#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!

#1116 Free Online Photo Program

A while ago I started our Online Photo Program. Every month we offered a new challenge with support and critique. Members loved it…
We’re looking for more members for the new, free format!

Online photo challenge

Portraits
© Sara Hendrix

With some changes in direction over the last couple of years, (read past blog posts ) I’ve turned the program into a small, community managed, friendly, free, monthly photo challenge based on a private group on Facebook’s platform.

Online photo program

Online Photo Program
Portrait and Photojournalism Challenges – “Cooling off on a hot day behind the arena…”

Senior members of the group take turns developing the monthly challenge and posting links and information pertaining to the month’s photo adventure. Members offer real critique and questions that guide the discussions. I offer support, critique and tips to the group.

The group wants more members! We’re looking to attract supportive photo people of all levels willing to participate, contribute and support the community as we all try to interpret the month’s challenges. It’s not a competition. And members are looking for genuine feedback rather than praise.

Online photo challenge

Night Time Shooting
© Christine Payant

What members have said:
• ” I really enjoy the positive and constructive feedback. I know when posting that those who participate are likely just like me, wanting to learn and grow. The group has typically been diverse, with people of varying levels of experience which has been great to push me to try different things. I realize that I have some ¨Harryisms¨ that come to mind: ¨get closer¨, ¨what are you exposing for?¨, ¨triangles¨, etc.

Motion in Landscapes © Al Garner

Motion in Landscapes
© Al Garner

• “The program challenges me to get out there and photograph improving my skills as a photographer. It provides some focus. Without it, I would probably not photograph as much and I would not learn and grow as a photographer. It has helped me tremendously and gets me out there shooting and enjoying life!

Landscapes and Sunsets © Maisie Ismail

Landscapes and Sunsets © Maisie Ismail

• “… having the close group to help out and provide critique in a “safe” environment really makes a difference. It helps get over the shyness of… ‘maybe this is not good enough to post.’ What a great group to belong to and get great feedback! Thanks Harry and everyone!

To join the group you need to request to join the group and befriend me on Facebook so I can add you to the Facebook group.

Hope to see you on the other side!

#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. 

#1113 Rent our Preston St Studio!

UPDATE!!
Thanks for all your support. We had good interest in our Preston St. commercial space. We feel lucky to welcome Amy of the Little Big Learning Centre to our space. It’s a good match – we developed the space as a classroom for our photo workshop and it will soon be used as a learning centre. Check “Little Big” on their Facebook page, too!

_______________
If you read this blog regularly you’ll know I started supply teaching in elementary schools this spring and will continue a small photography service.

As a result we’re looking for your help to find a commercial tenant for our studio on Preston St. Know someone looking for commercial space? Let us know. We’re even offering a finder’s fee to land a solid tenant.

Ottawa downtown office space for rent

Preston St. Commercial Space for Rent

Location = Ottawa Studio Works; 160 Preston St, between Gladstone and Somerset.
Development in the area continues to bring new residents and intensified main street commerce.

Space Description
680 sq ft main floor plus access to basement space.
Possible uses:
• office space
• boutique retail
• studio
• health outlet (physio, chiro, yoga, doctor…)
• promotional sales centre
• gallery
• artist’s co-operative.
We’re open to creative tenancies – like a shared tenancy with three complimentary people or businesses sharing the space.

Commercial office space Ottawa

Office space at the studio

• Studio – 11×24 showroom / studio / classroom / gallery / boardroom. Gallery lighting illuminates the studio.
• 3 x supportive creative / office spaces; 7×10, 10×10 and 14×14 (unfinished basement creative space)
• Kitchen / bathroom.
• No car parking is currently available.
• A small backyard garden/patio allows you to relax.

Studio for rent Ottawa

Main studio space

Rent = $1450 + utilities per month.
Rent is below market value. Similar rental units on Bank St and the Byword Market can be double our cost or more. This is a chance to get into a growing commercial strip at an affordable time.

If you or someone you know could benefit, we’ll arrange a showing. We are offering a finder’s fee to anyone who helps facilitate a solid tenant. Contact.

Artist studio for rent

Events at the studio

#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.

#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.

#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