Sunday, February 28, 2010


02.28.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

The Gulf of Mexico is usually quite calm and wave-free, but this morning the surf was up...relatively speaking. I don't know how word gets out, but there were about a dozen surfers who convened just after sunrise at the Naples Pier to hit the waves.

The sport reminds me a bit of emergency response careers as it requires patience during the long waits between short spurts of high adrenaline activity - some peaks (often with high risk) and many valleys. Readiness is needed to perform and to cope with the transitions. Guess the resemblances are similar to life, in general, too. Naples Pier, Naples, FL

Saturday, February 27, 2010


02.27.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

A sea of bright yellow beach sunflowers creates an odd horizon of sorts - a layer of dense growth, an anticipation of hope and optimism, a contrast to the concrete road nearby. It is a telling photo for me upon the conclusion of an unusual and rewarding experience as a virtual participant in the Flat Classroom Conference - a truly insightful and hopeful one. North Lake Dr & Gulfshore Dr, Naples, FL

Friday, February 26, 2010


02.26.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Funny to see this signage with its unusual closing time...and believe me, they follow it as I was driving by just about that time. I've been locked out of our building at work because someone followed precise closing times, as well. Precision certainly has its place in our world, as does a more balanced approach.

Worked with a student today who is so precise, focused, and driven to perfection on his math problem-solving that he cannot meet the time constraints of standardized testing. Ok, so perhaps the problem is with the test limits, but reality does rule sometimes. His skill could be well served in some occupations that require such precision, but will the time conflicts prevent him from finding his match? Where does the accommodation need to occur - the student or the test ... and how does that impact other similar conflicts? In the meantime, if you want your car washed at this business, you better be here before 4:55pm - you've been forewarned! 7th Ave N & US 41 E, Naples, FL

Thursday, February 25, 2010


02.25.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Blue skies returned today after an uncharacteristic stretch of dreary weather. They were dearly missed and will hopefully stick around for awhile! Though I try not to take such wonderful things for granted, I do wonder whether the blips make the highlights that much sweeter. It also made me think about opposites - without negative would there be positive? is there small without large? can their be success without failure? - and how they influence our lives. A continuum appears to be a more compatible view - one where individual differences can be assessed ... and appreciated. US 41 E & 4th Ave N, Naples, FL

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


02.24.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Time - an equalizer. It is something each and every one of us possess in equal amounts and it gets replenished daily for free! Even with the change in measuring time - from the traditional watch to the more contemporary cell phone - time remains a constant.

Managing time is consistently a challenge. We make choices as to how to prioritize and expend our minutes and hours. Many of those decisions occur without conscious effort,when we become somewhat robotic with our daily routines...but there are many 'wasted' hours - the time that really 'escapes' us, be it in a positive or negative way. Ultimately, taking responsibility for those choices can increase the likelihood of purposeful time management.

Speaking of time, it is nearing the hour for the Flat Classroom Conference in Mumbai, India (led by Vicki Davis, Julie Lindsay, and Bernajean Porter) to begin. My virtual participation with teams of students and teachers from all over the world to collaborate on action plans will focus on changing global educational issues. What a way to spend my time! Naples, FL

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


02.23.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Levels of bark and dried palm frond bases reveal smooth, sinewy, and even woven textures. Although it is (mostly) a neutral monochromatic image, it is quite 'busy' - with an energy that seems unusually out of place.

Forging a channel for both physical and mental energy can be a real challenge in a learning environment. With the added distractions that 'in-pocket' communication tools bring, it is no wonder that our students are demanding more for their energy consumption! The old adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," may need to be tempered a bit, but there's no doubt that if we don't move towards trying to connect with them (especially since the ubiquity of such technologies remains a norm in the adult business world, as well). Naples, FL

Monday, February 22, 2010


02.22.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Strong, but somewhat translucent, these glass blocks emanate a swirled texture from the outside and a mysterious potential beyond. Both an architectural element and a conduit for filtered light, they can often substitute for windows...but since they don't open circulation is not impacted.

Glass blocks can be considered barriers, but also visual passages...two-sided, as so many facets of our world. Viewing issues and concerns from both sides can offer benefits and pathways to problem-solving, just as these glass blocks provide an vital constructional component to this building. Central Ave & 10th St, Naples, FL

Sunday, February 21, 2010


02.21.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

There's little about this photograph that makes it out of the ordinary - a typical black crow on the rooftop of a beige concrete building. The brilliance of the cloudless blue sky does provide a nice backdrop from which to 'take center stage', but hardly a rarity. But I keep coming back to some thoughts that @dcosand shared with a recent photo posting, including the quote of George Washington Carver, "When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."

My slant on the topic is twofold - one, that too often we make choices based on 'status symbols' and two, that we all have the power to 'make the ordinary extraordinary.'

Choosing a career is much more difficult than taking a job, of course...but so few of us think first of how our true passions can guide us. Instead, we are often influenced by the pay scale, others' hopes and dreams, and what society may deem as 'important'. More than thirty years ago, oral historian Studs Terkel wrote Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do - he brings a respect and dignity to work, in general, and offers insight about work and passion via 'everyday people' - all doing valuable work.

A daily challenge seems to be turning the 'ordinary into the extraordinary'... and not necessarily in competition with others, but rather as a continuous improvement goal, a strive for one's personal best, 'stretching' to grow and to recognize the simplicity of our complex world. 6th Ave S & 8th St, Naples, FL

Saturday, February 20, 2010


02.20.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Patterned, pretty, and powerful, the croton is a mainstay in our area...except when we experience so many cold fronts. Most plants died off and/or lost their color, but those at one of the churches are well-protected (in more ways than one presumably!). How can one resist the maze of lines and colors of green, red, and gold? They always seem to delight my eye!

This photo was post-processed with Picnik Pro's (recently gifted to me) HDR effect.. I need to research and understand more about the HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging, but I do appreciate the end result of contrast, intensity, and hue. The original photo was also appealing, but sometimes, you just yearn for a change from the 'routine.' Consistency in a learning environment has its role...also, only to a limit. Variation and 'mixing it up' can serve as a motivator, but also a challenge to the ever-hungry mind. Honing awareness, seeking new approaches, and constantly evaluating what works can help make learning an even more natural process. Crayton Rd & Park Shore Dr., Naples, FL

Friday, February 19, 2010


02.19.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Crumbled papers with scratched out words and partially penned sentences...and broken pencil pieces - symbols of frustration in general and 'writer's block' specifically! Yet, this image is no longer relevant in our electronic world, where most written documents and creations are composed via the keyboard and digital software. The emotional response to the lack of connection between the words and the ideas may differ, but the feeling remains the same.

There are other differences and similarities, but one in education that may have dire consequences is the disconnect between the use of standard pen-and-paper assessments (from which funding is often associated) when many (most?) students now compose written documents via electronic means. Are the differences in the method or tool of writing substantial enough to influence the final student output, and thus, the observer's ratings? One of the may things to ponder as we continue our transition from analog to digital! Naples, FL

Thursday, February 18, 2010


02.18.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Frame within a frame within a frame within a frame...lots of levels in this image and reminds me of the various layers that we share (or not) of ourselves. The onset and popularity of various social media tools have allowed so many connections with others that one, most likely, would not have had in pre-Internet days.

How alike and how different are our virtual relationships from those that we have 'face-to-face'? Does the physical distance establish a different set of 'frames' from which we view the connection? Do we tend to share more (or fewer) layers of ourselves? Is there a false sense of anonymity? It has been interesting to reflect on these questions not only in my own experience, but in working with students, as well. 3rd Ave N & Gulfshore Dr, Naples, FL

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


02.17.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Spent some 'play' time today trying to capture the momentary soap bubbles - they are definitely a challenge to photograph and I'll try again with more and different light. This one is somewhat surreal with the graininess and the various stages of 'life' of the bubbles.

The short life and fragility of the bubble only adds to their magical existence. And in the right light, the rainbow prism and reflections in their spheres make it difficult to look away! Just another reminder to take time to enjoy the moment and savor the contemplation of life's wonders...Naples, FL

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


02.16.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, is a daily exercise with help of the Media Center's 2010 Calendar. It is always intriguing to watch a flat piece of paper transform into a three dimensional object ... all with one's hands and geometric folds. It is amazingly difficult to fold with the necessary precision and even more so to interpret the written and pictorial instructions.

The focus on verbal skills alone is really an isolated goal these days, as so much of our world is integrated with text, audio/verbal, visual and 'hands on' expectations. As an advocate for both interdisciplinary content and the embedding of technology, I'm always excited to see the recognition and incorporation of both in the classrooms. Focusing on student learning needs is really what it's all about! Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL

Monday, February 15, 2010


02.15.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

This Fire Fighter Gator is one of many gator sculptures adorning the streets of Naples - this one located, appropriately, in front of the City of Naples Fire Department. They are the result of Gators Galore, a 2001-02 event where artists were solicited to create their own vision on a standard alligator template. (Interesting model to consider for education - we provide the template and let students create their own vision from that...of course, there's still that sticky issue of assessment!) Their creations were then auctioned off to raise money for local groups.

A great example of art in public places, this one is even more compelling as it honors and remembers those who died September 11th. It is a reflective piece that takes you back to that horrific day where loss of life - primarily innocent victims - also brought loss of 'life as we knew it'. Our tenuous relationship with an all-important value of freedom in America is tested every day, but this day provided yet another facet. 8th Ave & 8th St S, Naples, FL

Sunday, February 14, 2010


02.14.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

This tree's 'heart' is exposed in more than one way - not only as an outline in the bark, but also in flaked internal structure. Its form also has a function - acting as a bird's nest in the spring! Unique and well-loved...except when it sheds its leaves and berries without cleaning up after itself! :) Naples, FL

Saturday, February 13, 2010


02.13.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

The bitter wind and mid-50 degree F temperatures keep most people from the beach - it is not especially welcoming. The shadows cast an even more isolated look to the scene. Apparently, this bucket was abandoned to the drifting sand as well. Yet its simplicity as a solitary object provide a landscape for much more depth. One is often considered a lonely number, but it still interacts with nature's elements - in this case, an immeasurable number of sand particles and the blowing wind. Perhaps an instance of the frequency of independence and inter-dependence? 3rd Ave N & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL

Friday, February 12, 2010


02.12.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Pat Conroy's South of Broad refers to a Charleston, SC neighborhood (not reflected on this rainy Naples, FL street corner)... but some of the novel's themes are universal: friendship, family, relationships, emotion, and psychological conflict. As most eyes are focused on the Winter Olympics, hosted by Vancouver, B.C., one can't help but leave the 'rat race' (if not, just momentarily) to partake in patriotism, competition, and ultimately, the connectivity of all elements of the human race. 4th St S & Broad Ave, Naples, FL

Thursday, February 11, 2010


02.11.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

The sun came out for a couple of minutes this afternoon - enough to cast some shadows and create bisecting lines in this linear image. Though there are definitely lines that lead you to the Gulf, I like the barely visible bench and grassy area on the right, allowing the eyes to rest and relax, creating a sanctuary, of sorts.

Although I have no training in photography, I have dabbled a bit in learning some basics of design and composition. Further, my daily captures and the commenting on a dozen or so Flickr friend photos daily have offered a chance to analyze them a bit. With the advent of Through Global Lenses, I'm having conversations with students about some foundational photographic and design principles. Delightfully, I'm finding many students interested and motivated to grow and learn from this discourse! 8th Ave S & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


02.10.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

One of the many stacks of books to be read - it is so much harder to 'catch up' when new publications cross your desk every day! This stack includes young adult selections, current best sellers, and disproportionately just one nonfiction (there are more in another stack!). Some of the selected books are the works of favorite authors, while others are new. They deal with an array of plots and characters and reflect various periods of history and culture.

Though it may take me awhile to get through this stack, I'll do it in days with fewer priorities and in different formats (currently listening to The Help on my iPod). Fortunately, my other priorities this month are very exciting as I collaborate with teachers (and fellow Flickr members) in Australia and Finland for a weekly photo/writing cultural project (Through Global Lenses) with our students and as I virtually participate in The Flat Classroom Workshop in Mumbai, India, February 25-27th with students and teachers from all over the world. So, though I will enjoy reading this stack, the opportunity to take learning to a different level of interaction, creation, and connection is calling! Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


02.09.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

This statue is motionless and stoic - and from this view, one that is easily passed by. Yet, on second glance, you can 'read' an emotion in her posture - is it anticipation?, curiosity?, contemplation?, observation?, or something else.....The more I studied this perspective, the more I wondered...that wonderment did not lead me to the same conclusion as the artist, but it did nurture an internal exploration!

So, does it really matter what emotion is elicited here? Or is it more important that I interacted with the statue from my own perspective? Do we strive for 'right answers' or do we encourage conversation and discourse or do we (can we) do both? Just thinking outloud....Garden of Hope & Courage, Naples Community Hospital, Naples, FL

Monday, February 8, 2010


02.08.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

There's obviously something worth sniffing out here as this canine's snout was happily engaged until nudged away. Unlike the predominant sense of human's vision to interpret the world, dogs rely on a very keen sense of smell - more than 100 times more sensitive than human. That olfactory focus has been honed for search and rescue missions, for detection of illicit substances, and just for recognition of others dogs and humans alike.

This sense of smell is an obvious strength for the canine species. Humans, on the other hand, appear to have more specific talents and skills...but I often wonder if we focus too much on areas that 'need improvement' and not enough on individual strengths. Our world can benefit from the diversity that natural inclinations allow, and yet, we tend to push the role of standardization to the forefront in the educational environment. Naples, FL

Sunday, February 7, 2010


02.07.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

"I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away"
~ The Dock of the Bay
written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper, 1967

Watching the sun rise over the eastern horizon at the dock on Naples Bay this morning certainly brought to mind the classic song - and the story, simple as it may be, from its lyrics. Storytelling has been around 'forever' - long before written language and image-producing equipment. Cultural traditions and ancestral history were an important thread in the tapestry of such storytelling.

Everyone has a story to tell and there are a plethora of tools to document those stories - each one with value. Incorporating those stories in an educational environment could be a 'natural', especially as schools consider the interdisciplinary nature of our world. The Center for Digital Storytelling leads one on an adventure of thought and emotion in exploring storytelling in our modern day. Enjoy creating and receiving stories! City Dock, Naples Bay, Naples, FL

Saturday, February 6, 2010


02.04.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

This white-flowered stalk stands in contrast to the black swampy water in the environs of a natural Florida ecosystem. Both elements make an important contribution to survival. They are inter-dependent upon each other, much like the various elements of the human race. Accepting that relationship is a vital first step - nurturing it is a truly a challenge! Freedom Park, Naples, FL


02.06.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

One can walk on this boardwalk and see nothing but swampy undergrowth and 'dead' trees. Others walk gingerly with their eyes and their ears tuned to the subtlety that the environment reveals. Each curve in the walkway offers a new sight and sound - but only to those who want to see and listen. Tuning in our senses - a skill worth developing! Freedom Park, Naples, FL

Friday, February 5, 2010


02.05.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Tools of the trade vary widely, but they commonly hold a vital role in their respective careers. Interestingly, they typically evolve to adapt new technologies and nuances, but invariably maintain some of the original basics, as well. In learning, the pencil may be competing with the keyboard, but the they both serve as communication tools. Furthermore, though tools are often designed for a specific purpose, there is often much overlap to other desired outcomes.

Our Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts program is a popular one and though the basic tools are crucial for the cooking mainstay, there are other important variables for success. Recently a team of four students have been coming to the Media Center to plan a project - Design Your Own Restaurant. While they naturally prioritized the menu, they quickly moved to the floor plan, lighting, and comfort of the physical space. What a coup when they also tapped into their fellow student in the Architectural Drafting program - now discovering the potential of design and limitations of building codes! All the while, they are working together, engaged, negotiating, and using a common tool that the internet offers..... and, just as importantly, seamlessly valuing relevant life's lessons. Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


02.03.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

This piece of barbed wire was 'clipped' from the Berlin Wall in the mid-1960s when the wall was a physical, emotional and political barrier between communism and democracy - a time when traveling to West Berlin required passage through Checkpoint Charlie and when East Berliners ingenuously crafted (though not always successfully) ways to go under or over the wall in a desperate attempt for freedom, despite the risk of heavily armed guards.

This piece of old barbed wire is a constant reminder for me - one that exemplifies the importance of humanity, tolerance, and need for proactive action against unnecessary suffering. This photo shows the stark reality of the negative facets of our world, but the slice of sun also resembles that ray of hope that, together, we can change the world for the better. Let's not blow our chance! Naples, FL

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


02.02.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Even though our weather did not exhibit its usual stellar sunshine and blue skies today, 'season' dictates plenty of northern visitors - in fact, Naples is gearing up for the peak months of February and March. During this time, the 'snowbirds' take over the town and most locals try to stay out of the way, but it means planning different driving routes (often impossible due to the lack of infrastructure), no eating out (restaurants are packed), and even adjusting shopping routines (hopefully, the shelves are stocked!). Eventually, visitors head back north and leave us with the heat and humidity of summer!

The ebb and flow of our town's census is sometimes difficult. Similar to our own needs to seek balance, a homeostasis is a natural state that is constantly regulated by reactions to outside sources. Sometimes planning, organization, and even expectation can help prevent the wide extremes of the pendulum swing. Other times, no amount of prevention make a difference...then, coping mechanisms come into play! 5th Ave S & 8th St, Naples, FL

Monday, February 1, 2010


02.01.10, originally uploaded by colemama.

Three short stories fuel this graphic novel, The Eternal Smile, by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim (check out the storyline for the last one, Urgent Request - sense of humor, as well!). Many students are attracted to this presentation format - the comic book style still maintains plot, character, setting, dialog, sequencing, symbolism, and other typical elements of a traditional novel. A major difference, of course, is the use of illustrations and pictures to tell the story, to create the mood, and to elicit emotion.

Though some are discouraged by the impact of the graphic novel on young adults (believing that 'comic books' have little place in a school setting), I am impressed with most of the titles in our library. They offer a platform for interpretation and communication of any content, a structure for making meaning, and a springboard for critical analysis and thinking.

The more I write for my 365 photo project, the more the blur between visual and linguistic literacies...I think this is a good thing! Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL