30 Day Photography Challenge

Courtesy of White Peach Photography
I really enjoyed and learned so much from doing the 365 day photo challenge last year.  I only chose not to do it this year so I could give myself some time to do some online courses in photography. But I have missed the daily challenge of catching a photo to represent my day.

Yesterday, I saw a posting in my facebook feed for a 30 day photography challenge.  Apparently, the challenge originated from a photographer who was looking to take some time for herself to capture some images that weren't for her job.  Her original post became extremely popular, so even though the first challenge start day has passed many others are joining in when they can and completing the 30 days from their start.  A new facebook page was started for the project and it is saying that the next start date will be Monday, June 20th.  My first instinct was, "I'm in!"

So, what do you think?  Does this interest you?  Would you like to join in and share photos for the challenge?  I'd love to meet some new photography lovers and also see lots of photos from people I know.  You don't have to have a DSLR camera.  You can even use your iphone if you like!  Here's what you need to do after you take your photo each day:

Add your photo to this flickr group (join flickr).

Label your photo with the Day # and topic.

Look at other photos in the group and comment on a few.

Have fun and get as creative or as literal as you like!


Help us build the ARC!

The majority of our at-risk students at Chets Creek Elementary come from one specific impoverished community nearby. In order to meet the needs of these students outside the school day, last year we launched an Academic Resource Center inside the community. My co-worker, dayle timmons, best describes the center here

As we approach the first year anniversary of our center, we are looking for ways to fund more opportunities for children and families at the center.  We decided to apply for a grant from Community First Credit Union.  Here is the digital story I created to help let people know how important this work is:

I'm asking you to take a moment to help us.  Please "like" our submission on facebook, to help us win.  The "like" button is below the entry. 

Do you have something similiar you are doing in your school?  How is it funded?  I would love to hear your ideas!  Thanks friends!


Speedgeeking...The Sequel

One of the most popular technology trainings we have ever done at our school was Speedgeeking.  Speedgeeking is a great way to showcase several different technology tools in a short amount of time.  It is also one of the most entertaining trainings we do.  You can revisit my post from last year's session to get the break down on how we set it up because it worked so well we used the exact same format. 

Last year, my technology team and I focused on tools for teachers to use with students.   This year we wanted to focus more on tools teachers could use themselves.  We have had so many people ask us about this training, we tried to capture as much of it as we could for you to see.  Nothing fancy, just real teachers having fun, learning and sharing with the peers in an imaginative way.

Introduction:  Done in the media center where we explain format and split up in groups.

Speedgeeking Intro from Melissa Ross on Vimeo.

Sessions:  Where they rotate to the rooms where the tools are taught

Jamendo from Melissa Ross on Vimeo.



Big Huge Labs from Melissa Ross on Vimeo.



Skype from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.

My technology team really owned this for the second year in a row.  These are full time classroom teachers that only meet with me one morning a month and then endure my emails the rest of the time. :)  A big thank you goes to them for teaching the sessions, planning and organizing and this year...FILMING so you could learn from them as well.

Our review from the faculty was done in the same cheeky way as last year.  You can see the results here.
We would love to hear what you think and to get your ideas for topics we could possibly use for next year....speedgeeking, the trilogy!


My 2010/365 project

When I first heard of the 365 photo project, which consists of taking a photo each day and posting it, I thought it was interesting.  I enjoyed looking at the photos being shared on twitter and enjoyed perusing the 365 groups on flickr.  As a mom with young children, there are many times I wished I had a camera ready to snap a cute moment.  So in 2009 I gave the project a try ...and fizzled out. 

But what I discovered from looking at my colleagues pictures on flickr is that I really enjoyed looking at how moments were captured; composition, lighting and expressions.  I found myself continuing to keep a camera with me at all times and photographing moments and images I never had before.  I decided to trade my point and shoot camera for a DSLR and a love affair with photography truly began.  I couldn't wait to begin the next year with a new 365 project. 

So here I am proudly sharing my first completed 365 project. You can look at them all individually here where I have written a little description for most of them, but what I really looked forward to doing was putting my completed project into a video like my friend Dean does. What I noticed while putting them together is that my photos really do tell the story of my year.  They show my life as a mother, aunt, teacher, friend, reader, shopper, Floridian, Disney fan and most of all, photographer.  I hope you enjoy watching. :)

Melanie's 365/2010 project from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.



Ok, this is exactly why I needed the blog challenge.  I need a post to be burning under my feet to get written.  Even if I'm running late getting it up I am thinking about it constantly and crafting it in my head.  (Over a MONTH late!) So, on that note, better late than never....here are my thoughts on thankfulness.

I am thankful most of all for all of the things I should be thankful for, my beautiful family, God, my job, friends, etc.  I don't mean to belittle those things, because they are BIG things, but this year I tried to think a little further about things I take for granted.

The first thing that came to mind was simple:  health.  For the past 2 months I have watched my mother undergo radiation and chemotherapy for throat cancer.  We have been blessed that they found it early enough to treat and she has a good prognosis for recovery.  But during the treatment it has been difficult.  I have been reminded to be thankful for small things we take for granted with our health... being able to swallow easy, a sense of taste, energy to get up in the morning, healthy skin and having the luxury of hair on our head. 

I have also been reminded to be thankful for having a mother still walking on this earth.