The Beautiful Math Hidden in Paintings

This is a photograph I took of a man looking at a painting in the Norton Simon Museum. I loved seeing him sitting there for a long time. And the longer I watched him (watching the painting), the more I realized that there was a mathematical beauty in not only the composition of the […]

Vinnie Ream's Lincoln Statue

Note from Pamela: When Malena, with whom I have the pleasure of exploring all subjects related to the humanities, and I were delving into the years after the American Civil War, we read a marvelous picture book about a young girl who met President Abraham Lincoln and ended up sculpting his bust. Her name was […]

Everyone's Lincoln

Note from Pamela: This guest post is by Malena Ani, the 9th grade student with whom I have the pleasure twice a week to explore all topics related to the humanities. This is the second of three posts about sculptors who had the chance to demonstrate their love for Abraham Lincoln in statues they created. […]

1 of 200+ Abraham Lincolns


Note from Pamela: Did you know that there are over 200 statues of Abraham Lincoln in the United States? (Only four are on the west coast.) Malena, who I tutor in history and the humanities (literature, philosophy, art) fell in love with Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ statue of Lincoln. So…I suggested she research the story […]

Kilt + Kimono = A Love Story

On my birthday, I finally opened the package that had landed on our doorstep a week earlier. It had travelled many miles across sea and land. Wrapped so meticulously in its brown paper, I hadn’t wanted to open it right away! I placed it on a table where I could see it each time I […]

Broken Refrigerator = Creative/Collaborative Challenge

My name is William McDonald and I am chair of the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media.

And I have something very important to tell you:

My refrigerator broke down last week. Let me repeat that:

My refrigerator – in this heat – broke down – last week.

Last Thursday had been a […]

Teatime Keeps the Grumpies Away

Natalie and Malena

This year you will be seeing some Guest Posts by Malena, who Natalie and I tutored in math and humanities last year. She is in ninth grade this year and I have the good fortune to still be her humanities tutor… and to have regular teatimes with her 🙂 Here […]

Appreciating Each Drop (of Water)

Note from Pamela: Over the past couple of years, we have been trying to become more water-aware, which has led us to discover some wonderfully easy ways to conserve and appreciate water. Currently, I am staying in a house in Cambria, California, which is practicing the highest level of water conservation, due to the […]

A Film Professor Answers an 8th Grader's Questions

UCLA Professor Bill McDonald teaching a cinematography class

Occasionally a student will write a letter or email to my husband Bill McDonald, who is a professor in UCLA’s Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, and say that they are interested in filmmaking and have some questions. Bill’s plate is always overflowing but […]

Do You Know Mary Katherine Goddard?

Pamela’s Note: Natalie and I are so lucky to have a delightful student this year, who we tutor in math (Natalie) and humanities (Pamela). Malena is being home schooled during eighth grade, so that she can delve into the pleasure of learning this year (without the stress of peer pressure). We eagerly look forward to […]