BEVERLY RADFORD - "Introducing The Private Eye to Costa Rica School Children"
FARRELL- "IThe Private Eye and Gifted Education"
BRENDA HANCOCK - "Ooohs and Ahhhs with The Private Eye"
REBECCA MCKAY - "The Private
Eye at the Cornerstone Literacy Workshop - July 2004"
VARIOUS TEACHERS - "Birmingham
& Trussville, AL Workshops"
BETH SMITH & ANN BETTIS - "The Private Eye Loupe-look Rap"
Supervisor of Gifted Education
Jefferson County Board of Education
Jefferson County, AL
The Private Eye workshop, it changed the way I taught my gifted
students. The students' products were incredible!
Now that I am the supervisor for gifted education, I have brought
Private Eye to the gifted teachers in my district. You should have
seen the light bulbs turn on! They loved it!
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Clay Elementary, Clay, AL
I am so excited to tell you what happened during Science time today. We are currently doing the Ecosystems Module. Today we added snails to our aquarium. Before adding them I had the students draw their snail (without loupes). When we added the loupe for the 5X look, I’ve never heard so many oos! and ahhhs! Then when we went to 10 I heard – “I can see eyes at the end of the antennas,” “I can see _______!” “WOW! Look!!” They didn’t want to stop to go to lunch (about 1.5 hours into the lesson!). I’ve never seen such excitement over snails!!! I’m very sorry that we’re at such a high enthusiastic level and it was our last regular day of school!! I am exhausted from today, but it is an exciting, rewarding kind of exhaustion. Thank you so much for your part in all of this.
We did the Chilton County peach loupe activity last August. (They are the best peaches in the world if you get the right variety!) Shells and sand dollars were next (early September). Gourds were next (November). We did acorns and leaves that actually came from land where Davy Crockett once lived. (He is linked with out state’s history.) We also did strawberries this month. They were picked from a strawberry farm close to here. We did other loupe activities, but writing and drawing was in student sketchbooks.
I have enjoyed your presentations and grown immensely as a learner from participating in The Private Eye. Thank you!
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Alabama Teacher of the Year
Munford City Schools, AL
was unbelievable. Many
adults were so moved by the experience they cried. A
colleague, 70 years old from London, brought back a memory
from his boyhood - stimulated by looking closely at a branch
of a wheat plant. The poetry was exquisite...one friend
wrote a poem from her connections, and analogies with a seashell
that took her back to a trip to the beach shortly after she
discovered that she was pregnant and discovered she was RH-negative.
[A colleague] and I are going to write an article [on The Private
Eye] for our Cornerstone Connections and publish the poetry.
We have asked the authors of the poetry for permission to share
their work - it's a go. When we get it done we will email
it to you. Thanks a million, it was a terrific success.
Birmingham & Trussville, AL
4/27/07 - 5/4/07
done many workshops in many locations over the years, and
we thought we'd share a few comments from our most recent
“After fourteen years
of teaching, I was kind of burned out, and this changed
the way I think and will change the way I teach. A
whole new way of looking at things. I needed that.”
Curlee, Teacher, 7th Grade Biology, Hewitt Trussville Middle
School, Trussville, AL
“The best workshop I’ve been
Troncale, Teacher of Language Arts 7th Grade, Hewitt
Trussville Middle School, Trussville, AL
“The most high-brow professional
— Beth Smith, Teacher, 5th
grade (all girls class), Trussville City Schools
“The best workshop I’ve ever
been to. I was
never bored. My wheels were turning: How will I bring
this back to my first grade? I want to integrate
everything! This is how my own boys [sons] learn.
This is the kind of classroom I want my sons in.”
Higginbotham, Clay Elementary, Jefferson County Schools,
“I’m so excited! The
Private Eye is an opportunity to emphasize ‘No wrong
answer' and to open the
students up. I’m going to use the Fingerprint
activity next September to emphasize their individuality.
It will help draw them out of their shells.”
Head, Teacher of 6th, 7th and 8th RLC English, Gifted Program,
Heweytown Middle School, AL
“Awesome workshop! It’ll
help them [gifted students] move away from group think
to more independent thinking.”
— Kit Mawhinney,
Teacher, Gifted Program, Grades 3-5 Jefferson County Schools,
“It was wonderful. I
am so excited to go back to school Monday! I’m
starting on Monday. Absolutely wonderful!”
Williams, Teacher, 3rd Grade, Snow Rogers Elementary, AL
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BETH SMITH & ANN BETTIS
of our Private Eye workshop in Trussville, Alabama, came up with their
own way of introducing The Private Eye to their students. Featuring
Ann Bettis and Beth Smith, here's The Private Eye Loupe-Look
here to view with Windows Media® Player
Mac users — Download Flip4Mac® to
watch Windows Media videos in QuickTime
JO FALLS - "Through the Looking Glass"
on the loupe for the Tohono Chul Slideshow tour!
GAIL PAULIN - "Tucson Teachers
EMILIE JOYCE - "Summer Programs
Director of Public Programs/Education Curator
Tohono Chul Park
three two years ago a local teacher introduced us to The
Private Eye®. Intrigued, we found ways to adapt
the program and make it our own by experimenting with a
variety of projects and activities during our annual summer desert
discovery classes. Tohono Chul Park Docents
focused on observation skills and on linking what children
were seeing to information about the remarkable adaptability
of desert plants and animals. Last summer, we took
our program on the road and offered it as enrichment programming
tied to the county libraries summer reading program.
our greatest success has been with a remarkable, recently
completed yearlong partnership with the Flowing Wells Schools.The
fifth largest district in metropolitan Tucson, Flowing
Wells serves just over 6,000 students in grades K through
12. Our collaboration involved one of the Districts
six elementary schools -- Homer Davis Elementary. Selected
primarily because of an ongoing advisory relationship we
have with the school and its teachers, Homer Davis was
the perfect choice. The school plays host to its own
habitat garden for butterflies and hummingbirds, and has
been rated an A+ school by the state of Arizona. It
is also the recent recipient of the national Blue Ribbon
by the Joseph Stanley Leeds Foundation and the Heritage
Fund of the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, the Through
the Looking Glass project involved the participation
of one classroom from each grade level K through
6th and special education for the course of the 2000-2001
school year. Using grant funds, each teacher was provided
with his/her own copy of The Private Eye®
book, along with a carry tote filled with natural history
specimens for hands-on use. Each student was provided
with his/her own jewelers loupes, 3-ring notebook for
organizing/storing their work, and assorted drawing materials
(paper, colored pencils, watercolors, etc.).
Tohono Chul Park, the Education Staff met with the Docent
Education Committee to discuss strategies and plan a course
of action. Activities surrounding the Private Eye® curriculum
were assessed and those appropriate to the project were
selected, along with several new lesson plans.
Docents were recruited (21 in all) and training/planning
meetings were set to make the final selection of activities
and provide practice in classroom facilitation. Two
to three Tohono Chul Park Docents were assigned to each
of the seven classrooms to act as facilitators and exploratory
guides. Over the summer Docents began collecting specimens
for the classroom kits and supplies and equipment were
early August a weekend get-acquainted session
was scheduled for Team Teachers and Docents to meet and
prepare a series of lesson plans for the first semester
of school. Together, the teams devised classroom visitation
schedules. Docents began visiting classrooms on a
regular basis, at least twice a month, during the school
year. They provided instruction in the use of the
loupe, direction in basic drawing techniques and the impetus
for critical thinking explorations of the items under scrutiny everything
from cactus spines and mineral specimens to pronghorn skulls
and pill bugs.
this program, nature was boring, but they made it fun!
It would be nice to teach other people about the world
they live in."
Davis Elementary student
overlying goal of this project was to develop hands-on
resources to enhance and amplify the schools Outdoor
Wildlife Habitat previously funded by a Heritage Fund
Grant. Science and environmental education were
the major focus of the project, but teachers found that
the interdisciplinary activities and objectives used
skills spanned the entire curriculum from language arts
to fine arts. For example, a study of skulls and
skins easily led to theories about animal adaptations. From
this evolved detailed drawings of mammal dentition and
creative poetry on the lives of desert animals -- from
the animals point of view.
use of The Private Eye® tools and curriculum did
allow teachers to expand their hands-on use of the Outdoor
Habitat, successfully taking students from lower to higher
levels of thinking and developing multiple intelligences
while making the world of nature more accessible. In
one class, pocket museum collections focusing
on native plant species were collected from the Habitat. Other
groups studied pollination, bird migration, habitat components,
and conducted a unique pill bug exploratory study.
learning as practiced by Tohono Chul Park provided opportunities
for joint experimentation. The role of student and
teacher was fluid and alternated back and forth between
participants. The involvement of adult retirees,
Docents at Tohono Chul Park, created an added environment
of intergenerational learning that allowed for learning
in a social context as well as an academic one. These
21 trained Docents used the students natural curiosity
to lead them into more structured activities, offering
multiple/multi-sensory modes of learning along with active
exploration and self-developed models. Traditional
logical/mathematical learning was enhanced with the use
of props rather than simply discussing how a birds
feathers zip together, students actually
pulled one apart and watched it come together again with
The Private Eye® loupes. These spatial, tactile
and visual experiences provided rich imagery that complemented
the end of the first semester a mid-year evaluation session
was held for the entire team to assess the success of
the program. At this time suggestions were made
on how to begin incorporating the Outdoor Habitat with
the onset of good weather and ideas for new classroom
activities were shared. This was followed by a final
evaluation session at the end of the school year in May,
attended by all teachers and docents, as well as the
Homer Davis principal, District Superintendent and Career
Ladder Director. The team discussed the entire project
and determined its efficacy in meeting its stated objectives.
Both Tohono Chul Park and the Flowing Wells District
awarded certificates of appreciation to all participating
Team Teachers and Docents. In addition, teachers
received the maximum allowable credits for Career Ladder
and State certification. A presentation to the School
Board in May even spotlighted several participating Team
Teachers and their students.In
the end, summative evaluation of this project came not
only from the Team Teachers and Docents, but also as
a University of Arizona graduate project. Students
from the School of Public Administration and Policy conducted
an evaluation of the Through the Looking Glass partnership
for classroom credit. To quote from their Executive
- 93% of
participating students said they like or loved
- 84% of participating
students said that they would like to be in the program
- Of the nonparticipating
students that had heard of the program from their
friends, 69% said they would like to be in the program
asked what they liked about the program, several
students reported that they like activities that
mixed science with other disciplines such as art
and history. They
also like the hands-on experiences.
in the program was significantly and positively correlated
with better attitudes towards science and teachers
reported that the program stretched the childrens
imaginations and piqued their interest.
- 78% of
participating teachers reported that they learned a lot about
the local desert at school, compared with 45% of
the control group.
reported that they had never attempted nature education
before the program, but now they viewed the environment
as a teaching resource. There was also evidence
of increased teacher mastery of natural science subjects.
- Special education
teachers said that the program was better able to
reach their students than anything they had tried
- All teachers
reported that they would continue to use The Private
Eye questions and loupes because they help the students
to look at the world in a new way, they help the
students to learn the scientific method and they
stimulate creativity and higher level thinking.
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Secondary Science Resource Specialist
Tucson Unified School District
In Tucson ... the dusty Private Eye!
What else does it remind me of?
one workshop led to over 2000 loupes fastened to
well over 2000 eyeballs, adult & student inquiry...
$2.50 journey to other worlds;
fascination, linking learners at all (st)ages;
coupled with stream of consciousness creates a
continuous flow of one loupe connected to one mind
= a text book of infinite chapters with personal
relevance. The Nature of The Tucson Private Eye.
first copy of The Private Eye arrived in TUSD several
years ago with a note from an insightful administrator
that simply said.... "Take a look at what they're
doing in Seattle." It was clearly an ingenious,
intriguing book; we talked about it, passed it around,
louped a bit, but then were swept away in our daily
later we began a partnership with microscopist Gary
Chandler, from the University of Arizona MSE department
and the TUSD Science Resource Center staff. Teachers
grades 7-12 were learning to operate the SEM and archive
their SEM images for classroom use.
observation and attention to detail are required to
interpret and understand the strange and fascinating
images produced. We were easily lost in the high power
magnification world. How to help our students and ourselves
comprehend the abstraction of objects magnified 25,
000 times or more? The need to understand changing
of scale was a key.
Private Eye, sitting on my office shelf, unlocked our
solution! Just as in Kerry Ruef's account of her rediscovery
of her dusty loupe (pg.5 in The Private Eye)
I dusted off the book, and the SEM teachers began to
explore the power of the tools within. We could encourage
students to search, look closely, imagine and express
their discovery in creative ways, using The Private
Eye approach - and it would be the basis of scientific
discovery! The Private Eye would, even for starters,
allow them to experience wonder and excitement in looking
closer. A simple 5X magnification provided our entree
to uncharted micro worlds of mind-boggling magnifications!
We had discovered a foundation for probing investigations
at higher powers. The teachers and microscopists loved
it! We were hooked!Not
long after introducing The Private Eye, we realized
our need for an in-depth exposure. By combining funds
from several sources (federal and corporate grant moneys)
Kerry and David were contracted to do a two day Private
Eye workshop in September 1996. There is no substitute
for working with the originator of a powerful concept.
(An unsolicited endorsement for the wonders of Kerry & David!
need to mix funding for the workshop from Title II,
Title I and their Exxon Math Science grant for early
education resulted in a novel mix of teachers, resource
staff and university students, educators and researchers
grades K-16. The interaction invigorated us. Conversations
and connections revealed divergent paths toward surprisingly
common goals. Each group gained a sense that The Private
Eye was relevant for them. Consequently, we are becoming
a very "snoopy district", poking loupes into
nooks and crannies of learning, previously unconnected.
weeks after the first encounter with Kerry and David,
the secondary teachers facilitated an introduction
to The Private Eye for 125 science teachers at the
district meeting. Each of the 10 sites received a Private
Eye book and loupes. This one exposure has stimulated
Private Eye activities in 70% of TUSD high schools.
Teachers are currently requesting slots in the three
Private Eye workshops scheduled this summer! Elementary
teachers and resource staff initiated Private Eye connections
in math, science, language arts, fine arts, and thematic
workshops The message of The Private Eye transcends
grade/age levels and content disciplines and is helping
us focus on skills essential to learning throughout
potpourri of our Private Eye experience (or, What else
does it remind us of - in TUSD?):
childhood educators, on hearing of the first PE
workshop ....schedule a second workshop with Kerry & David
for preschool teachers. They gained fresh personal
perspective (teacher as learner) ways to focus
and develop paper towel tube viewers to create
a field of view for big and little folks. Enhances
preschoolers exploration even without a loupe !
Project, middle school teacher, Joan Manson, At
Booth Fickett MS Magnet used PRIVATE EYE... result
whole faculty inservice requested & presented
by SRC resource Sharyn Chesser in October 96. Joan
also features Private Eye in her part of the SEM
presentation at NSTA Phoenix.
become standard equipment at Cooper Environmental
Resource Campus, (TUSD's Outdoor Field School)
thanks to Doris Evans who attended Private Eye
I in September '96.
Resource teacher Mary Lou Rankin takes The Private
Eye activities to 20 MS science facilitators ....visiting
language arts resource teacher from Townsend MS
is wowed! ... purchases multiple sets of Private
Eyes loupes for the school .
resource teacher Marleen Kotelman does workshops
for teachers at Sam Hughes Elementary.
Ed teachers, gifted and self-contained LD use Private
Eye skills among students traditionally unable
of Arizona Post Doc Uwe Hilgert wears his Private
Eye loupe leash on a daily basis during his K-12
outreach activities, to model being a close-up
department at Arizona Sonora Desert Museum explores
PE as tool for HS Young Naturalists class
are see worthy! Christa McCauliff Award winner,
Marine Biology teacher Kathy Krucker, uses The
Private Eye in comparative marine organisms labs
At Palo Verde Magnet HS. Can you scuba with a loupe?
HS Earth Science teacher Ron Bernee's students
loupe look at earth materials, fossils and leaves.
Poetry and art emerges as part of science. After
Ron's workshop experience in August he begins having
dreams about life in a shrunken, in a miniature
White, At-Risk teacher from Cholla HS borrows loupes
from SRC, loves results, attends workshop, is "hooked
on louping!"... now has his own class set.
invade Family Science nights at multiple sites.
Parents, students and teachers explore & wonder
addition to loupe looking in general and research
biology sections and the magnet HS , Bio teacher
Margaret Wilch includes The Private Eye in her
Master's program preceptorship on insect gall and
HS Chemistry teacher John Hess - his goal is to
make students more aware of the parts which make
up a whole. Uses loupes to engage students in more
careful observation and thinking.
HS teacher Andrew Lettes uses loupes to introduce
fingerprinting in forensics unit.
Connectors (U of A class where science undergrads
adopt a classroom for a semester) take loupes to
K-12 to classes as part of their mentoring programs
in over 14 schools.
teachers ...talking to science teachers at Sahauro
HS ....want to share Private Eye!
Elementary School- Judy Darcy and Lily Olivas give
PE workshop for 15 teachers grades 3-5. They also
did a parent workshop using the loupes.
Park Elementary has PE workshop for teachers and
teacher aides. Celia Young, a family liaison, was
play classes now include loupe looking as a regular
part of their program.
Elementary School holds school wide workshop for
Gardens Elementary incorporated PE in faculty workshops,
outdoor play project, and a community park project
where community and school members interact!
Buskirk teacher Amy Levin starts the morning each
day with a loupe looking/writing activity in her
2/3 combo class. They have been doing this continuously
since Amy attended the workshop in September! She
has noted a change in students: they now take their
observations very seriously! (Habits of mind!)
Recently her class took a field trip to Sahuaro
National Park with 6th grade loupers from Utterback
MS for some close-up desert watching!
Kathy Lohse did Private Eye sharing sessions for
25 K teachers.
in the future includes:
additional two-day workshops with Kerry & David
are scheduled for May/June 1997 providing a common
denominator for linking educators from formal and informal
pre K-college settings in our community...
AND a desert overnight for teachers at our outdoor
Private Eye? What else does it remind me of now?...a
powerful catalyst for interaction
...a unifying viewpoint
. ..new meaning for the phrase ...... "Let's see."...
teachers engage in their own learning, they transcend
content and system barriers; new activities flow and
renewed clarity of purpose for learning emerges. My
loupes now hang ready in my car, on their loupe leash,
awaiting my next tour... or test drive for a fellow
adventurer. Here's looking at ... whatever!
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International Wildlife Museum of the Safari Club International
Tucson, AZ 85745
promised to get back to you on how the use of the
loupes went during our summer program. We had one
of our most successful and quality programs to date
after 6 years. I have to attribute that in part to
the use of the loupes.
We did not use the curriculum per
se, but I did my homework and read
the “Science” section.
We used the loupes in conjunction
with a revised schedule of fun,
active games/activities based on
books “Sharing Nature with Children” and
what he calls Flow Learning. The focused quiet time
was often the use of the loupes to closely explore
items from the theme of the day. There was a moment
when the planning paid off and kids were likening popcorn
to planets and hot air balloons! The children also
seemed to be more comfortable with their ability to
draw by looking in the loupe. Usually we have children
telling us how much they can’t draw.
The money spent was well worth it. We sent the loupes
home with the children and I hope they offer a different
perspective and a lifetime of closely examining their
world. Not all the children will become scientists
but I know they will all be creative, observant individuals.
What more could we hope for?
WIERMAN - "Tales from a Private Eye-itinerant"
SUZANNE BRILEY - "Sheraton
LAUREL SALVATORE - "First
TERRY FISCHER - "A
Five Year Approach"
SHELLY FERNALD - "The
Private Eye and Descriptive Language"
LYNDA RAQUEL - "Loupes
Make Learning and Teaching Fun"
C. L. MOSS - "Likin' Lichens With A Little Help
From The Private Eye Loupes"
DENISE GIDEON - "Loupe-Look Journals"
Math and Gifted Specialist K-8
Redding School District
an itinerant teacher I spend much of my time on the road
and look like a bag lady as I wander from classroom to
classroom on the campuses at which I work. My bag is a
canvas tote with red straps and one pocket on which the
words "I Love Math" are
tattooed. The contents of the bag include a copy of Nathan
Levy's "Stories with Holes", my calendar, some
pens and pencils, a bottle of drinking water, my reflective
journal, "The World in a Box", 2 sets of loupes,
and my Private Eye guide - everything this transient needs
to carry out the daunting task of motivating and challenging
the students in my charge. I am currently working to help
7 schools keep 150+ Gifted and Talented (GT) 3rd - 8th
graders enthused and interested in learning what we have
decided is important to teach them. There are many facets
to the GT program I coordinate; one is of particular significance
for this venue, and involves the 60+ GT kids on the only
6th - 8th grade campus in the district.
the year by teaching one period per week in a 6th grade
QUEST class (our district's version of character education),
a 7th grade language arts class and an 8th grade science
class as a "push-in"
approach to meeting the GT kids' needs. The goal was to have
an opportunity to work with the GT students in their non-GT
classrooms so that I could mentor the teachers using the
methods I have found successful in challenging and motivating
all kids. I chose "The Private Eye" curriculum
as the vehicle for this delivery because it has all of the
components necessary to make my goal achievable, and fortunately
it fit in the bag! Using "The World in a Box,"
the Private Eye curriculum has connected the world of language,
wonder and metaphor to the worlds of personal and social
growth (6th grade QUEST), mystery novels (7th grade language
arts) and astronomy (8th grade science) and provided an approach
in which all students could experience the thrill of success.
I have guided teachers and their students through many interesting
in-class "field trips" that have strengthened the
academic component they and their daily teachers have been
working so hard to master.
one of the 7th grade lessons that was particularly exhilarating
for the students, the substitute teacher and me. We had
been working with the idea that close and meticulous observation
is vital to the solving of mysteries. On this particular
day my bag and I arrived in the classroom and found the
quote "How you see the problem is the problem" on
the whiteboard. After discussing the meaning of this quote
and its applicability to the world of mystery, one young
man said, "Perception is reality." Both ideas
are integral to any investigator; without the ability to
see things from another point of view a detective can not
begin to envision the possibilities that lie in the world
of the mystery. Needless to say, I promptly wrote his zinger
of an insight on the board next to the quote the teacher
had left for us to ponder. His statement was the perfect
segue into the lesson I had planned. I had no way to know
that the route we would take to get to this particular
lesson would be so powerful or appropriate (what I had
planned was much more mundane). We then did a loupe-look
on an item from "The World in a Box" and wrote "'x'
is to _____ as 'y' is to me" statements (from p. 197
in the guide) with an additional
"because ..." statement tacked on to the end. All
students were successful in viewing a natural item from the
item's perspective, as well as their own. Here's a student
WING IS TO THE CADDIS FLY AS READING IS TO ME,
BECAUSE THEY BOTH TAKE US TO NEW AND EXCITING PLACES.
Training Manager, Sheraton Hotels
San Francisco, CA
This is the
second time I've ordered from you.
I have used some
of your written material in creativity classes for our
managers but have not yet incorporated the loupes into
training - It's coming up. I will let you know how it goes.This set [of loupes]
is for an organization I'm involved with called San Francisco
League of Urban Gardeners (SLUG). We do a lot of work in
schools and with underserved youth, using the garden as
a classroom and as a form of therapy/communication. I'm
going to give this set to S.L.U.G. to be used by their
volunteers. Some of the staff members have seen your book
and were excited about the ideas.
One of our projects
is to put worm bins, for composting of organic wastes,
in the classrooms. We've had problems with teachers following
up on care for the worm bins - I think if they looked at
your book they could find a lot of ways to include the
composting project into their curriculum - and then the
worm bin would be more successfully maintained. Funding
for S.L.U.G. comes from SF Recycling and Solid Waste Management,
so we are looking for lots of ways to encourage people
to compost as well as do more conventional recycling. Thanks
for a great resource!
We are a homeschool
family, having fun using The Private Eye Guide. I think
I'm having as much fun, if not more, than my children.
We have used the loupes to help us closely observe objects
over the past several weeks.
The First Snowfall
The snow is
As it comes down
It is like falling fog
The fog is in the valley
And the snow is sliding down
I want to go down itElena Salvatore,
age 7The First SnowfallThe snow is
painting the barn roofs
It is cold and white
It looks like powdered sugar
Shooting stars in the Earth's atmosphere The flakes are
big like ashes from a volcano It looks like confetti falling
from the sky Are the angels having a party?
— Joseph Salvatore,
Bear in mind that
these are the first poems they have ever written, having
some kind of fear of creative writing. They were shocked
to find that, as we put together their analogies into an
order, that they had actually written a poem!
you enjoy these, as much as we have enjoyed visiting the
other work on your web page.
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Modesto City Schools
of the students I have this year have been using The Private
Eye for the past 5 years. They started in 1st grade
with Ms. RoseMary and have been a part of the group rotation
that we do at our school. The difference I have seen
in this group of 6th graders is the amount of detail they
add to their drawings, and the depth they have in their
lists of "what it reminds me of...." Students
want to use their loupes often, not just during "loupe
time." They bring in their own specimens to examine
and want to explore their world more closely. Although
they have been using the program for 5 years, they are
still excited about it, and look forward to loupe time. They
have tremendous pride in their drawings, and they should—
They look amazing!
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Long Beach, CA
have been using your Private Eye materials for the last
11 years with my Elementary science students, grades 1-5,
including special education students. I start with
my younger students to teach them about how to observe
and use "descriptive language"
to share about their investigation. These skills have
transferred as the students move on to the upper grades.
The details I receive in their lab write-ups are fabulous.
I have also used your tools for years with my pre-service
science method students. Your Private Eye materials
are one of the best purchases I have ever made.
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Lodi Unified School District
name is Lynda Raquel and I teach 5th grade for Lodi Unified
School District. I was recently introduced to your
loupes at the CSTA Conference in San Francisco, where I
participated in The Private Eye workshop. I absolutely
love these things and bought half a class set and the book
that day! Now I would like to place an order so that
I will have a full class set. When I brought the
loupes home from the conference my 5-year-old and 11-year-old
were equally impressed and went around the house 'louping'
for 2 hours! I think they are a wonderful addition
to the curriculum at any grade level and I feel teachers
at my site would be receptive to learning more about them.
[updated field report follows]
I received my order and have had the chance to introduce
the loupes to my class. They love them! We louped
our hands and generated a list of ‘looks like... reminds
Then each student used his/her list to create a poem
about his/her hand. And that's where we're at now. What
was really exciting was watching some of my EL students realize
how easy it was to turn their list into poetry. The
descriptions they came up with included vocabulary that they
wouldn't normally use when simply describing their hand. The
analogies they used just naturally led into poetry. So
now they're working on final drafts. As they finish,
I'm handing them back their loupes and they are to ‘loupe
again’ and draw an image of what they see (still the
hand). Their drawn images need to relate to their poem. … My
students are really into this! I'm so excited to see
the end results of our first
‘louping’ project. … I get
excited about anything that makes learning (and teaching)
fun, and these loupes do it for me, and my students! … Thank
you for such caring service and a wonderful product. I
look forward to ordering from you again!
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"Likin' Lichens with a Little Help from The Private Eye Loupes" K-1 and Middle School
C. L. MOSS
Mattole River Watershed, CA
at any ordinary, familiar object through a loupe and you
suddenly drop into a world of weirdness, magic, and odd beauty.
But take something in nature you might walk by everyday without
noticing, something that’s already weird, magical
and oddly beautiful even to the naked eye (if we ever stopped
to look), add the loupe, and your appreciation for the “alien” will
go up exponentially!
As an ecological educator in the Mattole watershed, I visit six different schools
in three separate school districts, and work with students from K-12. When I
stumbled across “The Private Eye” curriculum—one of the most
exciting teaching tools I’d ever seen—I couldn’t wait to introduce
other teachers and students to “loupe world.” The loupes and questions
are a terrific adjunct to any ecological program. But what to start with? So
much to look at, so little time!
A teacher at Whitethorn Elementary School solved the problem. As part of a unit
on Antarctica, she and her K-1 students had learned that only a few plants are
tough enough to survive in that extreme environment ……including
lichens. And by the way, she told her students, everywhere you look in our Mattole
neighborhood you’ll find tough little lichens growing on trees, roads,
and rocks. Well, that was all her students needed to hear. Like wood rats foraging
for exotic nesting materials, her students brought all sorts of beautiful specimens
into their classroom. Old man’s beard lichens (usnea), “British
soldiers” (cladonia), “lung lichen” (lobaria pulmonaria) and
others…...the watershed was a treasure trove of possibilities.
This is where the loupes and I entered the picture. Penny, the teacher, was the
carnival barker whipping up initial curiosity and enthusiasm. I passed out the
loupes, drawing paper, and pieces of lichens. The curriculum was off and running!
At first, some of the students had a little trouble closing one eye. But by the
second or third session with the loupes, every student was loupe-savvy. Their
drawings amazed Penny and me. These little kids were sketching, in impressive
detail, the little fruiting cups that characterize cladonia, and in their drawings
they were doing something else very sophisticated: they were changing scale,
blowing up their tiny specimens to fill the 5 by 7 inch space we had provided
for their sketches. The Private Eye helped their language skills, too. These
little 5 and 6 year olds had never heard the term “analogy” before,
but in no time they were coming up with all sorts of great analogies for what
they saw in their lichens: “It looks like a brain that got smooshed,” “it
reminds me of an exploded missile,” “it looks like a whirlpool in
Whitethorn School’s 5th-7th grade teacher also brought me into his classroom
to do a lichen unit using The Private Eye. Again, the students took to
analogical description like it was second nature to them, which it basically
was. From the time we’re very young, we use analogies and comparisons (without
even knowing the terms for what we’re doing) to make sense of what we’re
seeing. “That reminds me of…..” is the way we humans
think, whether we’re 6 or 60. We gravitate naturally to patterns and similarities
between objects. The older students’ drawings were also full of wonderful
detail, and the kids also had fun speculating about what purpose some of the
lichens’ structures served.
For me, this is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between The Private
Eye, ecological education, and Mattole watershed students and teachers. Lichens
are great bioindicators and I can see leapfrogging with the students and their
loupes to another fascinating group of bioindicators—the aquatic macroinvertebrates
(insects that live in the water) of the Mattole River. For now, the students
are likin’ lichens, but with the loupes against their eye sockets, I figure
it’s only a question of time before the students will be “buggin’ bugs!
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Saint Mark’s Episcopal School
At long last, here are the sample Loupe-Look Journals that my fourth grade Students use as a year long activity.
This is a wonderful activity and students look forward to it each week. We spend 15 minutes each week looking at a variety of items that are in your kits, that I provide and, eventually, that students bring in. Each week brings a renewed sense of wonder for the students.
Each month I ask students to select one loupe-look and from that we develop a descriptive paragraph about the item using the analogies that were generated during the initial loupe-look. I have used your Private Eye text for most of these activities.
I can not thank you enough for this “program.” It brings an atmosphere of scientific observation into the classroom that has impacted every area of the curriculum.
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3/4th Grade Multi-age Classroom
Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School
Grand Junction, CO
When I first was
introduced to The Private Eye program last summer, I had
no idea the impact it would have on my teaching and the
children's learning in class this year. It began the first
week of school when a group of children wrote a play depicting
the proper use and care of the jeweler's loupes. Since
then they have written wonderful poems, riddles and stories.
The children's work
is kept in 3-ring binders (slipped between plastic protector
sheets) organized alphabetically. They love to go back
and see their own growth and share what they've done with
friends and their parents (and anyone else who'll take
time to listen)
especially pleased with the way using The Private Eye has
transferred over into the children's thinking and writing
within other disciplines. Their Math and Writer's journals,
research reports, and letters to pen-pals are filled with
beautifully descriptive words. Many times when they share
their writings in Writer's Workshop groups I hear the words, "Be more specific." and "What
else can you say about..." and "I can see...
with your words."Recently I applied
for and received a small grant through Eisenhower funds.
In March I will facilitate an in-service to train teachers
in my school within our district. Several of my students
will demonstrate the jeweler's loupes. I know how proud
I will be when the teachers watch my children's eyes light
up and expressions of the sheer joy of learning fill their
faces. Then too, others will be as enthralled by the program
as I have been.
S. JOHNSTON - "Keeping a year-round portfolio"
BARBARA DYCHE - "Dandelion
LAURIE S. JOHNSTON
Signal Hill School
is the second year I've used The Private Eye Program
as the foundation for the Gifted and Talented program
curriculum. This year I'm focusing heavily on grades
3-6. I see "Talents" students
once per week. Everything the students do is kept in
a drawing notebook: drawings, analogies, poetry, short
stories, research, and all handouts. Students are using
the same notebooks they started with last year, and
many have been impressed with the progress they've
made in such a short time, whether it be their drawing
abilities, their analogies, etc. The notebook serves
as a portfolio where students can observe their own
progress as often as they like. It is also an assessment
tool for me - and I like to show it to parents during
conferences. I go through the notebooks regularly,
xerox drawings, and copy them onto assignment reminder
sheets for students in all the grade levels in the
program to admire. My next step is to include these
drawings in the Talents Newsletter I send home to parents
several times a year.
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the loupes with great success as a way to inspire
gifted students in grades 3-5 to write poetry.
We examined lowly dandelions and discovered them
to be gorgeous, complex flowers. Then, we wrote
similes and metaphors about them. From there the
students wrote wonderful free verse poems about
them with fantastic artistic illustrations. They
wrote about the dandelions being the "widows
of the garden whose children left with the wind" or "soldiers
standing guard around the garden." I've now
retired from that job, but I'm teaching part time
and must order more loupes and materials to use
with the current students since I can now design
my own curriculum. Please, please, please come
out with Book II!
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TINKEL - "Beyond Elementary Explorations"
ANNE TINKEL - "Parents
and Seashells and Loupes, Oh
JULIE CONLON - "Optics
with The Private Eye"
Fort Wayne, IN
Kerry and David,
inservice this summer! I began using the loupes with
my students the very first day of school. They loved
them! I showed them how to hold them up next to their
eye, and then bring the object they were studying up
into focus, or to bend down to focus.
I mentioned this summer, my first unit of study (for
9 weeks) is observation and classification. We sorted
wooden beads, shaped pasta, colored buttons, packets
of play money, etc. The first 2 days, we just divided
things according to shape or color. Then, I introduced
texture. I had them sort shapes I had cut out of wallpaper,
some of it textured. I let them examine their favorite
pieces with their loupe. They loved it! I had them
write in their Reflections notebook about "what else it
reminds me of." Some of the wallpaper pieces evoked
memories of grandma's house and some other unusual
things. It was all very exciting, both for them and
for me, as their teacher. The neatest thing was when
we examined fancy carved beads with our loupes. I gave
them each a plastic cup for a pedestal and a frame
to draw in. I demonstrated how to draw to fill the
frame. Some of the students did such a great job. There
were at least 6 that made their drawings so precise
that if I had sent you a photo of 10 of the beads,
you would be able to instantly identify which bead
One of my ESL students is especially talented
in his drawing, which is good, because it is very affirming
for his self concept -- he has lots of difficulty with
spelling when he writes, and it is very hard for me
to know what he wants to communicate, and it is very
frustrating for him. Just
last week, we made carbon rubbings of our fingerprints.
The second day, when I passed their fingerprint papers
back to them, I told them we were going to examine
them and classify them according to type. I said they
should look closely at them and tell me what they saw.
One of the kids asked, "Can we use our loupes?" Then,
I had 3 students draw what they had seen. They did
a pretty good job! Then, I showed them the "official" samples
of the 3 types, and they were able to identify the
student who had sketched that particular type! It is
difficult for me to hold back -- I want to do lots
more with the loupe, but I need to follow my agenda.
This Thursday, we are going to the Crime Lab to see
how the pros do fingerprinting. In 2 weeks, we are
going to IPFW, one of the local universities, to observe
and classify trees and leaves.
One of the
resource teachers in my building was hosting a visit
from her dad on Friday. She asked when I would be
teaching science; she wanted him to see me "in
action." He came in and stayed for about 90
minutes! We passed around the collection of shells
that one of my ESL students had acquired from the
beaches in California when she lived there. We passed
our loupes mounted in colorful lacy elastic, got
out our Reflections books, and started comparing:
what else, what else, what else. Her dad sat down
at an empty desk and participated in the lesson with
us. He had some good "what else's," too!
Then, we passed the "frame paper," the
pedestals, and the permanent ink pens, and we started
sketching. He enjoyed that, too. One of my little
girls had a hissy fit the first time we sketched;
this time, I did not hear a peep out of her. When
I went to check her sketch of the shell, it was wonderful.
She was proud of herself, and I was proud of her
improved attitude toward her sketching ability. I
have not incorporated color in their sketches yet.
That will be my next leap into the unknown.
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Purdue University, IN
discovered The Private Eye several years ago while
I was teaching and had student work displayed on
The Private Eye website. I still use it as a resource
even as physics outreach coordinator. Last week I
did a lesson on optics for first graders. I present
the definition of a lens being a curved surface.
We move from magnifying with a drop of water, then
move to a marble, and finally to a loupe. With each,
kids are taught that science, including physics,
starts with observation and leads to a question.
I remember louping a sand dollar with middle school
students for over an hour while they hypothesized
about the little hole in the sand dollar. Thanks
for the great work. You are truly an inspiration
for creative teaching.
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Associate Professor of Education
William Penn University, IA
Responses to the Private Eye Loupes"
On March 28, 2005, students enrolled in the Language
Arts course at William Penn University, Oskaloosa, Iowa,
participated in a Loupe (The Private Eye) learning experience.
Thanks to The Private Eye, each student had their own
loupe and information to keep—both for the day’s
class and as a future reminder of the many inquiry learning
possibilities offered by “Looking and Thinking
by Analogy”--experiencing the world through the
lens of The Private Eye loupe. Students
were given a variety of nature items to study through
the loupe. First they were asked to hold the loupe
close to an arm and focus on the skin. Then they were
asked to bring the loupe to an eye, and bring an arm
or hand close until the focus was clear. An effusion
of comments began: “It looks like lizard skin!” “Wow!”
and “Neat!” The questions, “What else
does it remind me of? look like? feel like? brought new
comments: “My skin looks like leather.” “It
looks really different magnified!”Students chose
an item to examine. Available were an assortment of seashells,
sea glass, geode pieces, rocks, pinecones, and pussy
willow branches. Again questions, “What do you
see?” “What does it remind you of?” “Why
does it look like that?”
“What comes to mind to describe it?” and
“thinking by analogy” questions were asked.
The questions stimulated questions and discussion among
the students. Next
students completed a loupe drawing, first looking through
the loupe, then drawing what they saw. The students
were invited to write their analogies down--as many
descriptive words as they could. Students then wrote
to put their ideas into context—it could be prose
or a poem. Students were hesitant at first to share
their writings, but once one student shared, they all
seemed to be eager to share. Below is one I wrote while
looking at a seashell:
you on the ground
See you in the sky
Looks like the milkyway
Looks like an eye
Stormy weather, comet’s tail
Cyclonic, swirling, staring
— Carole Gile
following comments are representative of the class’ reactions
and responses to this learning experience:
“I felt like a little kid seeing the world through
a whole different perspective. I was excited to look
at everything and see how it looked under the loupe.
I found the process a great way to have the children
write poetry. Also this is a good way to teach children
about descriptive words and have them write a paragraph
describing what they saw.”
“The Private Eye process would help students
show their creative side and stimulate inquiry about
how things look from a different perspective.”
“I loved it! It’s such a neat way to discover
things around you and, knowing kids, they would carry
[the loupe] around everywhere and look at things. I
really liked using the process for ideas for poems.
I’m sure it would spark many questions in science,
reading, and otherwise.”
“It can be used for anything. It gets students
interested and lets them see things are not always
how they appear—there is always much more.”
“I think it could be used in a positive way for
poetry along with a majority of the topics covered
in the classroom. It’s a great way to get students
aspiring teachers were asked if they would consider
advocating for a class set of loupes for their school.
All responses are positive—here is a sampling:
“Yes, the loupes would be good to use in all
I think it would be fun for the students to go outside
and observe nature with it.”
“Yes, just because I had so much fun looking
through the loupe, I want my kids to experience that
as well. It is also easier to teach and manage than
a microscope is.”
“Yes, I think these would be a wonderful asset
to a classroom.”
students were asked for other comments, (including
thanking The Private Eye Project for the loupes). Responses
include the following:
“Thanks for the fun and interesting experience
with the loupe. It gives me ideas for my future teaching
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see
how neat these are. I want my students to have the
same experience I did.”
“Thank you so much! This gave me great ideas
for my classroom. I appreciate the opportunity you
gave our classroom!”
in the semester the students who experienced the loupes
in the Language Arts class used them with the children
they tutored as a part of their Remedial Reading course.
I was pleased to see them incorporate their use in
the learning experiences they planned for their tutees.
This indicates to me that the students see how the
loupes can encourage inquiry, and that they truly want
to use the loupes in their own teaching.
hope that making this experience available to the Language
Arts students at William Penn University demonstrates
to The Private Eye Project that their investment is
highly valued and well worth the time and effort expended. Thank
you so much for the wonderful gift of exploration and
inquiry. Your interest in the students’ preparation
as educators is sincerely appreciated.
Post Rock Home Educators
I first learned
of the Private Eye concept of "loupe-looking
+ analogy" while browsing through an educational
supply catalog. Intrigued, I ordered the book and
a loupe for myself. I immediately saw great
potential! As a member of the Post Rock Home Educators,
a group of homeschooling families in Western Kansas,
I offered a class using the Private Eye.Not sure of what
to expect or how receptive the students would actually
be to the idea, I decided to try something which
I was sure would get their attention. At our first
session I passed out loupes to the parents and offered
them several natural objects to examine, instructing
them to share what they saw. Their enthusiasm was
certainly contagious as within moments the kids started
saying such things as, "Let me see!", "Hey,
what about us!", "Don't we get to look!".
Well, I think you get the picture. They were hooked!
the younger students (K-3) how to focus by demonstrating
with a slide projector, I continued the session with
the older students (gr. 4-8) , while another parent
worked with the younger ones. We began the session by "loupe-looking" at
the bottom of a pinecone. Each student had their
own loupe and specimen. The following are the observations
of the ten students as recorded by another parent
of an alligator
of snapping turtle
At this point
we divided the group in half. One group chose to
focus on the idea of the spine of an alligator. The
other group focused their thoughts on the idea of
a landscape. At the end of the allotted time, each
group presented a final poem and several individual
wide open mouth, hanging tongue
gashing, gnashing teeth.
Pattern of skin
Stretched out feet
spikes of tail, projecting scales.
Thrashing, swinging tail
in the water, circling.
by Kelsey Mitchell,
Terry Mills, Mitzi Holland,
Sylvie Horn, and Steven Cornwell)
dot is like a crater
stem is like the smoke of a volcano
white like the snowcaps
like a mountain with trees
up and down like hills and valleys
cluster of mountains
pointy like a sand castle
the ground with mushrooms
like a burned forest
looks like waves
looks like grassblades
Looks like rivers running down the mountain
ash prints of volcano
looks like stone
geometric like a pyramid
like broken icebergs
by Krystal Holland,
Katie Edwards, Seth Urban,
Melanie Rogers, Mark Horn,
and Nick Mitchell)
I was delighted
with the results and the kids were very excited to
share their poems with the entire group. Several
parents commented on how easily their children took
to thinking and writing creatively. This is usually
an area of much struggle for them. We are all looking
forward to our next Private Eye session.
Biology, Honors Biology, and IB HL Biology
Tates Creek High School
An International Baccalaureate SchooL
Lexington, KY 40517
"I found these cool succulent flowers (from a species of Echeveria) that are around 2cm in length (small!). I typically use larger flowers, but I thought it would be cool to use the loupes to peer into this little "flower world." The kids quickly realized they could use their phones, put the loupe up the camera, and take a pretty awesome photo. The student whose photo I'm attaching figured out how to label hers (in addition to the drawing I made them do)."
See Liz's "Seven Private Tips for Biology Teachers" here.
College of Applied Sciences, Department of Biology
Northeast Louisiana University, LA
fall I used The Private Eye in a Math and Science Workshop
for Girl Scouts at Northeast Louisiana University.
I wanted to expose 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to the
fascinating world of biology in a short period of time
(45 minutes) using loupes to look at a wide variety
of items: blue jay feathers, mussel shells, foliose
lichens, shelf fungi, invertebrate fossils, dried daisies,
sweet gum balls, cockleburs and cricket legs to name
only a few. To assist me I trained 8 biology graduate
students in The Private Eye method in a 2-hr. hands-on
workshop. They enjoyed looking and creating with loupes.
I modeled The Private Eye teaching strategy that I
wanted them to use with the younger students.
objective of both workshops was to look at many items
and choose one that was especially interesting. The
next step was to create a list of analogies [using
The Private Eye approach: "What else does it remind
me of? What else does it look like?]. Then students
were instructed to scatter their analogies [in the
form of metaphors and similes] and words on a piece
of paper and web or connect them in a random fashion.
Webbing can reveal new and unique connections. Next
they made a rough draft of a short poem, picture, cartoon,
short essay, or advertisement inspired by the webs.
They created a final product on a bookmark-sized piece
of cardstock (these are free leftovers from print shops).
We laminated the bookmark, punched a hole, and hung
it on a ribbon. Each girl wore their creation to the
next session of the workshop and had a unique, visible
reminder of what they experienced that day. Approximately
90% ranked this session as their favorite. The graduate
students want to help facilitate other workshops. This
is just one of the ways I've shared The Private Eye.
St. Joseph's College of Maine
exciting to call the Private Eye number and have you
answer. I am still on Cloud 9. My students loved the
whole story. We discussed your program, I handed everyone
a copy of page 3 to 9 and told them to read it many
times. I explained our phone call and handed them a
page of notes I took during our conversation. Most
had a loupe. I had extras to lend- nothing was going
to stop us. I gave everyone a plastic bag for loupe
looking materials to bring back to the classroom. It
was a gorgeous day as we walked across White's Bridge
Road to the farm that has just been given to the college.
Jenn Caron had her digital camera charged and took
Our public relations and outreach program is now housed
in the early farm house. Several of the staff expressed
interest in what the kids were working on so we went
in to meet everyone.
Each student adopted a square foot (or more) of land
to watch. March 20 was the first day of spring. There
was still ice over parts of the ponds. Everyone took
field notes and collected specimens. No one wanted to
leave. We went back to class and read the poems my 6,7,
and 8th grade students had done using a dead leaf. My
students could not believe middle-schoolers had written
We examined acorn hats and came up with a long list.
Many of these students will be traveling to University
of Maine, Orono, tomorrow for an educational conference.
I also will be teaching section B of this same course
tomorrow so I will have the chance to try this all again.
The weather will be less sunny and it may rain...we may
have to stay inside, but we'll see.
The students suggested we do a Class website around The
Private Eye. It will be fascinating to see how many students
will get hooked and continue the relationship with their
land after the semester. Most live close enough to revisit
the spot through the summer and they will be returning
in the fall, so we will see.
We need to come up with a Field Study Kit. I have thought
of tongue blades with each student's name printed in
permanent marker to mark their spot. Will everyone really
remember just where they were? Plastic bags or a box
for samples. Camera. Sketch book and pencils. Something
to protect against deer ticks. Something to sit on. Our
ground is still wet. I want my students to come up with
a form elementary students can fill in for their studies.
Much much more later and thanks again for your support.
"Connecting Children with Nature:
Gran Marais, MN
"I just discovered The Private Eye. I had attended an Audubon workshop and that led me to search the web for more outdoor engaging materials. I happened upon The Private Eye. I ordered the materials, read the manual over the weekend, and OMG. I’ve always been so paranoid about drawing. All I could do was stick figures. I read the TPE directions: Loupe-Look. Loupe-Draw… even then I felt a panic attack. Where to start? And I remembered it said, “Draw a frame” … so I started with a square frame… but then remembered the book said you could also use a circle frame… a circle might be easier.
I picked a tiny, fuzzy weed and started with the stem and I just kept going and all of a sudden I had a drawing! All weekend, I was loupe-exploring. I even got my husband involved. I was so pleased by my drawing I ended up sharing it with my co-workers at a reading workshop on Monday. It was a kind of show-and-tell of what was possible with this [Private Eye] Project. I teach science five times a week to third and fourth graders. The Private Eye blends in beautifully. Now I’m sharing The Private Eye with the K-2 teachers as well. I’m so excited about this!"
Using The Private Eye at Summer Camp"
Wildlife Biologist and Environmental Education Specialist
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Jackson, MS
Summer camps are one way to connect children with nature. Terri Jacobson with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a partnership with Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi to start a Nature Detectives Camp in 2009. The day camp uses The Private Eye project as a foundation for hands-on, interactive, inquiry-based learning. The campers use jeweler’s loupes to examine nature up close while taking notes and drawing in their journals
At each camp, the campers start their own Private Eye nature museum collections. One year, the campers drew their own cartoons based on Private Eye analogies. Another year, we created mini-habitats for pillbugs inside magnifying boxes. We also played analogy bingo for door prizes. Swayze McDearman, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teen volunteer helps with the camp. Swayze said “the two highlights of camp are worm day and insect day. The campers get really excited interacting with the wiggling worms or when they catch their first angry bee, buzzing in a net.”
Jennifer Tompkins of Millsaps College is pleased to host Nature Detectives camp and says “the College is excited about the partnership with the Service and is thrilled with the opportunity of connecting children to nature.” Jennifer’s daughter even attended the Nature Detectives camp where she made exciting discoveries with her Private Eye’s jeweler’s loupe and enjoyed all the nature journaling activities. For information on the Nature Detectives Camp, send an email to email@example.com
photos and report courtesy of Terri Jacobson
CARRIE ANDERSON - "The Private Eye and Grassland Management"
KATIE ALVIN - "Young Naturalists at the Big Sky Institute"
Tofte Ranger District
Superior National Forest, MT
you for allowing me to make copies of a few pages of
your "Private Eye" publication to distribute
to about 20 National Grassland Managers at the Grassland
Managers Conference in May of 1998. In addition, the
loupes were featured during the field trip portion
of the conference. Participants (grassland managers
and Forest Service administrators from the national
office) got down on their bellies to explore the land
they manage up close. They then used that experience
to make a drawing and to write poetry. It was risky
business with the high bureaucrats, but they LOVED
it! They kept the loupes (which hopefully will find
their way to educators in their respective offices),
and listed the activity as one of their favorites of
the conference. Which is all a long way of saying "thank
you" to you and your efforts to promote these
Special Projects Coordinator
Big Sky Institute
In Katie Alvin's Young Naturalist class, 3rd - 5th graders use their Private Eye loupes to learn the power of observation and how to experience and understand creatures in their natural setting. They record their discoveries in their Private Eye notebooks.
University of Nevada
College of Education
After teaching for thirty plus years I found The Private Eye Program to be of the quality and novelty we used to get when new programs like Project WET, WILD and others would first be available to teachers and students.
I was first taken by opening the book to a lesson I have been doing for years as a biology teacher. I take my students to the river and present a Georgia O'Keefe lesson to teach observation and data collection lessons. The loupe addition takes the idea to a wonderful student focus hand lenses cannot do. It's a wonderfully simple and straight forward lesson book for all levels of science and literacy. What a great tool for our district.
Once again we are mandated to a greater commitment for writing across the curriculum. I didn't wait to get the book or equipment to start teaching with the verbal cues we learned during the workshop. I used The Private Eye phrase "what else.." while students used microscopes. The results were far better than any other class like that I have done in the past. The technique gave the students new and productive roles. My request for feedback had so much more meaning and the results are wonderful. Instead of an abstract drawing of a micro-critter I now get better art, and more importantly, better sentences. Not just a list of words but a constructed description from an observation list that makes the connection of form and function.
I look forward to using this when I get back into the classroom. I have just finished with my last mentorship of the year. We have a shortage of master teachers here. I have been asked to return to the classroom with an intern to team teach until the intern can take the position as a full time teacher. I am headed to the Lassen National Forest to work with the recreation section. You can be sure I will be at many summer visitor areas with my books and lenses in hand to give tourists a new view of the forest. Thank you all for the shift in how I do what I love. You make teaching better and learning possible. I would like to be more involved with what you do. I will search websites and make my way to more workshops and trainings for The Private Eye.
BREWER - "Making Activities Thrilling with
The Private Eye"
PRISCILLA LOGAN - "Loupes
and Classroom Management"
SUSAN WING - "Art
and The Private Eye"
JANET KAHN - "Fine
Arts and The Private Eye"
Director of Educational Programs
Earth's Birthday Project
visited a first-grade classroom where students were
looking at ladybugs. Their Private Eye loupes
made this activity thrilling and magnitudes more
educational than it might have been otherwise.
Now that science is returning to elementary schools,
more teachers have the opportunity to make close observation
one of their everyday activities.
Earth's Birthday Project is committed to helping
you make this happen!"
to New Mexico
Return to top
New Mexico Outstanding Environmental Educator of the
have been using the Private Eye loupes for about the
last ten years. Five years in the classroom and now
five years in outdoor classroom teacher training in
various schools and districts here in New Mexico. I
am a scientist as I majored in Bacteriology and Chemistry
and I know good tools. They are the greatest!In the
classroom I was a Title One Reading Specialist for
25 years improving student comprehension, vocabulary
and thinking skills. The loupes were used outdoors
as observing tools and then as the impetus for writing
and learning vocabulary words to describe what they
saw as well as what they saw reminded them of. They
"study carrels" in their ability to give students
their private space to learn.
the five years since I retired I have used the loupes
in training teachers about how to use the outdoors
to improve language arts, science and math skills.
Classroom management is one of the stumbling blocks
for many teachers as they take their classes outside.
One of the reasons for that difficulty is that student
thinking skills soar up to the highest thinking skills
such as synthesis, analogies, etc. Since students are
thinking on that higher individual level, that can
make group work more challenging. One of the techniques
to handle this wonderful dilemma is to use tools that
let students stay at those higher thinking levels while
following dictates of the group. The Private Eye loupe
allows students to do just that.
to New Mexico
Return to top
am an art teacher in New Mexico. I was introduced
to the The Private Eye process three years ago in
an architecture workshop. Since then I have used
it in my classroom (with loupes) with wildly successful
results. Students recently finished up two weeks
of observing, writing and drawing about insects and
plants. Fellow art teachers have seen the results
and are taking the lesson into their classrooms as
well. I have been spreading the news of your program
to the University of New Mexico's anthropology department.
I simply wanted to send kudos for your excellent
program. I service approximately 800 elementary school
children, K-5. They created nature journals, one
for insects one for plants.....they will never perceive
either the same way. Thank you again.
exploring a june bug with a Private Eye jeweler's loupe.
to New Mexico
Director, Fine Arts Program
Albuquerque Public Schools
am the director of the Fine Arts program for the
Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). We have 70 elementary
art and music teachers in our district of 42,000
elementary students (83 elementary schools). Each
summer we do a workshop for elementary classroom
teachers on arts integration. [The workshop] is
presented by art & music teachers in our program.
We purchased one loupe for each of the 70 workshop
participants (2 sessions of 35 teachers each) -
and one for each of our presenters because they're
pretty cool to have!The
[Private Eye] lesson where we will use [the loupes]
has to do with observation of the world around
you through art. We use a variety of fruits and
vegetables and observe them [through the loupes]
whole, and then cut in progressively smaller sections.
Students draw their 'subject' from a variety of
perspectives and use the loupes to get a progressively
more detailed look at what their 'subject' looks
like up close at the various stages of being cut.
We will be using oil pastels to do some final renderings.
like many school districts, has a Foundation that
can raise money for discretionary projects in schools
and with district programs such as ours. In our
case, a trust was set up for use by our program
to enhance what we do in schools. We use a portion
of our funds at the Foundation to pay for the supplies
we use for this workshop - rather than paying for
it out of operational funds.
GOLDBECK - "Principals Executive Program"
LIZ BAIRD - "UTOTES:
Outdoor Classrooms and The Private
LIZ BAIRD - "More
Sharing with Bolivian Educators"
Principals' Executive Program
University of North Carolina, NC
Executive Program, established by the North Carolina
General Assembly, is a group of professional-level
management courses for public school principals, superintendents,
and assistant principals; its ultimate objective is
the significant improvement of students' performance.
in recent programs have discovered the joys of The
Private Eye, finding it an engaging and invigorating
approach to thinking skills, creativity and scientific
literacy. After one such session, assistant principal
Hazel Yarbrough invited me to do a longer workshop
for her teachers at Benson Middle School. After that
workshop, Hazel wrote the following letter:
Middle School Looks at the World a Little Bit
Differently These Days
School teachers in Benson, North Carolina are eager
to begin to help their students learn to look at
the world with a different perspective as they start
to use their new teaching tool: The Private Eye Kit.
Assistant Principal Hazel Yarbrough met Debbie Goldbeck
last year at the Principals' Executive Program in
Chapel Hill where Debbie demonstrated the use of
the Private Eye loupes, and she was eager to have
her teachers use this tool in her school. On February
6, Debbie spent the afternoon with the Benson teachers
demonstrating the ways the Private Eye loupes and
process can be used in a variety of classrooms...not
just the science classes. While the workshop expenses
and Private Eye Kit were purchased with Eisenhower
funds, all the teachers benefited from this training
arts teacher is ready to use the loupes in her writing
classes to help her students prepare for the state
writing test. She said, "This is perfect for
teaching descriptive writing!"
The visual arts teacher responded, "It will add
a new dimension to my instruction of the photo-magnification
process. I look forward to using the loupes and the
questioning strategy." Other teachers added, "Use
of the loupes and questions will enhance the observation
skills of my students", "I think the materials
are excellent for expanding creative thinking skills",
and "this instructional program will teach
students to look for the good, positive, and interesting
aspects in all people, things, pieces, and situations
all of the time." Mrs. Yarbrough was thrilled
to find a workshop that met the needs of all her teachers
and helped them see ways to expand teaching higher
level thinking skills in their classes.
I want to share
a comment similar to those in Hazel's letter, one made
by the social studies teacher. He said ... that if
students looked at objects using the loupe [with the
questions] and began to see them in a different perspective,
this skill would carry over to life in general...looking
at people and situations in a different way.
Private Eye at Summer Field Institute: In June, twenty-four
educators from across North Carolina and two educators
from Bolivia, South America, gathered for a week long
Summer Field Institute at Blue Jay Point County Park
in Wake County, North Carolina. Each of the North Carolina
educators represented a school which had been a part
of the "Using
The Outdoors to Teach Experiential Science"
(UTOTES) program led by The North Carolina State Museum
of Natural Sciences and funded by the National Science
Foundation. UTOTES is a teacher education program designed
to improve elementary science instruction by improving
school grounds for hands-on-learning. Educators learn
to enhance their school grounds for wildlife and use
these habitats to teach all subjects. The Summer Field
Institute provides a lead teacher from each school the
opportunity to develop strong leadership skills and to
learn more about school grounds in North Carolina. We
have had educators from Bolivia join us as a result of
the Kellogg Fellows program.
initial outdoor activity had each team of six teachers
explore the grounds of the lodge, find interesting
natural history items, and flag them with surveyor's
tape. After marking their interesting finds, the teams
shared what they found interesting with the other teachers.
Each team then chose one item to investigate more fully.
We called these unique natural history items "Natural History
participant was given a Private Eye loupe to examine
"Natural History Mystery". Everyone was asked
to observe the mystery item and to loupe sketch it in
his or her journal. After sketching, they used The Private
Eye questions to create list of ten analogies. From these
observations they went into the field guides to see if
they could figure out their "Natural History Mystery".
Each team then shared interesting information they learned
about their items. All
of the participants agreed that spending time observing
and sketching their mystery item made it easier to
identify later. They enjoyed using the analogies as
they tried to explain the way their mystery item fit
into the system. For example, the flower of the wild
ginger plant was described as a "little vase".
The team guessed that the vase shape would help lure
small insects into the flower.
We used the loupes
throughout the rest of the week in many ways: when
we traveled to the Botanical Garden we looked at carnivorous
plants and seeds; paddled into a local lake and louped
the aquatic environment; sampled in a mini-pond and
identified aquatic invertebrates; and explored a butterfly
garden and examined caterpillars. The field sketches
created using loupes were outstanding. Many
participants have purchased class loupe sets and are
reporting great success with student use. The principal
at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School commented that the
analogies written by her students using The Private
Eye were "terrific
examples of the value of learning which combines school
grounds and language arts." We look forward
to finding new ways to combine the unique perspective
generated by The Private Eye with our commitment to
helping the public gain an appreciation and understanding
of the natural world.
to North Carolina
Return to top
North Carolina State Museum of Natural History
In June, twenty-four
educators from across North Carolina and two teachers
from Bolivia joined the North Carolina State Museum
of Natural Sciences for a week long Summer Field
Institute. As part of the experience every participant
was given a Private Eye [loupe]. They used these to observe
everything from flower parts, to pond life and worm
teachers participated because North Carolina is connected
to Cochabamba, Bolivia through the Partners of the
Americas organization. This workshop provides an
opportunity for two teachers from Cochabamba to learn
more about environmental education and take this
information back to their school systems in Bolivia.
Field Institute provides numerous field experiences
for teachers including canoeing, visiting other school
grounds and learning about plant propagation at the
The teachers keep journals recording
their experiences. One of the activities the teachers
did was adapted from a journaling suggestion from
Bill Hammond. The teachers divided their journal
page into three sections. The first section was for
Observations, the second for Insights and the third
for Identification. In the Observation section the
teachers used the Private Eye to carefully observe
a wildflower in its natural setting. They were challenged
to draw in such detail that someone else would know
exactly which flower they were looking at. After about
3 minutes of drawing, the teachers moved on to the
Insights section of their journal. In this section
the teachers recorded their feelings about the experience
and answered the question of "What does it look
like?" and "What else does it look like?". The last section
of the journal was for Identification. Here the teachers
used field guides to find out more about their plant,
including the name, the scientific name and any fun
information about their plant.
found the progression from observation to insights
to identification a good way to learn about the plant.
They liked having the initial focus be on observing
the plant instead of looking immediately into the
field guides. They also found that making close observations
made the identification easier.
At the end
of the workshop the teachers from North Carolina
wanted send something back with the Bolivian educators.
After discussing all of the possibilities they decided
that a classroom set of Private Eyes [loupes] would be the
perfect thing to send to Bolivia. The Private Eyes [loupes] would translate easily to any classroom and could
be used by every student.
continued to introduce other educators to the Private
Eye during their summer workshops including programs
at the coast and in Belize, Central America.
Department of Chemistry, Muskingum College
New Concord, OH
teachers how to teach science using a hands-on approach
reminds me of Field of Dreams. If you build it they
will come, or in terms of science teaching, if you
give the teachers the experience of doing science in
an active way, they will use it in their own classrooms.
As a scientist and a teacher of
future science teachers, I want
these future teachers and their
students to stretch their minds,
discover fascinating things, feel
the joy, beauty, and discovery
of science, and realize that all
sorts of talents go into being a scientist. “The
Private Eye” provides one of the windows to this
type of an experience.
I make sure all my teachers, pre-service
and already practicing, experience
the world through “The Private
Eye” because the process provides a mix of techniques
and skills that cross math, science, art, writing, and
whatever else one might want to include.
First of all, “The Private Eye” opens the
world of wonder - of seeing the unseen, seeing the missed
or ignored, seeing the obvious in a new way. If the teachers
can experience that then they will want their students
to experience it also. The loupes also add a visual dimension
to the material, encourage higher order thinking skills
when combined with The Private Eye questions, and draw
in students that might usually say science was not for
them. “The Private Eye” helps students connect
with courses and material that these students dislike
as a rule. The process offers opportunities to extend
material for Talented and Gifted and allow other Special
Needs groups to experience science.
The following selection of comments from some future
teachers indicate how they envision using The Private
Eye in their classrooms:
really thought The Private Eye was great to use.
It gives a very different perspective on everyday
items. I never knew the pistil of a day lily looked
like a slipper. I know if given the opportunity I
would love to incorporate The Private Eye in my class.
I know it would open my students’ eyes and
minds to different perspectives of everyday things.”
Private Eye activity was very interesting to me.
Growing up we have never had activities like this.
Using the Private Eye can be done in various ways
for all age levels and abilities. It can allow students
to look at things that interest them, not just
'certain' things. Many subjects can be
incorporated from Language Arts, Math , and of course
Science. Finally, if an adult was amused and found
it fun and interesting, what do you think a child will
Private Eye is a really cool way to explore parts
of various objects. When viewing my own hand I was
fascinated with the brainstorming ideas I was experiencing.
I would like to use the Private Eye activities in
my classroom. Having children brainstorm about what
they are seeing magnified creates many great exercises
6th Grade Case Manager
Schools, Cache, OK
My first introduction to the materials was from being a homeschool mother of my gifted son, Dylan, then, at age 10. That would have been during the 2002 school year. I had removed Dylan out of the public school setting and was using an assortment of academic publications, media and computer programs. However, I wanted something more tangible, hands-0n for Science and inquiry. I stumbled upon The Private Eye, fascinated at how it centered around analogies and critical thinking skills. To have a program enveloped around writing, critical thinking and natural Science was just the ticket for my son and me.
We both loved exploring the great outdoors, especially on field trips to The Land Between The Lakes and our own Tennessee backyard. We would venture off through wooded trails louping various deciduous tree leaves, acorns, tree bark, and local vegetation. Really, we louped as many things that would present themselves. I say, "we," because as a home-school mom, I was involved with my son in his educational experiences. I loved hearing him express what he was seeing up close and personal with the loupes. The ability to magnify the everyday items we saw at a glance became more real and alive!
My son has long past middle school as now he is in his last year of college at the University of Oklahoma. He has excelled in academic studies. His verbal abilities and analytical thinking skills shine through in his writing. I, on the otherhand, returned to Cache Public Schools in Cache, Oklahoma as a Special education teacher where I've been working with students in Reading for grades 6-8 for the past eight years.
What brought me back to look at The Private Eye materials is that I had been given a new additional assignment to teach Writing Language Arts (ELA) for grade 6. This prompted me to look for avenues in which young students would be engaged in writing. I wanted something that I believe would engage the students in the assignment; something they could personally own and experience for themselves. I remembered how enthusiastic my own son had been at exploring the natural objects, louping them, discussing their value and perspective through the use of analogies.
With an opportunity to apply for a grant, I took to writing my proposal for The Private Eye "World-In-A-Bag" kit and Magicscope. I explained how the program is aligned to Common Core, a big proponent and focus in today's public schools. After submitting the grant, a few weeks later, I learned I had won the monies to secure the needed items for my Special Education English/Language Arts classes!
I can hardly wait to get started with the loupes and materials so that my students can go on their own investigative inquiries and writing opportunities! I am going to utilize The Private Eye materials in our writng projects with emphasis on figurative language and poetry writing. Of course, I hope that will only be the initiation to a great many other explorations we will do with The Private Eye loupes.
RAINBOTH - "Jeweler's Loupes as Field Microscopes"
GINERVRA RALPH - "Schools
Projects: Specialized Training
PAULA WILKES - "Leveling
the Playing Field"
BETTE KASOW - "The
Private Eye and Writer's Workshop"
Eastern Oregon State College, OR
Loupes as Field Microscopes: Four or 5 years ago my
good friend and teaching colleague, Sharon Freeman,
came home from a science conference exclaiming about
the outstanding session she had attended and the great
tool participants had been given at the end of the
session. The session she attended was the Private Eye
and the tool was a simple jeweler's loupe.
in Natural Resources education and facilitate several
workshops each year. Every since Sharon brought that
jeweler's loupe home it has become a standard tool
at most of my workshops. Teachers often leave our workshops
with a loupe in hand. We use the loupes primarily for
viewing spiders, insects and aquatic macroinvertebrates
and in using them we have made a few germane discoveries
(about the loupes, not the bugs).
Eye's loupes fit perfectly into film canisters. You
can place the specimen you want to view (spider, ant,
bug) into the canister and use the loupe as a top and
as a magnifying viewer. The loupe can be slid up and
down in the canister which allows you to change the
focal length and consequently the focus. We use the
clear or opaque canisters. The canisters are free and
the loupes cost $2.30. So for less than $75 you can
have a field microscope for every student in your class.
that water does not harm the loupes makes them ideal
for aquatic studies also. We capture aquatic macroinvertebrates
such as mayfly and stonefly larva, put them into a
petri dish with a small amount of water, and put the
loupe right on top of the specimen. This way the critter
can't move out of sight and students get a magnified
view of it.
love using the jeweler's loupes and I am pleased to
be able to share our discoveries with other teachers.
Return to top
Schools Projects: Specialized Training Program
Department of Education
University of Oregon, OR
from Gottschalk to Zydeco was the theme of last
August's Oregon Festival of American Music a week
long inquiry into the cultural and historical context
of the music of SW Louisiana. Concurrent with the
more than 20 concerts and public presentations,
educators participating in the Festival's Teacher
Partners workshop investigated the question What
Makes a Cajun Cajun? The 5-day workshop was sponsored
in part by the Oregon Arts Commission.
workshop's second day, entitled "A Closer Look at Louisiana",
first featured a presentation by the Festival's artist-in-residence
from Lafayette, Elemore Morgan Jr., and then a wonderful,
all-too-short, introduction of The Private Eye with
5 middle school students instructing the teacher participants.
With background music by the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band,
we took a "closer look" at typical Louisiana
flora and fauna, including shrimp, okra, oyster shells,
sweet gum balls, sugar cane, rice, chili peppers, honeysuckle,
and sliced corn on the cob, (unfortunately the crawfish
harvest failed that week or we would have examined
was a great opportunity to discuss many aspects of
Louisiana's agriculture, food, and climate, as well
as having adults and youngsters exploring through The
Private Eye together.
of the things I most appreciate about the Private
Eye loupe activities is that they level the playing
field for students. As you look at these drawings,
you are not able to tell which students are
"special ed" and which are "talented
I am going to
be teaching a class on Oregon's "teacher inservice
day" in October on Emotional Intelligence. I
am going to present the Private Eye loupe as a tool
that can get kids to take time to stop and really
look. I believe that using the Private Eye can help
students who are highly impulsive to slow down and
look in a way they may not have looked in the past.
When we stop and look at things in a new way through
the loupe, we learn to really pay attention to life
around us...at least that's what has happened to
Return to top
4th Grade Teacher
We've been loupe-looking,
drawing, writing analogies, and using those analogies
to extend the writing. What fun! The room is very
quiet during the first 15 - 20 minutes of Writers'
Workshop as the kids are absorbed by the items they
are loupe-looking.Then a
hum develops as they share: "Look at this!" "Read
what I wrote!" "Let me read your analogies." Students
who usually struggle with writing are delighted with
their pieces. They are eager to read their work during
our writing shares and their work is enthusiastically
appreciated by their peers.
are studying folktales and one of the things we're
looking for is figurative language (specifically
simile, metaphor, idiom and personification). Recently,
we began to further explore the use of figurative
language in our loupe-writing. It's a great way to
extend the study from reading to writing.
MARK WAGGONER - "Texas Science Teacher’s Conference 2006"
JAMIE LONG - "The Private Eye and the Texas Regional Collaboratives
for Excellence in Science Education"
TEXAS EDUCATORS - "What Texas Educators Say About The Private Eye"
LAURIE PICKEEP - "Schoolwide Literay Magazine"
Washington/Jackson Elementary Magnet
Wichita Falls, TX
Program Chair Texas Science Teacher’s Conference 2006
My presentation this past week of The Private Eye went great. This is the best response I've had. I was able to walk them through the whole process. Usually I have teachers spend more time just visiting. This time they were thoroughly involved and shared many ideas. Many noted they would love to have class sets. Our science resource center was interested in building a kit using the loupes and ideas. I really tried to promote the book. The more I read it, the more excited I become. This has been such a rewarding experience. The best part was that the Superintendent of schools walked through and commented on the program. He wants me to present to around 100 language arts teachers on November 28th. It went over so well with the science teachers. I know the language arts teachers will enjoy it as well.
Language Arts/Dyslexia Specialist
Region VII Education Service Center
would like to share my experience with The Private
Eye Project with you as I feel this program opened
not only my eyes, but my mind, heart and soul to a
deeper understanding of the learning process students
must go through to connect with what we teach
middle school reading and science teacher at Slocum
ISD in Elkhart, Texas, I searched for ways to get my
students to connect literature, writing and science
with real world situations. From new reports, to field
studies and environmental research I tried to make
learning a fun, life-long skill for my students.
a member of the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence
in Science Education which is a “state wide network
of K-16 teachers across the state.” [from http://www.thetrc.org/edu/].
I eventually became a Science Teacher Mentor (STM)
within the Collaborative which meant that I had to
mentor at least five teachers and help them find ways
to improve their students’ success in science.
I learned so much from working with so many teachers.
We truly mentored each other and found many successful
tools to motivate our students. As a member of the
Science Teachers Association of Texas, I attended The
Private Eye workshop at the Conference for the Advancement
of Science Teaching (CAST) in November, 2004. I was
literally moved to tears as Kerry shared the success
stories of students who would not/could not write well
enough for success in the classroom until they used
the loupes to study something a little closer. I knew
I had to get my hands – my students’ hands – on
I personally bought a set for my classroom.
I introduced my students to the process and the results
were amazing. The kids wanted to keep their work and
unfortunately I did not make copies before returning
the products to the students. However, I left the loupes
on my desk and students would ask to use them to look
at things they brought from home or found on the campus
grounds at various times throughout the year.
As a part
of my membership in the Texas Regional Collaborative,
I was required to present two workshops over activities
or lessons that had been successful in my classroom
at a Mini-CAST in February, 2005. I immediately thought
of The Private Eye! The teachers were as excited as
I was about the program and could not wait to use it
with their students! I knew I would want to present
this again! There are two things I love about being
an educator – 1) seeing the students’ faces
light up when they make that real-world connection,
and 2) seeing that same reaction in the faces of teachers
when they know they have something that will reach
those kids who need something special to hook them
on learning!In May of 2005, I was offered a dream job
as a Middle School Language Arts Specialist for the
Region VII Education Service Center. It was very difficult
to leave the classroom as I felt that I was abandoning
my students whom I loved so dearly! But I knew that
this new job would allow me to reach thousands of students
as I worked to find programs that integrate language
arts with the other core subjects: science, social
studies and math. I knew right away that The Private
Eye was one tool I could use to show how well integration
works to open the minds of all students in every grade
level – especially middle school students.
July, 2005, I presented The Private Eye Project to
about 60 teachers at the Texas Regional Collaboratives
for Excellence in Science Education Annual Meeting
which was held in Austin. I tried to keep my emotions
in check as I presented, but I get so excited about
the program and no matter how many times I read the
poems on the student examples, I get a little choked
up. I wish I had a picture of every face in the room
as I shared the artwork and the poetry produced by
the students at all grade levels. The “oohs and
aahs” and gasps for air filled the room with
each piece of work shared.
As the teachers shared their
own writing about the palms of their hands, the room
fell silent in awe. One teacher said, “I didn’t
know I could write like that.” Some teachers
could not pick their chin off the floor fast enough
as they sat in amazement of how the process reached
deep inside their souls! Three teachers approached
me in tears as they were just amazed that there was
hope for so many students who may have otherwise been
overlooked. These teachers knew that they had a tool
they could take back to the classroom and help students
make that connection between writing, art and science.
stood with tears in my eyes as a veteran teacher thanked
me for saying publicly that all students are “gifted” students
and it is our job to give them the right tools to discover
their own gifts! Another veteran teacher who was just
moved to the 5th grade and was told she had to teach
Language Arts and Science was overwhelmed by the idea
that she had to find a way to teach all those objectives.
She knew that the things she learned in that workshop
would help her integrate so many of the objectives
and she was excited about starting the new year.
very excited to see the success of these teachers and
their students. I can’t wait to share The Private
Eye again and again. It is a marvelous process that
helps students reach higher levels of critical thinking
as they analyze the world they live in!Thank
you David and Kerry for allowing me to share this tool
and process with so many GIFTED people!
WHAT TEXAS EDUCATORS SAY ABOUT THE PRIVATE EYE
“AWESOME! The best presentation at CAST this year . Every teacher in the room thoroughly enjoyed the science lesson. I felt so inspired by your program….”
— Michelle Henry, Teacher, Mesquite ISD, TX
“The thinking behind the Private Eye is marvelous. It's a powerful tool for teachers of most disciplines. The processes and strategies employed are as powerful for the English Language Learner (ELL) and the special needs student as they are for the gifted and talented student.”
— JoAnn Montes McDonald, Project Director, South Texas Rural Systemic Initiative
Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, TX
“Principals at the various schools said The Private Eye made more impact on their students and teachers than anything else.”
— Dee Goldberg, Science Resource Coordinator, Spring Branch ISD, Houston, TX
“I know you hear it, but it bears repeating...the program works wonders! I presented the “quickie” version to our district teachers of the gifted and talented K-5, bringing some samples from my past experiences. They were so excited to go back and try the program.. …. Even today, as I did a designer bug lesson, the excitement from the students was overwhelming. Thanks, thanks, thanks!”
— Karen Hardy, Teacher, Humble ISD, Humble, TX
“I attended your workshop at the CAST conference in Corpus Christi last week and I was truly amazed by the experience I had with the jeweler’s loupes. I bought your book in the exhibit hall and I have shared the loupes with my students. THEY LOVE THEM!!”
— Jamie Long, Language Arts/Dyslexia Specialist, ESC Region 7, Kilgore, TX
“I just got home from CAST in Houston - I couldn't stop talking about the workshop. I want my kids to experience this - open their eyes. Thanks for the great presentation!!!”
— Sabra Paul, 7th Grade Science Teacher, Sugarland, TX
“The Private Eye is a great researched-based resource for inquiry-based instruction, writing integration with science, and creative sparkler! It's such a profound concept made simple.”
— Becky Wivagg, Science Resource Specialist, ESC Region 12, Waco, TX
“Nobody’s as good as David and Kerry. If I could have a million of their workshops it wouldn't be enough. The teachers just ate it up. They just loved it."
— Patsy McGee, Science Resource Coordinator, Beaumont ISD, TX
“My teachers were so excited about the workshop and kits. I've never seen something so powerful as The Private Eye!”
— Sara Flusche, Lab Facilitator, North Central Texas College, Gainesville, TX
Cultural Arts Exemplary Project
Claremont Immersion School
[SPARK grant summary … “We chose The Private Eye as an inaugural program to introduce our new exemplary project in the cultural arts.”
… The Private Eye is important because it provides a methodology for all teachers and students to embrace within individual classrooms while also providing the opportunity for interdisciplinary study throughout the school.” ]
In August, 2007 we had the wonderful opportunity to have David Melody and Kerry Ruef present an all day workshop about The Private Eye to teachers and staff at Claremont Immersion School in Arlington, VA. Teachers naturally have a curriculum in place and The Private Eye allows for the teacher to work with students to look closely, (in this instance with a jewelers loupe) to slow down and examine the subject area, to question and as a result to become better thinkers, questioners, and problem solvers. This model embraces important learning practices and it was chosen because all teachers can benefit from the skills set.
While lessons that integrate areas of study and [The Private Eye] program have spanned the grades and disciplines —we are also enthused that teachers throughout the grades have been inspired to utilize The Private Eye for select lessons. Already fifth grade and Art are working together to examine science, poetry and art. They are incorporating the various aspects of The Private Eye methodology. Grade two has been inspired to work with a team that includes technology, science, art, poetry and Private Eye processes.
In December the staff at Claremont had an in service presented by our Exemplary Project in the Arts (SPARK) director, Nancy Libson. The objective of the afternoon was to review The Private Eye process, renew enthusiasm, and address additional aspects of The Private Eye. We chose The Private Eye as an inaugural program to introduce our new exemplary project in the cultural arts. We are developing partnerships with area cultural institutions and our goal is to partner each grade with a cultural institution. The Private Eye is important because it provides a methodology for all teachers and students to embrace within individual classrooms while also providing the opportunity for interdisciplinary study throughout the school.
COE - "From My Garden to Ancient Greece"
LIBBY SINCLAIR - "Molly
KIM HUGET - "Cancer
MERIDA SCULLEY-DIXON - "Clear
LIBBY SINCLAIR - "Money,
and Dusty Miller and the Inuit"
JOAN FISET - "Accessing
MONA HEIN - "7th
graders and Kindergartners Team Up"
KINDRA ANKNEY - "The
Habit of Looking Closely"
KINDRA ANKNEY - UPDATE (15 years later!)
MEGHAN JOHNSON - "Excerpt
from a Grant Proposal for a Private Eye Class
CAROL FLETCHER - "Theorizing
with The Private Eye"
SANDRA VANDERVEN - “Substitute
Teaching With The Private Eye”
DIANE GARMIRE - "Art Infusion and Gifted Education "
Asa Mercer Middle School,
Seattle Public Schools
Unlike the other field reports in this section, this
letter first appeared in The Writing Notebook, January/February
1994, but we wanted to share it in Field Reports. In
a moment you'll see for yourself why.]
come at all times and places, it is said. Yet, I hardly
expected such insight while on hands and knees weeding
my flower garden. Not long before, I'd attended a Private
Eye workshop for our middle school staff. Now a week
or so later, I was scrambling around on all fours,
jeweler's loupe in place, discovering the flora and
fauna of my backyard. The Private Eye questions, "What
else does it remind you of?" and "What else
does it look like?"
played a litany in my consciousness.
had been altered. Analogies leapt out at me like fleas
off a dog. Poets, sports writers, politicians were
flooding me with analogies, and I'd only just realized
it. Analogies had begun to invade my own writing, stealthily
at first, purposefully later.
returned to the classroom my students predictably devoured
the lessons using loupes. Their drawings and poems
shimmered proudly on the bulletin board. But the true
breakthrough came on a day when the loupes were snugly
resting in their plastic cases. In a discussion of Sounder,
my class was thorough in the who, what, where, and
when. But I felt they were missing the heart of the
book. Unexpectedly, I heard myself say, "What
else does it remind you of - you know, in real life?" Slowly
hands poked up. What followed was a tapestry of stories
about loss - grandparents, parents, siblings, pets,
respect. When each story had been told, we sat quietly
cloaked in the depth of our own experiences. At last
we found the heart of Sounder and it was our
one experience became the springboard for my writing
instruction. Every year, as part of the study of ancient
Greece, we study and write fables. This year we initially
examined fables using the Private Eye questions, "What
does this remind you of (in real life)? What student
is like the hare and who is like the tortoise? And
why do you think they're like that?" Not surprisingly,
the quality of the fables exceeded any of previous
years. Even more noticeable was the purpose with which
they wrote. No more "I don't get it. What are
we supposed to write?" The Private Eye provided
the catalyst for making the essential, personal connection.
3/4th Grade Multi-age Classroom
Decatur Elementary School
my Molly story.
year my students did a picture-book project - using
The Private Eye. They wrote stories and illustrated
their writing. Third grader Molly was very frustrated.
Although she had written a piece she was very fond
of, she put her head down on her table and said she
"just hated the drawing part" because she was "no
good at drawing". The whole notion plagued her until
she solved it by enlisting a fellow classmate as illustrator
to help her finish her book.
year later fourth grader Molly was working on a research
project which involved illustrating a series of postcards.
To my surprise I overheard her offering to be her group's
illustrator because "I'm pretty good at drawing." My
theory about this change in her opinion of herself
is that repeated experiences with The Private Eye gave
Molly some new ways to think about drawing and gave
her increasing confidence in her work over time.What a
treat to be a teacher and watch a student make such
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CARET Cancer Prevention Study Fred Hutchinson Cancer
[copy of a inter-office letter sent to:]
Nancy Hutchison, Ph.D.
Science Education Partnership
Dear Dr. Hutchison:
to thank you for the loan of the Private Eye materials
and for your invaluable advice and suggestions about
using the materials. The Private Eye was a success
at our retreat. We all enjoyed looking, with amazement
and wonder, coming up with analogies, and theorizing,
as well as thinking up ways to test our ideas. The
next thing you know the CARET study center staff will
all be writing grant proposals for research projects!We didn't
use dusty miller plants at the retreat. The day I went
to the Seattle Garden Center in the market the dusty
millers were looking a little pathetic, so I got another
furry-leafed plant, Plectranthus argentea. P. argentea
worked well. It was surprising how many analogies we
all came up with. This plant was particularly fascinating
in that the tiny, brownish spots you could see spread
al over the top and bottom of the leaves when viewing
them with loupes turned out to be, when viewed through
the dissecting microscope, translucent, red globules.
They reminded me of ornaments on a Christmas tree.
We wanted to dissect some of them from the leaf we
were examining, but were unable, for lack of dissecting
tools. At any rate, our observations led to a discussion
of what their function might be and how we could test
unfortunately ran out of time before we could do any
drawing--a real disappointment. Despite that, doing
The Private Eye was fun and pretty amazing. Highly
recommended--and it ain't just kidstuff!
Again, thank you for all your help.
Whidbey Island, WA
It is not difficult
to get children to think creatively. The difficulty
lies in getting those creative thoughts organized
so that they make sense to anyone other than the
child. I have long since ceased to try and guess
at the meaning of the various blobs of paint on the
page that my five year old son brings me. However,
if I ask him what it means, I will be taken on a
fantastical voyage of witches being incinerated by
erupting volcanoes and mounds of treasure under the
volcano that he and his father are going to dig up,
but they have to watch out for the sword wielding
dwarves that live in the suitcase... In an effort
to encourage clear communication (without the extensive
explanations), I have tried working with Edward de
Bono's thinking exercises (different colored hats
for different thought processes), however, both the
children and myself found these to be rather dry
and cumbersome. We also play around with alternative
thinking games, but these lack continuity. It was
not until we stumbled across The Private Eye last
summer that we really found what we were looking
a group of seven children, aged seven to eleven,
we loupe-looked at our fingerprints and wrote the
print looks like the theater seats,
the growth lines of a tree.
Its grooves and lines remind me of
the ripples on the sea.
As dry, as cracked, as desert sands,
an alligator's skin,
as parched, as old, as Canyonlands,
this is where my prints fit in.
pretty pleased with ourselves, we went on to loupe-draw
the fingerprints in a 5"X7" frame. Then
for something really exciting, we enlarged the drawings
to 24"X36", and painted them. We were so
delighted with the results that we entered them in
the local county fair where they all won first prizes!
Since then I
have incorporated The Private Eye into our regular
program and the poems and pictures continue to amaze
me. What a brilliant way to enable children to communicate
clearly what they feel. What an inspiring way for
them to learn how to use their minds. I did not learn
what they are learning now until I went to graduate
school. Congratulations and many thanks! NB: I am
a graphic designer professionally. I have four children
aged 9, 8 and 5 year old twins. I have homeschooled
the two eldest for the last five years.
flower is a star,
it stays like the starbright moon.
under my bedsheets.
Dixon, age 8
on a white marble cliff,
imbedded with gold.
Eating a cold crumpet,
on the Alaskan landscape
— Ryan Dixon, age 9
I am always
looking for new ways to use The Private Eye with
my classroom of 3rd and 4th graders. Over the years
I have tried many of the ideas illustrated in The
Private Eye curriculum and have been amazed and delighted
with the engagement of the kids and the high level
of their work. I often find myself in uncharted waters
when following student interests or working in an
area in which my own knowledge is fragile. The Private
Eye is a tool that has helped me to structure investigations,
make connections and integrate curriculum areas.
Last year the
focus of my class's studies was Canada, our border
neighbor. I was surprised to find how little material
was readily available, and wasn't sure how I was
going to set up a study of Canadian history and culture.
Using The Private Eye I found some solutions that
guided the year's course of study:
in the year we used a math activity examining American
money as a perfect jumping-off place to discover
Canada. Students first used loupes to examine familiar
American bills: ones, fives and tens. They were
very surprised to discover all sorts of details
they'd never really seen before. They picked interesting
sections of these bills and drew them using jeweler's
loupes to see up close. Much was revealed. They
had many questions about such curiosities as the
pyramid with the eye on top "What is that thing?", the
letters indicating which Federal Reserve Banks produced
the bills, and the fact that George Washington's
picture was on the one dollar bill "Why not
the ten or fifty?", "Is it an honor?", "Why?", "Shouldn't
he be on the biggest bill?" Money inspired much
curiosity and many questions.
We found lots of answers
in the book The Go-Around Dollar and theories abounded
for the unanswered ones. The kids were fascinated
and thoroughly involved. Imagine
their surprise when presented with Canadian bills
filled with color, birds, animals, landscapes,
unheard-of people, a queen, and intricate buildings.
Again students drew with the aid of The Private
Eye, picking a section of a bill to illustrate.
The activity inspired a huge list of questions
: "Their money has so
many colors. Why don't we have more colors?", "What
is Queen Elizabeth doing on Canadian money?", "Why
do they have a beaver on their money?", "Do
they have a Federal Reserve Bank too?", "What
is that building?", "What is the Banque
du Canada?", "What language is that?"
These and many other questions were generated by this
activity. The class observed
that countries put what they honor and value on their
money. While not a definitive list by any means,
learning about who and what is on Canadian money
was one way to begin learning some important things
about Canada. Answering student questions provided
a beginning framework for our year-long study. Students
stayed very engaged and curious about their questions,
and as often happens, the answers frequently sparked
and the Inuit?
a great tree,
coral branches sag
from the weight of a fine snow
that surrounds them.
Yet the strange tree stands alone,
snow gently melting
on its leaves.
Fenner, grade 4
Our class study
of Dusty Miller, a plant whose leaves are covered
in a whitish fir, presented an opportunity to make
connections with aspects of our Canadian study. At
mid-year the class was learning about the Inuit people
of Northern Canada. I put
a question up on the wall: "What does Dusty Miller have
to do with the Inuit? " Students proceeded to
use jewelers' loupes to observe and draw the leaves
of the Dusty Miller plant. They made lists of things
the leaves reminded them of and turned the lists
into poems (see example above). They hypothesized
and theorized about the covering, wondering how and
why the plant got to be fuzzy, white, "juicy",
antler-like (see The Private Eye pgs. 16-17, 54-55).
They hazarded some guesses and devised tests to try
out their theories. They dried out leaves, refrigerated
leaves, put plants into different conditions of light
and dark, wet and dry, put insects on them, sprayed
them with water and watched what happened. They recorded
their test results. In the end they formed their
to my question, "What
does Dusty Miller have to do with the Inuit?"...after
weeks of puzzled looks and head- scratching the class
and I talked about the many ways in which the Inuit
had first adjusted to life in the harsh Arctic climate.
The Dusty Miller study seemed to have sharpened the
class's questioning skills: "What did they eat
then?", "How did they make fire without
wood?", " Did they have vitamin C?",
"How did they bury people?", "What was
their shelter like?", "How did they keep
in touch with each other when it was so cold outside?" The excellent
Story of Canada by Janet Lunn answered many of the
students' questions. We were all amazed and impressed
that igloos of old had ice windows allowing light
in and underground tunnels for visiting, that winter
sleds could be made from frozen fish, that cooking
utensils were made of soapstone, and fuel was heather
The class had
been interested in structures in the Dusty Miller
plant that promoted its survival. The thinking they
did on Dusty Miller seemed to help them participate
more thoughtfully in this discussion of human adaptation.
In our conversation about the Inuit, students drew
some interesting parallels while also noting that
the Inuit's success was the result of intelligence,
knowledge, cooperation and ingenuity. Looking back
I am aware that The Private Eye was an essential
tool for structuring our studies and setting the
course for the year's work.
Writer, teacher, counselor
The distant mountains
are reflected in the eye
of the dragonfly.
I write (professionally),
and teach writing and thinking. I'm also a graduate
student in psychology and am completing an internship
at the Seattle Veteran's Center where I counsel Vietnam
veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
In each setting The Private Eye provides a valuable
tool for accessing the imagination; it engages a
process whose mystery results in affecting and evocative
metaphorical connections; it frees up otherwise irretrievable
regions of memory and expression.
My book of memoir
prose poems, Now the Day is Over, explores the emotional
landscape of my experience as a child growing up
with an alcoholic father. I wrote thirteen of the
prose poems using The Private Eye process. By looking
at something under the loupe and comparing it to
whatever it reminded me of, I warmed up my metaphorical
muscles until I found myself immersed in a sensation
or memory from my own life. While undergoing this
process I could actually feel something that had
long been inaccessible rising to the surface of my
consciousness. I wrote:
tar and chain link fence. Icy patches of sooty snow
clumped in the corner. When the recess bell rings
everyone runs outside to play, but I sit on the cement
stairs trying to warm my hands. This morning we drew
snowmen with twigs for arms and tall black hats.
Mine has no mouth, only eyes with a carrot nose.
He wanted to say something but I wouldn't give him
a mouth. Now he talks from the corners of the schoolyard.
The biting chill that numbs my fingers and toes freezing
my face and ears is him saying, This is what I was
trying to tell you.
for "Cold" was the underside of a tortoise
shell studied under a loupe. This expanse of whiteness
looked and felt like endless drifts of snow until
I was encompassed and enveloped by a memory of cold.
The images of the schoolyard and playground came
back to me, and I started writing. I felt a sense
of internal silence; the prose poem resulted from
permitting myself to experience these sensations.
I remember how safe it felt to be looking within
the limited circumference of the loupe, the circle
of white that at once seemed both small and oceanic
"the distant mountains" in in the poem by
Issa, a haiku poet who lived from 1763-1827, are held
for a moment in the "eye of the dragonfly."
of memory came alive again and again as I explored
decaying leaves, flower petals, and sand dollars
through the trusted lens of the loupe. In looking
at the luminous purple/pink petals of an African
daisy I remembered the pink chintz bedspread I made
as a home project in a high school Home Economics
class. The sense of our house, dark and silent, returned
in a way I hadn't experienced in a long time, and
I wrote "Clouds" because of the felt sense
of the atmosphere the loupe made available to me:
in Mrs. Paski's Home Ec class we completed a "home
project," something involving sewing that we
were to work on at home and share with the class
after we'd finished it.
My senior year
I decided to create a bedspread for the twin bed
in my room. I would make it from polished pink chintz
with a double-dust ruffle, one layer of chintz and
over it a layer of pink dotted swiss. I would sew
pink cording to run down the length of the bedspread.
Our house was
filled with gray rooms, bamboo shades pulled all
the way down, a lost secret no one guessed as I smiled
and worked harder than ever to look normal.
My pink bedspread
would be an odd addition to this place where we lived
in the dark. Remembering it I think of a story where
a girl sits in silence sewing shirts for her brothers
who a wizard bewitched into swans.
At night they
fly overhead. Wings tell me they are passing. I sew
the endless fabric, gathering ruffles, turning up
the hem. "I'll be finished soon," I say,
I say it to my brothers and the faithful moon.
writing at Woodinville High School I introduced The
Private Eye to students in my senior English classes.
We began with the fingerprint exercise described
in The Private Eye (5X) Looking/Thinking by Analogy where students observe their fingerprint under a
loupe and then reproduce it by drawing it inside
a rectangle. They observe their drawing through a
one inch square, enlarge a portion of it into another
rectangle, and are then invited to further elaborate
upon their drawings with colored pencils. After this
they write a poem exploring their sense of their
provides an example of a poem written after Joel completed
two intricate and finely detailed drawings characterized
by swaying reed-like shapes, and winding circular
tubes embedded with small ovals.
hills call your name
above the endless tunnel.
of danger, footprints
you look, swirling
down a storm drain
out to sea.
underwater, cells multiplying in
through water like limp swords
the ocean floor.
Wandering through darkness
echoes of your wishes.
Barham, grade 12
The poem's sound
sense brought about by the use of open vowels in
combination with the repetition of the letter "l" replicates
the undulating images whose "cells (are) multiplying"
within the underwater landscape that threatens to pull "you"
down and away. The unity between the lyricism of the
language and feeling of suspension between the force
of the undertow and descent into darkness, even as
both are being experienced, reflects the "moiré" described
by Stephen Nachmanovitch in his book on the creative
process titled Free Play: Improvisation in Life and
Art: "A moiré, a crossing or marriage of two patterns, becomes a third pattern that has a life of its own."
In Joel's poem
a "third pattern that has a life of its own"
is brought about by a fusion of intensity and fluidity
within his own process of observation via the loupe
wherein something within his imagination was sprung
loose, and through the metaphorical connections of
drawing and language, given a voice for the first time.
The way The Private
Eye loupe enables individuals to cut through layers
of resistance, putting them in touch with feelings
they hadn't allowed themselves to experience, is
also reflected in Michael, a Vietnam veteran suffering
from PTSD. Using the loupe to closely observe and
connect with a wide variety of natural specimens,
he chose to focus on sea urchin shells, mother-of-pearl,
stones, seed pods, and dragonfly wings. In each instance
he wrote down the associations. His list of analogies
for the dragonfly wings included: honeycomb, coral,
mother-of-pearl, airplane wings, structure-conformity,
balsa, African masks, spiders, stingrays, locusts,
chestnut tree. In response to my question, "How
are any of these like your life?" he recalled
the chestnut tree and locusts in the backyard of
his boyhood home and created a memoir/prose poem
(a kind of stream of consciousness poem) which opened
sensory channels and reclaimed lost connections.
Growing up in
Illinois the backyard of my boyhood house was shrouded
and cornered by this huge massive chestnut tree.
It became my playground my escape route as it stood
at the corner of the house with its huge limbs climbing
over the roof. The escape route was through the attic
yet the window didn't quite reach the tree. The window
adjacent to the attic led me out to flights of fancy
with Peter Pan and Huck Finn leading the charge.
The tree green and heavy laden with locusts became
easy to climb into and down from but not up to. Once
out I was on my own and the only way back in was
through a door not the house door but the basement
door and that's where I began the adventure as the
wasn't what it was always cracked up to be for once
out fear set in and even though I didn't go far away
the door was locked and I had nowhere to go but to
hide under the next door neighbor's front porch while
all the adults in the neighborhood were out running
around trying to find the boy who lived next door.
his prose poem aloud Michael said, "I've been
escaping ever since," and then went on to discover
myriad ways he had attempted to elude his childhood
trauma eventually leading to his "escape into
The loupe and
the analogy provoking questions made connections
possible to help this traumatized Vietnam veteran
locate and explore depths of feeling that hours of
therapeutic talk did not allow.
writer is teacher, student in a high school English
class, or Vietnam war veteran, Nachmanovitch's "eternal
dialogue between making and sensing" is called
forth in vital and essential ways whenever The Private
Eye loupe/process is put into the hand of a willing
creator. For the mind wakes up in new ways when the
eye of the voice is permitted to see.
Fiset, Joan, Now the Day is Over, Blue Begonia Press: Yakima, 1997.
Stephen. Free Play: Improvisation
in Life and Art. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc: Los Angeles. 1991;.
Kobayashi. Translated by Sam Hamill. The
Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku. Shambhala:
Ruef, Kerry. The Private Eye
(5x) Looking/Thinking by Analogy. The Private Eye Project: Seattle. 1992.
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Sunnyside School District, WA
I have done this
project between my 7th grade class and the Calvary
Lutheran Kindergarten four times now. It has always
proven to be a successful experience. We pair up
the students and they work together. We go through
the process of learning about the loupe and using
it, first of all inside and then outside. The students
are allowed to collect a few things, rocks, leaves,
seeds, etc. They do the looking, guided by the 7th
grade buddy. The 7th grader asks the questions: what
does it look like, what does it remind you of. Kinderkids
dictate their responses and their partner then lists
The kinderkids are in the meantime
beginning to draw what they see. The two of them
together come up with the stories and or poems to
go along with their pictures. My students then take
everything back to the middle school and type what
has been written. The next time we meet, the story
is mounted together with the picture and our first
project is complete. All of this process takes us
about four hours total. The kindergarten makes a
visit to the middle school to see where big kids
go to school and everyone has a blast. We usually
just do this in the spring, but this year, we did
it both in the fall and the spring. It was great
to go back and see how the kindergarten had matured
and how much they remembered of the experience in
the fall. We were all amazed! They truly love doing
Our last session the 7th graders presented
their partners with magnified bug boxes to keep.
They were in heaven! It was fun to watch the progression
of both groups from the fall to the spring. They
didn't collect bugs in the fall, but no one was afraid
to collect them in the spring. I just can't say enough
about how wonderful everything worked out. The project
on our classroom page doesn't begin to tell it all,
but we were limited both in time and space. This
was all of my Share 105 project, a special program
through our ESD 105 and also my Early Childhood Class
I was taking at Yakima Valley Community College.
I couldn't think of a better way to "kill two
birds with one stone" than with the Private
Eye. I'm a big believer in it. And.... I have proof!
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In our home school the teacher
enjoys "changing scale," too! On
a family hike recently my husband and I were pleased
to hear our children exclaiming over the discoveries
they were making. Many of these "finds" were
actually quite small: the stamens of a wild flower,
the feathers of moss growing on the rocks. We realized
that using The Private Eye method has ingrained
in our children the habit of looking closely at — and
rejoicing in — creation. What a thrill! In
our homeschool, the teacher enjoys "changing
"I'm a former homeschool mother whose children are now young adults. (Our son is a civil engineer; our daughter is a 3rd grade teacher.) We enjoyed using The Private Eye as part of their studies throughout the years. It made a big difference in their education--once you start thinking The Private Eye way, it stays with you! Seeing in detail, thinking in analogy, and questioning what you see and think are wonderful tools for lifelong learning.
There are "keepers" in educational materials. The Private Eye was not only a keeper, it was one of my very favorites. I still have our loupes, magnifier boxes, and the book; I'm saving them to use with grandchildren some day. Coming full circle, this fall my daughter plans to introduce her students to The Private Eye!"
Camas School District No. 117
from a grant proposal that provided funds for
the purchase of a Private
Eye Class Kit, Do-It-Yourself
World in a Box®, Simple
Steps to a Magnified Mind, Introducing
Pre-Kindergartners to The Private Eye, and
Poster Set: This program
will enhance our curriculum in many ways. For example,
one of our science EALR’s is “Application:
The student knows and applies science ideas and
inquiry to design and analyze solutions to human
problems in societal contexts.” The Private
Eye allows children to study nature, and try to
apply what they learn into their own lives, to
assist with problem solving, such as looking at
those seed pods that get stuck to your socks and
using that idea to create a solution to a problem
(Velcro). It also will assist in our writing curriculum,
as it is a catalyst for descriptive writing, as
well as explores the form of poetry and analogy.
Lastly, it is an enhancement to our art curriculum,
as students look at plant structures, or shell
shapes and details to add details to their art.
This program is a perfect fit for the targets of
the foundation. It is a program where science, art,
and writing collide. It has the ability to incorporate
each and every learner every year. Its hands on,
engaging approach assists those who traditionally
struggle with the abstractness of writing. The loupe
narrows the physical focus of students, blocking
My proposal includes the
purchase of an entire Private
Eye classroom kit, that consists of a set of jeweler’s
loupes, specimens for kids to explore, extra magnifying
boxes to continue to grow the kit, teacher’s
guide, posters, video, microscope, and resource books.
I am also asking for an empty specimen box so we
can continue to grow the kit, as well as a set of
posters and two resource booklets.
This program is an equal
mix of science, art, and
writing. Basically, students
look at natural objects through
a magnified lens, [then create
pictures and] analogies…and
theorize about them. This
writing progresses into poetry,
riddles, or simply metaphors
that can be used in later, larger works (bones for
poems). It sounds simple enough, but the writing
and creative thinking that takes place, based on
this program, is top notch.
I volunteered at the TAG
conference earlier this year,
so that I could attend the
Private Eye training. The
Private Eye integrates art,
science, and writing. Students
look at nature to make analogies
and theories. They take time
to draw the details that
they are seeing at a closer
look, as they are able to
zoom in with the jeweler’s loupes. I purchased a
few starter items to get us started. It is a wonderful
experience, when students get lost in their own fingerprints.
One of my friend’s students wrote, ”The
wrinkles of my knuckle look like my grandpa’s
forehead when he laughs”. We also wrote riddles
about our fingerprints after taking a closer look.
Here are some of those excerpts: “It is a field
that has just been plowed;”
“It is a never-ending tunnel;” and “It
is the rings of a tree.”
All my loupes
are on cords now, and the kids have had 3 lessons,
a packing peanut, a real peanut and the dusty miller.
I used your theorizing template sheet for the dusty
miller to pull, drag...encourage... them through
the theorizing process. We did get to the experiment
stage on that one. We also viewed the Nova movie
on sight, and then I dissected a cow eyeball for
the kids. Next week we will construct a paper model
of an eye and brainstorm analogies with The Private
Eye process for each part of the eye, i.e.: what
else does the iris remind you of? The cornea? etc.
On the second lesson I had the kids draw and list
analogies at the same time. The next lesson we
had sustained silent loupe-drawing time first,
then brainstormed analogies. I have been very strict
about the silent drawing time because I think it
is so important that everyone has a chance to access
their right brain and become engrossed. We are
planning a field trip to a developing wetlands
area and intend to take our loupes with us.
Seattle Schools, WA
The first rule in substitute teaching might well
be: Expect the unexpected. Occasionally
I enter a classroom where, due to special circumstances,
the teacher has left no plans. This happened
last week. I was the third sub called in to
this 7th grade special education classroom in three
days, and the regular teacher had not left plans. My
heart went out to these kids. No one knew why
the teacher left suddenly Monday morning, and the
notes on his desk from my two predecessors indicated
a valiant effort on their parts to pick up where
he left off and keep the kids engaged in their routines. I
plodded along in their shoes for the first day, but
for the next I decided to do something with them
that would be a treat. Instead of assigning
more pages in their textbooks, I arranged for them
to use The Private Eye.
That evening I gathered up some Private Eye materials,
and prepared my first Private Eye lesson. My
arsenal included a loupe set, The Private Eye guide,
drawing paper with a 5” X 5” square copied
onto it, 20 pieces of cedar, 20 maple wings, and
10 poppy seed pods. The night before I thought
about all of the things I wanted to say in introduction
to The Private Eye and how it would be best presented. Here’s
what I came up with:
There were many things to explain to my first period. Why
were they doing this again, when they had already
done this in a previous grade? My answer to
this question went like this: “The Private
Eye is like reading and writing. Once you have
read your first book, do you say, ‘Great! I’ve
learned how to read. No need to do that again’? No,
you practice and practice, reading books for kids
your age and getting better and better at it. It
is the same with The Private Eye. As a 7th
grader you will see new things and make analogies
that the person you are as a 7th grader makes, not
the person you were at another age.” I
found that it was important to also tell them that
students in high school and college use The Private
Eye, and that I myself use The Private Eye since
I intend to keep learning forever. The above
explanations also interest the students who have
not yet worked with the program.
The next thing I told the kids about The Private
Eye is that it helps them to learn to think by analogy. I
explained that the ability to think by analogy is
taken by some to be one indicator of intelligence,
and even though I was teaching in three content areas
that day, we were all getting better at thinking,
which can be useful in many subject areas.
I showed them a loupe, demonstrated the correct
orientation (wide part toward face), put it up to
my eye, explained the concept of focus. When
they received their loupes, I asked them to observe
the skin on their hands for 30-60 seconds. Then
I presented the questions: “What else
does it look like? What else does it remind
you of?” They piped up: elephant skin,
cracked mud in the desert, old people’s skin,
spider webs. Just like that! They were
making up analogies. I explained what they
had done, and asked them to do it some more. They
picked out a specimen and then I made a mistake. I
asked them to draw what they saw in the loupes without
a sufficient introduction. My whole first
period (8 kids) drew in real-size instead of loupe
size. I told them to fill up the square, and
I told them to draw what they saw in the loupe, but
somehow the message didn’t translate. Still
they came up with clever, apt analogies and the drawings
included many important details. I thought
about the changes I would make to the presentation
for the next period.
Period two was a smaller class with one student
who demanded attention at all times. He played
with his loupes, made wise cracks, and honed his
repertoire for distracting classmates in various
ways. Each student in that class preferred
to use their loupes over noticing him, making my
job easier. This time the presentation changed
to include more details about loupe-drawing, mostly
found on page 127 in The Private Eye guide. I
recommended students place the specimen next to the
paper, then demonstrated loupe-looking then drawing
then loupe-looking then drawing. I asked them
to use pens, and explained that I didn’t want
them to get bogged down with erasing a drawing over
and over in an attempt to get it right. Still,
the drawings were not what I had anticipated. On
the other hand, their writing took off like a rocket. I
asked for 5-10 analogies, explaining that when answering
The Private Eye questions, “What else does
it look like? What else does it remind me of?”,
they were really making up analogies. This
class ended and I again asked myself what I could
be doing differently.
By third period I had it down. The loupe-looking,
the questions, and the drawings had to be made completely
separate in time. After I introduced the loupes,
the questions, and the concept of analogy, I asked
them to spend 20 minutes asking the questions about
their specimens while loupe-looking, and writing
down their answers and ignoring the square at the
top of the page. After 20 minutes, I had the
leisure of explaining in depth the rationale for
drawing (that it helps us to see), and the procedures
for getting good results in the drawings (again,
see page 127 of The Private Eye guide). I
also remembered I had brought a sample of my own
work from behind a loupe. Examples are always
helpful. I wished at that moment that I had
more to show them. Fourth period was also a success. It was a
study skills class, and since it was the last day
of the term, they were welcome to study for a test
or finish back work if they needed to. About
half chose to use The Private Eye instead.
Fifth period was a prep, which was good because
I needed it to figure out what to do with sixth period. Many
of the kids in sixth period the day before had flat
out refused to work, and in the middle of the room
was a trio of girls who talked quietly and braided
each others’ hair. When I spoke with
them about doing some work, they looked at me as
though I had just stepped off the planet Mars. Every
once in awhile between helping students who were
learning long division, I would circle back to them
with a new tactic for inspiring them to pick up pencils. Nothing
ever worked, and when they left, their worksheets
remained, having drifted to the floor at some point. What
was I going to do with this class?
Seventh period finally rolled around, and I gave
it my best shot, using all of the methods I had learned
throughout the day. Unfortunately, they were
still nonplussed by me and my clever strategies. A
few of the kids followed my directions, and a few
found other things to do, and by the end of the period,
we were all standing around talking, playing tic-tac-toe
on the board, and turning in loupes.
I have some reflections about this day to report. Having
the loupes and specimens at my disposal gave me the
opportunity to provide a valuable lesson to students
who had seen many subs come and go throughout the week,
and who had been through many days without a proper
lesson plan. The student response in this situation
was very good. When I do it again, I will be
much better acquainted with possible pitfalls, and
I expect the success to be even greater. Two
drawbacks that I noticed were these: that more
time than the 50 minutes per period was needed to give
a thorough introduction to the use of The Private Eye,
and that being a sub I didn’t have the same amount
of credibility in the minds of the students as their
regular teachers. Still, given these difficulties,
the quality of work done and the amount of on-task
behavior was much, much better than it had been the
day before when I started this two-day sub job. My
plan now is to offer my introduction to The Private
Eye as a moveable feast: Teachers will be able
to request me and my Private Eye lesson plan, giving
them the opportunity to have a full day’s leave.
Art teacher/ teacher of gifted and talented
Libby Center, Spokane Public Schools
—How I Use The Private Eye in Art and Gifted and Talented Settings
All Part of the Same Whole?
A recent question was posed to me via the Internet: "What is your dream teaching assignment?" My first thought came without much need for reflection.
After three decades of teaching, I actually have the teaching assignment of my dreams. By discovering the essential elements that make lessons more discipline-based, more substance and meaning is developed in my teaching. That relationship satisfies not only the needs of students but also my intentions as a teacher.
A teacher's dream job isn't something that comes about quickly or overnight. Few results that I can think of in teaching ever reveal themselves without a lengthy evolution. For me, many years of experience and collegial sharing have provided opportunities to select meaningful, deep, and relevant curricula. The proving ground is when students, both present and past talk about what they have learned, what is meaningful to them, and what type of lessons have helped them to think creatively to solve problems.
In 1975 I became an art teacher at a junior high school. I taught seventh, eighth and ninth graders to make stuff. That was the breadth and depth of what I accomplished, and I am not at all proud of those first four years of my teaching experience. When later I became a facilitator for gifted and talented children, I was fortunate to have professionals come into my life to help me expand my thinking. Those professional educators gave me reasons to have a grasp of what makes learning meaningful. I began to teach with greater awareness of the need for integrated subject matter. All subjects in education need integration. Courses of study should not be cubed and packaged in small compartments that do not permit free flow. What is art, math, science and literature but all part of the same whole?
The Private Eye Project — a Premier Example of How All Paths Converge
For the past decade I have used the Private Eye 5X loupes and curriculum with my students both in the capacity of an art specialist in the elementary schools and as a teacher in a gifted and talented pull-out program. The Private Eye Project is a premier example of how all paths converge for meaning in teaching fully integrated curricula. And, what about required school curricula and our present world? How do we prepare our children- our present students- for life in the near future?
"The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind -creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers." That is what Daniel Pink says in his book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. Considering our future thinkers explains why I couldn't provide my students with any better program in preparation for integrated thought in art, math, science and literature than the Private Eye Project.
Social Studies, Art, Literature and Science: “Point of View” and The Private Eye
My colleagues and I teach a unit of study called, "Point of View". In this semester-long unit students are given the opportunity to see themselves, their local community and the global community from different vantage points. One goal is to make the familiar seem unfamiliar. Our students begin by first closely examining the culture they inhabit, then beyond, to the issues of people around the world.
What can be more personal than an individual's fingerprint? The Private Eye ® gives many examples in their resource book that inspires teachers in ways to combine scientific and artistic observation in writing and using analogy, simile and metaphor.
Like Magnetic Poetry
After careful observation, examination and drawing of their own fingerprints using Private Eye loupes, my students begin began to list words and analogies to The Private Eye Question: “What else does it remind me of? I add a variant: "What else could this be?"
Students generate lists of words, then separate them onto long strips of paper as nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives. Each of the word lists is written in different colors; verbs might be red, nouns blue, etc. Next, students cut the words free from the strips of paper and move them all around to create a more random, free verse creative piece. (Think of the word magnets found on refrigerators) Freeing words from the confines and dimensionality of the whole paper gives more likelihood of incongruent combinations and surprising creative expression. An analogy might be letting all of the monkeys out of their cages to run about and be playful!
As students arrange their words they become aware of the need for more adjectives and can search the thesaurus to find more powerful descriptors. These actions enrich vocabulary.
Finally, students re-copy the chopped-up version of their writing; linking their words with pronouns and other parts of speech so that something like this:
river wide blue
grass waving wildly
reads like this:
Sitting on the bank
of a river wide and blue,
mighty oak by my side,
the grasses waving wildly*
Now students have a drawing created by using both the artistic and scientific means of observation, analytical thinking, recorded words, expanded vocabulary and poetry. Where were the boundaries between art, writing and science? Those boundaries do not exist. Each aspect of the above can be expanded in any direction.
Below is a finished piece by Autumn, grade 6:
Sitting on the bank
Of a river wide and blue,
Mighty oak by my side
The grasses waving wildly,
I write this poem.
A ripple grows wider
As a dewdrop falls.
The intertwining lines
Inside my head,
I am reminded
Of things that they are not.
The eye of a spider,
It's web white,
Like the vines of the grape
In the fields.
Only the complexity
And the wonder
Of anything that is living,
It all brings down
To the sea,
Dreams and wishes,
Of my fingerprint.
Everything I am
And ever will be,
Is added, multiplied and divided
Until finally there comes the conclusion,
The sum, the product, the quotient,
Of my fingerprint.
A part of me that is all my own
For no one to grasp and take away from me
My life all jumbled together
All in a bunch,
In a thing I've had since birth,
Autumn fingerprint drawing
with a touch of Adobe photoshop
And another by Caleb, grade 5
Streams raging, miles long
Looking cold and falling*
Becoming a mountain
Swimming on itself,
Caleb fingerprint drawing
with a touch of Adobe photoshop
For all of us teaching today, whether it is our first or fortieth year as educators, we work with the most technologically connected generation in history. It makes sense for the subjects we teach to likewise be connected. Educators know that extracting that one right answer from students will not teach them how to think. All of our students deserve education that serves to open the mind's eye and spur creativity. Problem solving and provocative thinking based on inquiry, these are the elements that will provide substance and meaning to our students for a lifetime
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BARDWELL - "Energy Systems, Insects, and
the Private Eye"
BRENDA YOUNG - "Kindergarten
Health Sciences & Technology Academy
West Virginia University, WV
spied The Private Eye loupes at the national NSTA meeting
in New Orleans. Intrigued, I bought three of them,
along with the book. After initial examination of the
book, I was hooked with using the loupes and "thinking
part of the Interactions with Energy project, another
teacher and myself were designing an "Energy of Living
Systems" module to share with teachers during
a Eisenhower Professional Development workshop. The "thinking
by analogy" activity using the loupes was a perfect
introduction for our module and fits in precisely with
the methods prescribed by the new National Science
Education Standards and Benchmarks for Science Literacy.
We bought sets of 25 for each of the elementary and
middle school teachers in our workshop. By initially
making observations of insect life with the loupes,
participants became familiar with scientific processes.
Pictures were drawn (recording observations) and analogies
were made. From
the analogies, the teachers came up with various hypotheses
that addressed their questions, such as "How do
insects obtain energy?"
and "What are the functions of specific insect body
parts?". Once a hypothesis was formulated, this
led to designing a set of procedural steps, which addressed
the original question. This strategy is outlined in The
Private Eye, and enables teachers to involve their students
in experimental design. From
presentations I have given to teachers, I have heard
many comments that praise the ingenuity of the loupes
by analogy". Any tool, whether hand held or a "thinking" tool,
that makes the National Science Education Standards
easier to follow, will be welcomed by many teachers
as they begin to re-align their curriculum.
I want to thank you for all that you did to help
make my presentation at the WV Science Conference
a success. I hope many people contact you about "The
Private Eye." It is the elementary teacher's
answer to microscopes. It has opened the eyes of
my students to a world they never took the time to
see before. The ability of my children to observe,
think, and create increases each time they take a
closer look.Here are some
samples of some of my children's writing from last
year about various items. I teach kindergarten, so
these children are 5 and 6 years old. All of the
children were in my classroom.
It looks like a rocketship.
It has holes that are big.
They are big.
I wonder what's in the holes.
It looks like a rock.
I think it's stalagmites.
It reminds me of snow.
It's sharp and frozen.
It looks like a rock because it has holes in it.
It looks like a seashell because it looks like one.
It looks like worm holes.
It looks like a hive because it has holes in it.
It looks like it is a rock.
It reminds me of a rock.
What it reminds me of is it looks like a bee. What
it looks like is a bug.
I think it is a spider.
It looks like a jellyfish.
It looks like a stalagmite.
It looks wet.
It think it's a rock because it's shaped like one.
It reminds me of cement.
It's flat and it has holes.
It is black lipstick.
It's definitely black.
Maybe it's eyes.
It looks like a coat because
it has fur.
It reminds me of a rug.
It looks delicate.
Hope you enjoy
these as much as I did. No one can ever imagine the
excitement a teacher experiences when descriptions
such as these are written by 5 and 6 year old children.
Thank you for creating such a useful tool for classroom
teachers with limited funds.
HARGREAVES - "Can You Guess? "
IAN HARGREAVES - "Report
From the North"
ELAINE HUMPHREY - "Scientist in Residence at the Vancouver School Board"
Miracle Beach Elementary
Comox Valley, BC
Report from North
of the border: Two years ago, I was introduced to
the Private Eye Program while on an external accreditation
team in the Victoria School district on Vancouver
Island. What struck me immediately during the workshop,
besides the enthusiasm of the teachers using the
program, was the quality of the work on display produced
by the students. Poems, writing, research, art; all
were of a quality I had been striving to achieve
with my own students. The premise of the program
intrigued me, three simple questions, a jeweler's
loupe and a world of objects to examine. With results
that I found incredible!Upon returning
to my own district on Vancouver Island, I set about
trying to persuade others of the value of The Private
Eye Program for students, but alas, to no avail.
So I resolved to purchase my own set of loupes and,
with the multitude of objects I had gathered over
the years, test the program out with my own class.
The results were better than I could have hoped for
and the changes I saw in my students, more impressive
than I could have imagined. Soon my colleagues were
approaching me, asking about the student work I displayed.
How was I able to get them to write so well? What
was I doing to encourage the development of descriptive
images in their poetry? What is The Private Eye Program
I was always referring to? The effect was like "wild
fire," and as word spread from teacher to teacher
around my district I soon found myself being invited
to staff meetings, specialist meetings and professional
days to talk about my students' work and the program
I was using.
I'd start my
presentations by introducing them to the four samples
of students work, all on the same topic, that I had
brought with me. These samples reflected the broad
range of student ability levels found in any classroom.
One of the samples was done by a gifted and challenged
student, one by an average student, one by a student
with social/emotional concerns and the last, by a
child with special needs. I would tell the participants
this at the start of my presentation and then, as
I spoke of the program, the materials, the books
I had gathered, the way I incorporated it into my
themes, my day, my weekly and yearly planning, I
would refer to each piece of writing, reading only
one before going on. Each time I would remind them
of the diversity of students represented. At the
end of my presentation I would invite participants
to identify which piece of writing had been produced
by which student.
Needless to say,
it was impossible to make a distinction among the
four pieces of work without lengthy and detailed
analysis, the result being, a new group of teachers
hooked on the program.
Miracle Beach Elementary
Comox Valley, BC
It never fails
to amaze me just how quickly a students creative
writing, analytical thinking and general observational
skills come on when exposed to the Private Eye program
and use of the loupe. The following are six poems
written by Grade Six students after just two weeks
of working with the loupes and the program.
like a scarred
And the rough crags
Of a mountain range.
It reminds me of a
Purple gravel bed,
And of a cow with a
Nose so strange.
It looks like the crashing waves,
At Torrey Pines, CA.
And it reminds me of a canyon.
It looks like the soft sunrays,
On the wrinkled hide of an
It reminds me of
Little suckling piglets.
And their mamma pig
— Hannah A. de Putter
looks like Im in a galaxy,
Or maybe Im not .
It looks like Im in a crystal cave,
Or maybe Im not.
I think Im on Mars,
Or maybe Im not.
Oh no its exploding,
All space is exploding,
Now it is raining
All purple raindrops.
The soundwave its killing me
My ears are exploding.
— Tessa Lee
eyes are like a kaleidoscope,
My wings are like four screen doors,
I have a long tail,
When I fly I look like a B-52 bomber,
Some of us are green while others are blue,
Some of us have a wing span of four inches,
like to eat mosquitoes.
What am I?
looks like a whirlpool
Turning roughly in waves.
Up above, a rainbow with tons
Of colours, like a mess of paint
Spilled like wrinkles on a face.
It reminds me of the rings
On the trunk of trees
Scattered like shoelaces.
Its like the blood-red veins,
In your eye. The eye looking
upon the designs of a dress.
It reminds me of the busy traffic
On a Saturday afternoon.
— Janine Galandy
resting on purple skin
Garter snakes intertwined
Hills and mountains and pentagons sure are a big surprise!
Tentacles waving to and fro,
Many eyes a-watching.
Flesh like apricots,
To have a loupe look,
Is to see the world,
From a bugs eye view!
— Shea Wyatt
As usual, these
poems are selected from a varied group of students
with a wide range of ability, some of whom clearly
capture for me the essence of the loupe experience;
the act of viewing the world, not just from another
perspective but from a completely new, and sometimes,
alien perspective. All of them for me however, share
that wonder and delight which comes form viewing
the common, the ordinary, the everyday and seeing
in it, for the first time, the unusual, the extraordinary,
the unique which surrounds us, supports us and passes
so often unnoticed by us. As their teacher I am forever
renewed, and exhilarated by their journeys of discovery,
as they venture into, what is for them, uncharted
realms only to discover, all to often, that nature
has been there first!
Return to British Columbia
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DR. ELAINE HUMPHREY
MSA FOM FIG Leader (2006-8)
President, Microscopy Society of Canada (2003-2005)
University of British Columbia
North Vancouver, BC
I have used The Private Eye loupes in many outreach programs ever since I attended a workshop at the Microscopy Society of America in Portland in 1999. I am a great fan.
The Vancouver School Board hosts a program called "Scientist in Residence." This program puts a Scientist into an Elementary School for one day a week for six weeks. This year I had two classes of grade 1s and 2s. Our theme was forestry and we used The Private Eye loupes for nearly every lesson. One week we were looking closely at different leaves, another week we looked closely at celery stalks which had been put into water colored with food coloring. We were looking for the vessels that carry water up a plant. The most absorbing week the kids had was using the loupes to look at critters in leaf litter. The critters were collected into a plastic petri dish with a lid. The animals were protected from squishing fingers but could still be lifted up in one small hand while holding a loupe in the other hand. Close observations using the loupes enabled the students to answer some questions given to them such as "How many legs does your animal have?" "How many eyes can you see?" etc. before drawing their animal. I had a couple of expensive microscopes as well, but the loupes were a very inexpensive, easy to carry, (a problem each week since these classes are held on the first floor in a school with no elevator), practical solution to "looking closely" at something. Being so cost effective meant each child could have one and not have to wait for a microscope to be free.
I used to run an electron microscopy facility, with microscopes worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars, which could magnify specimens many hundreds of thousand times. School groups would come for tours and we would separate them into four. One group would get 15-20 minutes with loupes looking at their thumbprints, Lincoln in the middle of the Lincoln Memorial on an American penny, bird feather, whatever live critter I could find that morning in a specimen jar, etc. at 5 times and 10 times. Then they would go to the scanning electron microscope station to look at something up to 500,000 times; or the transmission electron microscope station looking into cells up to 600,000 times; and the fourth station was using dissecting light microscopes to discover "who stole Elaine's mug." The loupe station was invaluable and enjoyed by all the children from grade 1 to graduate students (adapted program!).
Leon, Gto Mexico
a workshop at the AMS [American Montessori Society]
Meeting in Boston last April. I enjoyed it so much
that I decided to buy 20 eye loupes for my class. I
started with the hand exercise. Then I gave each child
a flower from a bugambilia plant. They looked closely
with the loupe and wrote ten observations. Then they
picked their two favorites to share in the circle.
We did it like the sandwich poem idea. After all of
them shared everyone was quiet in wonder and astonishment:
They had actually created a poem! I couldn't believe
it either, children are indeed full of poetry! I'm
planning to make a little book with the children's
poems to give their parents. Thanks a lot!
worked for two years at an elementary school in the
Marshall Islands, and I used the Private Eye loosely
in my 6th grade classroom. I was working with students
who had very basic English ability, and I was supposed
to be teaching them science. Science can be hard to
explain when there is a major language barrier, and
I found the Private Eye to be a good way to explore
and investigate without having to use difficult language.
The Marshallese teaching culture also does not traditionally
incorporate hands-on learning, so the Private Eye was
a totally new kind of learning experience for my students.
I used the Private Eye book and the little microscopes
in both a coral unit and
a plants unit. In both, each child investigated different
types of coral/plant and each of its parts through
the microscope, worked on drawing it, and making models
based on the shapes they saw through the lens. We did
a bit of making analogies, looking at each child's
drawing and thinking of what else it resembled, or
what shapes and patterns we saw. The kids absolutely
loved the mini-microscopes, and were very excited to
experiment with the different magnitudes when putting
them one on top of another. The Private Eye worked
very well as a multi-disciplinary tool, involving science,
art, and language learning. Although I did not use
the Private Eye all year, or in every unit, when I
did use it, the kids loved it and it seemed to work
well for them in understanding the inquiry and hands-on
part of science.
São Paulo, Brazil
My wife Tini and I, born in Holland, live 26 years on a small farm in the state São Paulo 250 east of the city São Paulo. Before, we lived 14 years on a Dutch colony, called Holambra, 150 km from São Paulo. On the farm we grow and sell organic vegetables and fruits that are sold through a home delivery system. Seventy percent in the city São Paulo and 30% in neighbor towns. Together with the vegetable box goes a newsletter that has an article, 4 recipes and health information. This same information is also in our web site www.aboaterra.com.br.
The articles from the last 25 weeks are translated to the English language as you can see at the homepage on the left hand side below.
Four years ago we started an ecology program for visitors and school kids with 3 options:
sensabilisation to the nature (4 hours)
Learn about organic vegetables and fruit growing (4 hours)
Learn more about food and alimentation based on the book “Eat to live” from Joel Furhman
In 2005 and 2006 we received 9.000 visitors, 70% kids from 5- 12 years. Most of the schools don’t have money the pay for the cost so we found a sponsor who helps us for the cost of food and monitors.
From a lecture of Fritjof Capra in Brazil (3.500 participants), some years ago, we heard about the Center of Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, CEL and the workshops “Rethinking school lunch” were we participated 20-22 June 2007 and got the book ”Ecoliteracy” with Kerry Ruef’s article “The Loupes Secret………………..”
With the knowledge we received in Berkeley we have adapted our program and started with one school from the neighbor town Itobi, to use our vegetable garden and the nature we have on our farm for the children (8 to10 years)
For that program we want to use The Private Eye.
From what we read about it, it seems fantastic. We are very curious to receive The Private Eye book, the jeweler’s loupes, and start practicing the process.
Sìtio A Boa Terra (The good Earth)