I’ve been hard at work on the work-in-progress. And, the work is hard. I’m wrestling text and images and graphics into place, staring down a deadline. In the last two days, I’ve made really good progress. There’s nothing like having Richard available to produce the graphics I need when I need them. I wish he were my full-time office companion.
After two long days, I need to let some things settle a bit so I have time for a quick blog post. I was in San Antonio last weekend for the National Science Teachers Association annual convention.
I was one of nine authors (Terry Jennings (Gopher to the Rescue), Darcy Pattison (Desert Baths), Elizabeth Rusch (The Mighty Mars Rover), Melissa Stewart (Under the Snow), Catherine Thimmesh (Team Moon), Peggy Thomas (Farmer George Plants a Nation), and Sallie Wolf (The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound) who participated in a workshop titled: “Integrating Science and Literacy: A Journey, Not a Destination.” Each of us was paired with a professor of education. My partner was Dr. Amy Broemmel from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She helped me share the educational materials I’ve developed for Wolfsnail and Growing Patterns with four groups of teachers who rotated through our table. She took these photographs.
In my second session, “The Power of Scientists’ Stories in Teaching NGSS Methods and Practices,” I teamed up with Dr. Kristin Rearden, who also teachers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Andy Boyles, science editor at Highlights.
Once again, it was my job to share ideas with teachers for using my books in classrooms to meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
I led the group in making a Fibonacci Folding Book, and talked about the Fibonacci Puzzle, the Wolfsnail On The Move book, and the instant book.
Here is Kristin talking about bringing pinecones into the classroom to have students look for the Fibonacci sequence in the spirals on the bottom.
We had lunch after our session to talk about what we might do for future conferences. Presenting at national conferences is always a wonderful experience because it brings me into dialogue with the people who use my books in classrooms and libraries with kids. I always learn things, and I always have fun.
Check out a new blog called Perfect Pairings: Linking Science and Literacy written by Kristin and Amy. You’ll find great trade picture books to use in your classrooms.
For my new book, I need to illustrate a concept that involves a head of broccoli. I thought I had a good way to do it, but it wasn’t working as well as it needed to. So, I decided to go after a slightly different way of showing. It meant using Adobe Photoshop to “cut out” the broccoli head from its background, and then “cutting out” smaller sections of the head.
While I’ve always relied on Richard in the past to do most of the post-production, I had several reasons for diving into this job myself. First, I love learning new things. Second, he was wanting to watch a ballgame (Liverpool v. Tottenham). Third, I wasn’t sure my idea would work and didn’t want to put him through all the pain if it wasn’t going to prove out. So, I took up the pen.
After I created the image I wanted in Photoshop, I imported it into Adobe InDesign. One of the great things about Photoshop is that you can create different layers in an image that show different things.
In this case, the final file included more than 5 layers. Instead of saving each of the versions as its own file, I was able use a tool called Layer Comps. I read up on the tool using Adobe’s help page, and was able to import the file into my InDesign document six different ways. I love my Adobe Creative Suite products and the way they work together.
Richard and I got up early this morning to photograph trees with fractal branching patterns. We drove up the Natchez Trace Parkway a few miles north of Jackson. Here’s some of what we found.
My mother holding my younger sister, Jessica. I am on the right side of the image. Dad must have taken it. We were visiting Mr. Wilson’s place, near Rodney. Mr. Wilson worked at Alcorn for many years. My parents boarded a hog on his farm.
This shows us scraping hair from the skin.
He also gave us rides on his horse.
With my friend Sarah J.
Mom and I have been looking through the books of negatives, again, because we’re doing another Christmas present photo panel. (I’m not saying who will get it and I’m not saying what the theme is. And, no, you can’t guess by looking at these photographs.)
This one of me at the mirror jumped out at me. And then, I saw the one below. Yikes! What is that growing out of my head?
I have no idea what possessed me to do that particular style with my hair. (Mom thinks I was doing something celebratory for my sister Emilye’s 13th birthday.) Joining us that summer (1978) — as he did for many years — was Tarik Higgins. Our honorary brother.
The negatives show that we also lit fireworks that day and played a pretty fierce game of basketball. By the time of the basketball game, I had shed the apron. There wasn’t much bun left either.
Look at Emilye using her left hand. And, yes, we did live in the middle of the woods!
For those of you who are interested in these kinds of things, I am scanning black and white negatives using an Epson V600, importing into Adobe Lightroom, and editing (cropping and using a healing brush to remove dirt and scratches) in Adobe Photoshop. I love having a darkroom on my desk!!
I’ve spent hours today going through my photo files. I am deleting duplicates. There was a time not too long ago when the first thing I did after transferring my photographs from the camera card to my computer was batch processing in Adobe Photoshop to create a photoshop document for each image. That means I have hundreds of .psd files that duplicate .nef files. Sometimes, I batch processed a whole set of .jpgs at the same time. More needless duplication.
I am also finding photographs in my main Chronological Photos file that belong in other files, such as the Photos By Others file. I just moved three sets of photographs that I was given by another parent when we did the Faces of Chastain quilt project in 2007. Today I still remember that they were taken by Susan, but who knows how long I would have remembered. It is so much easier to go through hundreds, nay thousands, of photographs in digital form than as prints, or negatives. I know this from the organizational project I am helping my mother with.
I am learning more about how to use Adobe Lightroom’s organizational tools, including search functions and collections. The fun part of doing this is I am seeing lots and lots of photographs. I took these two photographs in October and November 2011. (They aren’t my kids and they’ve grown up a lot since then.)