Saturday, March 31, 2012

Art Appreciation

When our daughter Josephine was born, we lived a few blocks from the Seattle Art Museum and I got it into my head that I wanted our child to grow up feeling a sense of ownership over their/our collection. That said, even as a brand spanking new parent, I knew that one of the frustrations of taking young children to a traditional art museum would be that they were not going to naturally dig on the conventional adult method of working our way through the artwork one by one, gallery by gallery, which is what we do, at least in part, because we are aware we paid admission and at some level we're striving to get our money's worth. To take away that pressure, I bought our family a membership so that we could have no qualms about just stopping by for 5-10 minute visits, often to look at a single painting.

All the photos in this post are iPhone snapshots of color prints from
the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Metropolitan Seminar in Arts book
series, published in the 1950's. Please, please find better photos of these
paintings other places online if you really want to look at them. This one
is "Actor Dancing" by Kiyotada. 

Often, as we passed the museum's front doors, Josephine would say something like, "I want to see Jesus whacking those guys," and we would divert ourselves from the sidewalk to a painting (I'm sorry I don't know by whom) of Christ driving the money lenders from the temple. We would often just sit on one of the benches "watching" a painting like one does a television, talking about what we saw. I specifically recall Josephine taking a shine to a work by Cindy Sherman, a contemporary artist who photographs herself in often bizarre and disturbing, but always arresting tableaus. In particular, I recall a piece in which she was apparently a queen breast-feeding a baby. We had a story we told one another about this, repeating it and adding to it each time we visited. It was meaningful to us that the queen was not looking at her baby, but instead looking pointedly "off camera," at something else that held her attention.

When I became a teacher, I wanted to try to recreate this type of experience with the children I taught, but it's not as simple with a group as it was with a single child whose interests and mode of learning I could follow without having to consider all those other interests and modes of learning. If she was in the mood for racing through the maze of galleries instead of figuring out the "stories" of the paintings, using the artwork instead as landmarks in a game of getting lost and found, so be it, but once you start adding other children to the mix, it becomes a different kind of experience.

My wife and I own a terrific set of books entitled Metropolitan Seminars In Art, published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the 1950's, designed as a study-at-home educational guide. Included in each of the books are dozens of removable color prints of masterpieces. Many years ago, I had the idea of taking a selection of these prints into school as "conversation pieces" for our Pre-K class. Some years they have lead to remarkable explorations of art, other times they've wound up on the floor being trod upon by energetic preschoolers with better things to do.

My idea for this year was that I would spread the prints out on the carpet and we would take some time to freely examine and talk about them. I've found that, as I did with Josephine, talking to the children about the "stories" we may or may not see in the paintings is a good way to start a dialog. Sometimes, of course, there is something in the subject matter that the kids want to start with (the depiction of guns or crowns often does this), but almost always, if the painting is going to hold their interest, there must be a way to support some sort of narrative. And I will freely admit that this may simply be a function of me being the teacher, a guy for whom literature sits on the throne in the hierarchy of art-forms.

Sylvia identified the hunting scenes in the background of this busy painting entitled
"The Journey of the Magi" by Benozzo Gozzoli

I was prepared for the activity to then go in pretty much any direction, including just packing it all away and doing something else, but I hoped that we would settle on 3-4 of our favorites, then break into groups to elaborate on our painting-stories, which would be transcribed by an adult, then proudly read aloud. I had clipboards charged with paper at hand to aid us in this eventuality.

We thought Picasso's "The Studio" looked like robots.

As the group fully assembled (some of us were still finishing eating our lunch as the activity began) we resorted to the conventional circle time system of me sitting in front with the prints. I suggested that we decide together which ones "tell a story" and which ones do not. We created two categories in which to separate them: "Maybe" and "No." There might have been better ways to divide them up, but that's what came to us. As it turns out, only one of the 17 prints I brought with me wound up in the "No" pile. And instead of quickly going through them, we wound up actually telling the stories we discovered as we went.

Braque's "Musical Form" was the lone print that landed in our "No" pile.
When they asked me what the words said, I tried reading them with
a French pronunciation. We had a brief argument about how I was 
pronouncing the letter "J."

All told, between the free-form and formalized discussions, this group of eight 5-year-olds spent 40 minutes discussing great paintings. Forty minutes! I was prepared to ditch it at any time, but we kept right on going until I felt I detected the beginnings of restlessness. But come on! That's almost as long as a college-level classroom session on art history, and in our version, no one was dozing off. We never made it to the clipboards.

Now I understand that this next part may be where you doze off, but I was so inspired by our discussion that I've spent this morning further educating myself on what it was we were really looking at. Don't let anyone tell you that great art isn't for young children: traditional museums might not be, and traditional art discussions may not be, but we nevertheless talked about art, some of it from the middle ages, for 40 minutes!

Saint Anthony Tempted by the Devil in the Form of a Woman
Painted by Christofano di Francesco (usually known as Sassetta) around 1450, this simple painting portrays Saint Anthony, a religious hermit who lives in a desert, being sexually tempted. Art academic types see a sinister face on the woman. She is, apparently, attempting to bewitch St. Anthony by standing so as to reveal her female form. As I understand this type of painting, we can see the evil wings protruding from her back, but St. Anthony cannot, just as St. Anthony's halo would be invisible to the woman.

The real story of this painting, according to Jody, is that "the guy" lives in that red house. The female figure is a dragon (the Satanic wings do indeed look dragon-like) and "the guy" is going back into his house to get away from the dragon. The thing around the guy's head (the halo) is a "weird hat." I think this is either a testament to Jody's interpretive skills, the artist's ability, or both, in that Jody was able to come so close to the painting's "meaning" without the benefit of any of the back story. Jody also described the setting (desert) as "ancient," which he later explained means "beautiful."

Liberty Leading the People
By Eugene Delacroix, the leader of the Romantic school of French painting in 1830, the bare-breasted (and nipple-less) Liberty leads the people in their toppling of Charles X. She seems to be standing on a pile of corpses. The living people are of all social classes. I figured the kids would find this to be an exciting painting that would lend itself to a nice discussion about war or violence in general.

The children agreed in our discussion that this would make a good story, but really remarked on nothing but the dead bodies and the guns. I found it interesting that none of them said a word about Liberty herself. While looking at this, Sadie told me about a movie she has at her house in which someone dies, "but only at the end." She thought that this painting must be the end of the story, and for at least some of the figures portrayed here, it was. This may explain why we had so little to say.

Several children drew connections between this painting and Gericault's "The Raft of the Medusa," mainly with regard to the pile of dead bodies.

We had a discussion about Medusa (Sylvia knew that she could turn people into stone). Some of us had earlier connected this painting to Bruegel the Elder's "The Fall of Icarus," not because of the Greek mythology connection, but because we decided that the people on the raft must be pirates and that the ship in Breugel's painting was a better depiction of their pirate ship.

We did a lot of this mixing and matching of paintings, especially during the free-form examination of the prints.

Into the World There Came a Soul Named Ida
This intense painting by Ivan Albright depicts an aging woman sitting at her vanity, looking at her reflection in a hand mirror. Critics, and the artist himself, see this painting as a metaphor for life lending itself to death: that life is the mere precursor to death. (As an aside, this is a painting I'd love to have on my own walls, but let me tell you, I'd never agree to model for this artist!)

The children seemed to agree with Jody's interpretation, that this painting tells the story of a woman turning into a monster. What magnificent and spot-on understanding, I think, of the internal dialog of Ida, who appears to be merely going through the motions of maintaining a fiction of youth. At first the kids identified the hand mirror as a hand mirror, but as we talked most of them seemed to think that it was, in fact, some sort of stringed instrument, "like a guitar." Sienna suggested that perhaps she was going to play it to make herself happier.

Rhythm of Straight Lines
Mondrian is a favorite of early childhood educators because his oeuvre lends itself so well to imitation in the classroom.

When I first showed this to the kids, they didn't have much to say. I said, "It reminds me of roads." Violet declared, "It's a maze!" I used my finger to follow the black lines. "You have to go to all the colors!" So I did. Violet then suggested that the artist wanted us to fill in all the white parts. We agreed it would be a good art project to make one of these, all white, for the kids to color in. No one, however, seemed to think it would make much of a story.

Saint Catherine
Painted in the 1400's by a Dutch artist referred to as Master of the Saint Lucy Legend, this painting depicts the probably fictional virgin saint reading a book because according to her legend she was a young woman of superior intelligence and great beauty. I believe the dark male figure at her feet is the Roman Emperor Maxentius who she defeated by converting everyone around him to Christianity, including his wife, and who ultimately beheaded her, making her a martyr.

This was easily the most remarked upon painting by the kids. There was disagreement about whether she was a queen or a princess (she was, in fact, a princess). Some of them felt the dark figure was there to protect her, others thought he was her enemy. In the background is her castle, we decided, or perhaps her "city." I tried to get them to speculate about the book in her hand, but there was at first a lot of shrugged shoulders. Then Sasha clarified matters decisively, "That's the Virgin Mary. My Nana told me all about her." I asked, "Oh, I wonder what kind of book the Virgin Mary would be reading?" She thought, then replied, "Probably a book of prayers." This, I thought, was a special insight, one that was really not too far off the mark. Often solitary female figures in paintings from the middle ages turn out to be the Madonna, and while I'm not knowledgeable about Catholic saints, this one sounds like she's right up there near the top of the hierarchy.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
This one of Picasso's best known paintings, a scandalous, wild depiction of bold, nude prostitutes. Many people consider this painting to be one of the most important in the development of cubism, and indeed, modern art in general.

Sadie took a strong interest in this one, saying that it was a painting of people lying on towels on the beach. She was pretty sure that only some of them were "girls," while the ones with tribal mask looking faces were "boys." As she made her distinctions she showed her understanding of gender anatomy by pointing at the figure's chests. She thought about the one in the center for a bit, finally deciding that it was a boy, based (if I followed her gaze correctly) upon the secondary clue of her apparently short hair.

The Wyndham Sisters
I don't know anything about John Singer Sargent other than what I think I've learned about him through his paintings, and from that I judge him to be something of a prig, creating these anachronistic conventional portraits of society-types during the era in which the art world was being infused with modernism and democracy. Fans admire his ability to evoke the realistic style of an earlier time, while making it contemporary through his admittedly masterful brush work and "bold" composition.

As one might expect, the girls in particular were drawn to this picture, although none of them identified these beautiful young women in flowing gowns as princesses. Sylvia liked that they were sitting on "cushions." During our group discussion, we talked about the directions of their various gazes, noting that the girl (we were calling them girls) in the center was always looking right at "you," no matter where you were. One of the children mentioned that the dresses reminded her of a bridal gown she had once seen and we then decided as a group that they must all be brides. I read them the title of the piece, "The Wyndham Sisters," and that somehow, seemed to settle things. (For better or worse, having read the title, the children then began to demand I read them the titles of all the subsequent pictures we discussed. On the one hand it colored their interpretations from that point onward; on the other I admire that they were thinking deeply enough about what we were doing to want every clue they could get.)

The Adoration of the Shepards
I was not aware until later that this was merely a detail from a small piece by Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna. This is, in fact, a sleeping Joseph, while the rest of the painting depicts Mary, baby Jesus and, you know, the adoring shepards.  Interestingly, our discussion of this seems to have been hampered by our lack of that information. The children identified the man as sad and we spent several minutes proposing our ideas for why he might be sad, but without anything else to go on, the discussion, quite rightly, fell flat. You can't pick great artwork apart to understand it -- you have to have the whole thing!

Ia Orana Maria
This Madonna and Child themed painting by Paul Gauguin served as sort of a starting point for a series of paintings depicting Polynesian religion. I picked this one to show to the kids mostly because of the bold colors. The children didn't pick up on the religious aspects, although that might have changed had we noticed the angel there behind the two figures at the center of the canvas. The focus was mostly on the mother figure, which we identified as a mother and a child, which we identified as her child. At some point one of the kids used the word "tropical" and that lead several of us to reflect on trips to Hawaii or Mexico.

As you no doubt noticed, our conversation didn't stick strictly to art, but as great art should, it sparked us to contemplate our wider world. I actually have more to say about how we extended this exploration later in the day and week, but this post is already too long and I'm ready to get about my Saturday, so I'll save it for tomorrow.

I will, however, thank the Pre-K children for helping me to come to a sense of "ownership" over these great works of art.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

We're Not Alone In This

The rain was coming down yesterday while we were playing with roof gutters and a collection of balls made from a variety of materials in a variety of sizes. We keep four 5-ft. lengths of plastic gutter in the outdoor classroom at all times, always available to the kids. To that, yesterday, we added a couple full-sized 10-ft. lengths.

I tried taking pictures of the children's experiments, but sometimes the app I use on my phone for the purpose seizes up, which is what happened yesterday, but no matter, you've seen kids playing with gutters and balls before.

Although I did manage to capture one set up they devised, running one of the long gutters from the center window on the windmill. I write the word "devised" on purpose, because, in fact, an adult moved it there under instructions. One of the reasons I don't cut the gutters into shorter pieces is that I like that to move them, the kids have to get help, although typically I'm hoping that help comes in the form of friends.

Asking for help and pitching in are two of the habits I seek to foster in children. We're not in this alone, after all. We all need help sometimes, and sometimes we all have a hand to lend. Americans too often celebrate the solitary hero, but that's a Hollywood fiction. Progress is rarely made by people acting alone: the everyday heros are those who know when to ask for help and those who lend a hand without being asked, which is really the fundamental principle of how a cooperative school operates.

Some of the kids can manage the shorter lengths on their own, but moving those 10-foot sections is almost impossible without help, especially if you have big ideas.

At one point the kids connected 3 of the shorter pieces end-to-end with the intent, I think, to land the balls in a mud puddle, to which they then added a fourth so as to bridge the puddle. But, of course, as is the nature of this kind of play, they had the idea of extending it even farther and having used up the shorter lengths, they resorted to one of the very long pieces. The result was, as Elana's dad Paul said, "a scene for America's Funniest Home Videos, most of which I failed to record visually due to the camera issues.

Planning ahead is not generally one of the strengths of groups of 3-5 year olds, and it was pretty clear they hadn't really considered the brick wall that stood in the way of their continued ball run. But they were moving that piece of gutter and something had to be done with it. At one point early on in this process they did manage to lean it up against the wall at a very steep angle, but it came crashing down under the weight of a single ball.

I'm not really sure what they had in mind, if anything, and there was a lot of working at cross purposes because they were too busy laughing and struggling to talk to one another. I tried to help by narrating what I thought I saw them doing, saying things like, "I think they're trying to get one end of it on top of the awning," or "Maybe they want it on the garbage can," but mostly it seemed to be about hoisting it around together.

Finally, they managed to get one end, perhaps by accident, atop the fence, secured by where it intersects with the storage shed.

Once in place a couple of the guys then began working together, still laughing, in what looked to me like an attempt to launch it right over the fence. I stopped them saying, "I don't want you guys to drop it over the fence. There's nothing but a big pile of blackberry bushes over there and I don't want to have to climb into them to get it back."

So they left it where it was, my words of correction perhaps being the thing that broke the spell of their cooperation. Archie rolled a ball down it. We all cheered. Then we were done.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Who We Are

I'm familiar with the best known pedagogical approaches out there, not expert, but at least reasonably well-read. I take from them what I think I can make work within our little cooperative preschool and while I don't exactly disregard the rest, because I do keep a lot of things in the storeroom of my mind just in case, I don't feel compelled to implement anyone else's approach lock, stock and barrel. 

That's probably why I have such a strong visceral reaction to the so-called corporate education reformers, with their high-stakes standardized tests, standardized curricula, standardized teacher training, and their expectations of standardized results. Yes, I've come to hate that they seek to profit-ize schools, turning children into a kind of labor force in their economic enterprise, that they want it's focus to be exclusively vocational, and that they desire to narrow what our schools do down to little more than math and literacy factories. But, I've had to learn to distrust those aspects of what they're doing to public education; it's the threat of cookie-cutter sameness that causes a reaction in my soul.

One of the challenges presented by these blocks (that are really diaper
wipe boxes) is that they are so easy to build with that quite often a
single child or group of children will come to dominate all the blocks.

No, you'll rarely find me advocating for "best practices," except perhaps in the context of what I've found works best for me and the children I teach. Even within the play-based world there are sometimes attempts to standardize things, or if not that, at least reduce what we do into formulas that can be picked up by others. They are well-intended efforts, for the most part, designed to help newcomers to our world to implement a play-based program in their own school. Or, quite often, they are intended to be persuasive; an attempt to put what we do in the language of standardization so that doubters will take us seriously. A necessary evil, but one that makes me cringe.

Most play-based folks, for instance, advocate for a child-lead approach, one in which the teacher helps guide or "scaffold" or support children as they make their own freely chosen explorations or are driven by their own passions. The adults' role is typically seen as getting out of the way as much as possible and it will be through the opportunity to simply play together that children will learn what they most need to learn. And, indeed, I've found all of this to be spot-on.

I suspect that this project came about because of conflicts among peers and a desire to
 find a  solution. Playing with the parent-teacher managing the block area, these girls built
a  "warehouse" for all the blocks, organized by color. The idea, as I understood it, was that
 if someone wanted a block, they came to the warehouse to take what they needed.
 The girls then returned the blocks to their proper place when the builders were done.

The problem is that I, this individual person who is a teacher, got into this game largely because I really love to play with young children. I wouldn't last long in a rigid role of quiet observation and minimal intervention. I'm not here to care for them, although I do that. I'm not here because I think they're cute, although they are. I'm not here for any reason other than that I like to play with them. I need to be down there on my knees in the middle of the game or story or project. I have no desire to lead it, no desire to control it, no desire to make it into a "teaching moment." I just want to be there too, playing along, laughing, building towers to knock down, swirling my hands in the finger paint, squishing the play dough, talking about whatever pops into my head as a result of whatever we're doing, and listening to whatever pops into their heads. I hope it's not that I still have a lot to learn from these things (although that might be a part of it) but rather than I feel I must do these thing in order to enter into the flow: their flow. And it is, I think, when we are in flow together that the universe is ours.

And then, when I feel the flow is carrying us along, that is when I step away and go find some other kids to play with. If you don't know what I mean, it doesn't matter. You have your own reason for being a teacher, one that I'll bet you'd have a hard time describing to me.

The parent-teacher played with them, taking part in the problem-solving,
inserting vocabulary like "inventory" and "supply." The children lead 
throughout, getting into an easy flow of play that engaged them. When
Sasha, the child leading the first wave of warehouse play finally moved
on to something else, Sienna took over, creating a new warehouse, modeled
on the first but horizontal rather than vertical. As she said to me, "The
other one made kids want to knock it down. Nobody wants to knock this
one down."

Because of this, I don't believe I could teach anywhere but in a cooperative, a place in which I work every day with a team of dedicated parent-teachers, each of them with their own reason for being there. I do talk to them about the importance of getting out of the way. In fact, I used to tell them that their main job was to keep their station reasonably tidy and inviting, and to only intervene when the children needed help with their conflicts, or their struggles were overwhelming them. I now tell them that their job is to play with the children, not to take over, but to simply be one of them.

I'm sorry that I can never write posts here that provide you with "5 tips" or "10 keys," but it's not like that, not for me. Teaching cannot be standardized, cannot be reduced to a list or a program that can be taught in 6 months or 4 years or a lifetime. I can tell you what I do, what we do, and I can tell you that it changes from year to year, month to month, week to week, and day to day, because we are not standardized people, the children and parents and teacher who are this school. 

If we are to ever become who we can be, we must first find a way to be who we are. And that can never be standardized.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Around We Go Again

This is the time of year when we start talking about seeds and butterflies and frogs, and the circles of life associated with them. Seed, sprout, leaves, grow-grow-grow, flowers, fruit, seed, sprout, leaves, grow-grow-grow, flowers, fruit, seed, sprout . . .

Sometimes kids correct me when I use the word "circle," saying, "Teacher Tom, it's life cycle." Or they'll say, "What about when things get dead?" In fact, every year someone catches me on these points, like clockwork, like the Earth circling the sun. Like the seasons, I know the corrections are coming and I know I'll answer, "It is called the life cycle! And the life cycle is a circle." and "Yes, everything that is alive will one day die."

Teaching in a school, in the same school year after year, is a circular endeavor. Unlike parenting, which is linear, the children I teach are always cycling through the same ages and stages during the three years they're with me. Of course, every year is different, the children are different, I am different, but the circle is still there. A couple dozen two-year-olds totter through our door each September in their diapers and with their scattering. They learn our circle time songs so well they teach their parents. They turn to the side and say, "Hey" to the kids they find there, make their first orca whale and pendulum paintings, and begin to spin the hamster wheel

They'll shed those diapers and lose the scattering, then learn about raising their hands, making rules, laying a foundation for the community they began to build with that first "Hey." They'll make another orca whale painting, another pendulum painting, have another spin of the wheel. 

They'll take less interest in the "baby" songs and want to talk when we sit together on the blue rug, have conversations, participate in the debates and discussions that shape both who they are and who we are. And they'll make one more orca whale painting. And they'll have one more swing of the pendulum painter. And they'll have one last spin of the wheel while mouthing the word "centrifugal." 

Finally, where they entered toddling, they leap into the linear world out there, leaving me behind with a couple dozen new two-year-olds tottering and scattering.

And around we go again.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Rain Isn't Green"

We gave this a go, inspired by seeing it over on Deborah's Teach Preschool blog. She set it up as an exploration of clouds. I tried Deborah, I did, but I couldn't sell my kids on it.

The basic concept is to use clear glass containers, fill them partially with water, then top them off with a shaving cream "cloud."

The kids then use pipettes to drip liquid water color onto the clouds until it eventually works it's way through and begins to "rain" on the underside in fabulous rainbow-y swirls.

We set ours up in our magnificent sensory table. I knew the kids would want to do it over and over, so the idea was to experiment on one side of the two-sided table, then dump the resulting water-paint-shaving cream solution in the other side to free up the container for the next round. I figured the soapy, colored mess that resulted would make a decent sensory experience in its own right.

"See? Here's the cloud. You squirt some paint on top and then watch for it to rain down here."

Addison said matter-of-factly, "Those aren't clouds. Clouds are made from water." 

"Well yeah, but it kind of looks like a cloud, right?"

He shrugged, "I think it's shaving cream," no longer interested in the conversation as he went about his business of injecting paint into the jar.

"Look! Look! It's raining underneath!" I was selling, Deborah, but the kids were far too absorbed in the process to even be bothered with bending down to peer through the glass.

I left them to it and went about my work elsewhere. Archie's mom Natasha, our parent-teacher managing the project, was kept busy rinsing and re-filling containers in the system of buckets I'd provided for the purpose. She turned the shaving cream part of the project over to the kids, at least to those who could manage to depress the stiff buttons.

I tried a couple more times to get the kids to bend down and have a look at the "rain" coming through underneath, but they were far more interested in coloring their "clouds," which they persisted in calling either "shaving cream" or, alternatively, "foamy soap," after I answered Charlotte's question, "What is shaving cream really?" 

It was a wonderful mess alright, one that the kids were making all their own, which, I guess, is what we've taught them to expect at Woodland Park. 

In the meantime, the dumping side of the table was shaping up nicely.

Addison used it for making poison potions in a spare jar. Lily and others were just reveling in the mess of it all.

I said, "Hey, these are like rainbow ice bergs floating on the ocean." Simone dismissed me, "Ice bergs aren't rainbow."

Then I had an epiphany. Maybe the reason the kids aren't interested in watching the "rain" fall from the "clouds" is that they have to bend down too far to peer through the sides of the containers. Maybe they just can't see it clearly. Maybe if we raised them up closer to eye level . . . I dumped out the contents of a small storage crate and inverted it in the sensory table making a small platform.

I got a couple jars ready, asking the kids to just wait a second so they could see something cool.

"Look, look, the rain is coming down!" Crickets.

"See? See how its swirling in the water? It's so cool!" 

Finally, George took pity on me and made a show of bending down, briefly, after which he looked at me as if to say, Are you happy now?

Then they went back to coloring their foamy soap and I left them alone for the rest of the morning. Despite how it might sound in this post, I hope you realize that my "disappointment" is tongue-in-cheek. I knew even before the children arrived that the cloud theme was only a sort of jumping off point, an adult agenda that I would have to be prepared to set aside once the children discovered their own agenda for the shaving cream, containers, paint, pipettes, and water. Nothing I had to say could possibly be more important than that. I'm just happy that George and the others indulged me, even if only to exercise their critical thinking skills by shooting down my ridiculous theories about clouds and ice bergs and whatnot.

It was a very, very successful project, one that will likely enter our regular repertoire, but for us at least, it was emphatically not about clouds. And just to drive the point home, I'll once more quote Simone: "Rain isn't green."

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