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

Weekly Creative Practice: Something Fishy

This week, as I was cleaning my betta fish’s bowl, I was struck by how magnificent his colors and fins are! As I watched him swim around his small world- a round glass vase from Micheal’s- his scales glimmered in the light. I was reminded of one of my favorite children’s books from my childhood, Rainbow Fish. If you don’t know who the rainbow fish is, he is a fish with the most beautiful scales. He has scales of many colours but also metalic scales that sparkle and reflect light. Watching my little fishy intently, I realized his scales also refelcted light! Wow!

Meet my fish, Tango:

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I had a difficult time capturing the beauty of his scales and colours, however, in this photo I was able to capture the beauty of his fins. Tango is a crowntail betta so his fins are spiky and appear crown-like. My sister claims that he looks freaky, I however, think he looks majestic.

Here is a slightly better picture of his scales:

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When taking these picture I had to turn most of the lights in my room off to eliminate glare off the glass. With less lighting, his scales don’t have much to reflect so they aren’t as bright as when more lights are on. Either way, you can definitley notice the sparkle in his scales here- especially where he is blue. I think it looks as if someone took a paint brush and painted him with metalic paint! So pretty! (insert heart eyed emoji icon here*)

 


Refelction Time:

Reflecting on these past two months, I have noticed that my creative practices ussually include objects that are arts related (gazeebo, sound amplifier) or have some sort of significance to me (grandma’s jewelry box, my fishy). Another thing I have noticed is that I ussually am able to find art related aspects in every object!

Now, here is a picture of my fish when he was grumpy because this blog post is over.   😦

Until next time!

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Reading Reflection Strategy

After students have read their assigned readings, assign students to groups of four and provide each group with a piece of paper. Ask students to create 5 different spaces on the paper: 4 spaces will be for each group member to write down their personal reflections of the reading, and one space (probably in the centre) will be for the group to synthesize their reflections. After completion, have each group state their synthesis of the reading and then have a class discussion of the reading.

Benefits:

  • New perspectives from other students
  • Second chance to think about read material
  • Group work

Limitations:

  • Students may not have read the reading

Applications:

  • Collaborative ideas
  • Students can evaluate their own reflections off of peers

Adaptations: 

  • During the class previous to this class, test the student’s knowledge on that days reading to see how many students are actually participating in the assigned reading. This will hopefully ensure that all students will have read the readings for the next class.

Vocal Warm Up and Singing Rounds

To begin, first have students massage their jawlines and temples. Second, practice deeping breathing and holding breathes. Third, practice ragdoll forward bends while exhailing loudly. Next, have students walk around room while producing short vocalizations from the diaphram. Then, split class into two or three groups and have each group stand in a circle. One person in each group will then produce a noise that will then be produced by everyone in the circle single file and in order until it comes back around to the person who originally produced the noise. The original noise producer will then produce that noise one final time and then the next person in the circle will produce a new noise and the cycle will repeat. Conintue until every person has produced their own noise and go as fast as possible.

After each circle has completed their sound production activity, have all the groups stand in a circle together but in a way so that each group is still visually separate from each other. Have students particpate in a sining round.

*Ensure that you have just enough groups per line of the chosen song.

Benefits:

  • Gets voices ready for singing
  • Teamwork

Limitations:

  • Students may not be comfortable with sining

Applications:

  • Preparing  students for Christmas recitals
  • Getting students comfortable with singing and/or singing infront of classmates and teachers
  • Can be used by teachers to strengthen their vocals for all the talking they will do as teachers

Adaptations: 

  • Can be used to help memorize a song- repetetivly singing and hearing the same song
  • Can be used as a concentration tool

Story Drama

A children’s picture book will be preselected and read by the teacher before beginning the activity. It will be beneficial to the class if the book is unknown to the students. The book, The Island by Armin Greder will be used as an example throughout the following description:

Part 1: Instructed Drawing

Before starting, select an illustration from the book that has significant meaning to the book as a whole. To begin, partner students up. Explain that one partner will be the teller, while the other will be the drawer. Have all the drawers blindfold themselves and then show the tellers the chosen illustration. It is important for the drawers to not see the image. Next, walk around the room so that all the tellers get a good view of the illustration. As you walk around the room, the tellers will then begin to describe the illustration to their drawing partners. The drawers will do the best they can to draw the illustration through the description the teller is giving them. After about 3-5 minutes, they may stop in which the drawer can take his blindfold off and see both his drawing and the book’s illustration.

Have each set of partners team up with another set of partners to discuss each other’s illustrations.

For this example, an illustration of the sea with a burning raft was used.

*This step introduces the mood of the story. Students will begin imagining what the story is about.

Part 2: Instructed Mime

Before starting, the teacher will have chosen a text or illustration from the book that she will have the students elaborate on. For this example, the text describing a man on a raft will be used. Students are to find a random spot in the room at least 5 feet from each other. The teacher will then explain to the students that they are going to act out or mime what is being said without making noise. The teacher may then begin to describe the situation from the chosen text/ illustration. First, you would tell the students that they are making a raft. You can ask them what materials might they use? How would you put these materials together? Remember, the students are not to respond verbally but through their actions. Next, you would tell the students to put their rafts in the water and begin sailing out to sea. You could ask them what activities they would do at sea? What would they eat? What happens after several days go by? Eventually you will tell them to look into the distance at an island. Ask them how they will react to this sighting.

As students mime what is being said, continue to prompt them until you feel they understand the scenario well enough to move on to the next step.

*This activity puts students into character and prepares them so that they have a feel for what the story may be about without ever reading it. Students will be encouraged to search for what comes next.

Part 3: Story Pieces

Before starting this step in the activity, photocopy several (5+) random pages from the story and post them around the classroom unordered. Assign student into several groups so that you have one group per page. Pass out sticky notes to each group and then have them walk around the room and post their reactions, thoughts, feeling , etc., towards each page’s text and illustrations. Once this activity is complete, gather students together to have a class discussion on what they think the story is about. After discussing, they may then read the actual story.

*This allows students to connect with each page individually without the knowledge of the previous plot.

Part 4: Frozen Representaions

Have students walk randomly around the room. As they walk around the room explain to them the character you would like them to represent and that when you say freeze, they will create a frozen representation of that character. For example, you could say that they will portray the man when he first reaches the island. Once students understand what they are to do, ask them freeze. After several seconds have them unfreeze and continue walking randomly around the room. They will then freeze again but this time ask them to exaggerate their representation of that character.

You could further this exercise by choosing students to represent other characters in other scenarios of the story.

* Students will further their understanding/relationship with the character(s) and strengthen their opinion towards them.

Part 5: Town Council Meeting

Choose 4-5 students to play the role of town council members. Ask the rest of the students to take on a role of a character in the book. Have the council member sit at the front of the room and create an area in the middle of the room that will be used as the “hot spot”. As the teacher, you may also get into character as the “chairperson” of the meeting. To begin the activity, you might say,” Hello fellow townspeople. As we all know, we are gathered here today to share our opinions on recent incidents that have taken place in our community and make a final decision on our choice of action.” You will explain that the “community members” have ten minutes to share their opinions with the town council members by stepping up to the “hotspot”. After ten minutes, the council members will then vote on what actions will be taken.

An example would be voting on whether the man will stay or go. Students can take on the character of either community members wishing for the man to stay, or community members wishing for the man to leave.

Following the vote, have the citizens create two parallel lines facing each other (about 5 feet apart. Have the council members walk through the lines while the citizens quietly and repeatedly state their response to the verdict.

*This allows students to fully embody the characters and fully realize their understanding/ relationship will the characters and the story its self.

Part 6: Letter to Charcter

For the final step of the activity, ask students to write a letter to the main character of the story. For this example, it would be to the man. After a couple of minutes into their writing, ask students to crumple their letters into a ball and throw them into the center of the room. Students will then pick up a random crumpled letter and read it, underlying string sentences. Next, have the students read out their underlined sentences one by one to create a new letter to the character creating a collaboration of all the letters.

Evaluation of Activity as a Whole:

Benefits:

  • Stems creativity and imagination
  • Encourages an independent and group exploration of text/ illustrations
  • Teaches creating actions from spoken narrative
  • Providing new ways of evaluating text/images
  • All students will participate throughout entire activity (there is no elimination)
  • Students have multiple opportunities to express themselves

Limitations:

  • Prompts may need to be well detailed depending on audience
  • Space
  • Time
  • Age- students may be too young to understand certain steps

Applications:

  • Introducing students to a literary source
  • Memorizing key elements in a story
  • Helping students to connect with characters on a personal level
  • Creating classroom inclusiveness
  • Preparing students for what will be read
  • Collecting and evaluating their understanding of the literary source
  • Understanding democracy

Adaptations:

  • Prompts may change
  • Any story may be used
  • In Part 3, have students go around a second time to read everyone’s responses and checkmark what they agree with to further their reactions, thoughts, feeling , etc.
  • Have students write a response to the letter they picked up as if they were the man.
  • If the teacher wishes to have a say on the vote in part 5, have only four council members so that if there is a tie, the teacher becomes the tie breaker.
  • Students may be asked to represent their true emotions or take up the emotions of the character.

 

Weekly Creative Practice: Ram’s Game

Yesturday, Brook and I went to our first Ram’s game at Mosaic Stadium! While on facebook earlier that day, I saw that the ram’s facebook page had posted about their game later that day. It was their last home game before playoffs and the weather was not too bad so we decided to go. I am glad we did! It was actually way colder than I expected it to be- or maybe it was just me, however, I was wearing about a dozen layers- but it was a great game so bearing the cold was worth it. Here is Brook and I moments before the game was about to begin:

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If you’re wondering why we look so funny, it is because the picture was taken on Snapchat and we used a “goat filter”- our way of representing team spirit for the rams I guess. As you can see we were all smiles! Though the game was a “nail biter” with both teams tying up several times throughout the game, we continued smiling and thinking positive thoughts.

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During the game, the people sitting in front of us had a pizza delivered to them. Yes, you heard that right. Pizza was delivered to a stadium during a game. I know what I’m doing the next time I go to a sports event, however, Brook and I had not planned that far in advance and left our seats to try and find a burger stand. Unfortunately, the lineups for food at the stadium went on forever so we decided to head back to our seats.

Back at our seats, the smell of pizza from the people in front of us was too much. We promised each other that when there was only 5 minutes left to the game, we would leave the stadium before the rush and go home and order our own pizza.

P.s. we did and it was great!