Calm Chaos

Photo: Nicole Putz 2016


Photo: Nicole Putz 2016


Photo: Nicole Putz 2016


Photo: Nicole Putz 2016

As I said before, I have found myself noticing lines since starting a daily art practice. I loved the way the lines moved in this piece, and I truly slowed down when drawing. this is the first time that my body truly felt like a participant in the activity; perhaps it was the chaos in the calm of this experience, but my body almost swayed when I hit a curve in the line, or reacted an intersection. Almost like driving. When I paused to look at my page, I realize that this piece is representative of my mind right now, as I am in the midst of an experience A/r/tography. In the last week, I have felt like each time I have a thought, it intersects with a story. Then there is a curve, and bam. Another story. Another experience, another tension. An old story examined with a different perspective, and new experience relating me to some one else, to a reading, to inexperience in class, to art.

Light In A Dark Room

This pick is interesting to me because I can tell that A/r/tography is creeping into my life; I have looked at this lamp many times before and I have never noticed the lines in the textile. I have been noticing lines in a lot of things lately, actually.

Photo: Nicole Putz 2016

The light through the shade has repeatedly captivated me. I have been sitting in this spot frequently, doing school work, or grading…report cards even. Despite the fact that its where my gaze goes when I become distracted, I have never focused on the lines.


Photo: Nicole Putz 2016

The memory that floated in and out was the memory of myself in Grade 3. I was the student was usually started the year near a window, and before the yellow and red leaves fell to the ground in October, I had been moved spots- for looking out the window too much. Being too distracted. I always felt like I was on the wrong side of the glass.

Photo: Nicole Putz 2016


On my third drawing, I found it so funny that I took my “cheat” time to look at my drawing…..but was distracted back to looking at the lamp, which is the opposite reaction I have had with this experience. I wanted more to look at the object as I found more lines, more detail, and wanted to explore that.

Photo: Nicole Putz 2016


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


bb 1
Photo: Nicole Putz 2016


BB 3
Photo: Nicole Putz 2016


Take breath Nicole. If the picture doesn’t look like what you are supposed to be drawing, thats ok. Take a breath. On day three of Daily Art Practice, I decided to take a breath while I was drawing. I put on music. My kids were not in the house, so I was alone. I think this was a monumental part of my experience. As I dive into the “tensions” and the “in-betweens” of my narrative and this art practice, I have to admit to myself just how utterly stressful it it be a working, student, mother.

This is Zoey’s Brown Bear. He was sitting on my desk, so he is what I drew. He has so many lines to his fur. I have not noticed that before. I guess he is more than just a Brown Bear. I guess I am more than just a mom. I am reminded of a moment in my own classroom, when I told my student to put away her shopkins toys. “It isn’t the time to be playing with toys” I said. I’m reminded of Karen Meyer’s Living Inquiry, I did not realize at the time that those toys may have held incredibale value to that student. Is it returning to a childlike perspective that I truly need? To see things through their eyes once in a while?

My breathing flowed more fluidly during this series, and I felt my hands more. When I stopped on my third drawing to look at my page, I wondered what Brown Bear looks like to my kids, do they pay attention to his lines… and this is me just noticing now? Brown Bear, he is a fly on the wall in our house. Through this experience of graduate studies and parenting and working and living life, that is now coming to an end in some aspect…what did Brown Bear actually see?



Daily Art Practice #2

I am inspired to attempt to draw my own face. Looking at a photo of myself, I tried so hard to draw without looking at the page. I mostly succeeded, but was so tempted to look, as I was wondering if my image actually looked like me.

image 1 post 2
Self Portrait, Nicole Putz 2016


image 2 post 2
Self Portrait, Nicole Putz 2016
image 3 post 2.jpg
Self Portrait, Nicole Putz 2016
original post 2.jpg
Photo: Nicole Putz 2016

In Kathryn’s class today we explored embodied poetry. The memory I chose to


The face in my sketchpad

I liked drawing faces

Very two dimensionsal and childlike

I was…maybe 10

Short blonde hair, big brown eyes

I told my parents I wanted to be an artist

They praised my drawings

and then my dad cracked a joke about artists

not being able to get a job

He didn’t mean to impact me

It was just a joke

He would never do that to me willingly

But that was the last sketchpad I ever had

Until now.

(re) write:

Drawing Faces


Hair, Eyes



Praised, Joked




Until Now.


(re) construct

I chose to have my daughter in the last image I drew because she is in the photo with me. (re)construct….what will I say to her, when she tells me what she wants to be?





July 4th, 2016

This is the first time I have ever tried to draw without looking at the page. In fact, this is the first time I have owned my own sketchbook as an adult. What a gift. I am going to be sharing series of 3 drawn images, 8 times thoughtout my journey through a/r/tography.

Here we go.

The first image is one that representes a memory I have from teaching this past year. I felt myself start drawing the hand in front of me, and had the urge to draw roots coming out of my hand and represent my arm as a tree come to me before the memory did, which I find to be quite interesting. I wonder about the “space in-between” this particular discovery; will it continue as a trend in my future artistic renderings?

The memory itself is one of seeing my students running around with each others on a math scavenger hung for our geometry unit, bundled to the nines in winter gear, with smiles on their faces as they pressed their cold cheeks against the windows of the music room so they could show the music teacher what they were up to. One of my students in particular, was so so proud. The fingers are the bare branches of the trees in winter, they look cold and empty but the roots run deep into the earth.


Why we all need to unplug!

In preparation for our debate, which can be viewed here:


I discovered that there was actually a lot to learn in the arguments for or against plugging in.

Among the most interesting, I found to be the arguments of Nathan Jurgenson and Sherry Turkle. While Jurgenson advocates in an augmented reality, Turkle argues that digital and real selves are very different in her Ted Talk that I found very interesting called Connected, but Alone?

An interesting experience that we uncovered was that of Paul Miller, who unplugged for a year, and came back to tell his story. He shared that in his experience unplugging, he did stop and smell the flowers. My life was full of serendipitous events: real life meetings, frisbee, bike rides, and Greek literature. With no clear idea how I did it, I wrote half my novel, and turned in an essay nearly every week to The Verge. I lost 15 pounds without really trying. I was a little bored, a little lonely, but I found it a wonderful change of pace.”

We did find so many great pieces that helped us make our argument that unplugging is not necessary. The 12 mobile apps that help relieve stress and anxiety were so interesting that I (ME!) downloaded a few of them and have been giving them a try.

I have to admit that ultimately I ended up on the wrong side of the debate, but I had a great time being there and I learned a lot. The reason that I wound up there was because I was too slow at using technology when signing up…ha. ha. As an academic, I see the value in both unplugging and staying plugged in. As a person, I wholeheartedly believe that we need, need to unplug.  Like Heidi  and Dean, I can’t wait to unplug and take a step  back from technology, because right now to me, technology means work. To be very honest, it has been a long two years of having evenings and weekends taken up by grad classes (even though I truly did love every one) and I am good and ready to frisbee my laptop into the lake off the dock.

Photo credit: Nicole Putz. Echo Lake, May 2016.

Going back to my first blog post in this class, I shared with classmates that I am an advocate for place based learning and outdoor education. I will take any opportunity to take learning outdoors for myself, my kids and my students. I believe that having a relationship with the natural landscape is critical for developing relationships with others, developing critical thinking skills, social awareness, and cultivating ones personal well being; just to name a few ideas. I quoted Richard Louv as speaking to the concept of the hybrid mind, stating that technology and nature have a will forge a beautiful relationship as we move into the future.

“The best preparation for the twenty-first century, therefore, may be a combination of natural and virtual experience. An instructor who trains young people to become the pilots of cruise ships describes “two kinds of students, those who are good at video games, who are terrific with the electronic steering; and those who grew up outside—they’re far better at having a special sense of where the ship is. We tend to get one or the other kind.” The first kind of student, he says, has a talent he prizes. “We have a lot of electronics on the ship.” The second kind of student has another talent he needs. That student, using a wider range of senses, “actually knows where the ship is.”  The ideal pilot, he says, is the person who has a balance of high-tech and natural knowledge: “We need people who have both ways of knowing the world.” In other words, a hybrid mind.”

As a teacher, I feel like it is as much my job to protect the rights of children to have access to the outdoors as it is to teach them literacy and numeracy. Its not that I don’t believe that technology has a beautiful place in our future. But right now, it is threatening the thing that I believe in most, and for that I won’t back down. As we as a society learn to balance, people on my end of the struggle will be allowed some breathing room.

At this point in time, everywhere I turn I see devices. People are behind them, operating them, being distracted by them, and missing out. The average amount of hours that children spend now in front of devices and not having face to face interactions, experiences, or being outdoors is appalling. In the article TV is Still King of Media Consumption monthly American statistic where published in January of 2013.

I can’t get the moment out of my head when I was in the pool at the Sandra Schmirler Leisure centre with my little man, singing the wheels on the bus and splashing, and noticing that every….single…parent…sitting on the perimeter of the pool…was looking down their phone. This moment is burned into my memory. Luke Braun is with me on this one, stating “I have been at countless swimming lessons, soccer games and play dates during which not a single parent was actually engaging with their kids or watching them at all.”  So balance? Yes of course, we don’t need to unplug if we have achieved balance. But we are no where near balance. Perhaps when the newness of tech wears off of society a bit, we may be better at managing our time and unplugging effortlessly. But right now we live in a society where people are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others around them so that they can be on their devices while driving! If this isn’t a wake up call, then I don’t know what is. It’s a call for people to unplug and practice unplugging so that knowing there is a time and a place for being plugged in becomes second nature.


Photo credit: Nicole Putz. Katepwa Beach, May 2015.

As students we just learned a great deal about technology; we are now ambassadors. As educators, we know that all great things are learned, so now we can go forward and teach. Have great summer everyone!

Summary of a very steep learning curve

Here is a link to my summary of learning:

[Song Credits:    “We’re Going to be Friends”  by The White Stripes, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”  by Billy Joel, “I Won’t Back Down”  by Tom Petty, “Stressed Out”  by Twenty One Pilots, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”  by Bobby McFerrin, “Fly By Night”  by Chilliwack, “Doin’ It Right”  by April Wine, “A Hard Days Night”  by The Beatles, “With A Little Help From My Friends”  by The Beatles.]

I can hardly believe that this is coming to an end. More realistically, I think this is a new beginning. In my blogs, you get a lot of how I feel as a response to what I have learned. Don’t worry, I have done all the readings. To me, what I learned and how I feel are one in the same. If you don’t feel something, you have not learned. 

Most influencial contributors to my learning:

Stephanie Pipke, I would vote for you. What is it you are running for? It doesn’t matter, you have my vote. Reading Stephanie‘s blog was enlightening at times. She is a role model for us with children because she integrates technology into her daughters life in an educational, fun and responsible way. A self admitted workaholic and learning addict, I connect with Stephanie because I too will be done grad classes after the summer. Stephanie, I won’t forget how you story your experiences in education. I see the word as a place that could be profoundly different if the values found in education (specifically narrative) were integrated and values in say…business or government. I loved reading your blog and won’t soon forget the impact you had on my learning and encourage you to ‘storify’ everyone you meet. I can only hope that we cross paths again someday!

Luke Braun– I seem to have gained some confidence in knowing that someone out there is working within the principals that I believe in. Within Luke’s writing I found that he confidently supported ideas of being present with your children and students, encouraged outdoor education, health and wellness and getting outdoors. Sometimes its hard to look past the opinions, values and beliefs found outside of your own school, but thats one of the beautiful things about graduate classes, and blogs. Just knowing that teachers like Luke are out there practicing the same things that you hold true, helps with the day to day challenges

Jeremy Black and Erin Benjamin– This is a tie. I chose these two because when reading the examples they provided in their blogs of how they use technology, I learned a lot. I learned a lot about using technology in a classroom (flipped classrooms) and I also learned a lot about myself. Erin and Jeremy made me question the values and beliefs I had about technology before I came into this class. While I did maintain some of these values, (but can now support them academically after investigating the issues at a new level in this course) I also changed my mind on a few. I credit that when I was fidning myself pushed outside of my comfort zone, being aware and able to access two bloggers who both gave me new perspective. That is what I signed up for when I decided to take this class.

Most meaningful moment: Technology is not something to fear.

I need to be very clear here. I am the teacher who has skipped the opportunity to use technology, out of fear. I am not technologically inclined. Angela, Tayler and I fought with POWTOON for our debate for more hours than it would take some of our classmates to make 10 POWTOONS. Angela and I created this summary of learning video which is quite basic compared to everyone else’s…but to us it is AMAZING!!!! We dragged ourselves through the trenches these last 6 weeks, but the dirty… was all worth it. If there is one thing I can take away from the frustration I felt is that its over. And it feels so much better to have succeed in something you struggled with than to simply succeed. Adding to that revelation is that once you succeed out of struggle, your fear diminishes. The me, this is profound. I never, ever would have reached this point if I didn’t take this class- and I know that about myself. One time when my husband was out of town for work for two weeks, I couldn’t re-hook up our TV. So I didn’t watch TV….for two weeks. Without this class, I would still be apathetic (but really, afraid). The second thing I realized is that I needed the support of my colleagues to be able to tough this out. Giving students opportunities to work together is a necessity. We have covered numerous challenges that educators face when it comes to using technology, and we all discussed and debated the reasons why. Ultimately we decided that these challenges are not going away anytime soon, but neither am we. Before this, I thought that pushing through for technology was a waste of time. Now, I think its worth my time. 

I achieved incredible growth in the field of educational technology in a very short time. And I must admit a large portion of the knowledge I gained was through academia; I have never “read in” this field of study at all. So spending the last 6 weeks reading and viewing helped to give me the groundwork to form educated thoughts and opinions on the topics that we debated. Before this experience, I would have to admit that my opinions (although confident) were quite baseless and rather uneducated. This being said, I have found myself on different ends of debate topics than I had originally thought. What I have found most compelling are the stories of my colleagues. Their stories connect to me to them on a personal level because I have not really “met” my classmates in person. Despite this, I feel very “connected” (haha) to them though blogging.

I entered this program to push my own personal boundaries regarding what I think, believe and value in education. This experience in particular has brought me growth and change, and it is now part of my own personal narrative and it will weave into my story as a parent and as a teacher. This is the part in the story where nothing can ever be the same again; its the part where the main character reaches that profound moment where you know she can never look back. The change has already happened. She is not the same person…the same thinker as she was when she got here. This to me, is the way education should be. This moment, is what we should all be working towards.