Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

So, I’ve been thinking about new teachers, and I’ve been watching the World Cup. I may have showed up at a recent Central Administrative Team meeting wearing my own very home-made fan outfit–masking tape has many uses and among other things can be used to turn a plain blue shirt dress into respectable Rapinoe-fan attire, complete with #15 and USA on the front, back, and sleeve. 

Anyway, I’ve decided that the link here between teaching and world cup soccer is the referee. Last year, watching the men, the refs were particularly entertaining. There’s so much more flopping and drama than with the women that the refs have a lot to manage. Then this year, as I watched the refs in the women’s games, I saw how they were always in just the right spot, but rarely in the way. I think watching referees manage games might be instructive for new teachers.

I did not start watching the World Cup games for the refereeing. However, at some point during the elimination round last year, we at my house started looking up who the referees were and what country they were from. It was fun to watch how each man had a set of hand gestures that conveyed all sorts of things from the basics of who was in trouble for what to the more complex “I’m done listening to your nonsense.” 

One of the things that I think is hard for new teachers is to find that balance between, on the one hand, hearing a kid out and using a lot of words to carefully address all potential issues and, on the other, the need to respond quickly and efficiently and get back to whatever is supposed to be going on. One of the things I sometimes hear from teachers of all experience levels is a frustration that kids say silly things, ask the ridiculous question, keep pushing, etc. You know; you’ve heard and said the same things. We all have. Yet, when I am being my best self, I know that for the most part kids are doing regular kid stuff that isn’t actually meant to be obnoxious or threatening or any of those things. (This does assume that there is generally a good amount of control in the classroom and the kids have not gotten the impression that they can hijack everything with with the ridiculous.)

Back to the referees. I started watching the player-ref interactions and noticed that frequently they played out in has a very predictable way. Here’s what happens:

  • The ref makes the call. 
  • The player is horrified at the injustice. 
  • There is some brief discussion (perhaps a review of the offence, some alternative presentation of the circumstances). 
  • The ref does his particular signature hand gesture indicating that the discussion is settled. 
  • The player continues with another moment of moaning or drama. 
  • Play resumes.

 All of this is usually over in a minute or two. (I certainly watched enough to see that there are other ways this works, but I’m talking about the everyday stuff here.) I think what’s important in this mini drama is that in a few minutes play resumes. No one is offended, really. 

Similarly, whenever there is some sort of minor infraction or issue in class, the goal in my mind is for class to resume. If this is a big deal situation then we’re having another discussion, but if someone is talking/wandering around/not paying attention/bothering someone else/insert a million other things here, the goal is to return to the business at hand not to debate the ins-and-outs of whether you were talking to yourself or someone else/texting your friends or just checking your phone for one thing. As I talk with the new teachers that I work with, I am going to share this tidbit. Could they have set scripts, like the refs? Then, everyone knows how this story goes, we play it out, briefly, and move on. It’s a set piece. Once they get this return-to-class-habit down, then we can think about whether some of these habits are worth breaking, or if they are not worth the effort.

As I think about ways that the refs in the women’s World Cup soccer games could be like a teacher in the classroom, I think that idea that play continues all around her, but she is not participating in the action is worth noticing. I noticed that a lot with the women’s games this year. The refs were so close to the action, knew what was going on, but got out of the player’s way.

Isn’t that what we want to do as teachers? We want to be there, do some guiding, remind people about some rules, set up some norms, and lead our students towards independence. We do not want to have our feet on the ball all the time. The students aren’t doing the thinking and the learning if I’m doing all the work. It’s so tempting to do the work for students; you don’t even realize you are doing it.

I’m a big planner (My motto: plan, plan, plan. Then go with the flow.), and I encourage new teachers to plan thoroughly as well. Maybe it’s important to remember to plan how I will, or any teacher will, get out of the way. At what point will I step back or to the side? What will this class/lesson/unit look like when students are gaining independence? Even though I am not a big soccer watcher all the time, I know what a mess it is when the ref gets in the way. It’s jarring; flow is interrupted. This analogy is far from perfect since there is plenty of time when teachers will be directing and modeling a lot. But, if our goal is for the learners to learn, the learners have to do the work.

If I can help new teachers remember that the goal is always for play (learning and thinking by the students) to resume and for the learners to learn, I can’t imagine it won’t be helpful.

And I’m back. I’m not sure why I needed an entire year-long break. I will try not to do that again.

So, I’ve been thinking about thinking. I just finished rereading Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison from Project Zero. Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Project Zero, their work, and the really thoughtful way I think they integrate research and actual teaching by actual teachers.

Here are some of my take-aways, this time.  

First of all, I really like the idea of thinking moves. For a number of years, I’ve been using the language of moves when I talk about writing in class. In particular, I’ve found this language to be helpful when we are using a piece of fiction as a mentor text for our own writing. I encourage students to consider the writer moves in our text and ask them to consider which of those moves they will try. Students consider and name the writer moves that our model author makes and then make deliberate choices about which of those writer moves to try to imitate–setting a goal. And, as students describe the moves they see, it gives me access their thinking. Then, when I read their own work, I know what they were trying to do and can give them feedback on how well they achieved their goals. 

Okay, on to thinking moves. 

As a former elementary school teacher, I’m familiar with and a fan of classroom routines. I saw firsthand, over and over again, how practicing a particular routine, not about lining up at the door or going to in from recess, but about the work we were doing as an intellectual community, lead to learning that I could see. 

Routines become part of the fabric of the classroom thought their repeated use. Effective teachers of thinking address the development of students’ thinking in this way, by developing a set of routines that they and their students can use again and again (Ritchhart, 2002). Since the routines are “shared scripts,” students are able to use them with increasing independence. (48)

One of the most important ideas for me in that little quote is that students are able to use these routines with increasing independence. That’s the goal. I love to see students taking a particular way to engage with the material (a routine) that we’ve used in class and using it in their small group. I don’t just love it because it’s proof that they were listening, which is still good; I love it because then I know that the routine has given them a productive way to think and engage with the material. And, because it’s usually a situation where something gets written down or created, their thinking becomes visible. Once I can see it, I can engage with the students about it. 

Win, win, win.

It’s so much more interesting to consider routines for thinking rather than behavior. The authors note that frequently the idea of establishing classroom routines focuses exclusively on routines about behavior and compliance. And while having norms for those sorts of things is appropriate and one of those things that establishes the setting for learning, there’s no reason to stop thinking about routines when we get to lesson and unit planning. As the authors state, “learning needs a focus, and learners need direction for channeling their mental energies.” (204)

Another thing that stood out as I reread was the repeated reminder that the content being used must be rich enough to sustain this kind of careful, intensive investigation. It may sound obvious, but without high quality texts and material, there’s no point in asking students to do this level of thinking. It’s a reminder to me to make sure to put in the time to find excellent material, not just good-enough material.

Of course, I also am looking forward to using several of the specific routines for particular parts of my courses. I can already tell that a few of them are going to fit really well. It’s funny that some of them don’t even sound familiar from last time I read the book, but now they seem like the most obvious choices. Ah, change.

Wearing my administrator hat this time, I was really drawn to one of the final case studies (229-234) which describes the way a teacher integrated several routines into ongoing professional learning groups. The routines for this group of teachers created a “shared script” that allowed them to gain independence in their groups. They did not need the teacher leader to guide their every move; they were able to make excellent use of their all too brief professional learning time. This is a topic I am thinking a lot about right about now. So, a lot of ideas are rolling around in my head about this.

I’m so glad I pulled this book off my self for a revisit. I may go and reread some other books that are sitting there, staring at my every day. What books about teaching have you reread and found rewarding each time?

 

CCO Creative Commons image from Pixabay

So, I’ve been thinking about my summer reading, making, and seeing plan. I have a tendency to imagine that there will be approximately 75 times as many hours in my day during any non-teaching days AND that I will also be 75 times more time-efficient, all while not taking into account my usual, extensive lounging time.

My reading plan

I have already reread most of the books I will be teaching in the fall. So, besides rereading a graphic novel and investigating some Neil Gaiman short stories, if I’m so inclined, I’m in good shape there. Here are a few titles I plan to read, or at least sit next to, over the next weeks.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Dandicot.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I have seen this mentioned in all sorts of “you must read this” articles and whatnot. My son inhaled it in two days.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I loved Everything I Never Told You and don’t know why I have not already read this book.

We Were Eight Year in Power by Ta-Nahisi Coates. I have read some of these pieces, but want to read them together.

The Glitch by Elizabeth Cohen. I know the author and am so excited for her.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. I know nothing about this book, but was taken with it at the bookstore the other day and we were already buying something so…

The Atheist in the Attic by Samuel R. Delany. Also saw this at a local bookstore, read the back, and added it to the pile.

I would like to finish The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros and perhaps skim through a few other education books.

 

My Making Plan

I also plan to make things. I have recently been back to sewing in addition to my other crafty making. I’ve got a few projects in the works, no surprise there, and a few on the agenda. I have two sewing projects that are already cut out and just need sewing. However, my machine and I are currently not on good terms, perhaps I need a new needle, maybe we just need a break from each other. Also, I have a mostly finished project that just needs a little attention. I would love to finish those and one other.

I have two sets of taxonomy projects that are in process. Those can definitely get finished and posted on the blog. I’m sure I’ll get to another set as well. I have some partial ideas that just need a little more time to marinate.

I would also like to get to some e-textile or soft circuitry projects. I have one makespace type project in the works, although it does not incorporate any circuitry. And, I have a project I started a long time ago that I might finally be ready to tackle. It would mean I would really have to force myself to get a little better with both coding and circuitry– goals of mine for several years now. With the makerspace just sitting there in the summer, calling my name, it seems a shame not to answer.

 

My Seeing Plan

I also like to get out and about and see things. Sometimes I just need to fill up my visual library.

Rodeo–we haven’t been to the Cowtown Rodeo in a few summers. Time for a trip.

MASS MoCA. I love this place and hope we can find some way to make it part of a driving adventure. It’s fun to see images from exhibits I’ve seen there in the past on their Instagram.

Storm King Art Center. I can’t believe I have not been there yet, but it will happen this summer. They also have a great Instagram.

Also, I’m sure I will drag my family to other exhibits or festivals, or outdoor happenings here and there.

Ultimately, I will probably, read, make, and see all kinds of things that may or may not have anything to do with this list. However, I do love to make a list.

A very ambitious plan for an art experience based on Invisible Cities

So, I’ve been thinking about the installation art proposal project that I assigned for a last assessment in my senior English class. I wrote about how excited I was as the students got to work. (Check out the details of the assignment and whatnot). As I said before, I was nervous about the final projects. We are talking about second-semester senior year, last assignment, out of the box project that I thought was super cool. Sometimes I forget that not only am I still uncool, but I am also old now, and therefore what I think is a cool assignment does not always translate that way to my students. Sometimes my enthusiasm can bridge the gap, but not always.

Well, I am happy to report that the entire enterprise was a success. And not even just an end-of-the-year-they-turned-something-in success. It would be a success at any time of the year.

First, the students engaged in the kind of thinking I wanted them to do. In creating their proposals, they had to review some of the key thematic ideas of the course and one of the texts in particular. In addition, they had to consider how to transform ideas from one medium into another while thinking about what would make for an engaging and thoughtful art installation (thanks to @oneissilva I know this is called transmediation). As I walked around the room during the several class periods of work time, I loved what I heard. And, I wished that I had a group to work with too.

On the day of the presentations, we had some guests–two other teachers who are also department chairs. I like to have visitors for a couple of reasons. First, the students usually do better with an audience (the audience effect is real). I like to make the presentation a bit more of an event and visitors do that. Also, visitors keep me honest. I can get a little carried away when I think things are going well. I get too excited and think everything is awesome (is everyone singing the LEGO movie theme song now? Just me?) So, being able to check in later with another colleague who was a witness to the event is a good dose of reality. I take advantage of their feedback when I give final grades for the work too.

The actual proposals and posters worked in a lot of ways. First, the format allowed the students to focus on the idea and concept rather than the actual creation of an art piece, but at the same time, it was easy to imagine the exhibit. The structure and outline of the types of information that were required meant that if the group did each part, the audience had a good sense of the ideas and concept.

A note on grading. I considered this project a complete success and the grades ranged from B- to A. Every group tackled the work thoughtfully. Some groups ultimately were missing a few bits or had more straightforward ideas, but I consider every project to be a success. There were 6 proposals and each book that we read was chosen by some group.

Here are a few details from some of the proposals. Note: since this is a fantasy book class, so I did say that they could plan to have some things happen “automagically” in their exhibits.

One group planned a multi-room experience inspired by Bailey, from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

 

The exhibit itself is designed to have viewers initially interact with a series of touch screens arranged in a circle, like a clock (the clock is important in the book and the group made a strong case for the clock’s connection to Bailey). Then viewers go through another room with many varied settings to wander through and finally end up in a space where each person sees a personalized video that is created based on what the person did on the screens in the first room and where they wandered in the second space. The idea was that viewers would get insight into their own dreams and desires and therefore be more able to take action to make them real, like Bailey. (I am not doing their ideas justice here, by the way.) The group also described the experience of walking through their space in the style of a particular part of the book (the interludes that describe how “you” experience the circus, for those who have read the book).

This group also commented on the way their ideas changed over the course of their brainstorming. I love seeing this, and the success I have had this year in asking for some amount of process commentary on assignments has totally convinced me to include this type of commentary on pretty much everything next year.

 

Another group planned a heart exhibit for the Tin Man from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. As they were planning, I was concerned that their idea was quite literal. Oh, how wrong I was. Visitors move through 4 metal rooms (the chambers of the heart) while wearing a heart monitor that allows sounds and lights to match the heart rate of the viewer, among other things. It is a dark, conceptual plan.

Below is their description of what happens in the first chamber of the heart. They were super serious about their idea, even though they had a grand time in the planning.

Two groups planned exhibits based in some way on Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. One dealt with the journey aspect of the book and tried to tackle each type of city, creating something more concrete from the very abstract ideas of the book. They were an idea factory! (The image at the beginning of the post is their plan.) My favorite part of this plan was the fact that on the way out visitors walked a kind of ring road that circumnavigated all the previous rooms and allowed them to look back in on the other spaces and reflect. Here is some of what this group said about their work:

Artist Statement: We want the audience to go through our installation and get a view into the mind of Marco Polo, while making their own connections and redefining what it means to know a place. Marco Polo stated he connected every city he visited to his own, Venice, which is why each room, or set of rooms in the case of hidden cities and cities and the dead, is accessible only through Venice. As each room represents a grouping of cities from Hidden Cities, we also want the audience to see that each grouping is applicable to all cities, though in different ways.
Process Commentary: The eyes room was inspired by Ai Weiwei’s installation piece entitled “Hansel and Gretel,” in which the audience is tracked by cameras in the first space, then is later able to find themselves in past footage and pictures in a second space using face recognition. We originally thought we would have one room with maps of different cities everywhere and strings connecting each one to Venice and the other cities in its category, but we ended up deciding individual rooms all leading back to Venice would work nicely. As we did not want to lose the connection between cities, we made continuous cities a loop where each person can look into the rooms previously visited, and reflect on how everything comes together. We also made some interesting new connections from the book, and after the floor plan poster idea was set started trying to figure out the big picture of each grouping. During brainstorming, we decided cities and the sky, cities of the dead, and hidden cities could all be in one close to one another, with hidden cities literally being embedded in the city of the dead.

The other took a more conceptual approach to the same text and proposed a two-room installation that spoke to the idea that even those far away from a city can have power over it and impact how it changes. Visitors in the first room interact with a seemingly random group of objects. As they do this, a city changes in the next room. When the visitors enter the next room, they see the city but also two side by side videos of their actions in the earlier room and what happened in the city room.

Each group had some sort of visual, but it was secondary, as was planned. The driving force was the idea.

I really cannot wait to use this project idea again.

So, I’m continuing on my taxonomy project where I make sets of 5 works and share them.

Text shows up in a lot of these sets of works. Many of them have had a blackout poetry component to them or some sort of found text as part of the final piece. I really like the idea of taking some sort of text and turning it into something else, either by choosing to use only some of the words or inserting the text into a new context. Both options appeal to me in that they combine or remix in an unexpected way.

Sewing of some is also showing up a lot. Stitching is an easy way to add some color and another layer, to break out of boundaries, but subtle ways. It’s also something that is a bit of a lost art and therefore creates an interesting contrast sometimes.

For these works, I started with a book I got at a used bookstore called The Way of Enterprise, not my usual genre, but the paper is nice. I thought it would be a challenge to try to turn this writing about business and case studies into poetry that is not about business. And, then sewing the words together rather than blacking out all the extra words made for a more unexpected combination. Rather than just having one poem on each page, I went for two overlapping poems. You can tell them apart by following the sewing lines. I tried one with two different colors of thread but then decided that it was better to have two very similar colors instead. As I did more of the sewing, I also started to think more about the shapes of the connecting lines and be more intentional about the paths rather than just going from one word to the next.

Here they are in the order they appear in the book, not necessarily in the order completed. Follow the thread to find the poem, some of them are much more successful as a group of words or ideas than others.

This poem is in 2 stanzas, hence the 2 at the bottom.

 

I like the fact that both poems end with the same phrase. Somehow the thread colors seem to change on the way down the page. Not sure what happened there.

 

So, there you have it. I also have a series of contour line drawings in the book. Nothing that needs sharing, but I have not decided whether to take the pages out of the book or just keep altering in the book and see how many different ways I can mess with the pages. As I said, this book has good paper; that’s mostly why I bought it.

CCO Creative commons image

So, I’ve been thinking about assessments. I worked really hard this year to develop assessments that addressed our essential questions, combined analytical and creative work, and pushed students to think.

I’ve already written about a brief research project where I used VoiceThread for the final, virtual presentations and the following installation art proposal project (more on that soon). But, here I want to describe two writing assignments that I think combined all the parts I mentioned above.

First up, my first-semester class (Fantasy literature with a focus on fantastic creatures, interdisciplinary approach). This paper was an early part of a larger project. We read most of The Odyssey and looked at images by a wide range of artists who interpreted Odysseus’ adventures, including Cy Twombly’s 50 Days at Ilium, a graphic novel interpretation by Seymour Chwast, and many works by Romare Bearden. Here’s what I asked students to do:

Think and Write:

  • How will you remember Odysseus in your personal, mental library? (look at the collection of epithets on the topics page) What characteristic stands out to you?
  • Which fantastic creature stands out and is particularly memorable to you? Why?
  • Who are your people* and how do your Odysseus and your fantastic creature speak to them?

No more than 800 words, a few, short quotes are a must. Share link to final draft in this chart. Read what your classmates wrote! (100 points) (Rubric)

(*This is based on the following from author Neil Gaiman “Mythologies tell us about being human. They are glorious; they are timeless. They need to be retold. . . When you’re retelling stories, you’re retelling them for your people.”)

I initially thought of this as something different to do with a text that was very familiar to them (many read a middle-grade version in 5th grade and almost all were familiar with many of the individual episodes). Since Odysseus is one of those characters who people tend to remember in some shorthand way, I thought it would be interesting for students to take a conscious look at something that we do unconsciously. And, considering how that choice of how to remember this character might be related to their own personalities seemed like an excellent option for seniors in the midst of writing college essays.

It was interesting to me that students found it difficult to make the personal connection between their choice of how to identify and remember Odysseus (the wily Odysseus, the old warrior etc) and themselves. It was hard for them to see that their choice perhaps said something about who they are or what they appreciate. Since I knew the students quite well, it was pretty easy for me to connect the dots. The dots appeared like lighted runway arrows to me. Most of the group ultimately found some connections, and they were amused to find that many of the connections were not that tricky to identify, although a few just totally could not or would not go to any personal reflection. I think that combining the analytical and the personal was a novel experience, and they were uncertain about leaping in.

In the second semester the course, still English with an interdisciplinary approach, focussed on fantastic places in literature. One of our texts was Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. It is the story of Marco Polo telling Kublai Khan about the cities in his empire. However, each city may actually be based on Venice or Marco Polo’s imagination. Each city is described in a few paragraphs or a few pages and is grouped into one of nine categories. The students had never read anything like it.

My assignment description was the following:

Post Invisible Cities writing project

This is NOT a research paper. Do NOT search for or use any other sources (criticism, reviews, wikipedia, etc). This is your own deep investigation of a piece of this text.

Part 1: Analysis of a collection of city passages (choose whichever topic you wish)

  • Formulate an original idea about these passages.
  • Analyze the passages, explain your notion of their identity, use quotations, etc
  • ~1100-1200 words (no more than 1250)
  • Assessed as a typical analytical paper (see English department general rubric on bulletin board)
  • Worth 50% of total points

Part 2: Creative descriptions of the place you chose

  • Write 2 short descriptions of your location in the style of the theme you analyzed
  • You do not need to imitate Calvino, but do use his writing as a model
  • Each one should be 250-350 words
  • Worth 25% of total points

Part 3: Connecting the dots Commentary

  • A commentary or reflection on your own writing and analysis
  • How have these two parts (analytical and creative) informed each other
  • 400-500 words
  • Worth 25 % of total points

Total points=200

All parts should be in one document. A simple row of asterisks can be used to indicate a move to the next section. No need to label the parts.

Although this description of word count and points makes it seem like this assignment was very rigid, there was A LOT of room to move within these boundaries. The book itself is hard to get a grip on so having so very set specifics for the writing was a good anchor. And, to spread out the work, we had worked on the descriptions of place a bit in advance.

The final products here were very successful, in my opinion, in that they pieces each contributed to the whole. I can’t imagine understanding any of the student’s thinking without all the pieces. In some ways, the commentary was the most valuable. By that point in the assignment, the student had done the thinking, analyzing, writing, and editing. For many, it was the place where everything came together the most succinctly. It also gave me some insights into the student’s process and intentions with the creative writing, in case they could not quite carry off what they intended. We talked about this quite a bit in class, and I wrote the creative pieces as well. I shared that my pieces were certainly more heavy-handed than Calvino’s in terms of the themes I wanted to get across. But I also reminded the group that Calvino is a pro; it’s ok for him to be better at this and it’s ok for us to try to copy some of his writer moves (as long as we say that is what we are doing). In giving them that permission, I got back all kinds of careful observation notes and comments about the writer moves each of them was trying. Plus, with the different parts of the assignment, there was something for everyone.

So, what I learned is that combining the analytical and the more creative or personal leads to good thinking, solid writing, and quality engagement from the students. Plus, the final products were interesting to read. Victory!

So, I’ve been working on some more images for my taxonomy sets.

starting image of a house

This set begins with the same image, which I created from a photograph that I put through the Adobe Capture app using the shapes tool. I adjusted it some and took out some stray marks. With other images, I have used the lasercutter to make a woodblock and then printed from there (description of that process). With these, I printed from a regular document printer onto a variety of paper, mostly heavier art paper, but one image is one plain old copy paper. Then, I cut out the window spaces (they were very dark and distracting) and thought about what might replace the darkness.

The idea of not knowing what is behind windows and inside houses that we see from the street was interesting to me. What if the outside were inside? What if it was unexpected? What if some things (birds) were both inside and out? If I remember correctly, I was also thinking about the Crosby, Stills & Nash song “Our House.” I think the “two cats in the yard’ line got me thinking about what is behind the fence, but in the yard, and what if the things that are in the yard were inside instead…

Once I cut out the windows, I went my trusty miniature copy of Audubon’s Birds of America and started cutting. It is truly the book that keeps on giving. I thought we, the viewers, should also see that the birds’ habitat was behind the walls, so I put bits and pieces of the background scenery in the windows too. Finally, everything needs a little bit of sewing. I definitely need a sewing machine that allows for more free movement; I think I can get a plate to adjust my machine, but that is for another day.

So, here are the images. As is becoming a habit, the idea shifted a bit during the process. The first two were as described above. The sewing traces some of the lines of the siding and is in a color similar to the paper. The next two have larger images of nature behind the windows and the plants are kind of taking over the house. To me, they seem wilder, especially the fourth one with the sewing of the plant shape on top. I completed four of the five in more of a group and then set the group down for a bit. I was trying out different color paper and ran through the colors in my pack.

First. The Blue Grebe House. Subtle sky in the windows.

 

Next. I like the grasses in the windows and the magenta stitching.

 

Third. I return to the music score as background and nature starts to take over.

 

Ran out of my good paper, but added some free-form plant shapes in the sewing.

I then came back to the group and thought about fabric. Also, I was tired of cutting all those tiny windows and just got rid of the middle horizontal piece in each window. Rather than plants in the house, I used the music score as a background and painted it so that there was more difference between it and the house. Again, I added the birds, inside and out, and then noticed this deep purple velvet fabric. I like that it almost reads as a curtain, especially with the vertical zig-zag stitch. I also returned to the stitching at the fence line.

Final piece. The house as a barrier or dividing line is back.

It’s interesting to me that the final image has the house back in charge in some ways. Things aren’t busting out, nature isn’t all over, inside and outside may be unexpected, but they are distinct.

If I decide to continue with this idea, I have the image printed on vellum ready to go. The vellum would allow even more of an inside look at what’s behind the wall.