Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed Her Son- Lorna Goodison

The persona in this poem is telling the story of a mother who loved her son. The mother became aware of the child's presence when she experienced morning sickness. She placed all her hopes in the child and raised him as a single parent because his father was indifferent to the child's existence. The mother had set no barriers on what the child could become, but is told that he has an employer who values him so much that he is given his own submarine gun. The son tells his mother that his employer is like a father  to him, but the mother wonders at the father figure who purposefully endangers his child. She prepares for her son's death by going downtown to buy funeral apparel. The mother feels powerless, so she prays for her child and says protective psalms for him. On the other hand, she reads psalms of retribution for the employer and weeps for her son. Her situation does not look good and is likened to a partner system in which she draws both the first and the last hand.



Lines 1-2: The persona emphasizes that the mother placed all her hopes in her son. When you are poor, generally, you have no prospects, you only dream and hope. Therefore, the persona uses this metaphor to emphasize the mother's dependence on her son's success.

Line 17: The employer is being compared to a father figure. This implies that this person fills a gap in the son's life.

The persona appears to praise the child's father by referring to him as 'fair-minded'. She is, however, chastising him for not only ignoring his son, but all of his other children.

3. IRONY (situational)
The son innocently tells his mother that his employer values him so much that he gave him a whole submachine gun for himself. The irony in this situation is that if you really care about someone, you do NOT give them a gun due to the negative results that are bound to occur. 

4. ALLUSION (biblical)

Lines 28-29: This line alludes to a particular verse in the Christian Bible, Luke 11 vs 11. The verse questions what the actions of a good father should be.

Lines 38-39: Psalms is a particular chapter in the Christian Bible. In this chapter there are verses for protection, the mother uses those for her son, as well as verses for retribution and rebuking. It is implied that the mother chooses those for the employer.

Lines 43-45: In the Christian Bible, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. Therefore, it does not bode well for the mother if she is in a 'partnership' with this person's mother because she might also be betrayed. The banker in the 'partnership' also happens to be the thief on the left hand side of the cross' mother. This also does not bode well for the mother if the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Line 49: Absalom is the son of David, in the Christian Bible. Absalom betrayed his father, which implies that the mother feels betrayed by her son because she has placed all her hopes in him.


5.  'a need to cry for little reasons and a metallic tide rising in her mouth each morning.'
These two symptoms are early signs of pregnancy. The metallic tide refers to vomiting. These signs usually occur in the first trimester of pregnancy.

6. 'full term'
This means that the mother carried her son for the full nine months that a pregnancy should last.

7. 'tight up under her heart'
This hints at the love that the mother harbours for her child. He was not simply 'close to her heart', but 'tight up' under it. It implies that the son holds a special place in her heart.

8. 'set no ceiling'
A ceiling is something that blocks you in, you cannot get past it. The mother set no limits on her son, he could be anything he wanted to be.

9. 'his bloody salary'
This implies that the mother believes that the result of the son's 'job' will be death.

10. 'the level of earth'
The mother has no power to change her son's situation. Earth is used to emphasize her powerlessness on this level, the realm of 'reality'.

11. 'knee city'
This refers to the fact that the mother constantly prayed for her child.

12. 'eye water covers you'
This implies that the mother cried constantly for the plight of her son. The fact that it 'covers him' speaks to the high quantity of tears that were shed.

13. 'partner'
This is an informal saving scheme set up with a specific number of individuals for the duration of a specific time span. Each person agrees to pay a designated figure on a monthly basis. The 'draws' are decided, meaning who gets the money first, second, third etc, on a monthly basis.The banker then collects the money and gives the monthly pool to the person who is to receive their 'draw'. Therefore, a 'partnership' is dependent upon the honesty of the banker, who could abscond with the money, as well as the honesty of the members of the savings scheme, who could decide NOT to pay after they have received their draw.

14. 'banker'
The banker, or financial controller, of this partnership is the mother of a thief. This does not bode well for the mother if the thief on the cross learnt it from his mother.

15. 'her draw though is first and last for she still throwing two hands as mother and father'.
This statement implies that though the mother has the advantage of first draw as mother, she loses that advantage because she also has the role of father. Mothers cannot father sons. The fact that the son has found a father figure proves this to be true. Therefore, she has the last draw, which carries with it the disadvantage of not receiving a full 'draw'. The longer one waits for a draw is the more likely that dishonesty will come into play on the part of the participants.

The mood of the poem is reflective. The persona is thinking about a mother's response to her son's life choices.

The tone of the poem is pragmatic and pessimistic. The persona is telling the tale as it is, with no positive energy.

Death, love/love and family relationship, survival, dreams and aspirations, childhood experiences, religion

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Monday, 30 January 2017

Orchids by Hazel Simmons-McDonald

Image result for orchids  
The persona is moving from a house that she has occupied for five weeks. She has sent her belongings to her future home, but one item remains in her old space, an orchid.

The persona clarifies that she was given the orchid as a gift, but implies that it holds no value because the gifting of orchids is habitual for the person who gave her. She describes the flower as odourless, but attractive.

She watered the orchid once, expecting it to die, but it survived. It not only survived, but bloomed. The persona contemplates plucking the bloom and pressing it between the pages of a book. The purpose of this is to allow her to appreciate the flower.

Structure of the Poem

The poet’s use of blank verse (lacks rhyming pattern) effectively captures the persona’s struggle between hope and despair as he narrates (tells his life-story) with a tone that similarly and occasionally shifts between feelings of optimism and pessimism, adding to a mood that varies between contemplative serenity and foreboding uncertainty.

Illustrated by the poet’ use of emotive  language to describe the aesthetically pleasing orchids--"purple petals/blossoms … full blown/like polished poems/ This morning the bud … unfurled" juxtaposed against the persona’s destructive intentions--"I watered them once/ I would toss them out/I starved them/I’ll pluck the full-blown blooms/press them".

Indicative of the persona’s seeming lack of appreciation for the orchids as natural and philosophical emblems of beauty, wisdom and strength.

Symbolism/ Symbol
The orchid is a flower of magnificence that brings a universal message of love, beauty, wisdom, thoughtfulness, luxury, strength, refinement,  affection, new growth and development.

"This elegant flower should make you feel pampered. Purple is the colour of royalty. Orchids are generally regarded as symbolic of rare and delicate beauty…. Their graceful appearance draws immediate attention, and their reputation as an exotic and unusual flower evokes a sense of refinement and innocence".

Literary Devices

SIMILE- lines 13-14 
The orchid's full blown blossoms are being compared to a polished poem. The word polished in this comparison implies perfection, shiny and pleasant to read.

PUN- line 11 
The purple heart literally refers to the splash of color in the center of the orchid's bloom, but it could also refer to the bravery of the flower. This is so because a purple heart, in the army, is a medal that a soldier receives for bravery.

Metaphor- lines 1-2
The persona compares her experience over a five week period with boxes that she uses to pack her belongings in.

The mood of the poem is pensive, or thoughtful. The persona is thinking about the lack of value that she places in the orchid.

Tone of the Poem
The tone of the poem is one of almost bored musing.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Sample Short Story 4

A short story titled 'Journey by Night'

He stood alone, leaning against a post, and shifting his weight from one foot to the other. It was late, and the taxi-stand was empty. The street was silent. He looked up and down, hoping that some vehicle would come in sight, for he wanted to get home. But none came.
The silence began to pall. He started to whistle, but there was no mirth in it, and soon he stopped. Midnight, ten miles away from home! What was he to do? To begin to walk that distance was out of the question.

A dark cloud passed across the sky, hiding the few pale stars that had been there. The noise of a falling dust-bin reached his ear. Some dog must have been scattering its contents. Instinctively, his hand felt for his wallet. Yes, it was still there. If only he had a stick! But he had nothing with which he might protect himself. He began to walk up and down, up and down. What was that in the distance? At last two headlights were drawing near. He stepped into the middle of the street and held up his hand, and the car stopped.

"Taxi?" he asked. "Valencia?"
"Get in," said the driver, opening the door.

He sat beside the driver, glad to be on his way home at last. He had felt so lonely while he had been waiting. If only someone would say something! In the semi-darkness of the car he turned to look at the other passengers, but no one else was there.
The driver said nothing to him as the car sped along. Suppose ...


No, he mustn't allow himself to think of that. He glanced at the driver, and again his hand went to his wallet. He had heard of passengers being attacked at night and being robbed. But surely ...no, that couldn't happen to him.

If only he could see the other man's face clearly! But he had no idea who the driver was. He kept his eye intently on him during the seemingly interminable journey.

Now they were approaching a spot where the road branched off in another direction. There were tall, dark bushes around. The car slowed down, and the driver took something short and black from the side pocket of the car. It looked like an iron tool. Would the driver attack him with that?

"Stop!" he heard himself screaming, and his heart beat so fast with fear that he could hardly breathe.
But the car did not stop. Faster and faster instead, it went. Now they were nearing his destination. Did the driver intend to take him past and then...
"Put me down here," he cried out.
Still with his eyes on the driver, he quickly stepped from the car as it came to a standstill. He fumbled with his wallet for his fare, but the taxi was no longer there.

"No night passengers for me again," exclaimed the driver, as, with a sigh of relief, he hurriedly moved off. And his hand tenderly caressed the heavy spanner with which he had meant to defend himself had that queer passenger attacked him!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

How to Include Differentiated Instruction in Your Lesson Plans

What is Differentiated Instruction?

Differentiated instruction is when you, the teacher, include a number of different strategies and lesson activities to accommodate the various types of learner in your classroom. Differentiated Instructions ensures that learners at all levels with various learning styles can select an activity that is suitable for them so that learning will take place.

I know that differentiated instruction can seem overwhelming to you but here are some simple ways you can include it in your lesson plans.

Ways in which Differentiated Instructions can be included in your Lesson Plans

Lesson Objectives

Differentiated instruction is oftentimes present in our lesson plans; however, the lesson objectives themselves do not reflect the differentiated instruction activities. Therefore, it is important to write lesson objectives that reflect the differentiated instruction that is present in your lesson plan.

Here are a few samples of lesson objectives that reflect differentiated instruction:

At the end of the lesson, students should be able to:

  • Listen an audio of story and answer tiered questions
  • Draw characters based on the description presented in the audio presentation
  •  Create a character sketch based on the visualization of one of character from the audio.
  • Distinguish between .........in peer groups
  • Create a poster based on ---------

NB: The objectives should be structured in such a way that it shows that students are given various opportunities to work at their level as well as the various learning styles are catered to.


In your list of lesson methodology you can include if you are using:

  • Random Grouping
  • Questioning
  • Tiered Assignment
  • Engineering and Design Process


Under content include the various variations to the content that you will share with the students. This can be divided into various tiers.

Developmental Activity

In the developmental activity you will include an outline of the differentiated instruction that you will employ when teaching the lesson. Below is an example of this

"In class the teacher will present the content in a variety of ways to appeal to students from the various types of intelligence.

The teacher will meet with students who are struggling with the content or doing the class work. This will be done after the class work is given.

The teacher will include a tiered activity for home work. This will allow students with  mixed ability and interests to choose the activity they are interested in doing"

Culminating Activity

Students will be given tiered assignments so that they can choose the activity that they are able to complete.

Examples of Differentiated Learning Culminating Activities

  • Random Grouping
  • Tiered Activity Sheets (Menu Activities or Tic Tac Toe Worksheets)


1. Start Small - Try one subject, one class, or one strategy.

2. Start Where You Are – Do you already use student groupings? Do you already vary work assignments?

3. Tell Students – That they will be embarking on a new and exciting way of learning and discuss the expected behaviour, so they know what’s going on.

4. Rearrange classroom – adjust the classroom to make it conducive for pairing, grouping, and direct instruction.

5. Post Routines – So students understand when and how to move around the room.

6. Keep Parents Informed – Of the new instructional methodology, explain how they can participate, and how they will be informed of their child’s progress. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Questions based on 'DREAMING BLACK BOY'.

1. The theme of the poem is:
(a) The boy’s dreams of a better life
(b) The boy’s need for recognition
(c) An uncaring society

2. What do the following expressions in Stanza one suggest?
“wouldn’t go pass me today”
“to hug me when I kick a goal.18

3. How does the boy differ from his ancestors?

4. For what does the boy wish in Stanza two?

5. Find the expressions which show that the boy needs freedom and opportunities to

6. What does the expression “spend me out opposing” suggest about the boy.

7. What does the boy wish for persons who break the law?

8. Quote the expressions in the last Stanza which show the suffering of the boy.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

South –Kamau Brathwaite


The persona speaks about the fact that today he is recapturing the beauty of the island of his birth. He reflects on the fact that he has travelled to the lands of the north, which appeared to be the very opposite of his island. The persona appeared, at that point, to be homesick for his island and resented the ease and comfort that the Northerners' felt towards their land. He then shifts back to the present where he appreciates certain features of the island, particularly those that remind him of his past on the island.


•Stanza 1, lines 1-2: The sound that the alliteration illicits, when spoken, is a positive one. This is the case because the alliteration forces the reader to sound cheerful, thereby facilitating the interpretation that the persona is happy to be home.

•Stanza 1, lines 4-5: This alliteration, again, draws the reader through the sound that it illicits. One can almost hear the sound that the sea makes through the repetition of the 's' sound. It emphasizes the joy that the persona feels to be home.   

•Stanza 2, lines 13-14: This alliteration, when spoken, is staccato. It literally emphasizes the persona's discomfort, and dislike, of the new context that he is faced with. It is alien to him, as seen when contrasted with the scene that he describes in the first stanza.

•Stanza 4, line 33: This device gives the reader a visual image of the scene. It is simple image that highlights the persona's excitement at being home and seeing scenes, even seemingly inconsequential ones, that he knows and loves.   

•Stanza 5, line 43: This alliteration gives the reader a visual of what the persona sees as pleasant and calming, as opposed to the alliteration in stanza 2. The sound that the alliteration illicits is a calm one, implying that the persona is at peace.

•Stanza 1, lines 6-7: This device gives a beautiful impression of the effect that the island had on the persona. He felt whole when he was there, at peace.

•Stanza 2, lines 16-17: The shadows, in this context, represents his past life and experiences on the island. The memories of his island illicits feelings of sadness, even homesickness. These memories cast an oppressive shadow over his life in the north.  

The persona compares the flowing of the rivers, which represents the north, to his longing for his island home. This comparison indicates that his longing is an intense one, he is homesick.

The word capture means to take possession of something or someone. Therefore, when the persona says that he is recapturing his island, it implies that he is taking back possession of what he once owned.

5.'Since then I have travelled' 
This line indicates that the persona did not  remain on the island of his birth.

6.'sojourned in stoniest cities' 
This highlights a contrast between the persona's island and the cities that he visited. His island has beaches and oceans, while the cities that he visited were concrete jungles made of stone.

7.'We who are born of the ocean can never seek solace in rivers'
The persona refers to the north, and its populace, as rivers, while the south, and his island, is the ocean. This line highlights the persona's discontent in the north.

8.'reproves us our lack of endeavour and purpose' 
Reprove is to reprimand. Therefore, the line is saying that the flowing river, the north, reprimands the ocean, the south, for its lack of effort and resolve. This implies that the persona might be homesick and, therefore, not functioning at full capacity in the new northern environment. 

9.'proves that our striving will founder on that.' 
The term founder literally means the owner or operator of a foundry. This has little to do with the context of the poem, therefore, it can be assumed that poetic license was utilized at this point. Contextually, the line can be interpreted as meaning that the persona's subsequent striving, or efforts, will be founded on the reprimand made by the river, or the north. 

The emphasis placed on this word, through the use of italics, highlights the fact that the persona is both happy and excited to be home.

11.'and look!' 
The exclamation mark emphasizes the persona's enthusiasm, and excitement, when he identifies a scene that is reminiscent of his past. 

The mood of the poem is reflective. The persona is thinking about his island home, as well as places that he has visited in the north.

The tone of the poem goes from being reflective, to being elated.

Patriotism, places, desires and dreams

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Test Match Sabina Park by Stewart Brown

Image result for test match sabina park

The persona, a white male, proudly enters Sabina Park to watch a cricket match between England and the West Indies. The persona notices that the game is slow and that the crowd is not reacting well. He is, in fact, initially shocked that there is a crowd at all because this is usually not the case at Lords. By lunch, England is sixty eight for none, and the crowd gets abusive. They even state that maybe they should borrow Lawrence Rowe. The persona tries to explain the reason behind the slow pace of the British side, but fails to convince even himself. His embarrassment at England's performance has him eventually skulking out of the venue.


Stanza 2, lines 6-7: This question reveals that, despite the fact that cricket is a popular sport in England, the venues for the matches are not crowded. This question could also point to the fact that Sabina Park was very crowded.

Stanza 3, line 10: This question represents the general frustration of the West Indians in the crowd. They are annoyed that the cricket match is progressing so slowly.
Stanza 4, lines 16-18: These questions imply that the West Indian crowd's level of frustration has escalated. 

2. ALLUSION-The allusion to Lawrence Rowe, a very colourful and successful West Indian cricketer, emphasizes the fact that the match is slow and boring. 

3. SARCASM-  To 'boycott' is to abstain from, or to stop, doing something. Therefore, the persona is being sarcastic because excitement is a good thing. People usually boycott for something negative, therefore the persona is, again, highlighting the slow and boring pace of the cricket match.


4.'rosette of my skin' 
Rosette implies a reddish colour, or tint, to the skin, that sometimes resembles a rose. This description immediately identifies the race of the persona as caucasian. The persona is proud of his race, as he enters Sabina Park.

'This word means to walk proudly. It emphasizes the fact that the persona is proudly walking into Sabina Park.

6.'something badly amiss'  
The persona is jolted by the fact that the match is going slowly. The word 'amiss' implies wrong, the game should not be going so slowly.

7.'vociferous partisans'
Vociferous means to be very noisy and clamorous, while patisan is a person who shows biased, emotional allegiance. Therefore, the West Indian crowd was extremely noisy in their support of their team. They were also very unappreciative of the slow pace of the match.

8.'England sixty eight for none at lunch'
While this is a good score, it never-the-less highlights the slowness of the match, hence the fact that the experience, for the crowd, was far from exciting.

9.'the wicket slow'
The purpose of the wicket is to 'out' the opposing side. Therefore, no 'outing' is occurring, the wickets are standing. Everything about the match is going slowly.  

10.'sticky wickets'
This implies a sticky, or awkward situation. It highlights England's situation. 

11.'loud 'busin'
The English team was being loudly abused.

12.'skulking behind a tarnished rosette'
Skulking implies hiding in shame, and tarnished means tainted. Therefore, the proud Englishman is now embarrassed, and the rosette of his skin is making him stand out. Initially this was a very good thing, but now it is a disadvantage.  

13.'blushing nationality'. 
At this point, the Englishman admits to being embarrassed for his team, as well as himself.

*There is a distinct CONTRAST between the beginning of the poem when the persona is proud, and 'struts'. However, by the end of the poem, he is embarrassed and 'skulking'

There are two distinct voices in this poem. The English man's and the West Indian's.

The mood of the poem is tense.

The tone of the poem is one of frustration (West Indian) and embarrassment (English man). 

Discrimination, places, culture and sports
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