Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

This weekend we welcomed strangers into our home.  They are artists from New Hampshire and Florida, two best friends who learned to paint together and now travel all over the U.S. to different Plein Air painting competitions.

The Shadows on the Teche, a local historical plantation home, has a competition going on this week.  Months ago we were asked to host two visiting artists, so Patricia and Deb arrived Saturday afternoon, total newbies to our area.

I am enjoying seeing the beauty of our home through their eyes.  Sunday afternoon we took them for a drive to scout out areas to paint in.

En Plein Air is a French term for painting in the wild, outdoors.  I have visions of creating an en plein air event for poets.  Poets could partner with painters and write while the artist paints.  Who’s game?

I told Patricia and Deb to watch out because I will be writing about them.  I look forward to seeing the art they produce and talking about art all week.  The final show and auction will be Friday night.  To learn more about the event, go to The Shadows on the Teche web page. 


En Plein Air painting of Grandmother oak in my backyard. (Patricia Sweet, artist.)

A peacock poses for his painting at Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens.

Shrimp boat in Delcambre may be a prime poser for traveling artists.

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge





I teach science to one of my groups of gifted kids.  While I think science is fascinating, I don’t feel like an expert in teaching it, so I’ve taken on a stance of discovery and inquiry.

We made nature journals to begin our study of food webs and plants. The school has an amazing garden that we visited to make observations.

Equipped with jeweler’s loupes from The Private Eye kits we ventured to the garden for “research “. I had my phone with me and enjoyed taking photos by holding the jeweler loupe up to the lens.

Back in the classroom we talked about how we can use analogies to write about something in nature.

What does a snail remind you of? We made a list:

  • a snake
  • green heart from Moana
  • fake snail on SpingeBob
  • curled up caterpillar
  • spiraled spider egg
  • Yin Yang symbol
  • a design with swirls
  • God’s eye
  • a seashell

We wrote a poem from their list:

I found a snail in the garden
like a snake curled up small
or a caterpillar in a cocoon.
It looked like a spiral spider egg
or a design on wallpaper–
God’s eye?
An E all swirled around.




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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge


Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Ruth Ayres hosts a round-up on her blog each week of Celebration posts.  Again, I haven’t been participating each week, but the fact that she’s there is a gentle reminder to celebrate even the little things.

My #Teachwrite colleagues Leigh Anne and Michelle recently wrote slices about things that they prefer.  Leigh Anne titled her post “I’d rather”.  Michelle’s post was Early Mornings. I’m in the early morning camp.

Today, I celebrate the things I love

I love…an early morning walk.

I love… the sound of birds echoing through the trees.

I love... Charlie bouncing near me, his tags tinkling like bells.

I love...the scents of wisteria, sweet olive, satsuma blossoms filling the morning air.

I love…cut flowers in a vase on the kitchen table.

I love…frothed milk with coffee, Starbucks French Roast.

I love…writing in the morning.

I love…the quiet of students writing.

I love…the noise of student engagement.

I love…a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Spring on the bayou




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What do you do with a perfect day?

Sky’s a clear blue… let’s canoe…bayou still…no wind…smooth strokes…sun setting slow…an orange glow behind the towering smoke stack…abandoned mill…concrete riprap…a nest for trash…discarded life tokens.

A distant roar…speed boat…they see us hanging at the edge…cut the motor……push, pull, turn…cross waves…speed on.

Crossing under the bridge…sun’s gone…sky darkens…paddle strengthens…then we hear it…a distant hoot…the owl swishes overhead…beginning his hunt…who-cooks-for-you-you-all familiar call…calling sunset’s end… pull to dock…warm glow of home.

The idea for this poetry format came from Poets and Writers The Time is Now Writing Prompts. 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone at Check it Out.

A week off to enjoy family, friends, and food.  I’m sharing my week in verse.

Throw me somethin’ Mister!

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2018

Mardi Gras after the rain
Parades roll, beads fly,
Hands waving high.

Open doors,
chicken fingers,
Chili Fritos,

Costumes, blue hair,
and happy laughs,

Marching bands,
King cake,
Vodka and La Croix.

Come on in,
stay right here,
Bacchus is rolling soon.

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2018

Houston in the rain
heavy trucks spray
hold on tight.

Find a friend.
Sit a while
comfort in just being.

Glasses of wine,
flat bread pizza,
gather around the table.

Ukulele playing,
out of tune singing,
cuddles with the dog.

There is love here,
not over the rainbow yet,
but healing will come.

My friend Sarah is fighting the battle for her life.

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Ashes to ashes,
we are but dust,
miserable wormness,

Yet now is the time
to reach out
to reach in.

Be alone with God
to realize you are
never alone.

Spread the fruit
of your solitude.
Translate cynicism to Joy!

I am but dust.
Life is a gift.
Existence is grace.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Japanese magnolia blooms
along my walking route,
sending pink fragrance into fog.

My mind wanders as I walk,
thoughts of children
whose lives were shot short.

My voice speaks to neighbors.
Can I trust my words
to be kind?

We are all wandering
on this lonely path
questioning God’s grace.

Find meaning in a moment,
Joy in a conversation,
Light in a dew drop.





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Click over to Carol’s Corner for more Poetry Friday.

Over at Today’s Little Ditty, Carol Hinz challenged us to write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.  On a family Thanksgiving Day walk to City Park in New Orleans, we came upon an old outside bar covered in overgrown weeds and graffiti.  On the walls were a few amazing black and white drawings.  One of them caught my eye and then inspired a poem.

New Orleans City Park

At Violet Nesdoly’s blog, I discovered a new-to-me poetry form, Shadorma. The form is a Spanish version of the haiku with six lines and a syllable count of  3,5,3,3,7,5. The form fit well to what I wanted to say about the Graffiti Girl.


Graffiti Girl, City Park, New Orleans. Photo by Margaret Simon


Graffiti Girl

I am drawn
in hard black charcoal
staring out
of stone walls
yet when you see my image
your heart cries for me.

If you could
hold this star light high
a mirror
in my eyes
step into my wall, hold me,
would you come so near?

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved


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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

On Saturday I attended a photography workshop about using your smartphone held at The Shadows on the Teche, our resident plantation home.  I have fond feelings for this place not just because of its beauty, but it’s a place where my students participate every year in a play for first grade students in the parish.

After James, our presenter, gave us much technical information (some of which flew right over my head), we were sent out on the grounds to find interesting things to photograph.  Although he didn’t say it, most of us interpreted that James wanted us to look at things with a new eye, a different perspective, and an appreciation for the hidden beauty of the place.

I was drawn to a lace curtain over a window with moss in the trees barely visible beyond.  When I got home, I played around with the effects on the iPhone app and sent the photo off to Shutterfly and ordered cards.  One thing that James pointed out to us is that nothing is more satisfying than seeing an actual, hands-on print of your photo.

I also wrote a haiku to place inside the card:

Through the lace curtain,
moss hangs in soft stillness
whispering a prayer.

James assured us that not every photo we take will be “the shot”. We have to take a bunch, practice moving around the subject for many angles, and give yourself permission to try new things.

Here is a gallery of a few of my favorite photos from the day.

The Shadows on the Teche

Moss hangs over the Bayou Teche.

My photo partner wanders to find a perfect shot of the graveyard.

This workshop helped me feel more confident with photography with the camera I always carry with me. I am now more alert to what may make my next winning shot.

This week I’ll be at NCTE.  Hope to see many of my slicing friends there. I’ll be presenting on Friday morning with a panel of knock-out authors.

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