Tag Archives: home schooling

A Lesson outline for Steam; all ages

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” -Rabindranath Tagore

“ Rabindrath Tagore- he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.[4] In translation his poetry was viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his “elegant prose and magical poetry” remain largely unknown outside Bengal”

Word painting: what image is created; when you listen, what do you see?

Say the phrase two or three times, how is the person expressing the idea/ feeling? How can you tell? What words require shape in the actual illustration?

Could there be a metaphor inside the following: “sunset sky”

Remember that for poetry to “work” it must be accessible on two levels; first as an actual literal read through- where we imagine the evening of a day and the sky- what colours, what energy, what may have cleared in the air?

The second level requires a second reading, this time as figurative or metaphorical speech; when do writers speak of clouds? What else may clouds symbolize? What is the writer saying about these clouds?

Please remember that when as readers we interpret poetry, we are offering suggestions relating to the author’s writing- we are relating to the words, and the images the words suggest, but we can’t be definite – our “guesses” relate to feelings, and poetry captures emotions…

Now, read it once more. Has knowing anything about the author helped in understanding the poem? Why might the writing be deemed “magical”?

–Science- recall what are clouds- how may clouds add colour?

Please illustrate the image twice- First as a literal image- what colour are “regular” clouds – and an evening sky…

Second illustration: please share how you would like to interpret the words via painting, drawing, chalk, etc.

Would love to see any images created! Thank you 🙂

Gifted and talented: “but of course”

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”
–  What matters is what something is, not what it is called.
–   From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, @1600:

Yes but- recently read about a school that has the label “gifted” in its title. The school is in the States, and according to the article doing something unique. Kids are getting access to AP classes and IB classes and enjoying having a “rounded” education wherein everyone takes the same basic classes- expectations- “C”  to remain in the program. HMMM

Here in Ontario, the term gifted may have a different connotation. The term highlights a student’s ability to think outside the box, seeing connections that might be missed by others, and recognizes the very real situation that many gifted students manifest- asymmetrical learning, focused awareness and knowledge ahead of their age group, in one or more specific areas. Moving a child into a gifted program, suggests that the teacher here will now be able to not only further challenge the student(s) but that also the teacher will recognize social and emotional differences gifted individuals might display. True, the academic mark- the A, or B, or C may not be the “be all” or “end all” in the program, however, the somewhat skeptical side of me questions when the bar for students is set so low. Students are so very aware of not only their own likes and dislikes but also of what and where they fit into any program. I have had students share their versions of themselves, stating clearly what they think about school, the labeling process, and the opportunity to socialize. So I continue to envision a learning environment in which the gifted and talented thrive through participation, and learn to accept, pragmatically if not wholeheartedly, that some aspects of learning, the testing, be they standardized or situation specific, need not be cause for anxiety, and they (tests) should not be ignored. When one aspect of labeling a student involves the question of “potential”, students can choose to not demonstrate knowledge, or as is also often the case, to not let on when they haven’t actually absorbed a concept- saving face is so much easier for some than admitting to ignorance. And here is where the educator must have thorough knowledge of both the student(s) and the area(s) of study. It is no surprise when so many of the home-schooled students do demonstrate superior focus, greater depth of knowledge, and broader reach, than the students in some programs. Working with a very broad range of students has provided me with the recognition that sometimes, like Mark Twain* suggested, it is important to not let school interfere with an education; equally important, to not be confused by a label – to look for the person inside.


FYI: both my children did receive the title “gifted” when in elementary grades. My focus and curiosity and reach to discover how and when to step back and allow each one to discover his/her personal strengths continues. As a parent and as an educator the term “special needs” resonates, suggesting the wonderful high notes all children bring and the awareness that no label ever truly gets to the heart of a personality. They say one is lucky if able to share one’s passion: how very lucky am I!

*Mark Twain is generally credited with the quote- perhaps because his two primary characters, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer spend much of their time running away from “civilization” and when in school appear to take a lot of “whippings”.

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Thank you

“Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights”. – Unesco.org