Tag Archives: mosaic

Getting Ready for RSCON3


The school year is winding down and I am feeling, surprisingly, re-energized to make something out of my summer that might benefit next year’s class (whatever class that may be). While so many of our educational brethren are counting down the days (okay, I am, too) and making summer plans to do with everything except school (okay, I am, too) I am also finding myself thinking big ideas for how I will spend at least some of my vacation setting up some of the ideas I have running through my head (and filling up my notebook).

Whether I actually commit myself well enough to do them remains to be seen. But there is something to which I am totally committed, for better or worse. I will be entering the foray of education conferences this summer as more than an attendee. I will actually be presenting on two topics at RSCON3, The Reform Symposium. It’s a worldwide internet conference that features an amazing roster of presenters, all organized by an amazing group of educators.

I looked over the list of presenters earlier today, and to say I may be just a bit out of my league might be an understatement. That being said, I’m going for it, in the hopes that something I’ve done in my career might be something that can inspire someone out there to try the same, or modify it for their own learners.

I am so excited to be partnering with one of my main inspirations out there, Pernille Ripp. We are planning to present about our experiences bringing our two classes together (July 29, 7:30 PM ET). It is my hope that sharing our story with others will inspire virtual colleagues to figure out ways to bring an exciting and unique way of student-centered learning into their own classrooms.

My other presentation will be about the ways I’ve used photography in the classroom to enhance literacy (July 29, 5:30 PM ET). This has been a passion of mine since my first year, and although The Mosaic Project has evolved (or maybe devolved?) due to a variety of circumstances each year (not all positive) I still believe that at its heart it is a wonderful way to bring students to a place they may have never dreamed of going. It’s an empowering project with a product that has never failed to surprise and impress me.

The full schedule is not available on the web site yet, but I can tell you with no uncertainty that if you decide to attend The Reform Symposium, you won’t be disappointed. I planned to watch only two presentations at RSCON2 back in January, but I wound up sticking around much of the day. It was an exciting, fun, memorable conference. I know it will be this time around, as well. Mark your calendars for July 29-31!

Hope to see you there!

Portrait of a Former Student


Last night, I was tidying up my blog by categorizing posts into groups consistent with the phase of my career during which they were written. I started this blog on the eve of 2010, thinking it would cover photography, cooking, and teaching, erroneously and embarrassingly fancying myself as someone worth reading when I had no expertise in anything. It has evolved a lot since then, and as I was poring over some old posts, I was recalling some of the things that have happened in my classroom since I first welcomed a handful of readers into it. It was truly a pleasure to find myself saying, “Huh, I remember that” as I read, and doing so helped me realize just how much has gone on in my rooms since I began blogging. It’s impossible to get a handle on it all when you’re in the thick of it, so the blog provides me a nice time capsule and opportunities to reminisce.

One of my regrets was that I never had the opportunity to blog about my first year. It was all so fresh to me and I had a really unique group of students with wonderful stories to share. I wasn’t turned on to Twitter and blogging until the middle of my second year, though. And so, I thought it slightly ironic to be walking outside the school playground to my car this afternoon and hearing my name being screamed by a bolt of black clothing running toward me. Turns out it was one of my old favorite students from way back in my first year.

Normally, when a former student and I cross paths, they are so reluctant to speak that the only word that they are able to muster in response to anything I say is, “Good.” I had seen this girl once or twice since she graduated, but never did we have the chance to speak, either because of her shyness or just the fact that we were passing too quickly. But today she was so excited to talk that she practically climbed over the chain link fence.

We talked about how school was and who she’s still friends with. I remembered her motivation to learn photography and in our very brief previous conversations she indicated she was the official photographer for her sister’s wedding. As it turns out she’s taken on more photographic responsibilities: a cousin’s communion and documenting her niece’s first days. She is so into it.

My assistant principal told me during the first year of The Mosaic Project that giving the kids cameras was like giving them gold. In the case of at least one former student, it appears the investment was a good one.

A Class for Your Children, and a Class for You


When I accepted my teaching job two summers ago, I did so with the naive expectation that I would be teaching in an environment that was a replication of my own elementary school experiences. Friday mornings would be assembly days, and students would congregate in the auditorium for the week’s class play as well as the handing out of commendations. On other mornings, students would rearrange the desks to clear space for their parents, who would we be coming in (on the way to work, or taking a day off) for a bagel, juice, and a presentation to celebrate our learning. Fathers would be taking video, mothers would be arranging playdates, and I would be working the crowd, thanking people for coming, and exchanging “It’s good to see yous” and “So glad you could make its.”

Of course, I began my teaching career some 13+ years after ending my elementary one, so I could have never possibly been prepared for the harshness of reality that exists in today’s NYC school system. Okay, so parents wouldn’t be coming in as often and on as grand a scale as I envisioned, but I’d still be certain to create those opportunities on some kind of somewhat regular basis. Right, we wouldn’t be covering thematic units like I did in my day, but hey, there’d still be the chance to prepare special programs for the parents.

That was the plan, I promise. I’d supplement parents’ classroom experiences with newsletters, phone calls, and a general overall discourse. Parents would look to me as a beacon of assistance, a go-to for support of their child’s academic and social lives. I would reach out to them proactively and positively, and a relationship would burgeon, affecting for the better everyone in the classroom community.

So, now, as we approach parent-teacher conferences this week, and I prepare to welcome parents in for just the fifth time this year (the others being: parent orientation, open school week, our play, and fall parent-teacher conferences), I reflect on parent-teacher involvement communication: what should have been, what is, and maybe, what still can be.

The maelstrom of being a first year teacher enveloped me rather quickly last year. It became apparent to me that there was going to be significantly more work than I had anticipated relating to my foremost concern, my students. In my first two months on the job, I regularly stayed in the classroom until 5:00 pm, and sometimes past 7:30, organizing, reorganizing, arranging, and rearranging. Bulletin boards went uncovered for several weeks following the first day of school. My classroom looked less like a place of education than a place of dumping refuse. As consuming as the design of my professional space was, what with the need to be able to function effectively and have my students be able to do the same, there was still plenty of work affecting the day-to-day rigors of the work being done in the classroom that needed to be addressed. Most nights, I’d work for several hours after arriving home.

When, please tell me, was I ever going to find time to type a newsletter?

Nevertheless, I still relished the idea of collectively keeping families abreast of the goings on in our classroom. My mentor and I sat down and began to formulate ideas for a newsletter, and the goal was to have it ready for the first parent-teacher conferences of the 2008-2009 school year. Invigorated after my discussion with her, I even began planning a template at home that night. And that was it. It never progressed past a fairly blank Word document.

Around November or December last year, when rallying my class around the idea of starting the inaugural Mosaic Project, I talked up the importance of respecting the camera and keeping it safe. Included in this rah-rah was a contract, to be signed by the student and the parent. Here, I figured, would be a monumental opportunity to bring parents in, recognizing my vision of community that extended beyond the yellow walls of the classroom. So, I included a “clause” in the contract informing parents that, since students would be photographing their culture, it’d be wonderful if everyone could prepare and, on an assigned festival day, bring to school, a typical ethnic food for us to enjoy.

Of course, I had no idea about the onslaught of test preparation that would dominate the ensuing months, first for ELA, then math. By the time the tests were over, I was so busy exhaling (and working on graduation, awards night, full scale Mosaic Project, a scrapbook, and who knows what else) that I became completely distracted from my task of getting the parents in. Yes, they were there to witness the display of student’s photography in our classroom, as well as at graduation, but on both occasions, I felt I was regarded by many parents as a curiosity not to be approached.

So, what’s the excuse this year? I suppose there is none, really. But there’s been no real change. Maybe I’m more comfortable welcoming parents on trips and greeting them for conferences, but these abilities don’t distinguish me in terms of trying to get parents involved.

One of the hardest hurdles to leap, though, is the language barrier that exists between me and the parents. While I do retain some Spanish from high school, I am by no means fluent enough to confidently engage in conversation. I speak no Chinese or Bengali, either. So my interactions with parents are aided – and simultaneously damaged – by a third party. Don’t get me wrong, without translators, my communication with parents would be nil. But not being able to pick up a phone to talk to a parent, and needing someone else to do it, puts me at a considerable disadvantage. Do you know that, at parent-teacher conferences, I demand my students’ attendance? I tell them it’s because I want them to hear what I’m saying, which is true, but I imagine the majority of them figure it’s because I need a translator. Even the most conscientious middleman can not stop the inevitable: words, ideas, and strongly made points will inevitably be lost in translation.

I recently responded to @Newsweek about their request for people’s 6 word assessments of the American educational system today. Mine: Not what I envisioned as teacher.

This being said, I think once the testing hysteria passes the first week of May, I’ll make more of a concerted effort to bring parents in. Life will be considerably lighter by then. I’ll have (slightly) more time and freedom to pursue ideas with my class regarding how we can bring their parents in to actively witness what’s going on. And, keeping in mind that you can’t have involvement without having people in, I will assess our success and begin next school year with eyes on expanding and improving parents’ investment in my classroom.

Certain things transcend language, and I think one of them is humanity. Let the parents see me not only as the teacher of their children, a man they may worry about approaching because they don’t feel invited to do so. Let me not see the parents as the people students refer to as, “my mom” or, “my dad,” but rather as human beings who can positively impact what I’m going for. And let us all reap the benefits.

What a Way to Start a Day


I woke up to several unexpected inbox items this morning, and happily, I can say the urge (read: overwhelming need) to use the bathroom 15 minutes before my alarm sounded gave me a chance to enjoy them before work. (Sorry for the borderline TMI there. Don’t turn away).

First of all, I was treated to a bevy of unexpected, unsolicited, blog comments. Okay, here, “bevy” means two, but I’ll take it. Most uplifting were the complimentary thoughts left by newbie blogger Gingersalad, who wrote,

“Hi! I admire your not-so-hearty liking of the educational system, your ingenious Mosaic project, and your genuine concern for your students. I wish I have teachers like you in my school. Ah well. But thank you, thank you from across the country, thank you for being a teacher who cares.” 

And, thank you, Gingersalad, for taking the time to so thoughtfully acknowledge what I’m trying to do. (Side note: check out the burgeoning blog, linked above. Looks like Ginger is feeling out what the focus of the blog will be, but there’s some good writing already up).

This reminded me of a colleague of mine (text-to-self connection!) who spent weeks preparing an ESL lesson for a dozen administrators, and later learned it was the best one seen that day (according to our principal). The way this intrepid teacher put it was along the lines of, “One compliment and suddenly I love being a teacher again.” In a profession where there is so much negativity, we live for the dangling carrot of sincere appreciation. It’s nice to know people out there still appreciate teachers! 

Next up for my review was an email from one of last year’s students, who experienced the Mosaic Project in all its seminal glory. She wrote to say that her sister is getting married and “l keep begging her to let me be her photogropher.” Okay, maybe the spelling remains the same, but it is wonderful to hear how much photography has become a part of her being. Her sister relented, because the email concludes with, “she said ok and i got so excited,because i love taking pictures”. This was particularly wonderful to read just a couple of days after writing here about how different - and not in a good way – this year’s Mosaic was going to be. Perhaps this year’s class is not getting quite the same experience, but maybe there’s a spark being kindled for their future.

Lastly, the published versions of what students were working on for the Mosaic Project (ie. “painting” a picture with words, rather than taking one with a camera as a way to project one’s image of the neighborhood) were due today. Only 15 came back (this class does have major issues with homework), but some of them were really sincere. They carried an almost nostalgic quality to them. Very deep for fifth graders. Here’s a sample (I’m attempting a foray into pseudo-pseudonyms, so let’s see if I can keep this straight):

Nick: “(My neighborhood) smells like fresh plants on a spring day…When I (run) as fast as a cheetah, the wind (feels) good like if I were flying with my wings spread out. In winter, I always play snowball fights. And the best part in winter is hot chocolate. When it’s fall, I invite my friends to come. We gather leaves chipperly.”

Leo: “The wind is just floating and it says nothing.”

Compatible Felicia: “It is so quiet that I could hear the air blowing.”

Esperanza: “I am humble about (my neighborhood). Some people might think it is grotesque, but to me, it’s a jewel. I consider people very unfortunate that they don’t have a neighborhood like mine.” (No, you haven’t tuned into NBC, despite the plethora of properly used Olympic words).

Bradley: “I don’t know why some people walk and some people drive…But if there were no cars, this neighborhood wouldn’t be the same. It would be too quiet, and I’m not used to that…Who ever made this neighborhood probably brags a lot because it’s like a jewel, so it’s too pretty to be humble about.”

Gladys: “There is a bakery on the corner of the street. Just filled with different kinds of scents. Like fresh cookies out of the oven. And the chocolate melting. And also like cheesecake and angel food cake. It’s heaven in there.”

Mighty Mouse: “In the summer…I will only think about should I stay home, drink cold water, and eat fruit? Or go buy ice cream in the hotness.”

Pinky: “I do feel safe and comfortable. It is where I originated. I don’t feel danger in my neighborhood because I know everyone in my neighborhood. Even though they don’t know me.”

Capt. Potential: “What I like about my neighborhood is when I wake up, I hear birds singing.”

Santa Claus: “I know my neighborhood blindfolded, no one knows more about this neighborhood more than I do…My neighborhood is sometimes scary, all lights off or gangs passing by and there’s a conflict between them. I avert them.”

Many of them used their Olympic words (which are working out much better than earlier in the week), as well as similes, and very few forced them in. We’re going for organic, and we’re getting organic!

Thanks for stopping by and checking in. Enjoy the weekend!

Shattered Mosaic


The Mosaic Project should have been one of the highlights of my students’ final year in elementary school. They would be studying photography, learning about different types of phtographs, and taking the cameras home to capture shots of their cultural and neighborhood experiences.

Why not? That’s what I did last year in my first year of the project, so at worst, this year would be a repeat. At best, I would improve on last year’s and continue doing so throughout my career.

Unfortunately, the best laid plans often find a way of going to waste, don’t they? With the restructuring of the all important testing schedule, so that my dear children will face double the pressure in a span of less than 2 weeks (rather than 3 months), all designs of a wonderful Mosaic experience have essentially been shattered.

Last year, my students produced over 100 photographs. Everyone displayed a shot of their neighborhood and most produced photos of their cultures. This year, cultural photoraphy wasn’t even an option, given the time constraints. (The enrichment project effectively ends next week, rather than May, like last year). Weather-related closings and the simple fact that I don’t trust cameras in the rain have made it difficult for me to send students home with them. With our deadline looming next week, I have sent a camera home with a grand total of only seven students (out of 28). Yikes.

Today, I let the class know that there would be absolutely no way everyone would be able to have a photograph displayed, given our looming deadline. Yet, I’m fully aware that all my students need to feel some connection to this suddenly uninviting, exclusive project. So today, I asked the students who won’t wind up taking photos to revisit their notes from our meditation exercise of some time ago, when we naively, exuberantly stood on the precipice of what promised to be an unforgettable learning experience.

I knew I had to do a serious sell job on this, considering envious eyes were watching as I distributed colorful, intriguing papers to the students who had already taken the camera (they were charged with a different, photo-related task). Basically, I framed the work for the non-photographers this way: even though you won’t have an actual picture to display, you can paint a picture with your words. So, let’s look at this as an opportunity to create a real tribute to your neighborhood. Maybe you love it. Maybe you hate it. But take the time and the effort to craft something – something almost poetic – that will show our guests what your neighborhood means to you.

Well, some bought it, and are taking very seriously the disappointing task set before them. It’s a let down, but it’s the best I can do at this point.

It’s a tough spot, and just another reason to give thanks to the deity that is the standardized testing culture. Hey, without them, my students might have actually been able to fulfill their photographic potential. But why would anyone want that? There’s no point. It’s all about the tests.

The First Pictures Come Back


Six photographers have been born in the last few days in my class. The first round of students to take cameras home in an effort to capture their neighborhood in an image have returned with some interesting shots. (Read about The Mosaic Project here).

Presented for your consideration, then, are a smattering of the first photographs created by my students this year. Enjoy, and when you’re done, go take a look at some of last year’s work by clicking here.

Mosaic Project Gaining Steam


Just wanted to pop on here to let you all know that the first round of photographers in my class brought back some images today. Three more will tomorrow. I will post some of their best work in the coming days.

(Click the link to the Mosaic Project for more information).

Taking Steps Toward Tolerance and Acceptance


There’s been a consistent gnawing at my cocoon of happiness regarding my class this year. While, in general, I find them to be an amiable, enjoyable bunch, I find that many of them lack one of my crucial requirements as a member of my classroom community – sensitivity toward others. 

It might be that they are unnerved easily. This might explain why, when we broached the topic of the Haiti disaster for the first time, and one of the students said she heard a lot of people died, two girls immediately burst into laughter. I was appalled and angered. The topic of death, or even the mention of someone dying, seems to bring out chuckles from this group. It always surprises me. I never expect it. 

The catalysts for today’s afternoon lesson (which I took some liberties in teaching – sometimes time is of the essence, though) were a couple of events that transpired over the previous two days. 

Before we left for the Broadway trip on Wednesday, I spoke with the ones who were going and made it clear how I expected them to handle themselves among their peers when they returned to school on Thursday. I knew they were listening and processing my words because everyone of them wore that slackjawed, tongue-wagging visage that says, “This guy is saying something important. He isn’t messing around. I can’t miss this.” Eyes were locked upon me as I told them they were not to discuss the trip with anyone who wasn’t on it unless asked. And if they were asked, they should say something like, “It was very nice. Thank you for asking. I’m sorry you weren’t there.” (As previously reported, this whole experience was difficult enough as it was without the ‘chosen ones’ pointing their noses in the air). 

Of course, Thursday morning, the class was particularly chatty. I have a pretty smoothly run classroom for the most part, save for maybe a couple of couplets that disrupt the others during quiet times in the day (such as reading). But on Thursday, it was a constant murmur. I was letting it go, just to see how it would play out. (I also feel there are some days when the kids align their stars in such a way that battling them isn’t worth the trouble, and as long as they’re staying on task for the most part, let it be. I mean, they are kids, after all). Anyway, I felt like Broadway was the topic fueling the chatter, and I have little doubt some of the play attendees were stoking the fire with their newfound sense of entitlement. 

Now, the lunch aide who monitors my class usually has nothing but lovely things to say about them. Truth be told, my class may be the only one quiet when I return to them after eating. But when I came back yesterday, she was incensed. They hadn’t been listening to her, she said, and that’s what set me off. So I launched into one of those slackjawed, tongue-wagging speeches, and the day proceeded beautifully. I made special mention that I was aware of what the kids who went on the trip were doing, and then laid on some pretty thick guilt, which, I’m sorry to say, is sometimes necessary. Today continued the smoothness of Thursday afternoon. 

The second issue that had me thinking occurred as we waited outside the doors of the theater before the show Wednesday. A man with a noticeable limp, being aided by a crutch and a companion, came down the stairs. On cue, and in unison, 15 heads turned to stare at him (slackjawed, tongue-wagging heads, I might add). There was down time, and they were enjoying eachother’s company, but here I stepped in to engage them in conversation about the theater. Much attention returned to me, but several remained fixated on the man as he walked down the stairs. 

When the students had remembered themselves (or gotten my point about not staring), I noticed one boy still fascinated by this man. I called him over to sit with me for a moment. He’s one of the top students in the class. Extremely studious, dynamic personality, and the kind of kid who ‘gets it’ when you talk to him about respecting others or doing the right thing. I told him that that man was just another person. Maybe he had something happen to him that made him need help walking, but he was still a person, just like us. There was nothing to look at, I told my student. He nodded, and I sent him back. 

(Kids will be kids, surely. I was much more understanding of incident number 2, the staring, because kids are always fascinated by something new to them, and I suspect many of them have hardly been in contact with a person with a disability. I chalk it up to inexperience and innocence. Incident number 1, though, I categorize as maliciousness toward fellow classmates – something for which I have a firmly stated zero tolerance policy). 

Last night, with frustration bubbling in me, I debated whether to stay home today and catch a break. Yet, knowing it was a two prep day and a couple of things were working in my favor for the afternoon, I figured I’d go in and see what I could do to take some steps toward tolerance. My class enjoys music, and I knew I wanted to do something through song. I pored over the internet for a couple of hours, trying to find a school-appropriate version of Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Don’t Laugh at Me” and accompanying lesson plans and ideas. (Note: I’ve since ordered the kit to teach this wonderful song. You can do so here.) 

When that didn’t materialize, I considered Kermit’s classic ode to individuality, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” I decided it was a little too lower elementary for my class, and that the slow tempo might turn them off. So, finally, I settled on “What a Wonderful World,” with the idea that the students would conceptualize their vision of a wonderful world and then illustrate it. Down the road, I planned to have them transfer these ideas to the bigger concept of our responsibilty to each other as humans. 

I copied the lyrics this morning and went to prepare the CD (I keep a box set of Louis Armstrong’s in the classroom). The only problem was the song was not on the set. So I defaulted to option number two – another Peter, Paul, and Mary recording, and an iconic American song, “This Land is Your Land.” I had the CD in school already, so I printed and copied the lyrics. 

I introduced it in the afternoon by asking the students to look at the lyrics and discuss the theme of the song. What was Woody Guthrie trying to say when he wrote it? Responses were fairly simple, but pretty much on the money: anyone can live in the U.S. freely; it’s not just yours or mine, but ours, etc. I gave them a little help on some of the lyrics and emphasized the notions of Americana in the song, and then we listened. 

(One thing that tickles me about this class is their love of music. Getting last year’s class to sing was about as easy as getting an elephant to sit down at the dinner table and use a knife and fork. This group really likes to hear music and sing along – which only motivates me to sing things to them wherever I can). 

We gave it a couple of listens and they took notes about what they saw in the song – what they could draw or create to symbolize the theme of the song. After two listens, one of the girls – one of the ones who laughed about Haiti – said, “Aw, come on, one more time!” How could I refuse? I played it for her, “by special request.” They were singing now – all of them – and enjoying themselves. After the third listen, I put their task in front of them: they would be responsible for creating a picture that symbolized their interpretation of the song. 

And they were off! Here came the markers. Here came the scissors. Here came the fresh glue sticks (but only after they informed me matter of factly that the old ones had all died). Paper was passed, both white and construction, and they were pondering with pencils in hand what they would draw. Then inspiration hit. Looking to combine The Mosaic Project with this initial foray into tolerance, I distributed old photography magazines and encouraged collages and creativity.

"All of U Fit In" - one of the messages I hope to impress upon my students. (More work below).

That was it. They worked for over an hour planning and pasting their scenes. (I couldn’t resist, and started creating my own!) The range was large, and the sensitivity was evident. 

It’s a beginning. I plan to explore “What a Wonderful World” and “Don’t Laugh at Me” in the future. With my guidance, I am hoping these impressionable sponges get my message: that this land is our land and you shouldn’t be laughing at each other. So realize it’s not so bad being green and help make our classroom a wonderful world of caring citizens. 

You Can Help a Class Learn Photography


As you know, I am teaching my class about photography. We recently received cameras from Donors Choose – yet we still can’t start without your help!

My 28 fifth graders are all living in poverty. They are anxiously waiting to start taking pictures and apply their newfound knowledge of photography. They are eager to show themselves and others the amazing work they are capable of doing.

We have a big problem, though. While we were thrilled to receive three beautiful new digital cameras through the generosity of folks on Donors Choose, we were disheartened to discover that the vendor no longer carried what we requested. We were expecting memory cards and cases to come with our cameras, but they didn’t.

Now, we need your help. Without these essential accessories, all we have is cameras that can’t do anything except sit idly by.

We need memory cards to capture our bound-to-be-beautiful photos. Camera cases will protect our cameras when our teacher allows us to take them home.

With cameras, cases, and cards, we will be able to tackle the challenge of capturing captivating photographs of our bustling neighborhood, and then share them with the community.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to help a group of eager young photographers. Please provide us with the funds to purchase memory cards and camera cases. Please provide us with memories for a lifetime

 —

If you’re able and willing, I’d be ever so grateful for any amount of money you can donate to help me purchase some resources essential for The Mosaic Project.

Please follow the link to Donors Choose and give! Thanks so much.

My Neighborhood Is…


Here is a sample of my students’ (unedited) observations about their neighborhood, crafted after the elevator activity described in an earlier post.

My neighborhood is…

My neighborhood is the best because I'm surrounded with the people that love me.

…the memory of myself and my whole familly.

…a cat city with cats everywhere.

…the best because Im surrounded with the people that love me.

…cold, has trees and short building but nobody can forget the loveing of it neighborhood.

…quit and joyful place and that the place I was born again.

…interesting because amazing thing happen here that were really special to me when I move in the first time ever.

…a place that is very crowded, it is full with feeling, and joy.

…the world and it’s filled with people that has diffrent culchers.

…awsome because I live nere friends and family.

…really quit that you could hear the air blowing.

…fun and croded in the day time and in the morning is quet.