Photo Friday: reflections

My first year of teaching I integrated a lesson on Monet to include not only art, but writing, language arts, science and math.  We studied plant structure from the roots up, and I loved it that the next time we painted still life, Ricardo drew a cutaway view allowing the observer to see what was going on below the ground!

Kadesha, I will admit, had me quite confused when she wrote about her picture one day.  She had written a paragraph and kept repeating one of the lines over and over throughout her work.  It was purely by accident that week, that I discovered her mother sang gospel songs at home to practice for the church choir.  It was a light bulb moment for me!  This knowledge allowed me to break her paragraph down into verses and there it was… a beautiful song about Monet and his gardens complete with a refrain!

My students surprised me by excelling in all areas of the lessons presented.  We drew still life, and discussed Monet’s use of small dots of paint, that when viewed from a distance, came together to  reveal the picture.  Each time we read, painted or drew, we wrote about it.  At the end of the lessons I picked the best examples from each student to depict their hard work,  which culminated in a published book.  Copies were sent home with each child, and all this was done FREE OF CHARGE!

One of my favorite pieces was done by Miss Chavez.  She had drawn a picture of herself on Monet’s bridge, and there, looking down into the water, was her  reflection among the water lilies.  I loved how she phrased the use of dabs of color into her own words in this excerpt:

“Monet used little color dots to make his pictures, and you have to stand backer to see the picture.”  Miss Chavez, Grade 1

That year, we all came away with a better understanding of color, light and reflection, and learned so much more along the way.

And, I am partial to reflections in images to this day.



Chihuly Glass Exhibit, Cheekwood Estate, TN



30 thoughts on “Photo Friday: reflections

  1. littlesundog says:

    I too, enjoy photographing reflections. I have a photo of a butterfly and reflection on a glass door. I’ll have to email it to you. Water reflections are always fun to work with too.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Thank you, Dianne, I was hard won! I only had a broken tripod to work with, it was pitch black out that night, and I was working with only the spotlight from the garden. This one was the best of all the many photographs I took that night.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Thank you, Tom! I don’t believe you have said, but I imagine we taught at opposite ends of the teaching spectrum. Me with the little ones and you with the older ones? Regardless the age it is simply amazing to watch them when they are enjoying lessons! 🙂

  2. shoreacres says:

    Teaching is the best! And what a good approach you used. I really enjoyed the story – and your sleuthing to find that song!

    The Chihuly is drop-dead gorgeous. Was it part of an exhibit? Temporary or permanent? I find his work completely entrancing, but haven’t found any within striking distance to see in person. I nearly made it to the show at the Botanical Garden in Arizona, but it was just too far. If it had been New Mexico, I might have made it. For some reason, Tennessee feels closer, although it isn’t.

    Gosh, what a beautiful photo.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Linda, yes the Chihuly was an exhibit in the gardens two summers ago. They only had it lit up and open for night viewing for a limited time at the end of the showing. We got there in the late afternoon, and stayed til closing. I am really glad that I waited, because frankly it was so much better lit up! (IMHO, of course)

      Thank you, Linda! In many ways my early years of teaching were the best. There were less restrictions and I was allowed more leeway to expand and integrate my lessons. It still had to be tied firmly to the standards, and ART was part of the standards even if not taught. Everyone was afraid to “Waste the time on Art in lieu of math, and Language arts. I always think of Mr. Hollands Opus when I remember my years of teaching. My last school district was the hardest because the principal there was an a**. He had no vision and was only after the bottom line on the AYP. Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft!!! (Sorry, got a little belligerent on that topic.)
      Just curious, but was the connection of reflections, to my past and the art, only in my head, or did it come through for the reader? Sometimes I wonder if I am really out there with my post titles. 😉

  3. Steve Schwartzman says:

    In various posts and comments you’ve mentioned having been a teacher, but I somehow didn’t know that you taught art. Live and learn.

    I was a math teacher, but whenever possible I brought in other subjects, especially language. Once, when it was near the end of the school year and my advanced calculus students had already taken their AP tests, I did something completely different by taking them out on the school grounds and showing them some of our native plants. Now I wish that someone had done that for me when I was a kid.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Steve, I wish that all teachers would do that for every student that came their way! I taught 1st and 2nd. grades my whole career. According to the standards we were to teach Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art and PE. Once the standards were put into practice it got shortened to LA, Reading, Writing and Math. All the rest were still on the list… we just didn’t get to really teach them. In the beginning it was easier to integrate my lessons to include the other subjects so long as I could point to the standard(s) to back up what I was teaching. But by the time I left California, everything was prescribed and there was “…no room for the Teachable Moment.” and that is a quote by my last principal I tried to teach under. 😐

  4. Klausbernd Vollmar says:

    Great, your award free blog! I like it – on my blog there is a big, big discussion about awards going on – but nearly everyone is against it.
    I like your reflections and how you refer to Monet. I surely will come back 🙂
    Enjoy the weekend

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