Saturday, August 09, 2014

Literacy and flowers

School starts Monday. I have the eagerness that each and every fresh start affords a person. Imagine being in a job where you can start over every 12 months! I like that. It's impossible to get bored.

To prepare, I was re-reading some of my textbooks from my graduate literacy program. I finished in 1998. I cannot believe it has been 16 years. It seems like yesterday, driving through the snow, sitting on the hard metal chairs, taking notes till your hand cramped up. I remember one late night in particular. I had a 7:00 class that got out at 9:45. I was driving my big old Cutlass through the late fall air, and the Northern Lights popped up. I stopped my car by the side of the road and was astonished at the view. I wanted to run up and down the road pounding on doors, kind of like an Aurora Borealis Paul Revere. No one came out to look, and all I saw besides the flashing ionized green and red particles waving like a curtain, was the silent smoke of the woodstoves curling upward to the stars overhead.

I picked two of the best matches to my current position in school to re-read: "Children's Writing" Perspectives from Research." I always liked that book. And "Facilitating Preschool Literacy". That book had lots of scans of the childrens' art and letter writing, something I'm fascinated with. Children's art tells you a lot. I wish I knew more about the subject.

However I was disappointed. Neither book really gave me the information I was looking for to help me crack the nut of pre-literacy writing in the areas I especially wanted information on. Either I've grown dumber over the years or textbooks aren't as helpful in the real world as I'd once thought.

However, both books did confirm my long-standing knowledge that reading and writing are inextricably linked, with writing even the slightly more important process in acquiring literacy. That children need a supportive and literacy-rich environment. That labeling and invented spellings are OK. And that learning to write is hard. It is good to be reminded of these things, and I'm glad I looked my books over.

I did some heavy re-organizing today- on my computer. I moved all the photos to their folders. I looked over all my writing in the working folder and either trashed it or put it where it goes. I have a lot of animal photos and I put them where they go. I collected the scripture verses I've been making and put them in a special folder. I did this because it drives me crazy to know I have a photo, for example, of a blue flower, and I can't find it. Having what you need is only half the battle. Getting your hands on it in a reasonably efficient amount of time is the other half.

After all my writing and computer work was done, I took a walk around outside. It was a very warm evening but the air was soft and the scenery was nice. Look who I met behind the house at the barn:

And the spider flowers are blooming

Spider flower, posterized

"Three spider flowers walk into a bar..."
And there are quite a few mushrooms of all kinds on the property too.

Under a toadstool crept a wee clover...


Anonymous said...

Hey Elizabeth thought you would like to watch this. It gave me chills, most likely because my senses were so overwhelmed haha. but I don't think the rapture would be that visual lol.

Elizabeth Prata said...

I DID enjoy it! Thanks very much. I watched it right away and then I write about it at the other blog. ( )

I didn't think it would be so visible either but once I looked up some verses and thought about it, I think this version is closer to how it will be. :) Thanks for the good food for thought.

Grace to You said...

One of the coolest things I've ever done was teach my sons to read. It is an amazing thing to witness!

Love the posterized flower pic!

Elizabeth Prata said...

I agree, Grace To You, it is amazing to see the difference literacy makes in a child's life. I loved 'unlocking' that for them when I was a 1st grade teacher and now as a parapro I participate in the process by supporting them. I just love it!

I think the flower is my favorite one of the group I've made already, too. I am trying to think up a million ways to use it :)

Anonymous said...

Aww, thank you for using it in your blog entry. I loved it. When I first watched the video I even caught myself wanting to seeing the rapture that way, but realized I'll be in it! I noticed you like using pics on your blogs and i was thinking about emailing you some. I have a folder on my computer of art I come across on the internet now and then. Do you want some?

Elizabeth Prata said...

Thanks for the heads up on the rapture clip, and also thank you for the offer of photos. I do enjoy using photos on the blog. When I was editing a weekly newspaper, my graphic designer always used to hammer me about photos. "People love photos". "Take close up shots so we can see their face". "Balance text with art." Etc. She was right. And she taught me well, I still follow her lessons ten years later.

The problem with photos is two fold. First is finding pics that are creative commons or public domain so no copyright infringements. That's why I use a lot of Renaissance art. Apart from the fact that I love Renaissance art. :)

Second they have to tell a story. Sometimes it's easy to find art that fits, if it's literal.Finding photos that express something abstract, like justification, is harder. On John MacArthur's home page some of the photos that express an abstract are very good and I stare at them to learn how to think creatively.

Recently Google installed a search function for non-licensed photos and illustrations, which is extremely helpful! And Wikipedia's creative commons is also helpful.

If you want to send some photos then I thank you humbly! I'd need to know who to credit. And I can't promise I'll use all of them or even any of them...matching art with concepts is a personal thing, and I'm always in-the-moment. But the other thing my friend taught me is to have art ready, as backups, so it doesn't take as long to complete a blog essay. Sometimes it takes me longer to decide on photos than it does to write the essay ;) Thank you!

elizabethprata AT gmail DOT com

Mrs. Pedersen said...

Beautiful immages!