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Nature Study Excursions for
Third Excursion Insects.
Visit an ant-hill. Notice how busy everything is about it.
difference in size. Explain the division of labor in a hill of
ants. Notice the workers and what each is doing. Dig
into the hill and show the eggs. By a little study this lesson May
may be made most interesting.
First Excursion Birds.
Many birds have young at this time of the year. Talk
about the feeding habits of the different birds. If possible,
watch a nest in which there are young, and see if the children
cannot find the parent bird caring for her children. Notice
the variety of food brought. Which brings the most, the male There are so many things awakening in the out-of-doors, or the female? How often do they come to the nest? Robins that the nature teacher must choose each day what special are watched more easily than other birds. Watch the young interest she will use as a lesson. The family of warblers keep as they learn to fly. Teach the children to be quiet while migrating during the entire month and while it will be impossible making observations of this sort. for little children to learn the names of all varieties, they can Second Excursion Flowers. learn to know a warbler when they see one and may become In the woods and meadows, the little grass flower, cinque familiar with the names of a few of the most common ones. foil, and many other flowers are in bloom. Gather and identify
The different charts should be kept each day, and will as many as possible. It is a good plan when making an exprove very interesting during this month.
cursion of this sort to take a good flower book with you to
identify new varieties. First Week
On the lawn, the lilac, syringa, bridal-wreath and honeyFirst Excursion Birds.
suckle are in bloom. Compare with wild flowers. Notice Take a walk in the fields or woods to see how many of the the difference in the shape of the various flowers. new bird arrivals may be found. One of the first lessons for Third Excursion Insects. the children to learn is to walk quietly and slowly when creep- When on the walks the different insects have been noticed. ing up to observe a bird. As soon as they learn to do this they This morning look for bees. See how many different kinds enjoy it and I have often seen little children go off by them- may be seen. Before going out, talk to the children about the selves to see how many birds they could find,
work of the hive. Compare with the ants. Notice the The most interesting birds which are due this week and the
wasps. How are they like bees?
MABEL CLAIRE SMITH
when a friend helped her by suggesting a plan. Third Excursion Insects.
“Audubon Bird Society, you know,” said the friend, briskly. Call to mind the insects studied last Fall. See how many “I'm in charge of membership here and I'll be glad to help may be seen and known. If near a small river or a pond, stir the interest of your pupils. Have them bring ten cents notice the insect life in the water. The water strider makes each to get a membership button apiece and the privilege of
most interesting study. Count the number of legs. Notice drawing and coloring the bird studies the society furnishes
Miss Brown did try it. The children responded as one
person. The dimes fairly poured into the bird-money box on Second Week
her desk and the buttons quickly vanished from the other First Excursion Birds.
box beside it. Each child signed a card promising to protect The birds to arrive this week are dickcissel, goldfinch, and all birds and was eager to receive the first lesson in drawing. Ay-catcher
. Notice especially the song of the dickcissel, the “You may each get a small box of water-colors this afterdifference in marking between the male and the female of the noon,” said Miss Brown, two weeks later. “You have done goldfinch, and the feeding habits of the flycatcher. Begin to so well with the drawings that I believe we will try coloring have the children notice the song of the different birds and to the birds to-morrow. Remember, though,” she added, firmly, identify them in that way.
"only the children with good grades in their regular lessons Second Excursion Flowers.
may take part in the color work. Fanny, Lucy, Harry, Sam Take a trip to the woods to see how many flowers may be and Burton had poor spelling lessons to-day. To-morrow found. Many are now in their prime, and many others are they must write the missed words twenty times in their neatest going to seed. Phlox and Indian tobacco will be found just hand, while the other children are enjoying the color work." beginning to bloom. On the lawn the snowballs are bloom- “0-00 – Miss Brown!" gasped five disappointed voices. ing: Explain to the children the difference between a simple “O Miss Br-ow-n!" and a compound flower.
“Order, please!” crisply said the teacher, rapping sharply
Water-Colors, Birds and
On her desk. “If you want to have part in the color lessons, How do we think of our Superintendent and School Com-
After that, the children studied with might and main. Never us when we lag a bit — slave drivers who lash us to get the
we and others are accomplishing, see also the points in which
and pupils ? Would they? Indeed they would! Their sparkling eyes Or, a person who is really working through those rules for told her that even before their voices found expression. And the best good of the entire building and can see not only what as for the result of the contest, nobody complained when Harry our grade needs but what all grades need to make a harmoni received the prize for the best drawing, Fanny the prize for
ous whole? the best colored bird and another child the one for the best Our educational paper ? essay. In the opinion of some of the parents, though, the Is it a periodical which we feel obliged to subscribe for “for result most satisfactory to all concerned was the new interest the looks of it"? the children had taken in their regular lessons.
Or, a record of the wider knowledge and larger experience of other people which the hard work of those who publish it
make it possible for us to read?
How do we feel about our school itself?
Are our pupils a lot of wriggling little urchins all ready to
torment us and try our patience — all inclined to be naughty James Russell Lowell in his essay on Chaucer uses the fol- and mischievious if not really depraved? lowing words:
Or, are they a lot of well-meaning boys and girls, on the Given your material - how much can you see in it ? For on that
whole, who are all ready to respond to the influences and to depends how much you can make of it.
learn how to deal honestly and fairly and kindly by us if we The same idea is being constantly brought out in stories,
do likewise by them? in poems, in songs and drama. We teach it to children in
That naughty boy — memory gems like:
Do we regard him as something vicious sent solely to try
our souls and make life a burden for us? Do not look for wrong or evil,
Or, as a child who through unfortunate environment or You will find them if you do.
heredity, has gotten a distorted and twisted idea of life and Think only the best of everybody.
work and character and needs our guidance and sympathy But I think we teachers sometimes get a little callous to
and help in acquiring a better view ? memory gems. Perhaps it comes to us with rather more
How do we think of our dull children? force in the form of the familiar jingle:
As "that dreadful D class” given us mostly to disgrace us
by its stupidity when visitors appear in our room and to fur 'Twixt optimist and pessimist, The difference is droll,
nish a blot on our promotion sheet at the end of the year? The optimist sees the doughnut,
Or, as a class of children to be pitied because however much The pessimist the hole.
they try they are unable to accomplish what the other children
can, and to be helped with patience to do their best in spite of In one way another we need constant reminding that
all handicaps and get all they can? there is another point of view than the one we hold about all
Of course no one teacher gets all these wrong view points these familiar everyday affairs.
at one time; perhaps there are some who never get any of It is certainly a fact that both doughnut and hole are there
them, though I have never seen any; but all of us, I think, to be reckoned with, and it is only a matter of training which
have times, when the nerves are tired and overstrained, of we keep in view habitually.
seeing only the tormenting side of some part of our work, The state of our mind makes so much difference in our
The ideal side is there as well. Let us train ourselves to keep work. The routine of teaching saps so much of our vitality that uppermost in our minds. And our reward shall be like that we are often blind, temporarily, to the ideal side of it and
that one whom Edward Rowland Sill sings of in his poem, need to have it brought to our remembrance. “How much
CONSTANCE D'ARCY MACKAY
I once went strolling through a field
Half sunshine-flecked, half shady. the world both to us and to those we work with what our men
I thought myself alone. There stood
The quaintest little lady!
Her dress was of some golden stuff
That by some fairy had been made,
Around her neck it formed a ruff
She was the daintiest little maid!
Her eyes were of a deep dark brown,
Her petticoat of soft green hue;
She danced as lightly in the breeze
As summer elves o'er drops of dew.
“What is your name?” I humbly said,
“Please pardon my intrusion!"
She tossed her little elfin head,
"They call me Black-Eyed Susan!"
never went to school after he was eight years old. Quite early he began to write poetry. Fortunately, some of his poems came to the notice of Sir Walter Scott, who took pains to find the author and encouraged him to give up his shepherd life and devote his time to writing. James Hogg was glad to follow the great man's advice.
Of his many productions, “The Queen's Wake," a series of legendary poems, is usually considered the best. His lines “To a Skylark” are well known.
"The Ettrick Shepherd," as he was called, died in 1835.
QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS First stanza About how old are the two boys in the poem? Describe each of them. Where do they find pools that are “bright and deep"? Are these in the river? How does the water feel to the hand? What is it to be seen on the banks ? How does the sky look? Why do the boys like to visit a spot “Where the gray trout lies asleep”? What do the trout do when they are not asleep? Give another word for lea.
Second stanza Describe the blackbird. What kind of singer is he? Where does he build his nest? (The English blackbird is about ten inches long. His plumage is of a glossy black and his beak and eyelids are of a brilliant yellow. His song is rich and mellow, but not greatly varied. It may be heard, commencing early in the spring, from dawn till dark.
ned to be
When snowdrops die, and the green primrose leaves
The blackbird is very shy. His nest is usually built at the foot of a hedge or in the center of a bush. He lives in England all the year. He eats great numbers of insects, though he is also fond of fruit.
What is the color of the hawthorn flower? Describe both flowers and bush. (For colored picture see "Wild Flowers," by Annie Pratt.)
Third Stanza Why do the boys like to play "Where the hay lies thick and greenest"? Where may the bee have its home? Why should the boys wish to find this place?
Fourth stanza Describe the hazelnut. Upon what kind of tree does it grow? (The nut is small and brown and contains a sweet kernel. The tree or bush is nearly five feet in height. See “A Guide to the Trees,” by Alice Lounsbury.) What is the attraction of a steep bank? Write a short composition about "Gathering Nuts."
Fifth stanza What does banter mean? Do you like this stanza as well as the others? Give your reason.
Sixth stanza Which preceding stanza is this most like? What name is given to the repeated line, “That's the way for Billy and me'?
Draw a picture suggested by the poem. Imagine that in the time of year you like best you have spent a whole day in fields and woods seeing interesting things and having adventures: write a compositiion, telling as much as you can about the day.
A Bird's Question
But this I know, I love to play
That's the way for Billy and me.—James Hogg James Hogg, the author of this poem, was born in 1770, on the banks of the Ettrick River in Selkirkshire, Scotland." This is said to be a pastoral, somewhat melancholy region. The Ettrick River is south of the famous Yarrow, which is its principal tributary. After flowing northeast for thirty-two miles,
Hogg belonged to a family of shepherds and when only five
years old was himself sent out to help tend sheep. He
FLORENCE JONES HADLEY
If you were a bird like me,
In the top of the highest tree;
A boy just as big as you
Don't you think you'd sigh
And moan and cry For that dear little nest that was hung so highThat rocked and swung 'neath the summer sky?
it joins the Tweed.
From a New Angle VIII
fix in the memories of her little pupils the exact wording of
the several verses that go to make up her first selection. When A Talk on Language
the little folks can give her an accurate rather expressive
reproduction of the stanzas she has taught them, she will be (Concluded)
satisfied and proceed to the work upon another poem with the Rorlund Allow me to ask what you will do in our society?
comfortable sense of a duty well done. At the end of the Lona I will let in fresh air. - From Ibsen's “Pillars of Society” year, the boys and girls in that particular room will be able
to recite, and recite well, a number, and most probably the THE TEACHING OF POETRY
entire list, of poems allotted to that grade, but — some wil Two women, seemingly dear friends, were parting after like poetry and some will not. One thing is certain. The a chance encounter on the corner where each waited for her selections memorized will mean little more to the childrer
. car. One of the two was evidently much older than the than the table of sounds, the list of the digit-combinations or other, although the hair of both was slightly streaked with anything else that has been learned by rote, and this will be gray. The younger was speaking of some unexpected true in spite of the fact that every bit of the work may be pleasure that had come into her life and, just as her friend's perfectly accurate. car came in sight, hurriedly concluded her account of it with, The teacher who starts her “poem work" and is the "Do you know, I was very hungry before the news came, but fortunate possessor of the second point of view, will do teach after that happened I could not swallow one bite of lunch. ing that is as broad and vital as her underlying idea. As she I don't believe I have ever been so happy since I emptied my
unfolds the first little poetical bit, simple as it may be, sbe first Christmas stocking!”
will look far ahead into the future and realize that here and The other woman smiled appreciatively. “Not dis- now, she is laying the foundation for the appreciative interillusioned on the subject of life yet, are you, Katherine?” and pretation of Milton, Browning, Tennyson and Shakespeare, she glanced sympathetically into the enthusiastic face of her She will keenly realize the fact that only as she succeeds of companion. Then, as she signalled the motorman, she said, fails in her efforts, will her pupils grasp or wholly miss the “That's fine! Hurrah for you and — keep your poetry of beauties that Poetry holds for them. Such a teacher will life just as long as you can! People are to be thoroughly have studied her poem until she has wrung from it every pitied when hard experiences change their bright views of possible iota of poetic benefit. She knows just what words things. Hang on to your optimism, child, both for your own she wishes to emphasize. She has determined upon the sake, and that of others. Come and see me,” and she passed points that, in her judgment, will need elucidation. She is on into her car.
ready to call her pupils' attention to every fleeting hint of As a result of this bit of eavesdropping, this article was beauty that the lines contain and, as a crowning point to given a change of name, receiving its present title instead of her presentation of the thought, she is all ready to connect the a former one which read, "The Teaching of the Poem," for beauty of the poem with the beauty of daily life; this, of course, in the last remarks of the older and more experienced woman,
wherever the material makes such a thing possible. Contrary the teacher, especially if she is thoughtful,can find a valid to the general belief, she will not be attempting the impossible and far-reaching argument for the presentation of the poem, for
every little child is by nature an ardent lover of beauty. and through it, the ultimate teaching of poetry.
Four-year-old and even three-year-old tots will express their Poetry may be considered in two ways. According to the admiration of a pretty collar or hat or run up to show a old Greek standard of rating, any piece of literature, trans- royally colored autumn leaf that has appealed to their strong figured by the imaginative handling of the writer or con- native instinct for the beautiful. When the pupils of this sciously formed so that it made appeal to the imagination teacher are promoted into the next grade, they will carry and the emotions that delight in the ideal, in short, everything with them not only the correct wording of the first-year tinged with emotional heightening or the presentation of ideal poems, but a thousand beautiful thoughts and many peticiety beauty, was considered as coming under the head of Poetry. bits of phrasing that cluster about the things by which they In a much narrower sense, and the sense in which we regard are surrounded. A child taught with this second ideal i poetry in the commonly accepted, present-day meaning of the mind, will look up at the evening sky and think involuntarily term, the thought must adopt the organized vesture of verse. of those well-known words of our own poet:
si tey sb It must have “rhythm regulated by meter and by the accord of word-sounds in tone, sequence and rhyme.” This question
Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of Heaven,
. immediately arises: “With which of these two ideas as a basis should the primary teacher set about this particular This is the introduction of the poetical into actual living poter department of the language work ?"
Such a feast is possible to any teacher for, beside the child's besto ti The poem is brought into the primary course of study for natural hunger for every form of beauty, the laws of the several very important reasons. In the first place, it satisfies mind furnish us with another aid. Psychology says that ar the child's intense delight in rhythm which in this stage of
two things, once associated in thought, tend to recur again development is a strong physical sensation. Again the
and again, since one of them will recall the other. The Drachen accurate memorizing and reciting of these primary poems fixes
being true, it is well worth our while to make the first assou in the memory many correct forms and so tends greatly and ation between Nature and the beautiful in thought or phrasing di tem most effectively to improve the pupil's English. Almost any for, in so doing, we are forming the store of images the poem, selected at random, will be found to introduce several shall pass through the child's mind in the days of the futetta or many poetical words and phrases and so enlarges the
Let us see to it that, in manhood, he will not stand unmored vocabulary of any child. Most important of all, the poems before the stupendous beauty of Niagara Falls and make anting. taught, or even read to a pupil, furnish him with a large stock
some remark belonging to the same category as that made of poetical ideas concerning life, nature and human endeavor. by one unabashed and business-like tourist who gazed for my bring In the last sense, the poem ministers materially to the develop
a few minutes at this spectacle of the immensity of power to this ment of a greater sense of beauty. When eye and mind are and then casually remarked, “Great power for sheep shex
: trained to such an extent that their possessor is quick to per- ing!” Someone once said, “Every time we open our mouth ceive a bit of beauty, no matter in what form it may appear,
to speak we show our character." Translated into terms di then and then only is the child ready to appreciate poetry in its Language work and applied to the teaching of poetry
, this large sense and, with this appreciation as a starting-pointwould read, “Every step we take in the teaching of a poet an entrance into the content of any form of art becomes much shows our ideal of attainment.” More than any of us cum less difficult. As any one will admit from practical experience,
ever realize, the breadth or narrowness of the basic ideal the appreciative beauty-lover is a very good person to spend displays itself unerringly in all work along the line of Englikt anels time with.
the teaching of poetry as such depends upon the materie is a
As is the case in presenting the story, much of the sucer As the primary teacher presents her first work having to do lined above. If she, consciously or unconsciously, adopts In fact, they must make an appeal of such strength that,
it te narrower one as her starting point, she will endeavor to spite of themselves, the little ones will be attracted to
ett presenta uture.
part of the work. Since the sense of rhythm is predominant poetry and music.
poetry and music. Music is poetry without words and poetry in primary-grade children, choose first for rhythmical value. is words without the tones of music. Explain that the words Don't try to eliminate all of the swing in the earliest two or themselves will provide the music, if the poem is expressively three poems
learned. Why do little people love and remem- and beautifully given. When this underlying idea is clearly ber the nonsense of the Mother Goose rhymes? Simply be- understood, read the first stanza several times, in a slow, cause this same nonsense is given in a form that answers to impressive manner, and then ask the little folks if any of their delight in rhythm even to the extent of a decided sing- them can tell of something pretty they heard in the portion song. Study any young child, even those three or four years that was read to them. With a very little encouragement old, and you will soon notice that, while busy and deeply they will point out every beautiful bit of phrasing that occurred absorbed in playing with something interesting, the little in that stanza and the same plan may be used in connection girl or boy will be unconsciously singing some queer jumble of with those following. As the work progresses, have the words over and over. From the standpoint of the thought pupils give you the most attractive line in the poem and then the whole proceeding is perfectly senseless, but from a rhyth- increase to two lines. In time, they will be able to give you mical point of view, the thing closely approaches perfection. the entire stanza that, in their judgment, contains the most Taking such observations into account, it is not at all difficult beauty. All of this kind of work, while sharpening and to give to the sense of rhythm the important place that it developing the appreciation of all forms of the beautiful, at deserves. At the very beginning of this work and, indeed, at the same time, aids the children in the acquisition of a power intervals throughout the year, the pupils should be permitted of concentration that makes the actual memorizing a much to recite any Mother Goose rhymes that they know. This less difficult matter. is done simply for the enjoyment of the rhythmic swing that As the bits of poetic phrasing are discovered and repeated is a characteristic of all these verses. Many teachers give by the little ones, the teacher will find it possible to link many several poems, solely for their decided, well-marked rhythm. of these beautiful expressions with the different aspects of Some of Eugene Field's poems are excellent in this respect. Nature. As a rule, the average school-child is apt to be Of course it is impossible to give these “rhythm poems" rather unobservant of many of the natural beauties to be in a number sufficient to satisfy the childish craving for this found in his immediate neighborhood. If by associating form of pleasure. When the boys and girls have memorized these choice poetic expressions with the familiar objects in several selections of this sort, the teacher can make up for his environment, the teacher can give him an interest in these the deficiency by bringing others and reading them to her things, closer observation will be forthcoming and an inestipupils. This is a most helpful device for quieting the room on mable service will have been done the man and woman of restless days. Lullabies and boat songs are especially good the future. If a phrase is particularly apt, it is not a bad
for this purpose. The reading of a beautiful poem adds not a plan to write it on the blackboard, where it will meet the eyes the little to the opening exercises of the session and it very pleas- of the children at intervals during the day. For instance,
antly closes or opens the Language lesson. Another pretty there are a number of such phrases to be found in Lowell's custom, successfully carried out by one teacher, was the read- “Autumn Reverie.” Any little girl or boy who has seen one ing of some fine selection during the last few minutes before of these poetic fragments on the board before him, at inter
dismissal. She felt that it sent the little ones home in a vals during an autumn day, could not go out into a world It happier mood and effectively cleared the atmosphere of any tinted with autumn colors and not see an object that would I unpleasantness that had arisen during the day.
cause the beautiful wording of the great poet to recur to mind. Next to its excellence of rhythm, the poem to be taught to Any poem suitable for the first year Language can be primary pupils should be selected for the amount of action it reproduced in a number of ways. If it contains suitable
contains. Narrative action is adapted to the child's stage of images, it can be drawn, painted, or represented by cuttings. - development. For this reason, it is much better than descrip- If it happens to be a bit of description, it can be illustrated
tive poetry, no matter how beautiful the imagery and language in poster form. Even molding is often found to give enjoy
of the latter may be. Appreciation of these beautiful bits of able expression to the ideas that a poem contains. Of course, 131. description will come later in the child's life and until that time where there is much vigorous action, dramatization is the
comes, the teacher must content herself with giving the little ideal way in which the little folks can give back the best folks very short selections that have to do with the immediate reproduction. When the poem, stanza by stanza, is recited
surroundings, and, of course, these latter must be memorized for the teacher, she must be inexorable in her demands for - with other things which are stored away in the mind, as yet exact expression and clear, pure enunciation. The speech
not wholly understood or appreciated, but awaiting the devel- of the average American citizen is deplorably deficient in oped power of the future. The poem of action, appealing final consonants and word endings. For this reason, the as it does to the sense of motor-activity, gives pleasurable scope warfare against “singin', runnin'," and all the rest of this much to the active, restless nature of child-life.
abused class of words ending in “ing” as well as a ceaseless Some of the selections may be chosen for their tone color. combat with words slurred into each other, should be begun This is especially true of the poems given for restfulness in the primary room and carried on all through the child's Here smoothness is a prime requisite. A lullaby is the most school life. No better place can be found for drill of this soothing of all poems, provided that it contains a preponder kind than the work with poetry. ance of the mild and lingering consonants such as, l, m, w, No system of presentation, no matter how perfect or how etc. If the action is vigorous, the tone-color must adequately carefully thought out, can altogether eliminate the element express that quality. Much of the success in teaching a poem of drill, an absolute necessity if every child is to learn to redepends upon the appeal made to the children, during the peat the poem in its entirety. Every stanza must be recited, first hearing. For this reason, before any effort at committing over and over again, by the different pupils who are endeavoris attempted, the teacher should read or recite the poem in full, ing to memorize it. While it cannot be banished altogether, carefully bringing out the expression and the value of every this inevitable repetition can be mitigated by the employment letter. In this way, the pupils gain a sense of the beauty of devices that tend to add the element of interest. A few of the poetry and are made to feel the full effect of its tone- are given below, and, in addition, any teacher will find it a color.
very easy matter to originate others to suit her own needs. As far as possible, each new poem given should add a word For a change of the form of drill, ask one child to say one or two to the child's vocabulary, or, at least, bring in some stanza of a poem and call upon another pupil who is to conchoice bits of poetic phrasing. Some of this phrasing can tinue. Again, a certain child can be deputized to manage e developed and explained to the little ones, but others, and, the recitation of a chosen poem. He will select pupils, corren fact, some of the finest of our poetic expressions will not sponding in number to the entire number of stanzas, and ear such analysis and are best left to the unfolding of the assign a particular portion to each. At another time, divide
the entire school into several sections. Have the first section After this preliminary reading is done, the time is ripe repeat the opening stanza, the next section the second one, and or the presentation of the fundamental ideas of poetry and so on throughout the poem. Occasionally, choose several ust what it really means. Children grasp this last idea children and have them all repeat the same stanza. At juickly if their attention is drawn to the similarity between the close of the last pupil's recitation, ask those at their