Tag Archives: students


Two ubiquitous postings float the internet nowadays: one is a paraphrasing of Churchill’s famous saying-paraphrased into “Keep calm and – ______________ ” fill in the blank here. Some make me smile ( “Keep Calm and Mother on” ) others make … Continue reading

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A very public: Thank You

Dear Parents and Families with whom I have worked:

Thank You for the opportunity to share knowledge, and to learn, together, with you and or your children. I feel so lucky to have been blessed with the chance to get to know so many different individuals, each of whom brought their personalities, stories, struggles and yes, accomplishments to my table and with whom it has been a pleasure to engage in thoughtful communication about the nature of educational programming in general and about your goals in particular. It has been wonderful to watch students grow and achieve.

So many of you crossed town, even in inclement weather, to bring your child to a session, and then when at my place, helped in a myriad of ways, from shoveling a path to the front door to sitting in on a session and recognizing the benefits of inquiry based education. The best Thank You has always been when a student shared his or her Eureka moment and declared they now could recognize what was required from the standpoint of an Academic level- not just scores or marks, but also the ability to question and offer an opinion, to look for support through research, to move beyond the basics and into personal self knowledge.

I feel truly blessed. Summer 2014 is here; I hope all feel it has been a good Academic year. Thank you.


I read the way …

I read the way someone might smoke, inhaling the entire package.

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word-excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”

― Pearl S. Buck

        Isn’t this a lovely concept? And perhaps we as educators ought to post it, to remind students that “not liking something” may be remedied through application; learning How to do it- I read it as a reminder to constantly keep learning…

    – Began reviewing the use of genres and decided to choose one writer to see if this writer was placed in the same category all the time.  

Pearl S. Buck, perhaps best known for THE GOOD EARTH, and a winner of the Nobel Prize for fiction was fortunate to have had published over 200 items.  A modern classic, this book (part of a trilogy) is variously listed as fiction, historical fiction, American fiction (this makes me smile as the setting is definitely China) classic fiction, literature, and humanitarian.  Another text by the same author, God’s Men, receives the following, China text, (yet the setting moves back and forth, China, England and United States), theology, and philanthropy.  Both books portray Western missionaries in China, both books look at the rise and fall of family status as a result of War and outside (the family) issues.  Both books convey the author’s genuine understanding of people, both in China, and in western society – one book received the Pulitzer, the other, few appear to have read.  

  Spoiler alert:  I very much enjoyed both books as a young adult and when rereading them over the years as an educator, questioned which parts I might choose to highlight.  And because there is not always time to thoroughly review a trilogy with students, have looked at God’s Men, in depth.  The text is available at Toronto Public Library as a reference only, not hold-able (glad I have a personal copy).  The Good Earth may be read on line, borrowed from one of many branches, listened to as an audio book, and a movie clip is available here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iEREqQjjzU  

Back to the classification system.  Instead of simply having students (of all ages) quickly list the genre of a book they had completed,  (often by copying the listing seen on the back jacket)  I decided to have us look at how many other ways a book may be described; like people, many texts may serve different purposes.  Mother, sister, teacher, friend- each title suggests a different role, yet many of the actions a person performs might overlap.  In similar fashion, texts can be used by readers to fulfill different functions.   While genres might help us narrow down a search for a particular read, and certainly do help one navigate a library and a bookstore, literary analysis involves a questioning if indeed a book “fits” into one type, and may be used to move beyond the novel into a discussion about typecasting in general.  Moving into the real world, discussing both, labels and what is meant by stereotyping, allows a novel study to grow into student generated and perhaps heated (you have been warned) interactive discussion/debate that may veer into entirely new directions.  But that IS the beauty of student generated work, and brings back the novel (“new”) in novel study.