The Rooster!

roosterHappy New Year! I hope 2017 has been off to a wonderful start for everyone. I’m excited to share something that has been rattling around my mind over the holiday season.

With only a day before the work week begins again, (for us teachers anyway), it struck me to reflect on the piece below about a moment in my life where a teacher made in an impact on me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed mulling it over and finally putting it together.


They come to me like snapshots, images of a time long ago.

In one of them I am standing in a beautiful courtyard. The trees are tall and luscious, the grass is green and moist. Next to me is a small tub. I look down at it, eyes desolate, water slowly dripping onto my bare feet. Only moments before, the water which now trickled from my hair, belonged in the same pool. I had been playing alongside my friends, splashing, giggling, pouring water over our heads. The sun was shining. The air was warm. Life was good.

Well, at least until the Rooster appeared.

Rooster was the more-than-generous name I gave the meanest kindergarten teacher ever. Unfortunately, she also happened to be my kindergarten teacher.

“Don’t you dare go back in,” she clucked. “You know the rules. If you step out, you’re done,” bulging eyes looked down at me.

“Mr. Ducky fell out,” I began, but there was no use. The Rooster wouldn’t have it.

Just like that, the fun and games on Water Day were over. I stood there, staring at the others, envying that their stupid ducky stayed put. They looked so happy, so together.  I supposed that’s how I looked not too long ago. It’s funny how in a matter of an instant I no longer belonged.

Lesson number one: It sucks being left out!

Rooster is mean!

I want my mommy!

Another snapshot lays itself atop the last, and I am five again, same place, similar time, same old Rooster.

This time I am sitting on a long wooden bench, head bowed, hands clasped rigidly on my lap. I am wearing my favourite blue dress, the one with the big colourful flowers. It seemed a shame to stare down at such beauty when everything else around me felt so ugly. The time-out bench was no place for me. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone pointed their finger at me. Now I had to ‘think about it’ when I had no clue what I’d done.

Lesson number two: Life is not fair!

Kids can be cruel!

Rooster is definitely the worst teacher ever!

I still want my mommy!

So there I was, slowly climbing out of the cozy cradle that had sheltered me for the first five years of my life. This was life though, sometimes not so nice, definitely not as nice as Mommy.


Sometimes the person you become is an amalgamation of the many experiences throughout your time on earth. I found that this moment helped mold the teacher that I would one day become, or at least the teacher that I did not want to be.

Here’s a thought exercise, think of a moment of impact that helped create the You of today. If you like, tell us about it in the comments below.

Have a great week!

Lora

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25 Things My Dad Taught Me

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As a little girl, I was daddy’s little princess. Looking back at home videos, it amazes me how happy I made him, like a little kid on Christmas morning. Now that I’m older, we have a tricky relationship but when everything is pushed aside he is still my hero and I am still his baby girl. Here is a man that was once a young boy himself and grew up to have his own kids and did everything in his power to make our lives perfect with love. Father’s aren’t just born, men grow into them and it’s a very important stage of their development. As my mother always tried to protect my siblings and me from the world, my father threatened us with it as we grew up. We aren’t kids anymore he would tell us; the real world is not all rainbows and ponies. For that I thank…

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Writing Art – Capturing Emotion Through Art

Capturing Emotion Through Art

Writing Art by Al Gord

 

“Artists talk to themselves on canvas, mumbling scattered colors of emotion”

~Terri Guillemets

 

paintingOne of the most powerful things about an artist’s work is the emotion captured within the piece, invoked by the art or which inspires the product. Artists focus on areas of passion, topics that move them, subjects that inspire them and experiences and feelings that remain with them. Whether explicit or implicit, every artistic work represents some part of an artist. It is through the canvas where I share my innermost feelings and where my passions come to life for others to see.

At first glance, the viewer may be struck by the style of the piece or the imagery of the work. Sometimes that is all that is needed to get the meaning of a piece, that is, the intent behind the artist’s work. But what of the works that are not as obvious? How does one make meaning or begin to understand what the artist might be experiencing or in my case what the painter hopes to convey?

In my work emotion is expressed through the people; their body language, the position of their figures and the expression on their faces, but the feelings intended to be conveyed are also expressed through the background. In examining the piece below I invite you to move beyond the obvious. I carefully choose the pose, the title (taken from song lyrics) and the colours to create a specific mood. I challenge you to look past the music icon himself and the intensity on his face. Instead, I invite you to reflect on the colours chosen, the layout of the background, and the use of lines and abstract techniques. What emotion does this stir up in you? What do you think I was feeling as I created this piece?

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 “I am the Chosen, I’m the One”

Portrait of Lenny Kravitz

 

Next time you have a chance to look at various works of art – look a little deeper! Consider what you think the artist is trying to say, trying to share, wanting you to feel. While he or she has an intended purpose, the connection you make with the piece influences your emotional response; something which is unique to you. That is why each individual is drawn to certain artists and to certain works; the underlying emotional connection, realized or not, that the viewer forms with the art and the artist.


JimmeAlGordAl Gord is an up and coming artist who uses abstract techniques with figurativism to create Modern Romantic (Uninhibited) Expressionist pieces and Rock Icon Portraitures. He also creates pieces which focus on mental health awareness and advocacy. Regardless of the subject matter his signature style is clearly recognizable. His work is showcased on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where he welcomes inquiries, questions, and feedback.

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Al Gord and Al Gord Art: All work is the creative and intellectual property of Al Gord and Al Gord Art. No part of my work (specific work, its electronic reproductions or its intellectual property) may be reproduced, copied, modified, transmitted, re-distributed or adapted, without the prior written consent of the artist, Al Gord.

Writing Art – Painting as a Vehicle for Communication

artistArt has always been an important aspect of my life, at times acting as a medium for self-expression and other times feeding a need for creative exploration. The beauty of art is the freedom it allows us to be completely ourselves, free of social constraints, insecurities, rules, etiquette; a freedom that is often not ours when communicating with words. There is a definite degree of rawness that comes with this kind of silent poetry, especially when we invite the world into this personal space.

I am excited to introduce a new Artists on a Limb writing series, Writing Art, where we explore this creative journey with my friend and very talented artist, Al Gord.

Thank you Al for sharing your work and allowing us into your world.


Painting as a Vehicle for Communication

Writing Art by Al Gord

“As communicators, artists should not just portray a subject. Their work should be a window to the thoughts and inner workings of their artist lives and minds.”

~ Elizabeth Azzolina

Trapped Within My Own Personal Chaos

Trapped Within My Own Personal Chaos

 

The essence of art, in any form, is to communicate with others. From the earliest times drawings, paintings, dance, acting, song, and oral story have been used to pass down history, share monumental events, and commemorate stories of personal value. Today the past is documented in many forms and allows for easy accessibility for people to learn about the past. For current events media outlets and social media allow for instantaneous news, stories of personal interest and important breaking events. However, there is still an important role for the arts to play in society and in giving voice to others.

When I first started painting I dabbled in watercolours and oils; I tried painting nature scenes and still life. None of this resonated with me! I gained experience looking at other artists’ work and reproducing their painting purely for my own enjoyment. While I derived some pleasure from re-creating other’s work, I always felt a void upon completing the piece. People would be impressed with “my work” and the positive response, while uplifting, still did not fill my artistic void. Continued practice helped me improve my technique and allowed me to see art from a different vantage point.

Over time and after a break from art I realized why I was not getting the enjoyment out of something for which I once had a passion: the essence of art, and of any creative pursuit, is to convey a message, an idea, an emotion. Without that the final product is empty. When an artist is sharing their innermost thoughts, their most personal feelings – their passion and their message comes across in the work. It was this shift in understanding, due in part to life circumstances, which helped my transition from someone who produced art to that of an artist – two very different creative types, both in style and mindset.

Everyone has a message to share, experiences to retell, and emotions to express. Some people find that talking to a trusted person in their life or journaling their ideas are enough. For others, the creative route is a powerful and transformative way to further express their ideas. While this requires some level of comfort in letting strangers in, it is also incredibly cathartic! Not only does the support the artist, but this experience allows other people to connect with and relate to the art and the artist.


JimmeAlGord

Al Gord is an up and coming artist who uses abstract techniques with figurativism to create Modern Romantic Expressionist pieces and Rock Icon Portraitures.  To learn more about Al Gord and his work, visit him at the links below. He welcomes inquiries, questions and feedback.

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Al Gord and Al Gord Art: All work is the creative and intellectual property of Al Gord and Al Gord Art. No part of my work (specific work, its electronic reproductions or its intellectual property) may be reproduced, copied, modified, transmitted, re-distributed or adapted, without the prior written consent of the artist, Al Gord. 

Summer Fun and Safety

Summer is upon us at last! If you are anything like me, you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible, walking, cycling, swimming, enjoying time with family and friends on patios, having barbecues, exploring amusement parks (I can go on and on). With all that summer fun comes the need for sun safety as well.  I was delighted when blogger, social worker and stay-at-home dad, Sean Morris, contacted me and wanted to share some of his tips on planning fun and safe family activities. Thank you Sean for a very informative article.


As a stay-at-home dad, I love the summer because it means family vacations, warm nights catching fireflies, day trips to the amusement park, and sleep-away camps where my kids will make lifelong memories. But I also know that summer means traveling in a cramped, noisy car for long periods of time, mosquitoes and other pests (not to mention the threat of disease), and standing in line for roller coasters in the hot sun, and that uneasy feeling every parent gets when their child leaves the nest. Summer comes with its share of dangers. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to prepare your family and stay safe.

Four Fun, Safe Activities for Summer Break

kidsSummer is the time when children are out of school and ready to play. But the excitement of a long break with no responsibilities can often get the better of them, and rigorous activities may lead to scraped knees, bruises, or even something more serious. The best way to ensure your kids don’t invent their own, potentially dangerous game is to come up with specific activities targeted to their interests. Here are a few things you might suggest to keep your kids entertained and safe.

Chalk Art: Beautify Your Driveway

chalkChalk art is a low energy activity that can prevent injuries resulting from wild behavior. The color is nontoxic and is perfectly acceptable to get on the skin. If possible, find a shaded patch of sidewalk or driveway for your kids to decorate. Though shade can help prevent sunburn, it is still important that you apply sunscreen every two hours.

Also, keep in mind that your kids are likely too distracted by their chalk to think about re-hydration. Prompt your kids to drink water every half hour. Avoid sugared beverages as they are far less healthy and likely less hydrating.

Make Your Own Art Supplies

puffypaintCreating your own art supplies both entertains your kids and guarantees the safety of the materials they are using. You can even make a homemade sidewalk chalk paint. Some other fun, easy-clean art mediums you can make in your own kitchen are bathtub puffy paint and water color paint.

A recipe for water color paint, a kid-sized easel, and some cheap brushes can make for a wonderful backyard activity. The homemade, biodegradable paint allows you to take your kids outside to enjoy the fresh air and channel their inner Da Vinci.

Freeze Your Own Healthy Popsicles

popsicleFrozen, tasty treats are part of what makes summer, summer. Unfortunately, most of those treats are loaded with unhealthy ingredients and are chock full of sugar. Instead of chasing down the ice cream truck, spend some time in the kitchen and make your own healthy and delicious treats.

With the right equipment, making homemade popsicles is easier than you think, while a homemade smoothie may be just what your child needs to replenish during a break from playing. Letting your kids create their own summer treats is a fun way to get them inside and out of the sun.

Consider making cherry juice popsicles for the end of the day, which can help your kids sleep better at night. Often, it is still hot by the time your kids should be in bed, and the last thing they want to do is curl up under a blanket.  A cool, healthy popsicle that is low in sugar might be a great way to end a long, hot day of playing and cool your kids down enough for sleep. Cherry juice itself contains melatonin, the hormone your brain produces for sleep.

Gardening Small-Scale

gardeningFor some kids, nothing is more exciting than taking care of a plant and watching it grow, bloom, and maybe produce food. Even if you only have a pot sitting in your window sill, taking your kids out to pick out their own flower seeds and a small, inexpensive bag of soil can be the start of a summer-long activity.

Not only will planting the seeds be exciting for your kids but providing them something to water every day can maintain a sense of responsibility. If you have access to a garden, tending to all the plants with your children can become a long, daily activity that might even result in healthy foods for your family.

sleepThough summer is not necessarily fraught with risk, minor injuries, sunburns, dehydration, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep are all very real and common problems kids can experience in the summer. By building your activities around avoiding these unnecessary injuries or health issues, your kids will be able to enjoy summer to the fullest.

Let your kids get creative, help them make healthy snacks, and maybe spend a dollar or two on some flower seeds to brighten your window. Summer is supposed to be enjoyable. Keeping your kids safe does not mean they shouldn’t get to have fun.


Sean Morris became a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get to spend more time with his kids. He enjoys sharing his experiences via LearnFit.org and hopes writing for the site will help him provide other parents with tips and advice on juggling life, career, and family.

Happy Father’s Day!

FathersDayPoem2Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. This Father’s Day, we want to thank our Dads and all the father-figures in our lives – grandpas, step-dads, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends….whoever your hero happens to be – Words on a Limb would like to wish you a Happy Father’s Day!

 

Chapters Book Event

Poster Woodbridge 2016

I am excited to announce my upcoming reading of WORDS at Chapters Woodbridge on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Please join me from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM for children’s activities and book signing.

Lora

Kisses For My Mother

kiss_candy_box_400Mother’s Day is fast approaching and we have surely begun preparing for it in the classroom. This year we are showing Mom (or the special mother-figure in our life) how much we love her with lots of kisses in a love-filled picture frame. We sure hope this becomes a craft Mom will treasure.

 

 


Kisses For My Mother is a poem I wrote for the special occasion. I wanted students to make it somewhat their own so I left the last line blank. This is where they get to add adjectives and/or verbs that best describe their mom (if they’re up for the challenge, they can try to make it rhyme).

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Now for the craft…

Before you begin:blowingKiss 1. Take a profile picture of each student blowing a kiss into the air, head slightly tilted upwards. 2. Ask students to enlist help from family members (other than their mom) and bring in a picture of their mom for the frame.


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1.Loosely tape a heart shaped cut-out onto a white sheet of paper (thick enough for paint).

2. Using outward strokes, have students paint lines all around the heart (you may want to incorporate various colour themes – primary, secondary, warm, cool, or let student choose whatever colour scheme they like – perhaps mom’s favourite colour).

3. After the paint has dried, fill small jars with water and food colour. Using dropplers, invite students to dab the liquid onto the frame and extend the drops into line designs (curvy, jagged, parallel, striped, etc.).

4. Have students cut out various size and colour heart shapes and glue them around their frame (maintaining the heart shape in the centre).

5. Students cut and paste the poem, Kisses For My Mother, as well as their picture and a photo of their mom in the centre of the frame.

6. You may want to invite students to continue adding hearts to their frame, overlapping and creating a sense of space.

Here is a sample of the final product:

Final

To download a free copy of my poem for your personal use in the classroom, click on the kiss image below. To download a copy of the poem as a shared reading handout, click on the image of the poem at the top of the post.
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Creative Commons License
Kisses For My Mother by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Happy Mother’s Day! I would love to hear your feedback and see how your crafts turned out.

Lora

Live event – WORDS Book Reading

ChaptersPosterBramptonApr24FinalJoin me at Chapters Brampton on Sunday, April 24 from 11:00 to 1:00. I’ll be reading from my picture book WORDS and then hang around for fun activities and book signing. Hope to see you there!

Lora

WORDS Reading at Indigo

IndigoPosterRichmondHillApr17FinalJoin me at Indigo Richmond Hill on Sunday, April 17 at 12 pm. I’ll be reading from my picture book WORDS and then hang around for some fun activities and book signing. Hope to see you there!

Lora