Bear Canyon Lake

Twilight in the High Country

It’s not all dry, hot desert in Arizona. Bear Canyon Lake, one of several fishing lakes built by Arizona Game and Fish, is nestled back a series of dirt roads on the Mogollon Rim. The lake, with a depth of 50 feet and set at an elevation of 7600 feet, is accessible only by foot trail from the undeveloped campgrounds above.

Summer Peace at Bear Canyon Lake

Bear Canyon Lake is located just a few hours northeast of Phoenix, Arizona.

Respite

Last week, I was blessed with time for myself with three days of solitude (with my cocker spaniel) in a cabin in the mountains, followed by two days of camping with my sons and their families. It’s been far too long since I’ve taken pictures just for myself, without worrying about pleasing the client. These were pure pleasure to shoot (along with the 1330 other images I captured during my retreat/vacation).

Full Moon rising

Full Moon rising

Full Moon

Full Moon

Twilight in the High Country

Twilight in the High Country

Early Morning Solitude

Early Morning Solitude

Autumn in the Desert

It’s been a while since I’ve posted pictures just for fun. Her are a few from today’s walk through one of our state parks.

I always giggle when I see this cactus.

I always giggle when I see this cactus. Remember Cousin IT? Here’s his 2nd cousin once removed.

I love it when the sun is the "just right" position.

I love it when the sun is the “just right” position.

Autumn in the desert

Autumn in the desert

Spirit Trykes

I took a solo mini-vacation this past weekend, spending part of it in Jerome, AZ. A blessing of traveling alone is that you have the opportunity to meet people, which doesn’t happen much when you travel as a couple, because you tend to focus on each other.

Jerome is a ghost town. To be more accurate, it is an old mining town that became a ghost town, virtually bereft of inhabitants. Enter the artists, musicians, and enterprising restauranteurs. Jerome now is a destination for tourists and Phoenicians aching for an escape from the heat.

IMG_0341-Edit-EditSaturday night, I met Tim, who operates Spirit Trykes Rides. Tim built that bike (er, tryke) and gives rides around Jerome for tips.

I am not sure why I was so dense about this. On Saturday night, Tim said he’d give me a ride on his Spirit Tryke, and I thought, “Oh sure, like that’s gonna happen.” I saw him again on Sunday, chatted with him and some other bikers (owners of some sweet Harleys) who told me that I should let Tim ride me around town and I could get some good pictures. I commented that it didn’t look safe. When I got the images on the computer I saw some details I’d overlooked. Duh! He does this for tips (read: income). Had I realized, I would have taken the ride and tipped the guy (who really had some interesting stories to tell). Maybe next time.

Grandmothers

I did not spend much time with her. I wish I had. I wanted to tell her about my granddaughters back in the states and ask about her life in China. She looks as if she is about my age, which means that she probably lived through the Cultural Revolution. I wanted to find out what she was doing when I was capturing fireflies in the Mason jar and sitting on the crank ice-cream maker … the burlap bag covering the cold…ever so cold ice…while we awaited the sweet most delicious treat in all the world…….. Did she have that? Was there a time when she sat with her grandfather in eager anticipation of that fabulous reward? In those few moments, we shared an unspoken joy…a love of our grandchildren. IMG_9284

Give Students a Chance to Think and Practice

Last day of training in Feicheng City, Shandong Province, China. Tomorrow we begin the three-day trek back home.

I wish to share with you the speech I gave this morning at the closing ceremonies:

Many years ago, I heard a quote that shaped the way I have taught my students. It goes like this: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” As you probably know, this quote is from your great teacher, Confucius.

You know that if you only talk to your students, and your students simply listen, they will probably forget what you say and learn very little. If you show them pictures when you are talking, they might remember, for a while…if they are paying attention. However, when you show the students what to do, if you practice with the students, and then give them a chance to practice on their own, you are giving them the opportunity to DO. You are helping them to understand, to remember, and to learn.

I told you that everything I taught you has the same focus. Everything you’ve learned will help your students to THINK. By DOING….by WRITING, your students will think more deeply. They will understand more about the English language and more about themselves and their world.

Give your students many opportunities to write. You do not always need to give them long writing assignments. Give them short assignments…a few words or sentences can help them to practice a skill, for example, using vocabulary words correctly, using verbs correctly, or using the right punctuation in a sentence.

Make sure that your students write something every day. Make them write words. Make them write sentences. At some point, they will be able to write a paragraph and then a long passage. Use the Active Student Engagement Strategies that you learned from all of us. Use the Reading Strategies and the Writing Strategies. When you use the strategies, you are giving your students many opportunities to DO. You are giving them many opportunities to understand. You are giving them many opportunities to learn English.

I have enjoyed the past few weeks with you wonderful teachers, and I have learned that you are the best people on earth. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to understand you and your incredible Chinese culture. I leave you with another quote from Confucius: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” I want to add to the great teacher’s words. “Whatever you teach, and whomever you teach, teach with all your heart.”  Thank you.

Our participants and the people of the education bureau and the four of us American trainers.

Our participants and the people of the education bureau and the four of us American trainers.

Chinese Girl

We are a bit of an attraction here in Feicheng, because they rarely get international visitors, especially those from America. People giggle and point at us, then get embarrassed when we notice them. We smile, say hello, and attempt in very bad Chinese to communicate. Frequently, the teens and children come to us to talk; all of the children take English in school, and some speak moderately well.

This girl approached me in the park, talked a little bit, and asked to take a picture with me. After we posed for her mother’s cell phone, I asked if I could take her picture.

IMG_9820I think she is beautiful.