Education Empowers us to Believe and Do the Impossible
Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts is a teacher who values imagination, "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Like the Queen of Hearts, our job, as educators is to nourish, inspire, and encourage academic excellence by providing the conditions in which a child’s imagination will thrive.
Children will embrace education, as they are encouraged to imagine possibility and to enjoy the pursuit of knowledge. Our entire curriculum line is designed to cultivate curiosity. Curiosity leads to imagination. Imagination fuels dreams.
Blackbird & Company products have been developed with the fundamental belief that curiosity and imagination are vital to the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well being of the child. Stimulating the heart, mind, and soul is essential to a full academic experience.
Integrated Literature and Writing
Literature and Writing Discovery Guides
Blackbird & Company’s selection of classic and contemporary literature inspires readers and writers from kindergarten through the 8th grade. Developed to meet and surpass Common Core Standards, our goal is to empower readers over time to experience the rich and diverse potential of story while engaging in an increasingly challenging content. Our Discovery Method helps students develop an integrated tradition of reading and writing. Through paced exercises, students will examine and respond to textual structures and practice the mechanical tasks that enable them to read deeply and write well. Top this with the challenge of responding to the creative impulse by developing an original idea sparked by the week’s reading, and the student will employ Creative Critical Thinking. We believe that this integration is essential to a full academic experience. Not all practice makes perfect, our program offers the right kind of practice that leads to success.
We understand that it is easy for the study of a piece of literature to overshadow the story itself. With this in mind, our goal is to lead the reader through each piece of literature in a way that plumbs its depths while keeping its intrinsic value intact.
Create a language arts tradition, where children are taught…
…not only to remember what they read, but to be able to discern deeper meaning and apply truth.
…not only how to decode words and sentences, but be able to recognize and gather vocabulary to really understand all that a story is trying to say.
…not only to learn how to recognize story structure elements, but appreciate how themes unfold through the framework of characters, setting and plot.
…not only to learn how to respond to a story in writing by developing a central idea, but understand that their ideas matter and that their writing is for an audience.
…not only to be told what a certain story’s message is, but be encouraged to mine for depth and meaning through discussion and listening.
Writing Discovery Guides
Great writing begins with an idea crafted to words on a page by a courageous writer. The most important thing we can do when it comes to teaching a child to write is to value their imagination and to teach them to do the same.
Teaching students to write for real begins when we teach them to believe that their ideas are important enough to do the work of shaping words on a page.
Teach your students to become storytellers. Regardless of domain—fiction to non-fiction—great writing tells a story. Writing is a wonderfully tedious process. Blackbird & Company Writing Discovery Guides provide writing opportunities that teach the cardinal rule of real writing: Imagination first. After all, imagination is the seat of original ideas.When students discover that their imagination is valuable and relevant, they will work diligently to refine their voice. Purpose helps writers develop the habits of being that motivate them to move through the writing process:
>Come up with an idea
>Write your idea
>Re-read and refine your idea
>Have someone else re-read and refine your idea
>Polish your words on the page
Moving from reading and recognizing ideas, to engaging in personal expression through writing, develops an awareness of the world at large. When students are encouraged to engage in the process of writing, they will discover the power of words.
Great writing is work connected to the soul. Great writing brings shape to imagination. Great writing evokes, engages, and inspires human curiosity.
Students who engage in the process of real writing will develop confidence in their voice, strengthen their ability to communicate new ideas, and become keen observers of their world. And those are words on the page that are worth reading.
Introduction to Composition: The Essay
Big ideas can be communicated through a range of writing domains. In order for students to write for real, they must first recognize that writing is the art of communicating an original thought. Students must learn to value their voice and learn to raise it to convey real and imagined experience. It is vital that students discover and explore the potential and purpose of all writing domains. Some writing describes, some narrates, some exposes, and some persuades. Some writing is simply meant to entertain. All writing has the power to inform. This first year course will focus on composing the descriptive and literary essay.
Great essays have the power to encourage, empower, and enlighten. For this reason essay writing should not just be treated as a mechanical endeavor, but as a pathway for the writer to communicate the depths of the heart and mind.
Students will actively engage in the work of transforming a cluster of abstract thought into a big idea. This course teaches them to coherently communicate that idea within a focused structure while drawing the reader into their thoughts. Activities will emphasize content, process/strategy, mechanical conventions, and style.
Over the course of the 30 weeks, learn how to communicate your idea to an audience in the form of an essay.
> Weeks 1 through 5
> Weeks 6 through 15
> Weeks 16 through 25
Poetry Discovery Guides
Poetry Unit: Exploring Poetry
Reading and writing poetry expands the boundaries of the imagination and intellect. Students who engage in the writing of poetry develop nuances of style that cultivate the elevation of the writer’s voice. The purpose of this unit is to strengthen the student’s ability to communicate new ideas, to convey unique observations of their world, and to promote the transference of these new writing skills to all writing endeavors. Crafting poetry has the potential to translate ideas where prose may at times seem daunting. Reading and writing poetry unlocks the power to inspire imagination with immediacy, intensity. Moving from reading and recognizing poetic ideas, to engaging in personal expression through writing, develops an awareness of the world at large. When students are encouraged to engage in the process of writing poetry, they will discover that some things can only be said through a great poem.
Incorporating both analytic and creative exercises to spark the poet inside of your student, Blackbird & Company poetry guides:
> Introduce students to the poet’s kit of tools
> Provide creative opportunities to practice poetic expression
> Reveal connections between poetry and prose
> Develop the poet’s unique voice
> Explore the diverse potential of language