Saturday, March 10, 2018

Women's History Month: The Bronte Sisters

Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, by their brother Branwell. He painted himself among his sisters, but later removed the image so as not to clutter the picture.
The three daughters of a minister in rural England almost two hundred years ago do not seem like candidates for authors of strong female characters in near-horror gothic novels-but there you have Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte.

Their real lives in the moors of Yorkshire germinated the seeds for Jane Eyre, Cathy and Heathcliff, and what some consider the first feminist novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  

The unusually bright girls were surrounded by nurturing, attentive adults. But life in the beginning of the 19th century was difficult. At a young age, the girls lost their mother and two older sisters, had a difficult experiences at boarding schools, and their beloved brother suffered from alcoholism. However, they had been permitted creative outlets, and despite the social expectations to become a governess, teacher or wife, the three Bronte sisters adopted nom-de-plumes and wrote extraordinary novels.

There is a new PBS project on the Bronte family debuting March 26, 2017. Looks great.

To Walk Invisible The Brontë Sisters

Brontë family

If you travel to England, you can visit the sister's home.

The Bronte Society and Bronte Parsonage Museum 
Jane Eyre was published in 1847 by the eldest sister, Charlotte. It is the compelling life story of a girl orphaned and navigating through a treacherous series of difficult relatives, boarding school tragedies, a Byronic figure making for tense moments while governess, stressful marriage proposals, and a denouement of  crashing finality. Jane proves an indomitable taking-charge-of-her-life female character. Charlotte Bronte initiated literary insights that influenced James Joyce's stream of consciousness almost a hundred years later.

Jane Eyre has been produced in film and miniseries. This is my favorite version: 

Jane Eyre (2006 miniseries) /wiki/Jane_Eyre_%282006_miniseries%29  


Linton/Earnshaw Geneology
Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff, 1992 version of Wuthering Hights

Encouraged by the success of Charlotte's novel, Emily published Wuthering Heights. This is another doozy of a book. The story takes place in an isolated location on the English moors. Intense emotions ferment between and within the two families in the story, one fairly normal (the Lintons) and one pretty much dysfunctional (Earnshaws). Of course romance is involved. Also, profound unforgiveness, jealously, rage and several more of the seven deadly sins that makes for an enjoyable and memorable gothic novel. Heathcliff and Cathy are unforgettable. 

Sadly, Emily Bronte passed away shortly after the book was published. It is considered a classic of English literature.

Heathcliff and Cathy. (1992 version with Ralph Fiennes)

This is my favorite

production of Wuthering Heights, even more than Olivier as Heathcliff. Guess you can tell I like my Masterpiece Theater.

Wuthering Heights (2009 television serial) 82009_television_serial%29 

Anne Bronte's novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is considered the first feminist novel. Her protagonist, Helen Graham, is an abused wife who chooses to defy her alcoholic husband and takes her son with her as she flees, breaking several English laws that prohibit any women's rights. The story includes a shocking scene in which Helen slams the door in his face. (Remember, this is 1847 in Victorian England.) Where would Anne get such ideas? Interestingly enough, her father, although an Anglican minister, at one time had counseled an abused wife to leave her husband. There were many instances within the 'dissenting' churches of the time that empowered women more than traditional churches, and Anne's aunt was a Methodist. Though even now, sadly, many churches of many faiths would not support this move. So, this is still a shocking novel. The main character encounters a variety of interesting persons, observing hypocrisy in both male and female. Helen maintains her strong mores and even comes out with a happy ending. This Bronte sister also died almost immediately after her book was published. (Tuberculosis was rampant.) There was such a hubbub about this book that Charlotte Bronte did not want it republished, thinking to preserve her sister's reputation.

Surprisingly, I have not seen this production. It was on Masterpiece Theater while I was working on my masters and not watching much television.

But Netflix has it! It is now at the top of my queue. (Update--it is very good.)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996)

 After meeting the Bronte sisters, we will watch how our little girls play make believe with more interest.

Educational Links 3/11/18

In High School, the Kids Are Not All Right

27 Ways To Promote Intrinsic Motivation In The Classroom

The Mind Of The Village: Understanding Our Implicit Biases

The Goal of Phonics Instruction is to Get Readers Not to Use Phonics When Reading


Use Think Alouds to Foster Strategic Readers

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability in reading. Kids with dyslexia have trouble reading accurately and fluently. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and writing.

Festival of Irish Arts and Music Day 2

Tara Brooch

A History of Ireland in 100 Objects 

Tara Brooch

Celtic knot

From the book of Kells

Here is a site not only with color (colour) pages, but with the source of the knot design. 

Outline Celtic knots examples to colour in 

Some researchers believe the Irish harp was the first to be developed.

Egan harp.
O' Carolan was a blind, itinerant harpist from the 16th century who would play for his keep--playing original music every sunrise and bedtime.

Turlough O'Carolan 

Carolan's Dream - played on celtic harp

Friday, March 9, 2018

Women's History Month: Malala

Malala is a young teenager who has come to international fame over the last two years by writing about her experiences in seeking an education as a girl in Pakistan. 

She was attacked in October 2012 by the Taliban and almost killed. Currently,  Malala and her family reside in England where she receives medical care 

As she was discharged from the hospital, she said: "Today you can see that I am alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone and I am getting better day by day. It's just because of the prayers of people. Because all people – men, women, children – all of them have prayed for me.  

The Malala Fund has been set up to support her campaign for the right to education for children across the world. She is the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yousafzai - Facts 

Malala Yousafzai 

Pakistani Activist Malala Yousafzai Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize 

Malala, Pakistani teen shot by Taliban, leaves hospital after stunning recovery 

Wounded Pakistan teen is now face of girls education movement 

Malala Defies Taliban to Take World Stage

Nine months after being singled out and shot, 15-year-old addresses the UN

Malala at U.N.: The Taliban failed to silence us 

I am Malala: Story of the 16-yr-old who stood against Taliban 

Book News: Malala, Girl Shot By Taliban, Calls Books 'Weapons That Defeat Terrorism'


Malala Yousafzai addresses United Nations Youth Assembly


Educational Links 3/10/18

What Differentiated Instruction Is–And Is Not

Using Expressive Writing To Keep Students Grounded and Engaged in Science Courses

What Is Mindfulness? Students Share What It Looks Like in Public Schools

OPINION: Here’s a way teachers can help break down equity barriers in high school: reading aloud to students

What do students do in an NGSS classroom?

What institutionalized racism looks like inside our system of education

Inside an Evaluation for Learning Disorders

When a child is struggling in school, the first step to finding help is figuring out what’s getting in his way. As a starting point, you need an evaluation of your child’s learning profile, to identify strengths and weaknesses, and suggest what kind of support he might need to thrive. But the process of getting a child evaluated can be daunting.

Festival of Irish Arts and Music Day 1

Book of Kells: In the beginning was the Word...

Book of Kells

Here is a very interesting study of ancient musical instruments from Ireland.

Ancient Music Ireland

Love the irony of the BBC presenting an Irish music festival in Glasgow. The times they are a changin'. Fantastic music. 

BBC Music Of Ireland - Celtic Connections 2012 


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Women's History Month: 'I Paint Flowers So They Won't Die.' So said Frida.

Folk Art Flowers, Frida Kalho

Born in Coyoacán, Mexico, young Frida's life was punctuated by prominent events: polio, the Mexican Revolution, and a horrific bus accident among them. Recovery from the bus trauma left her isolated and in extreme pain; painting became her distraction and solace. Self-portraits were her frequent focus, as she explained, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."

Long celebrated as a folk icon in her homeland, it was not until the 1980s, well after her 1954 death, that Kahlo became widely recognized for her artistic skill. Now, her brightly-colored, often surreal artwork is in high demand. She has also been memorialized in movies and songs, on currency, and in countless books. Her birthplace and adult residence, The Blue House, is maintained today as a museum in her honor.

From the marvelous website, A Mighty Girl

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

Educational Links 3/9/18

12 Tech Tools For Student-To-Student Digital Collaboration

10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Be Awesome Critical Thinkers

Teaching Channel video: Can you beat the odds?

The Tough, Often Lonely Job of Teaching Incarcerated Students

Edublogs Publishes a Guide to Mobile Blogging

10 Great Movies for the STEM Classroom

Teens Can Teach Classmates to Recognize Depression

High school students can improve their peers’ understanding of depression, and their attitudes about seeking help for themselves or others, according to a new study. Nationwide, about 7.5% of teens have experienced depression in the past year.

Women's History Month: Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci
Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world. It is said it was Da Vinci's favorite. Aside from the extreme beauty and skill of the painting, there is something fascinating in her smirk, oh sorry, wistful glimmer of a smile. The mystique of womanhood teasing with a secret, maybe. Sitting in the Louvre, where so many fancy French queens had lived, there she is--the only royalty left in France.

Previously, only sacred pictures were commissioned regularly--and there are plenty of interesting Da Vinci saints and madonnas. But Mona is Every Woman--confident, relaxed, knowing who she is--without halo or crown. Like us.

Mona Lisa Song by Nat King Cole

Mona Lisa 

Teachable Moment: Danny Boy, The Soul of Melancholy, The Soul Of Ireland


This song is traditionally sung by a male and is from the perspective of father to son.

Danny Boy - Finbar Wright

 Oh Danny boy, the pipes, 
the pipes are calling.
From glen to glen, 
and down the mountain side.

The summer's gone, 
and all the flowers are falling.
'Tis you, 'tis you 
must go and I must bide.

But come ye back 
when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed 
and white with snow.

And I'll be here
in sunshine or in shadow.
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy,
I love you so.

But if you come, 
and all the flowers are falling.
And I am dead, 
as dead I might well be.

You'll come and find 
the place where I am lying.
And kneel and say 
an "Ave" there for me.

And I will hear, 
though soft your tread above me.
And all my grave 
will warmer sweeter be.

And you will bend 
and tell me that you love me.
And I shall sleep
in peace until you come to me. 

But if I live,
and should you die for Ireland,
Let not your dying thoughts 
be just of me.

But say a prayer to God 
for our dearest Ireland.
I know she'll hear
and help to set her free.

And I will take your pike 
and place my dearest,
And strike a blow, 
though weak the blow may be.

T'will help the cause 
to which your heart was nearest 
Oh Danny Boy, Oh, Danny boy 
I love you so.