Painting Light

HOW TO PAINT LIGHT

I teach students how to paint and draw light. I am also a lighting specialist. My fascination with light encompasses, not only the commercial, retailing aspect, but the artistic as well. Once drawing and painting skills are developed to the point where students can accurately put down what they see, creating light and shadow is studied and faithfully delineated subject matter emerges in a world of space and volume.

LEARNING TO SEE

Basically, the depiction of light and shadow is accomplished by using dark and light colors in painting and tonal gradations in drawing. For a beginning student this often requires some visual skills.. First, I tell the student it is necessary to convert what they see to a two-dimensional vision that they can translate to a two-dimensional surface like a canvas or a sketchbook page.

POWERFUL GRIDS

Seeing objects two-dimensionally can be done in several ways. The easiest (and most time-tested) is to construct a grid in front of the subject matter–that could be actual objects, a photo or a picture. This can be done most simply by holding a pencil vertically and horizontally against the viewed objects, comparing their shapes to the vertical and horizontal lines of the pencil.

Another time-tested method is to literally construct a grid on plate glass or Plexiglas and place that grid in front of the objects. Now the viewed objects are intersected by many squares (depending on how large or small the squares in the grid are.) Each quadrant (square) of the grid can then be painted or drawn independently and upon completing the entire grid, the composition of objects is finished to compose an accurate picture of the objects.

Light and shadow are more easily discerned and created with this grid method. How objects are illuminated can be defined on paper or canvas by observing and re-creating light and shadow at play in each quadrant. In accomplishing this by shading and highlighting, illumination and therefore, volume is created, the illusion of the three-dimensional space is created, reborn on a two-dimensional surface.

EARLY LINE AND COLOR

Accuracy, as well as light and shadow were not always the motivation behind depicting artful images. Before the Renaissance, art works in Europe depicted objects ( figures, landscapes, buildings) in a flat space. There was no light and shadow. Figures were delineated and colored in a style much like a coloring book. These images translated well to stained glass windows and mosaics. Their simplicity of line and color contributed to the strength of the iconography, often of religious significance.

EARTHLY LIGHT

With the discovery of perspective, space and volume became important to artists as well as the depiction of light and shadow. Symbolic icons and images described by line gave way to depictions of illuminated space. In perspective, objects recede and advance in a two-dimensional space that is totally visually believable. To augment the receding and advancing figures with directional light and shadow completed the believability, creating a world the eye could explore as a simulated, illuminated three-dimensional environment.

GOLD LEAF TO EARTHLY LIGHT

Spiritual light, the vehicle of infinity was often expressed with the use of gold leaf in Medieval altarpieces. The warm, glowing, reflective surface behind religious figures imbued the work with a rich and reassuring statement-the glory of heaven and God’s power. A more earthly light replaced gold leaf in the Renaissance. Spiritual figures were bathed in sunlight and swathed in shadow. The light that illuminated the humble shepherds was the same light that shone on Jesus and his followers.

REPEATING HISTORY

It is interesting to me that the journey a beginning drawing or painting student takes often replicates the historical transition from the Medieval use of line and color-in style to the Renaissance application of illuminated space and volume. And, with more advanced students, their journey often continues to repeat the contemporary return to line and color-in, the preference for depicting flat, shallow space and solid color.

I find this reassuring. The art world is wide open, brimming with many styles, images, materials and skills. For today’s artist, everything is available, to use towards a creative purpose. All of history as well as the latest technological/digital images are ready to be researched and developed.

Underground Electric Dog Fence

An underground electric dog fence is a great way to keep your dog safe from the street or roaming into uninvited areas like your neighbor’s yard. They come in a variety of sizes to fit all dogs: underground fences for little dogs of under 12 lbs, average sized dogs and even large dogs as well as extra wire for larger acres of land. The electric fence can be buried underground, stapled above ground or attached along an existing fence. These fences give precise and consistent correction and some are specifically made for the stubborn dog with strong retriever tendencies or low sensitivity and in need of beeps and stronger vibration for them to get the message.

These underground wired fences work on slopes or in hilly areas, treed lots, in water and acres of land. Their precision and consistent correction capabilities allow for good reliability near busy streets. The variety of collars that are interchangeable make them great for small dogs, like a Chihuahua or a large dog like a Great Dane.

A small indentation or groove made in the pavement is big enough for the wire to be brought beyond the driveway to the extended yard making the dog fence very practical, just backfill the driveway with outdoor sealant. If you don’t want to buy wire get the staples and run the wire above ground. Zip ties can help you secure the wire along an existing fence.

Correction depends upon the dog receiving the   transmission . Therefore, you need to make sure that the receiver collar is the right size for your dog. It should not be smaller than the space of your two fingers between the collar and his neck (we don’t want to choke poor “Pooch”!), but the prongs need to touch the skin of your dog in order for the shock to be felt. Remember, it’s a harmless shock that is meant to catch your dog’s attention and change his current behavior. Long or medium haired dogs may need a scissor cut around the neck area so the prongs will contact the skin. If necessary, there are long pronged collars available for the long haired dog as well.

We love our dogs but, let’s face it, nothing is certain with them for dogs are naturally impulsive. Therefore, even with the underground electric dog fence training is imperative if you want a great chance of solid obedience. We highly recommend training the dog before actually using any system. Flags are available for training the dog to learn the boundary. Take 2-3 weeks, depending on your dog, to walk around the boundary with the flags so “Pooch” can see where the boundary is. Then place the collar on him and walk around with him guiding him to retreat when the signal on the collar transmits a warning. Before you know it, your dog will readily stay within the boundary of the underground electric dog fence without your presence because he won’t know that he can run through it!

5 Daily Habits That May Shorten Your Life Span

The human body is considered as the greatest wonder. You are the person who is responsible for habits that may shorten your life span. No one else is to blame. The body of the humans is believed to be built for living more than a century, but the present situation shows that only the half of that can be taken as an average life span. The life span is shortened mainly due to the habits developed by the humans. Those habits can harm the whole system adversely. Any habit will take a fixed period of time to turn into a regular pattern. Avoiding the habits which are harmful is not such a Herculean task. So it is high time you reclaim the control of your life and live. There are mainly five habits that shorten your life span and that should be avoided.

Unbalanced Diet

You take in food to provide your body with the necessary nutrients which are inevitable for the proper working of the various systems of the human body. But think once more, do your diet has all the essential nutrients? If your body is not getting the vital nutrients it will not function properly. This is sure to shorten your life span considerably.

Drugs

Taking in drugs and toxic substances is another grave problem. Alcohol and such other intoxicating substances are silent killers of your body organs. Alcohol can cause damage to you heart, liver and such other vital organs. The effect of cardiac and liver problems is well known to every one. Thus the intake of intoxicating substances can shorten your life span dramatically. Not just that, these substances can make the living period itself as painful as hell.

Tobacco

Tobacco also comes under the category of toxic substances. It can destroy the cells in the lungs. Smoking is a major cause of cancer around the world. Chewing of tobacco and other like substances can cause mouth cancer. Once you are affected by these diseases, it will be a great distress not only for you but for the people closer to you also. Smoking is a huge factor that shortens your life span.

Stress

The busy life has a very bad level of stress. Stress has a lot to do with the health of a person. The life of a person can be worth living only if his mind and body work in perfect harmony. The mental breakdown is one of the main reasons which leads people to the habits of alcohol consumption, drugs and smoking. Avoiding stress can work wonders in one’s life. Stress is the sure by-product of this ultra modern era, but there are ways to avoid it. It should be avoided. Otherwise you will be the hunt of many diseases and your life span will also be affected.

Lack of Exercise

With the development of technology the human body is having very less workout. The adverse effects of having less or even zero exercise is very disturbing. If your body is not getting enough exercise, the calories taken in will get deposited in different parts of your body. These unwanted fat deposits will eventually cause health problems

Staying Healthy: HIPAA Training

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is fondly known as HIPAA. It is a law that was enacted to provide protection and safeguard against the issuance of confidential medical information of individual patients. HIPAA specifies that those who work in the medical industry receive training in the laws and procedures of patient information security. Hospitals, physicians, nurses, researchers, and insurance companies are required to understand and be certified in HIPAA rules and regulations. There are those who work as medical staff, clerks and records clerks who must also be trained. HIPAA training teaches policies, organization, and protections as well as the procedures involved in maintaining patient security and privacy rights.

HIPAA Training

If an organization is deemed a covered entity by the medical community that organization is required to provide HIPAA training to all employees, agents, volunteers, trainees and contractors. As a definition, a covered entity handles, stores, and uses private medical information.

HIPAA training can be obtained in several different ways. Generally HIPAA training is completed at the time of first employment with training sessions conducted throughout the employee’s career. Training can be conducted between the execution of agreements, though educational conferences, classes and seminars, on the job training, in newsletter updates, online or several other methods. Whatever way you choose to administer HIPAA training, you will be required to provide employees with certification and keep copies of these certificates on file.

It is possible to incorporate HIPAA training using an agreement entitled a privacy, confidentiality and information security document. This instrument is used at the time employment begins and throughout the employee’s career. Policies of the HIPAA laws and of the clinic will be included and the employee will be tested on HIPAA privacy issues. There should also be signatures from both the employee and the employer stating that training has been offered and the employee is certified. If there is a problem with HIPAA policies or a breach of confidentially and security these documents are the proof that the employee and the employer were trained and signed off on the HIPAA laws.

HIPAA educational courses are dependent on how the employer will handle protected health information and how the employees will use this information. The classes discuss procedures and policies for handling information to be in compliance with HIPAA laws. Written procedures are required to be available in the office, and these written documents describe how patient data is handled, what the policies are in case of a breach, and how a security breach will be documented.

Transmitting Patient Information via Computers

A covered entity stores and exchanges protected medical records through its computer system. HIPAA designates procedures that must be followed. For example computers must be password protected, provide limited access, and have additional back up security procedures. Training regarding the usage of electronic   transmission  of patient data includes computerized exercises developed to create potential HIPAA violations. The tools are given to the employee to resolve the breach. Exercises are documented and graded. This type of training can be very effective when certifying employees in HIPAA security methods.

The Top Three Benefits of Changing Transmission Fluid

There has always been some debate on the pros and cons of changing your transmission fluid on a routine basis, per your vehicle owner’s manual recommendation. One of the many rumored suspicions is that doing so will open your car up to having dreaded transmission issues sooner. To debunk those conspiracy theories, let’s get into the meat of the topic and explore, together, why it absolutely makes sense to change it regularly; and how not doing so could actually cause your car to run sluggishly – potentially costing you precious pennies in the long run!

1) Heat is the enemy

The number one reason that manufacturers recommend you change your transmission fluid regularly is because it degrades as it continually heats up during driving. There are exhaustive studies about the precise temperatures in which its effectiveness actually wanes. Suffice it to say that most owner’s manuals duly recommend changing your fluid every 30,000 miles. There is one exception to this rule: newer vehicles using Dexron III ATF fluid can often go up to 100,000 miles before needing to be changed. As you drive, and the transmission heats up, the viscosity of your fluid changes; over time, this heat causes transmissions to burn up and this is the single-most cause of transmission repairs today – burned up transmissions.

2) Gunk and sludge

As your transmission continues to heat up and it continues to break down, your car’s transmission components begin to get bogged down with gunk and sludge. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that gunk and sludge are going to clog up your transmission gears, causing unnatural wear and tear on your vehicle’s transmission. If you want your transmission to continue to operate smoothly, it is vital to keep it clean.

3) Leaky seals and putrid odors

No, I’m not talking about a horror flick here. A well-maintained machine is one whose owner regularly checks the transmission fluid levels – yes, using the dipstick! You should ideally check your transmission fluid level when your engine is warm and idling. Transmission fluid should be bright red and should smell sweet, not putrid or rancid. It shouldn’t be brown or black or even dark red. It should look like the tip of the spindle after Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger. If your transmission fluid level is low, or the color is not right, it’s time to change your transmission fluid and check (or have checked by the mechanic) all of the seals around the transmission for leaks.

If you want your transmission to last throughout the life of the car, it is imperative that you change your transmission fluid regularly, following your owner’s manual guidelines and a few common sense rules. In today’s world of disposable everything – neglecting your transmission can be a rude awakening to your wallet. The potential costs associated with ignoring the routine maintenance guidelines on your transmission could total thousands of dollars that would be better spent on a nice, warm vacation to a sunny spot this summer.

Electrolyte Replenishment After Exercise

Everyone knows that we should stay well hydrated during exercise. When we exercise our body temperature elevates. Our body responds by sweating, this is its way of cooling down. How much we sweat depends of the weather, the intensity of the workout, and even the clothing we are wearing. No matter how much we sweat we lose water and electrolytes when we sweat. This fluid loss is called dehydration. Severe dehydration could seriously impact our health.

Our bodies maintain a very delicate balance of various chemicals to survive. Water is an important component in this balance. In fact, our bodies contain a high percentage of water. Our brain is 70% water as are our muscles. Even our bones contain water. Water helps release toxins from our muscles, kidneys, and liver. So we definitely need to drink water. However, when we sweat we do not just lose water. We also lose electrolytes. Water does not contain electrolytes.

Electrolytes are ions of certain minerals. Ions are positively or negatively charged atoms or molecules. The ions or electrolytes in our bodies help regulate certain metabolic functions. For instance, the negative and positive charges of electrolytes are necessary for the electrical stimulation that contracts our muscles, including our heart. Electrolytes also control the flow of water molecules to the cells. And just like with water, maintaining our electrolyte levels, is critical to our health.

The mineral ions that make up electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate and hydrogen carbonate.

SODIUM

  • Assists with electrical impulses in the body allowing brain function and muscle contraction.
  • Affects urine production.
  • Helps maintain proper acid-base balance in the body.
  • Aids in maintaining blood pressure.

POTASSIUM

  • Important in the production of electrical impulses that contract muscles and in brain function.
  • Helps regulate fluids in the cells.
  • Aids in the   transmission  of nerve impulses.
  • Regulates the heartbeat.
  • Aids in digestion.
  • One study links potassium to bone health.

CALCIUM

  • Builds and maintains bones.
  • Part of the necessary electrolytes for nerve impulses and muscle contraction.

MAGNESIUM

  • Involved with the relaxation of the muscles that surround the bronchial tubes.
  • Assists in muscle contraction.
  • Helps activate the neurons in the brain.
  • Assists with enzyme activities.
  • Involved in the synthesis of protein.

CHLORIDE

  • Helps regulate balance of body fluids.
  • Aids in maintaining blood pressure

HYDROGEN PHOSPHATE

  • Assists in controlling the acidity level of the blood.
  • Is instrumental in calcium being deposited in the bones.

HYDROGEN CARBONATE

  • Contributive in maintaining the normal levels of acidity in the fluids of the body, in particular the blood
  • Helps keep the acid-base balance in the body.

Electrolyte replenishment drinks have been shown to provide certain benefits that water alone cannot. One study showed that runners who had consumed a carbohydrate electrolyte sports drink had a higher aerobic capacity than those of the placebo group. In another study, this one measuring the athletes speed, the group that had consumed the sports drink posted faster times than the placebo group. Electrolyte replenishment drinks help retain fluid and use it more efficiently during exercise. Those which include carbohydrates help stave off muscle fatigue.

One thing to beware of is that some sports drinks have a very high sugar content. There are sports drinks with upwards of 70 grams of sugar per serving and some with as little as 12. Despite this the American College of Sports Medicine have found that sports drinks are beneficial in providing energy to muscles, maintaining blood sugar levels, and preventing dehydration, making electrolyte replacement absolutely vital! So make sure to drink plenty of water in your daily life and after you exercise, think of having an electrolyte replenishment drink.

HPV Information

One great thing about the information age is the amount of free information that exists out there. There are a lot of great things to be had out there and if you are a smart person, you can simply find it with ease. For instance, if you are looking online there is a myriad of information regarding diseases that you used to not know about. Of course I’m talking about sexually transmitted diseases, which are interesting to note and are increasing in irregularity. These modern times do not fair well for transmittable disease, because the more we travel and the more we throw caution out the window, the more we raise our chances of getting infected. If you are looking for good HPV Information, you are in luck. There is a long line of websites out there that have information about this.

Rewind time a little bit and you can really figure out that things used to be worse than they are now. You used to have to wait a long time to get any information about your disease. Not only that, before the computer age, you didn’t have early detection for a lot of things, and the death toll for cancer rose to astronomical levels. Not just in America, we’re talking worldwide, and if you wanted to learn more about diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases, you had to venture to school and take a lot of different classes. Now we are lucky and we can find information like HPV Information, with the greatest of ease. There is a lot of ease in gathering information, but it’s not as simple as you’d like to think.

There are a lot of different things that you need to know in life, and one of the must know things has to be HPV Information. Education is key to understanding what is out there and what can harm you. You wouldn’t risk your life by jumping out of a building or a plane, without at least having a parachute, and that is what education gives you in regards to sexually transmitted diseases. Education can lead to protection and if you are going to survive the onslaught of bacteria that is going to hit you while you are partying it up, you are going to need a good head on your shoulders and a smart wit.

HPV Information is readily available if you search for it online. In recent years, there has been a lot of attention in regards to this and many other diseases that you might see out there. You need to protect yourself and your partner. You need to be smart, and you need to protect yourself in any cases. If you have not been careful, then see a doctor fast, and enjoy the greater fruits of love that is available. HPV Information is not hard to find, it is easily found online and in many different areas. Even if you don’t see symptoms, you should at least know what is going on around you, which is the smart thing to do.

Yeast Infection Information

What is the yeast infection?

A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast organisms in the genital area. Women usually get yeast infections in the vaginal area. Men can get a yeast infection on the penis.

What is of causes of yeast infection?

Yeast infections are not usually sexually transmitted. Although many women get a yeast infection without any noticeable cause, it can be triggered by anything that changes the natural balance of micro-organisms in the vagina, such as taking antibiotic medication.

People with certain diseases, including diabetes and HIV infection, are especially vulnerable to yeast infections.

Symptoms of a yeast infection?

Symptoms may include itching, soreness, or a burning sensation in the vagina, and a thick, cottage-cheese-like discharge. In men, itching and rash at the head of the penis is the most common symptom.

Symptoms of yeast infection in women?

For women, your doctor or other health-care provider will collect a sample of fluid with a small swab from the vagina and have it tested at a laboratory. For men, a yeast infection can usually be diagnosed by a simple visual exam.

Treatment of yeast infection

Medicated creams, vaginal suppositories, or pills taken by mouth can be used to cure a yeast infection. Many of these treatments are available without a prescription at drugstores. You should see a doctor if your yeast infection won’t go away after you’ve taken a full course of medication, or if it keeps returning, as there may be other causes of your symptoms as colloidal silver.

What happens if a yeast infection is left untreated?

Discomfort and inconvenience are the worst problems associated with a yeast infection.

Do sex partners have to be treated?

In general, sex partners do not need to be treated unless they have symptoms.

By the way, women can also get yeast infections from men. So it’s important to treat both partners if a yeast infection is suspected. To minimize the risk of passing the infection to a partner, it is generally recommended that you abstain from sexual activity until all of your symptoms are gone

What if I’m pregnant?

We don’t know of any serious effects – on the mother or the baby – of a yeast infection

During pregnancy, but you should tell your doctor that you’re pregnant when you seek

Treatment for a yeast infection as colloidal silver.

A yeast infection is not usually sexually transmitted. However, all pregnant women should be tested for diseases that ARE sexually transmitted (STDs), including HIV, as early as possible in pregnancy. You should be tested again during your pregnancy if you or your partner engages in activities that increase your risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). For example, you are at higher risk for STDs if you have a new sex partner during pregnancy, or if you have more than one partner. If left untreated, STDs can be devastating for your baby. To protect yourself and your baby against HIV and other STDs, use a latex condom whenever you have sex.

How can I avoid a yeast infection?

Avoiding unnecessary antibiotic medication may help reduce the risk of a yeast infection.

A yeast infection is generally not sexually transmitted. You can reduce your risk of getting most other infections that ARE sexually transmitted, including HIV, by having sex only in mutually monogamous relationship with a partner you are sure is not infected. If you are having sex outside of such a relationship, you can reduce your risk of STDs by:

1) Always using a latex condom (or other type of latex barrier) whenever you have sex vaginal, anal, or oral. Condoms made of “natural” materials, such as lambskin, protect against pregnancy, but not against STDs. If you are allergic to latex, you can use condoms made of polyurethane or other synthetic materials.

2) Limiting the number of people you have sex with. The more partners you have, the higher your risk.

3) Avoiding alcohol and drugs when you have sex. Drinking or getting high makes it much harder to remember to use condoms to protect yourself and other.

Windscreen Wiper Water May Cause Pneumonia and Here’s How to Prevent It

Legionnaires’ disease, a rare disease, is a severe bacterial infection affecting respiratory tract (pneumonia). The organism involved in this condition is Legionella pneumophila that usually founds in mist from hot tubs, air-conditioning units and showers. Transmission occurs by breathing in mist from water that contains these bacteria. General symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle pain and headaches.

Windscreen wiper may cause Legionnaires disease A recent study found that “Windscreen wiper water may be the cause of 20% of cases of Legionnaires’ disease and adding screen-wash to wiper fluids could save lives”. This finding is based on a case-control study which surveyed the driving habits and known risk factors of the Legionnaires’ disease. They study was conducted after an unusual high number of cases were reported in England and Wales and around this time it was well established that professional drivers were five times more likely to get Legionnaires’ than people from other lines of work. The study was aimed to further explore the possible reasons for the difference between the occupations.

The researchers contacted the 75 surviving cases who had acquired Legionnaires’ disease and also included 67 control people without the disease. The participants were provided with a questionnaire asking about their driving habits, other recognized risk factors and possible illness sources in the vehicles. They were asked what kind of vehicle they drove, its age, car service history, content of the wiper fluid tank and whether their driving was for societal or occupation reasons.

The results showed that two factors were associated with a high likelihood of being infected: driving all the way through industrial areas and driving or being a traveler in a motor vehicle that used windscreen wiper fluid with no screen-wash. The researchers calculated that about 22% of infections in people could be due to driving or being a traveler in a car that did not use screen-wash in the windscreen wiper fluid. The detected a firm link between people who do not use screen-wash and the danger of Legionnaires’ disease. Although because of case-control nature of study it cannot confirm causation, the investigators state there is a reasonable biological connection. They believe it is plausible that the bacteria grow in the sluggish water of the wiper’s fluid tank that can become an aerosol when it is sprayed onto the windshield.

Though not proved causal relation, until more conclusive results comes, it is advisable to add screen-wash to your car’s wiper fluid as it can limit the transmission of bacterial causing Legionnaires’ disease.

Novel Ideas – Six Unique Ways to Introduce a New Novel to Your Class

There is nothing more exciting than introducing students to a great piece of literature. Conversely, there is nothing more disappointing than students’ lack of enthusiasm about a book you truly love. Unfortunately, your fervor about a novel does not always translate into cheers and applause on the part of your students. Reading a novel requires a lot of investment. Even novels with high-action plots take a while to build momentum. How can you quickly bolster students’ interest at the start of a new book? Below are six sure-fire ways to get your class excited about a new novel.

PLOT PIECES. Divide students into groups. Assign each group one page from a different part of the novel. After they have read the page, ask students to compose a paragraph that outlines the plot of the novel. To do this, students will have to use context clues gleaned from their excerpt. Ask students to elect a representative from each group to present their plot summaries. Compare plot summaries and revisit these summaries at the end of the novel. Asking students to conjecture the plot of the novel will pique their interest in the book and help them extract information from context clues.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Ask students to read the first page of text silently. Next, ask for a volunteer to read the first page aloud. Then, ask students to write down as many things as possible that they have learned from the first page. Next, ask students to write down three questions they have based on their reading of the first page. This activity will help students read context clues and it will teach them to site text evidence when making generalizations about a novel.

COVER UP. Read a summary of the novel from the back cover, from the inside flaps, or from an Internet source. If you prefer to leave the novel a mystery, read an excerpt from a select part of the book. You can also print out this summary or excerpt so that students can refer to it. Next, ask students to design a cover based on information gleaned from the summary or excerpt. Allow students to explain their cover design. If you are reading a novel that is divided into parts, have students design a cover at the end of each part of the novel. Revisit cover designs at the completion of the novel and ask students to write a paragraph discussing their various understandings of the novel. This activity will help students chart the ways their understanding developed throughout the reading.

FRONT MATTER. Though students read novels throughout their schooling, very few are taught the importance of the title, copyright, and acknowledgments. The pages that contain this information are called the “front matter.” In small groups, ask students to explore the front matter of the novel. Instruct students to list 10 things they learned from these pages. In a more open-ended version of this activity, you can ask students to answer the following questions: What does the front matter tell you about what will and what will not be in this novel? What does the front matter tell you about the novel’s plot and themes? A good explanation of front matter can be found at Vox Clarus Press’ website. Just search “Vox Clarus Front Matter.”

LAST LINES. Instruct students to read the last sentence or the last paragraph of the novel silently. Next, ask someone to read these last lines aloud. From these last lines, ask students to draw a comic strip that shows the plot of the novel. Each frame of the comic strip should contain narrative and dialogue. The last frame of the comic strip should be based on information gleaned from the novel’s last lines. Thinking about the ending of the novel will whet students’ appetite for the actual plot.

BEGINNING AND ENDING. Ask students to read both the first sentence and the last sentence of the novel. Next, ask the students to construct a poem, paragraph, or short story using the first and last sentences of the novel as the first and last sentences for their writing. Your students’ writing should summarize what they think will be the plot of the novel. Revisit these summaries at the middle and at the end of the reading. In a reflective paragraph, ask students to compare their initial impressions to the novel’s actual plot and themes.

When beginning a new novel, consider using one of the above activities in your classroom. These activities provide a new lens through which to view your new novel. Starting the study of your novel in a unique and unpredictable way will bolster your students’ interest and engagement.