#1112 Summer Photography Adventures – Custom Course Success

Recently, a past photo student called looking for help:
I understand technical photo elements but am struggling with compositions and creating photos that show what I feel when I see the scene.

A photo before her custom course:

Custom Photo Course

Photo before the Custom Photo Course – technically fine but lacking intimacy.

She booked a Custom Course and we met along the path of the Watershed project.

Within a morning session of pointed direction and gentle coaching, her photos improved quickly. They went from broad generic landscapes to alluring photos that pulled the viewer in:

Custom Photo Course

Photo taken during the Custom Photo Course.
Technically good but with more impact than before.

Her comments after the session:

What a fun morning I had in the Gats working my photographic edges with Harry.  He so brilliantly and sensitively identified my next edge to work so I could move closer to where I’m longing to be with my photos.

Bit by bit I began to discern the difference between when I’m hanging out ‘back there’ and when I ‘step in’.  I also began to see a difference in my photos, after just one session.  I learned so much in one morning.  Thank you Harry, and also for what I’ll use as mantras when I’m out there on my own practicing –  “step in”, “embrace it”.  “touch it”.”

One-on-One learning

Custom Course – Learning to see and build feeling into a photo.

Coming soon I’ll be announcing summer photo options including more custom courses (when, where and how you wish to learn), safaris and an opportunity to go on a Laurentian photo getaway.

Stay tuned.

#1111 – Art Auction and Art Show

I’m pleased to post news of two upcoming events at La Fab in Chelsea, Quebec.

1. Member’s Annual Show – La Fab
June 25 to August 2, 2015

Members exhibit works in this annual event. There will be a wide variety of work from talented artists.

I’ll be showing unique Watershed project photos captured directly onto the final paper within the large, home-made camera. The photos are one-of-a-kind.

Fortune Lake, Gatineau Park. Headwaters of Chelsea Creek.

Fortune Lake, Gatineau Park. Headwaters of Chelsea Creek.

A one-of-a-kind Sunstreak Cyanotype of Chelsea’s historic St Stephen’s Church will also be part of the show. Many of the artists above will be exhibiting works.

Large format originals

Sunstreak Cyanotype – St Stephen’s Church, Chelsea, Qc.

La Fab:
212, chemin Old Chelsea
Chelsea (Québec)
J9B 1J3
(819) 827 3326

For more information contact La Fab directly.

2. La Fab Auction Fundraiser
Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Coming up this Sunday is the centre’s annual fundraiser. Not only will you support a good cause by going but you could walk away with a fine piece of artwork by Jeff Stellick, Paula Murray, Reid McLachlan, Gail Bourgeois, Lisa Creskey, Becky Mason, Maureen Marcotte, Karen Goetzinger, Mike Beedell, Elisabeth Rutledge and Harry Nowell.

I have offered one of my favourite pieces from 8 years of shooting music festivals in the city.

Tickets available at La Fab, Ottawa School of Art or online.

Ottawa music festivals

Blues Bass

#1110 Creating Art Differently

Every class has students who would prefer to be doing something else.

In math class, some students would rather be playing football. In language, some students would rather be doing art. And in art, some would rather read.

Art Projects for Kindergarten

Art Projects for Kindergarten

I’ve been supply teaching regularly since I finished teacher’s college. In one period I was asked to have the students continue their pop-art projects (Andy Warhol-esque pictures). One student was clearly not conforming to the plan. He was just putting dots on his paper in a reluctant way.

I sat by him and asked how most new art forms started… He just stared at his paper and dotted defiantly.

I waited. No response…

So I offered an answer “By breaking the rules of art and trying new things… so you are creating new art ideas by breaking the rules.

He looked at me. “Really?

Yes!

I made a deal with him… He could create what he wanted but he’d have to create something, however exploratory… His art would need to have purpose. It worked. His slouch disappeared and he started working on art in his own way.

Collaborative Classroom

Collaborative Classroom

Collaborative Problem Solving and Tribes training are popular, current approaches to engaging more students in school and life. The theories involve working together to produce a learning environment where all are included or empowered. It works better than expecting all to ‘conform’. The result is a student or students who are more open to their learning process.

I started working with the ideas behind these theories over 20 years ago when I worked with youth and adults at Outward Bound. The work back then ignited my love of teaching people how to learn.

#1109 “I hate math.”

I hate math,” said a grade 6 student last week in a class I was supply teaching.

He was obviously not enjoying (or doing) his assigned math work.

So I sat with him and asked “What DO you like?”
He: “Football.”
Me: “… Well, you know, football’s got a lot of math.”
He: Pause…
Me: “… (In a commentators voice) And the Redblacks are 2nd and 7 from the 8 yard line… That’s math. What do those numbers mean?… Measurement!”

Different Intelligences (Gardner)

Football Math

“What about when the QB throws the ball? How hard does he need to throw the ball to hit the moving running back right on target?”  I drew a diagram to help make the point.
“That’s math…”

“… And how can you predict who will win the football game? That deals with statistics and probabilities… math again.”

The student looked at me, quietly. I helped with his specific math challenge and let him on his way. I looked back a while later. My football math talk had worked…

#1108 Media Literacy – Would You Trust this Teacher?

This term I am working with a Grade 5/6 class in central Ottawa.

We’re working on media literacy this term. We’re exploring many facets of media including perspective, media formats, as well as critically thinking about information presented.

Media Literacy Lesson

Teaching about trust in media – would you trust this teacher?!

Web Safety
I introduced a segment about information on the web including safely evaluating websites. I opened the lesson by ‘arriving’ incognito, above. Surreptitiously at first, I tried selling ‘solid gold’ watches, used ‘authentic’ sports cars and ‘rare, valuable’ coins to the students.

Trust
By the end of my ‘sales pitches,’ students were contentiously and verbally jousting with my fictitious character!! They didn’t trust me. That made me smile – it laid the perfect groundwork to  engage students about trusting sources of media, especially when connecting to the murky waters of the internet.

Media Literary Lesson
I quickly changed gears and introduced the students to a super, web-based lesson from Media Smarts on web safety and awareness. Media Smarts is an Ottawa-based, not for profit “charitable organization for digital and media literacy. Our vision is that children and youth have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens.

I am close to finishing my Bachelor of Education program. In May I’ll be bringing my cast of characters to local schools as a guest teacher and supply teacher.

#1107 Photo Workshops and Private Courses

Spring is coming!
Flowers are preparing to burst into colour.
Bears are starting to stretch, ready to come out of hibernation. Sleepy photographers are starting to stir, too!

Photo Class

Push your photography limits this spring!

We’re offering two options this spring for photographers to improve their skills:

• Our classic Creative Fundamentals photo workshop
Learn in a traditional format taking advantage of live theory, practical and critique. All camera styles welcome.

• Private classes for individuals and small groups
Learn what you want, when you want.

photo course Ottawa Gatineau

Improve your Smart Phone photography!

Background – Harry Nowell
Harry Nowell has  worked for 20 years providing imagery for clients like Carleton University, Canadian Senate, Royal Ottawa Hospital, Canadian Geographic and others. His imagery has been licensed all over the world.Harry Nowell has taught photography for 15 years. His students are his best advocates!

YouTube!
In the age of YouTube there is a lot of free advice and “how-to” related to photography. There is also a decline in the quality of photography. From the Financial Post:
“When it comes to image quality, the real problem is that consumers no longer care.”
And there is frustration!

Photo Workshops

Improve your photography!

If you are frustrated or have a passion for quality in your pictures, we can help!

Creative Fundamentals
May 7 (evening classroom)
May 9 (practical shooting)
May 14 (evening classroom critique)
Central Ottawa/Gatineau
$375.

Private Classes
Offered as schedules permit.
$Cost depends on session:
• One person / half day = $375.
• Two people / half day = $275 each.
Prices may change without notice.

Contact us!

#1106 “Math is a sport…”

I’m in the final stretch of my Bachelor of Education training. I’m working in an inner city Grade 5/6 class.

The practical ‘in-class’ part of the course offers me the greatest learning – I am in the “On-Site” niche of the B.Ed. program that offers six months of practical training in the classroom. The normal B.Ed.’s six months of lectures are condensed into two and a half months for On-Site Teacher Candidates.

teacher

Mentor Teacher, Mr Smith, making learning fun.

A couple of weeks ago, my mentor teacher, Steve Smith,above, and I discussed plans for a geometry lesson and unit. “Make math a sport,” he urged. He was pushing my teaching practice to make the lesson more tactile, practical and involved. “If you tell them what an isosceles triangle is, they’ll never remember! But if you help them discover the answers for themselves they’ll never forget.”

geoboard

Geoboard
• photo from Creative Commons – Wikipedia.

Out came the geoboards – a hands-on math manipulative that students use to create geometric shapes. Our lesson started with students finding a geoboard on their desk – they naturally started playing as students got ready to learn. The class progressed with much triangle building and students themselves discovering the properties of triangles.

One student smiled and said “You’re fun!” All I did was ask them guiding questions to help them discover the answers! The process made it fun (and memorable.)

Thanks to Mr Smith for refining my teacher skills in good ways!

#1105 Unit & Lesson Plan Assignment

I’ve been in Teacher’s College and in our Science Class we are to develop three lesson plans to cover a science topic. I used three lessons I performed in a Grade One class in the fall on “Structures and Mechanisms – Materials, Objects and Everyday Structures.”

I wanted some traditional fun (fun = learning!) but also wanted to make sure all members of the class got involved. I started with a classic hook – “The Three Little Pigs” and a hands-on exploration into the building materials the pigs may have used.

Lesson Plan

Building Materials

But from traditional building blocks I took a turn to include other students who may NOT be interested in bricks and sticks.

I used the Cinderella story to introduce the idea of materials used in fashion and everyday dress. I often add a little role-playing drama. When I showed up to part of the lesson wearing beach attire (shorts and t-shirt) just before -18C recess, the students eagerly told me why I had chosen the wrong materials (clothing) to go outside on the cold day. We had some successful learning!

See the 5-E Science Model
See the Unit Plan
See the Lesson Plans

#1104 Alternative Approaches to Education

I’m in my last semester of the Bachelor of Education program at Ottawa U. It feels like the home stretch!

I’m in the intense On-SIte program that condenses six months of lecture material into two and a half months to allow for an expanded six months of practicum placement.

For me, the hands-on learning directly in the classroom offers me the best educational learning experience. I am a hands-on learner and never excelled at traditional sit-in-the-classroom schooling. Most traditional schools cater to verbal-linguistic learners (read: book-learner).

Risk Management

Play Based Learning & Managing Risk – Much can be learned in alternative classrooms. Above was  my own weekend classroom of fun with my friends.

I am curious about the alternative and holistic approaches to education and how related practices can be incorporated into traditional classes. My elective this year explores the world of holistic and alternative education practices.

In my current placement I am lucky enough to witness a teacher who brings many elements of holistic practices into his classroom. In my last placement I was fortunate to witness a teacher who incorporated much play-based learning (although she disliked the term “play-based learning” because of the erroneous connotation that “play” and “learn” are very different things.)

Play based learning - incorporating drama to teach math. Captain Barnacle uses his treasure chest to teach about counting coins.

Play based learning – incorporating drama to teach math. Captain Barnacle uses his treasure chest to teach about counting coins.

I’m learning lots and love some of the readings – Ron Miller and Alfie Kohn resonate with me!

Stay tuned.

#1103 Education Exploration

In my last post I came clean with what I’ve been doing with my time – I’m taking eight months off to study education at the primary / jumnior level (Kindergarten to Grade 6).m I love it.

In the months to come, I’ll be posting some posts about my exploration into education as well as some photo links.

Education

Teaching in 2012 – © M Bachand

This week I read an article by well-known New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell on “Most Likely to Succeed” in the field of education. His writing is thought provoking (for me anyway.)

In “Most Likely to Succeed” he addresses attributes of a good, new teacher… which often counter the traditional selection process. He uses an NFL analogy to make his point. Worth a read if education or teaching interests you!