Archive for the ‘Teaching – all grades’ Category

Teaching Character Using Poetry III

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Teaching Character through Poetry III

 

We are continuing to celebrate National Poetry month at Train up a Child Publishing!  If you missed our first three posts, check them out: Charlotte Mason on Teaching Poetry, Teaching Character Using Poetry (Psalm 1), Teaching Character Using Poetry II (Psalm 8).

The third poem we are using to teach character is the well-known It Couldn’t Be Done, by Edgar Guest.  This simple poem will be appreciated and understood by all but your youngest primary students, and even they can appreciate it with a little discussion!

 It Couldn’t Be Done

by Edgar Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

About the author

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959) was a naturalized American citizen born in Great Britain, a prolific poet and writer. Scorned by some poetry critics, he was nicknamed “The People’s Poet” because he wrote about common life and experiences to which most people could relate.  Popular enough to be syndicated in over 300 newspapers, he went on to have radio and television shows.  Guest wrote about topics that encouraged and inspired, and before he died was named the Poet Laureate of Michigan.

Lesson Plan Options

First read the poem silently, then read the poem aloud once or twice. Choose a few of these options depending upon the age of your student(s). Then do a few of the following:

  1. Let your student know that after the reading, he will tell back what the poem said. (Give you an oral narration.)
  2. Ask your students to tell you what this poem means.
  3. Have your students write about what this poem means.
  4. Research the poet and write one to three paragraphs about his life. (See paragraph above for more info)
  5. What character qualities does the person in the poem demonstrate? What specific words in the poem suggest these character qualities?
    • Courageous, unafraid to try:
      • So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      •  If he worried he hid it.
      • With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      • Without any doubting
    • Diligence, industriousness:
      • So he buckled right in
      • he tackled the thing
      • But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
        And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
      • Just take off your coat and go to it
      • he did it
    • Good attitude:
      • he with a chuckle
      • with the trace of a grin
        On his face
      • He started to sing
      • with a bit of a grin
      • Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
  6. Have your student memorize the poem.
  7. Here’s a cartoon version of this poem!  Have your student choose another poem, and make a cartoon version of it. Here are some free downloadable cartoon templates to make it easier.

Don’t you love the character qualities this poem inspires?

 

 

Teaching Character Using Poetry II

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Teaching Character Using Poetry II

Considering that April is National Poetry Month, it’s an ideal time to examine how you can incorporate poetry in valuable, meaningful ways. Continue reading throughout this month as we discuss poetry for all ages and various subjects!

This is a continuation from our last post about Teaching Character through Poetry. Today we’ll look at another example from Scripture:

Psalm 8

1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Important Character Concepts and Activities from Psalm 8

When we consider the glory of God and all He created, we should be in awe and amazed just as David was when he wrote this poetry! God’s majesty lies before us in all of creation and He never lets us forget His greatness.

  • Character conceptHumility…which us of could create an animal or put stars in the sky?
  •  Possible related activity: Take a nature walk and note every possible thing that could only be created by God. Discuss how we should be humbled that a God so awesome not only created us, but loves us above all of the rest of His creation. Have your students draw something observed from your walk, and include Psalm 8:9 as copywork under your drawing.
  • Character concept: God places man “a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” With this glory and honor comes responsibility and stewardship. How do you think God expects us to treat His creation?
  • Possible related activity: Make a chart of the many parts of God’s creation from which man benefits. In one column, generally note the creation and then in a second column, specifically list benefits. For example:

Plants     /     medicine, herbs, food, art, cleaning the air

Ocean    /      medicine, food, beauty and leisure

Expanding your study

  • Memorize this Psalm or another one in honor of National Poetry Month!
  • Have your high school student choose another psalm and write “character concepts” and “possible activities” as we have in these last two posts.  Use that to teach a younger sibling or friend.

Which psalm is your favorite for teaching character? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post was written in collaboration with Beth Hempton, formerly with Train up a Child Publishing. You can read more from Beth by going to her website at Classes by Beth or checking out her blog

Charlotte Mason on Teaching Poetry

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Charlotte Mason on Teaching Poetry

Do you cringe at the idea of studying poetry?

That is just it! You don’t have to formally “teach” poetry, particularly at young ages.

Trying to dissect and analyze every word of a poem is not what Charlotte Mason had in mind.  Like when reading a book or studying nature, her emphasis was largely on the experience of the poem… the relationship formed by the reader or hearer.

The thing is, to keep your eye upon words and wait to feel their force and beauty; and, when words are so fit that no other words can be put in their places, so few that none can be left out without spoiling the sense, and so fresh and musical that they delight you, then you may be sure that you are reading Literature, whether in prose or poetry. ~Charlotte Mason, Vol. 4, Chapter 12, p. 41

The economy of words, the vicarious experience of sights and sounds, the beauty of poetry, can be easily neglected or missed with too detailed an examination, particular for your younger students.

So how do I use poetry?

First, read it.  Read it aloud.  Make it part of your day.

You can make it a special part of your week as well, as everyone can come together,  bringing a favorite poem for a weekly “poetry read aloud,” accompanied by tea and cookies.  (Food makes everything more palatable to little ones, you know.)

Make it an event! Use the china!

How do I choose the poems?

Readings in literature, whether of prose or poetry, should generally illustrate the historical period studied… ~Charlotte Mason Vol. 6, p. 340

Our Unit Programs and our Daily Lesson Plans study poets and their poetry in conjunction with the historical period in which they lived and wrote.

Like literature, poetry can spark your imagination so that you are there, in your mind’s eye, watching an historical event as it unfolds. If you doubt this, dramatically read “Paul Revere’s Ride” to your children! The first two stanzas are below, just to give you a taste…

Paul Revere’s Ride

by American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One, if by land, and two,  if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.

Can’t you just see it as it happened?

This is a perfect poem to read during your study of the American Revolution.

The poem in its entirety is available, illustrated, in one of the two e-books we give you for subscribing to our mailing list!  Read more here.

What can we do other than read poetry?

  • Choose a stanza (or more) for copy work
  • Have your children provide an oral or written narration of the poem, just as you would for other literature
  • Have your children illustrate the poem
  • Choose poems for memory work
  • Copy pertinent poems into nature journals
  • Learn about some different poetry forms, such as Haiku, epic, lyric, sonnet, acrostic
  • Write your own poetry
  • Have your older children write a narration in a poetic form

Some of our favorite poetry books:

Here are some of our favorites, beginning with books for your youngest.

    

And for your older students:
  

Do you regularly incorporate poetry into your homeschooling?  How do you do it? Tell me in the comments!

Keep an eye out for other posts in our poetry series for National Poetry Month!

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Mason Mondays: How do you Know Your Kids are Learning?

Monday, March 30th, 2015

How I knew that my kids were learning.

Elbow deep in soapy water, I felt a light tap on the top of my head.

Was that water?

Peering at the ceiling, I spied another drop on its way down, seemingly originating from the can light over my kitchen sink.

This can’t be good.

I wonder what the kids are up to? I took the stairs two at a time.

At the top I heard muffled squeals of delight. Hot steamy clouds hit me as I opened the bathroom door. On full blast, the shower pummeled two fully dressed kids sitting on a bath towel submerged in the tub.  With. water.  overflowing. everywhere.

“We’re in the rainforest!” shouted my daughter happily.

“Yeah! We’re floating on a raft down the Amazon River!” my son yelled, barely audible over the pounding of the shower.

Like any self-respecting mom, I was winding up to let ‘em have it.

That is when the lightning bolt hit.

That’s when I knew.

They were learning!

Charlotte Mason’s approach to learning using living books, instead of textbooks, really works!

  • We had read a few fascinating books about the rainforest.
  • They had done oral narrations over what they had read.
  • They had completed copy work about the rainforest.
  • They had drawn pictures of the rainforest (another form of narration).

And now they were dramatizing a scene in a story they were creating, with themselves as the stars!

Our recent readings about the rainforest had ignited their imaginations!

Isn’t that what Charlotte Mason homeschooling was all about?  Presenting children with a “feast of ideas” and letting them ‘form their own relationships’?

I certainly had not suggested that they soak the bathroom rug and do who knows what to the ceiling and light fixture downstairs.

Miss Mason’s thoughts:

The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times––a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story books. Their lessons, too, history and geography, should cultivate their conceptive powers. If the child does not live in the times of his history lesson, be not at home in the climes his geography book describes, why, these lessons will fail of their purpose.           ~Charlotte Mason Vol. I, Part IV of Home Education, p. 153

My kids weren’t playing in the shower, they were ‘at home in the climes’ of the South American jungle!

WOOHOO!

I knew then that our recent switch to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling was the right choice for us. Despite the punishment the house endured, I knew we had made the right decision. And we never looked back. :-)

So…. are your kids learning?

How do you know?

 

 

 

 

Are you Ready?

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
Are you ready_young woman thinkingXSmall

Ready to begin the new semester?

The Christmas tree came down yesterday. I am always a little sorry to see it go. (And why is it that Christmas decorations go up so much more quickly than they come down?)

Today January, 2015 is now a week old! Are you ready for the new year?

I would like to say that by January 1st I had thoroughly reviewed 2014 and proactively set goals for 2015.  And that I was barreling down on those goals already.

But this year I want to hear from you, first.

Homeschooling is the most demanding job I have ever had. And now that our homeschooled-through-high school children are through college/graduate school, I want to help YOU.

Where do you feel most ill equipped to do the job you have been called to do? What do you wake up at night worrying about? Where do you need insight, ideas and support? What aspect of homeschooling do you want to learn more about?

Here is your chance to tell me! Please take a few minutes and fill out my 10 question survey, if you have not already done so.  We’ll thank you with a $10 off coupon* for any item in our online store. (Don’t forget to leave your email address at the end of the survey so we can send your coupon code.)
Speak your mind! It won’t take long, and hopefully it will make your year a little easier.

 

In Christ,

Dana Wilson at Train up a Child Publishing

 

 

Dana Wilson

Train up a Child Publishing, LLC
formerly Epi Kardia
trainupachildpub.com
dana@trainupachildpub.com
 

P.S. *For the first hundred respondents. We generally ship to the United States