Deafening by Frances Itani

On the recommendation of a friend back here in Calgary, one of the books I read while visiting my father in Belleville, Ontario was Deafening by Frances Itani.  With a regional setting of Deseronto, Belleville, the railway and the surrounding area, upon completing the book, of course, I had to go and visit the places.  Itani’s novel, placed during World War I, is exquisite.  A Winner of a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, I was captivated and motored through this one at warp speed.

Grania, the protagonist, emerges from a bout of scarlet fever as a child, deaf.  The novel evokes a real sense of what language means.  As stated in the Goodread’s summary,

“A magnificent tale of love and war, Deafening is finally an ode to language-how it can console, imprison, and liberate, and how it alone can bridge vast chasms of geography and experience.”

In published reviews, it appears that a lot of readers lost interest as Grania becomes involved with Jim. I think the author is successful in steering clear of sentimentality and introduces Jim as a device to talk to the reader about war, its impact on the small community and how the concepts of lost communication express a similarity with loss of hearing.

At the conclusion of this book, I thought this was my favourite book of all time…but, you know and I know, this is just until the next one!

My father humoured me and visited the grounds of Belleville’s Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf with me and I went, on another day, to Deseronto in order to document some of the places mentioned in the book. Why?  Just because I could.

The school for the deaf has a beautiful campus including several stately brick buildings and wonderfully groomed grounds.

img_1327 img_1328 img_1329

Deseronto…

The places of Canada…driving driving driving…remind me of the blessings of our common narratives.  Everywhere, windows are boarded up, mostly in small towns and names are written, as are profanities on the baked painted surfaces of what used to be animated corner stores and bakeries and churches…places where people gathered, all working to get through hard winters and humid summers.

Deseronto captures all of it.  The tea rooms and antiques, the post office, the docks…

I am grateful to have seemed to step into a book.

img_1360 img_1363 img_1369

Post Office Deseronto

Post Office Deseronto

img_1374 img_1376 img_1377 img_1379 img_1387 img_1390 img_1391 img_1392 img_1393 img_1394 img_1397 img_1398 img_1399 img_1400 img_1401 img_1409 img_1410 img_1413 img_1417

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Deseronto

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Deseronto

I strongly recommend Deafening by Frances Itani.

 

Carli’s Classroom: An Inspiring Day

There was such soft light flowing in the classroom, when I arrived.  The students and I didn’t end up closing the blinds until the sun started pouring into the classroom, during late morning.  When I arrived, I knew it was going to be a great day.

I am passionate about teaching in the role of guest teacher.  I have only a short while with the children and I want to be the very best that I can be to influence empathy, peace and learning.  I was excited to be working in Carli’s Grade three classroom and she’s given me permission to share this post with you, in the case that you want to extend off of any of these ideas and explore some alternatives.  It’s funny that we run to Pinterest for ideas when right across the hall from us, are a whole number of masters who can mentor us and inspire us with new ‘ideas’.

To begin my morning, I read over, for myself, the posted Pedagogy for teaching.  I remembered this from another visit, but wanted to remind myself.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 001

The community group tables allow for easy access to materials and tools that might be needed.  There is shared responsibility for their organization and upkeep.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 022Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 021

Student notebooks/workbooks are stored in those little white bins on the shelves…they are stored throughout the classroom in order to avoid traffic jams.  The students know where each of their items is located.

I love love love the books and really enjoyed looking at the book, Where Children Sleep by James Mollison.  I need to get myself a copy of this.  Instead of circulating and having the children read aloud to me during our individual reading time, I had several students come to me and read from this book as I sat in a comfy chair.  It wasn’t long before one of the children came to me with a student-made book on the same topic, created last year, by the Grade twos.  I think this is a beautiful idea.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 023

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 039Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 038Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 037Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 036Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 025

Books can be a discovered throughout the classroom, linking up visions with concepts and making learning real and rooted in literacy.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 020Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 014Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 013Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 012

Students created, in science, their own Rock Museum.  They enjoy using their vocabulary.

They had done lots of research and study!

 

When students have a guest teacher, they get to wear the mantle of the expert and spill over with conversations about the things they have learned.  Our birthday girl brought in crystals and minerals for her sharing from the comfy chair.  The kids were overcome with excitement by the ‘rare’ stones.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 009

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 011Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 010

I appreciated the student-made posters illustrating the Rights of Every Child.  Those are three D models of the structure of the ear done in partner work…made out of modelling clay.  The students have left rocks and minerals and have begun their study of sound, hearing and the ear.  I have to say, as an adult, I had forgotten the various physiological components, but these guys could give it to me rote.  I LOVE THESE MODELS!

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 018Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 017Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 016

I felt this cold coming on and felt a bit of a headache.  I asked the students, if later, I could try out their Peace tent.  They enthusiastically told me, YES!  I have to confess, when they went out for recess, I climbed in and just chilled, exploring their posters, their sayings and their origami paper folding.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 007Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 005Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 004Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 003

Math centers were tons of fun, with the kids, getting up and rotating through the four stations every 15 minutes.  This gives the students opportunity to move and to shift focus.  Awesome.  I discovered that I’m not very good with Tangrams.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 034

For those of my readers who follow me, you know that I enjoy engaging nature where and when I can…getting out daily, with my border collie, Max.  Well, if you can’t get out there, then try to bring bits of it inside!

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 015

And never ever forget that you are always learning…and that it’s a treasure to others that you share what you learn.  Thank you, Carli Molnar!  Thank you, Grade Threes!

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 008

More on Carli’s classroom HERE.