#1118 Grateful in Grade 4

I feel fortunate and am grateful.

Word Wall - Grade 4

Word Wall – Grade 4

Towards the end of August I got a call from a principal at an elementary school offering me a replacement contract to cover a Grade 4 class while the permanent teacher recovers from knee replacement surgery. I said “Yes.”

Helping elementary students develop and learn made me happy I changed career gears.

Special Guests
I bring “special guests” to the class to help teach Social Studies, Math, Language Arts. Chief Inspector George, Jacques Noir and a caped superhero, among others have all replaced me to illustrate a concept we are learning.

education Ottawa

Chief Inspector George visited our class looking for the missing 5 Ws.

These characters always bring the students to life and make the learning more fun. The students seem to suspect the guests are me in disguise.

Preposterous.

#1117 Fall Photo Custom Course

Last weekend I spent some time with a long-time photo student exploring fall in Gatineau Park in a Custom Photo Course. I enjoy seeing the creative progress of students who invest in their skills. Margaret has done well!

Custom Photo Course

© Maragret A. – Early morning Gatineau Park.

We started early and explored a small part of the park along the escarpment. By the end of the morning she had a handful of stunning photos: “Move slowly and make each photo count!”

Ottawa Custom Photo Course

© Margaret A. – Maple Sapplings; Gatineau Park.

Margaret shared the photos above and note, below:

I loved yesterday’s outing… I really appreciate the thought you put into what I was to learn and work on.  All of the exercises were very relevant for me at this particular time so I know I’ll be applying the learnings as I move forward in the next few weeks.

Read Margaret’s blog for more of her photo adventures.
Well done Margaret!

#1115 Photo Studio Transforms into the “Little Big Learning Centre” – Montessori Influenced Home Schooling Centre

The photo studio that many of you know and visited over the last half decade has a new direction.

… We are excited to welcome Amy of the Little Big Learning Centre into the classroom we developed in 2010 to support my photo and arts workshops. Amy started Little Big in 2014. It blossomed so quickly that she needed a bigger space in Ottawa for her Little Big Learners to develop.

Montessori inspired, home school friendly learning space

Amy of The Little Big Learning Centre!

How did the learning centre take off? Amy drew on the influences of Maria MontessoriHoward Gardner, the Reggio Emilia approach and outdoor and experiential education.

The students blossomed and word spread… all the way to their new learning centre at 160 Preston St.

I asked Amy what inspired her to open “Little Big.” Her answer was three-fold:
• “I had a good public school experience due to my small cottage town. I grew up in Apsley, Ont. and our school had only 5 teachers. There was lots of one-on-one time, small classes, enriched learning. It was a great way to learn.

Kindergarten to Grade 4 alternatives to school in Ottawa Gatineau Chelsea

One of the smaller learning areas of the Little Big Learning Centre

• “I earned my Bachelor of Education and was shocked. There were so many kids in a class. There was too much going on. Kids were falling through cracks. Everything was so tied to the curriculum in the wrong way and geared towards practice tests for EQAO (standardized testing). I wanted to give younger students a voice – school is not just book learning.

• ” ‘Hmmm,’ I thought aloud to my husband. ‘What if we opened our own learning centre?’  And I started looking for like-minded teachers, parents, students. I wanted to be creative with teaching so that all students could fit…”There is currently only one other learning centre like Amy’s in Ottawa based out of Barrhaven.

Curious to see and hear more?
Amy is opening the doors of her Little Big Learning Centre to welcome curious minds soon. An open house is in the plans. Stay tuned…

Visit their Facebook page, too!

Ottawa Montessori inspired learning centre

New Learning Centre for students aged 4-10. 

#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.

#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…

#1102 New Directions – Education

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all those celebrating.
We’ll be laying low over the winter break. Catching up, settling in and skiing!

It’s been a big year at HarryNowell.com that started on New Year’s Eve, 2013.
Merry Christmas!

Last New Year’s Eve I was inspired by a friend to apply to Teacher’s College. I had applied twice before in the 1990s. This time they let me in.

I’m halfway through Ottawa U’s Primary/Junior Bachelor of Education. Their On-SIte Program condenses six months of lectures into two and a half months and allows for a six month practical placement working directly in a classroom.

I’ve just spent three months working in a Kindergarten / Grade One classroom in a central Ottawa school. Our class has students from Burma, China, Russia, Hungary, Bosnia, Iran, Pakistan, Australia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mexico, far-northern Canada. It’s a diverse, challenging and amazing class.

Teaching in the primary grades attracts me because I get to teach more than math and language – I get to help little ones develop as people using drama, arts and engaged play based learning. I love it – where else can you get so much impact dressing up as Captain Barnacle, the pirate, to teach about number sense & counting coins with treasure? The students gobbled up the lesson.

I’ve always loved teaching – it’s been a big part of my business for the past 20 years. Teacher’s College is a good next step for me. My marks from the lecture hall have been… excellent. My classroom evaluations have been… excellent. I feel very fortunate to have met such good people this fall!

I start in a new Grade Six classroom with a similar demographic in January. I’m excited.

And I’m excited about my new direction. Seeing the possibilities available in traditional teaching has me smiling.

Harry teaching

Harry teaching

But what about photography?
The business will continue as Harry Nowell Photography and I will continue aspects of the business that I enjoy. I’ll continue to offer a few workshops, some stock assignments, some editorial and interesting artwork related to Watershed, SunStreaks and the big camera.

Thanks for your support over the years.
I can’t wait for 2015!

#1100 Student Success! France Rivet’s New Book

It always makes me smile when past students hit big milestones!

France Rivet completed our ProProgram and has just published her second book – this one chronicling the unfortunate treatment of eight Inuit who were paraded through Europe as novelties in a zoo. It didn’t end well for Abraham Ulrikab and his friends.

Four years of research has produced:
“In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab: The events of 1880-1881”

Read more and order France’s book!
Félicitations, France!

France Rivet

France Rivet

#1091 Student Success – Online Photo Program

© Al G. 12 foot Challenge

© Al G. 12 foot Challenge

In July we offered our Online Photo Members a different challenge.

We said they could shoot:
• anything
• anyhow
• anywhere
… as long as this month’s photos were all within a 12 foot radius (ideally) centred around their back door.

© Judy S. 12 Foot Challenge

© Judy S. 12 Foot Challenge

I thought they might say:
“But there’ll be nothing to shoot!”
“Boring!”
“What about something adventurous?”

But they didn’t!
They got shooting and one member said:
“I had a blast with this month’s challenge!”

© Maisie - 12 Foot Challenge

© Maisie – 12 Foot Challenge

It’s harder than you’d imagine. A whole month of shooting within 452.29 square feet will stump even the most creative photographer. And that was the point.

We offered creative catalysts and ideas to bust through blocks interfering with their creative potential.

And their month’s efforts made me smile. Sounds like it made them smile, too:
“I must say that when I first heard your challenge for this month I just went brain dead.  I live 22 stories up in a building with a 6ft wide balcony  and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.  But I surprised myself once I got started…”

© Jeffrey F - 12 Foot Photo Challenge

© Jeffrey F – 12 Foot Photo Challenge

Congratulations, everyone!

#1088 Online Photo Program – Photographing Water – Member Results!

© Jeffrey Furry - Classic Waterfall

© Jeffrey Furry – Classic Waterfall

Last month I presented our Online Photo Members the challenge of photographing water. We presented some technical tips and a broad suggestion of what was possible within the realm of water photography.

It is an amazing program and I have learned so much from it and from you.
CP

© Al Garner - Macro Water Droplets

© Al Garner – Macro Water Droplets

I thought most people would photograph rivers and waterfalls.

I was happy to see that, while we had some (excellent) rivers and waterfalls, people pushed themselves to photograph water in many different ways including bursting water balloons!!

© Maisie Ismail

© Maisie Ismail – bursting water balloon!

“… thank you for all the instruction and encouragement from the online program for the past year plus that I’ve been a member.” LR

I’ve learned so much in the short time that I have taken part.” JS

Members make me smile – I’m proud of them all!
I’ve seen excellent shots and excellent growth in skills!

© J Scott - Home studio capture

© J Scott – Home studio capture