Weekly Creative Practice: Stairwell Hell

As I was hurrying to class to take an exam on friday, I started my way up the large stairwell in the Education building. While climbing, I happened to look up. I froze midstep as I gazed upwords. Suddenly, my mind compelety forgot about the exam as I was focussed on what was above me. The swirling pattern of the stairs from the main floor to the sixth was mezmerizing. I think I may have actually whispered to myself, “Woah!”. Imedietly I took out my camera to document the experience:

This is the veiw from the main floor looking up the stairwell.

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I wondered why I had not noticed this sight before, however, I dont normally walk up stairs with my gaze pointed to the ceiling. Also, Im usually too focused on getting to class to worry about what is happening around me. Nonetheless, and despite my exam, I had decided to take a moment to further explore the stairwell.

My class was on the second floor but I wanted to go higher. I would have liked to take a picture from the sixth floor but my time was limited. Here is a shot from the thrid floor looking down:

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After my exam, my mind was more relaxed. As I made my way back down the stairs, the stairwell was a bit fuller. Watching the people making their way up and down the stairs reminded me of the song “The Ants Go Marching”. This then reminded me of a scene from the movie “Bug’s Life” where the ants are marching down into the ground. I began to picture myself as an ant, making my way down, down, down; taking the stairwell over and over again, just like everyone else; stepping through that same spiral pattern from floor to floor, just like everyone else. It is interesting isn’t it? How we can take the same path over and over again and sometimes never realize what that path consists of?

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Weekly Creative Practice: The Frame Above the Door

Before I begin, I would like to quickly reflect on my past weekly creative practices. I have noticed that several of my posts follow either a theme of antiques or artsy structures. I suppose I notice artsy things because of my passion for art. When it comes to antiques, I know that ever since I moved in with my Grandparents I have started noticing many little treasures around their home that I had not payed attention to before.  Today, I have yet again noticing another treasure hidden in plain sight at my Grandparents house…

Last week, when I blogged about antique treasures I found around my Grandparents home, I finished by wondering what other treasures I may find. Well, today while helping my Grandpa change a lightbulb in the chandelier on the landing, the picture above the front door caught my eye. Here is the picture:

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Taking a closer look, I relealized that glass of the frame was bubbled. With some research, I found that this kind of frame is quite antique and that the glass is called convex rather than bubbled.

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I asked my grandpa what the story was behind this photo and the frame. This is what my Grandpa explained:

The photo and frame belonged to my Great Grandparents who recieved it as a gift after subscribing to a weekly article called “The Weekly Free Press” in the 50’s. Originally, it came as a set of two but my Great Aunt took one and replaced the photo with one of her own paintings. Somewhere down the line, another aunt was passed down the frame and painting and its location is now unknown to my Grandparents. However, after my Great Grandpa passed away and my Great Grandma moved to a smaller house, she passed down the other frame with the original portrait to my Grandma.

Here is a closer picture of the scene within the frame:

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Hmmm. Interesting! It’s amazing what you can learn when your not expecting it! Maybe next week I’ll find yet another treasure and learn its story.

Weekly Creative Practice: Grandparent’s House Treasures

My Grandparent’s house is filled with antique treasure! Even though I see their home as the epitome of a stereotypical “grandparents house”, it is endeniably unique to any other house I have seen. You know how you percieve things differently when you’ve been around them for a long time? While helping my Grandma make supper tonight, I noticed how old the kitchen stove is. Even though I have been cooking with my Grandma with that stove for as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until now that the authenticity caught my eye. And the stove is just the begining. Below are several photos I have taken around my Grandparent’s home!

  1. They have a lot of china cabnets filled with collectors pinwheel crystal, antique collectors china sets, antique silver, royal dolton figurines, and other treasures:

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2) Kaiser porcelain collectors plates from Germany can be found hanging on multiple walls throughout the house. Grandma says tht each plate was orginally worth $50! Holy moly!

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3) At the bottom of the staircase is my Great Great Grandma’s sewing machine that still works. Above it hangs a photograph of my Great Great Great Great! Grandparents!! That’s a lot of greats! (Kind of an eerie photo…)img_1943

4) My favorite of all their antiques is their stereo record player!img_1955

However, they do have an (slightly) updated source of music… an old boom box:

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5) Here a few more items along with the oven:

My grandparents house has begun to feel more like a museum now that I have realized the authentic treasures it holds. I have appreciated leaning the stories behind some of those treasures and look forward to seeing what other treasures I can find!

Weekly Creative Practice: Plant Addict

These past couple of days have been so warm! I love it! Nonetheless, despite how “summerish” it may feel, the signs of winter can be seen everywhere. Though I do enjoy winter, I hate feeling like a human popsickle stick and watching the greenery around me turn into brownery (is that even a word). However, not all plants die or look dead in the winter. Besides Christmas trees, houseplants tend to stay alive throughout the frozen months of the year- that is if you are an “alright” gardener such as myself (I’d say my thumb is maybe about half green). Either way, I LOVE plants! My mom is an avid gardener and growing up we always had the lushest yard in town. Our home was filled with plants too. Every room that accomodated proper lighting had at least one plant. Because of this, I grew up surrounded with plants and gained a passion for them. Now that I am in University and living in my grandparent’s basement, I have begun a plant collection of my own. Below are all of my plants!

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The larger plant in the middle is called a jade plant. I have yet to figure out what the other two are. Below is a close-up of the plant on the left:

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I’m unsure of what this little guy is because he came from a small detached leaf that was within a different plant that I had bought. When I bought a cactus (not pictured because it died 😦  ) an odd little leaf from another plant came with. I decided to try and propagate it and  amazingly enough, this guy sprouted from it!

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Two more succulants that I don’t know the names of because I propagated them from leaves.

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This one is my favorite because he looks so friggen cool! It’s called a snake plant but also known as -and what I prefer- “mother inlaws tongue”!

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The big guy is called a “pothos”. I have always wanted a vine and bought him this past summer. The little guy infront is some type of cacti that I propagated from my Grandma’s plant.

I am happy that I have these green buddies (totaly pun intended) to keep me company for when winter comes. As I was watering them today I realized how much I appreciate having plants and having been able to grow up leanring and caring for plants. I believe that humans don’t spend enough time connecting with the outdoors so bringing the outdoors in can be beneficial that way!  I hope to grow my collection (no pun intended) as I learn more about propagating and other plant-related things to continue my obsession with greenery and hopefully one day I will have as much of a green thumb as my Mom!

Relaxation Strategy

For our strategy/ warm-up, Robyn and I were to follow a theme of relaxation. Because it is drama and we move a lot in drama, we wanted to incorporate muscle movement into our activity. We decided we wanted an activity that relaxed us, but also prepared our muscles for physical activity. Together, Robyn and I came up with a sequence of three exercises that allowed us to accomplish our goals.

Exercise 1 (Savasana).  Have students lay down on their backs and close their eyes. They should have enough room around them to stretch without hitting others. Ask them to relax and let anything that is on their minds be freed. Explain to them that the feeling of relaxation is slowly spreading through their body. Describe this to them by starting with their toes, moving to their feet and heels, up through their ankles, etc. Once their whole body is completely relaxed, ask them to imagine that they are in their happy place. Let them lay like this in silence for at least 30 seconds.

Exercise 2 (Muscle Warm-up). For this exercise, students can remain in their “corps” positions on the floor from the last exercise, or they can stand up. As the teacher, you are to prompt your students to flex and release different muscles so that their whole body has eventually been flexed. For example, you could begin by telling students to pretend to pick up two lemons because they are going to make lemonade. Ask them to squeeze the lemons in each hand as tightly as possible and then release. Repeat this once. Then tell students that an elephant is about to step on their stomachs. Ask students to tighten their stomach muscles so that elephant won’t squish them and then tell them to release. Repeat this once. And so on. Once the entire body has been flexed, ask students to get up a stretch.

Exercise 3 (The Lion Tamer). Ask students to lay back down but this time they can lay in whatever position they feel most comfortable in. Explain to them that as the teacher you are the lion tamer and that they are the circus lions. Tell them that they have just gotten back from a long day at the circus so they are going to nap now. Explain that you will leave the room for a short amount of time but will return to take several lions who are awake to go back to the circus. Students need to what sleeping lions look like, and that as lions, they do not want to go back to the circus. Sleeping lions should have their eyes closed, aren’t moving, and aren’t making noise. When you come back into the room you will walk around asking if any lions are awake until a lion wakes up. Once a lion is awake, he will help you look for other awake lions until you have found enough lions or until time is up.

Benefits:

  • Calms and relaxes students
  • Prepares students muscles for physical activity
  • Frees students’ minds from any stresses or worries
  • Brainbreak
  • Engaging

Limitations:

  • The Lion Game may cause some some students to get figity and anxouse
  • Space
  • Time

Applications:

  • Could be used in gym or any other subject as a relaxation tool
  • Yoga in itsself is very relaxing so more physical yoga exercies could be used as a full gym class lesson

Adaptations:

  • If there is not enough room, students could do the exercices sitting their desks with their heads down.
  • Could be incorporated into process drama by prompting muscle movements through prompts related to the drama/ story. And instead of lion, character from the drama/ story could be used.
  • Use other yoga exercises that are more physical than savasana