are simply too young to deal with the heavier aspects of cleaning your home and organizing it. You can have them do some sorting around the house just so they can help but not be saddled with too difficult tasks. Giving them such a task will help them find something to do while the rest of your family and you clean the house.
  • You can make your cleanup into a sort of contest, dividing the family into teams and letting them work together to get the job done. Give equal amounts of work when possible and reward the winning and losing teams with something of your choice to keep them invested in the cleanup.
  • You can even take photos of the cleaning, regardless of what type of cleaning is being done. You can look at them later and remember the moment, especially if you had fun doing it (or so you can brag about it years down the line when kids are grown up and you want to remind them of the good old days).
  • You would do well to plan a good reward when the job is done. After a day of dealing with upholstery cleaning, carpet cleaning and more you can kick back and relax with some pizza and a movie or a game night. Whatever you wish to do, you can really enjoy things in the end when your home is squeaky clean.

More cleaning tips read at: carpet cleaners in Hackney

Guest Post by Ella Andrews.