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New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education's Blog

What's the Story? 

Making the world a better place for gifted kids, one yarn at a time.

 

Say it with Flowers

 

 

I don’t know why. Perhaps it was because our first daffodils were blooming for the season and visible out the lounge window, or because we had been out pottering in the garden over the weekend, or perhaps it was just one of those random thoughts that leapt into my mind for no apparent reason at all - which is just as likely. Regardless, there it was, the phrase floating around in my brain as I sat at my keyboard, staring blankly at the screen: “Say it with flowers.” Now just how was that supposed to be useful in crafting a blog about giftedness? With a resigned sigh I decided that as I didn’t have any other great inspiration, I would just roll with it for now and see where it took me. If this was going to be any use at all, I had better at least find something to hook the reader in with, so a quick Google for “flower poems” was my starting point.

 

I wandered lonely as a Cloud

That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden Daffodils;

Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

 

What struck me immediately, was the imagery woven so beautifully through the prose - you may well be familiar with William Wordsworth’s “Daffodil” poem, but for me, this was the first reading. I could see the vista in my mind’s eye, not to mention hear the rustling leaves, feel the gentle wind blowing through my hair, cooled by the lake water, and sense the peace and calm the moment instilled. But this was just my response. What might it be for others? How much fun it would be to read aloud, to draw what came to mind, or represent it in some other way! Perhaps through music, interpretive dance, food - real or imagined (I wondered how Heston might recreate this poem through science, artistry, and baking), or even, as Abraham Han has done, using kinetic typography - the possibilities seem endless, and exciting! This could be a great process for a class of kids to be involved with, I mused; offering choice, opportunities to analyse, interpret and ultimately express responses in their own unique ways (a great way to help kids draw on any over-excitabilities in a positive way too). 

I couldn’t help but be curious. Surely there must be an array of interpretations of this famous poem to be found online already. They could serve as exemplars for the kids, or as a means of kickstarting the process of enticing the kids to share their personal interpretations, of this poem or another - a great way to get reflective conversations going about the process. (Can you sense my excitement?!)

A few of the interpretations found online:

 

 

 

Some starter questions to kick-start discussion might include:

  • How has this process stretched you?
  • How has sharing with one another stretched you?
  • What is something that has challenged you?
  • What is something you have learned today?
  • Why might it be useful to think about processes like this?

 

But now what? There has to be more. This was only just whetting the appetite for creativity. To Flickr to trigger some lateral thinking! Searching the Creative Commons images with the keywords “flowers” and “art,” I was seeking some inspiration.  Surely there would be some pictures in there to further fuel the imagination. (Just between you and me, I love using Flickr for this purpose.)

 

 

Wow! Okay, so now I suddenly had links from flowers to maths, pencil drawings, sculptures, knitting, flower dragons and so much more! Then there was the vast array of flower types: colours, forms, scents ... my senses were tingling with imagination! And not least of all - I was aware that each flower that caught my attention did so as I made some sort of personal link with it. That phrase was still lingering, “Say it with flowers.” How might I “say it with flowers” to those whom I hold most dear in my life? The cogs were turning - and I can assure you it wasn’t a bunch of flowers from the garden, florist or supermarket that I had in mind. I began crafting prose based on the ideas forming.

 

 

As I thought about the process - from recalling the original phrase, to exploration, reflection and ultimately creative and personal outputs, I couldn’t help but make an intuitive leap to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy - and no - the irony didn’t escape me either!

There are many tools we can draw on to scaffold our kids’ thinking as we help them stretch, consider new views and move from knowledge accrual and remembering, to creating something new and novel, that may or may not be in service to others in some way. One of these is Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, often represented as a simple visual depicting an increasing complexity of thought, process and the expression of understanding and perspectives. I realised that this is the process I had undertaken in following my nose down the rabbit hole that lead from the saying floating around in my head to writing the meaningful prose representing how I felt about people close to me. This, it would seem, could provide a useful example of putting the Taxonomy into practice for our kids, and in a way which invites each child to draw on their personal abilities and qualities as they make new connections.

Here's how the taxonomy looked through this example:

  • Remembering the phrase “say it with flowers”
  • Understanding how Wordsworth used flowers to express how he felt in his poem, “I wandered lonely as a cloud”
  • Applying my evolving perspectives on the phrase by using this in the process of exploring new connections through searching Flickr.
  • Analysing what my creative process has been and where this has taken me. Also an opportunity to reflect on how my own thinking and interpretations have altered through this process.
  • Evaluating how “flowers” might be best represented in a way that would be fitting as a gift for someone special in their life as a means of “saying it with flowers”.
  • Planning and creating the flower-inspired messages to gift - and the ensuing blog to share the process.

 

My brain is always “grasshoppering”, so of course it didn’t stop at this. It leapt to Alexander Den Heijer’s well-known quote, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” In using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy in an open-ended and invitational way, this is exactly what we are doing - using a tool that supports making the environment conducive to optimal growth, and in turn, empowering our gifted kids to blossom.

 

A wide range of tools are used in the MindPlus, Gifted Online and Small Poppies classes to extend the depth, breadth and complexity of thinking of gifted youngsters. To find out more about these classes, enquire with the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education.

 

 

'What's the Story?' is a new blog section which is being written for the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education, with posts being added regularly. The purpose of this space is to share musings and anecdotes relating to giftedness and gifted education to provide a form of information and support for those living with and/or teaching gifted learners. Please do share them along.

 

We would love to hear from you.  Grab a virtual cuppa and share your story in the comments.

What's the Story? Making the world a better place for gifted kids, one yarn at a time.

 

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Please note that the views expressed in these blogs are those of the author and not necessarily representative of the views of the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education.

Image credits: An extreme close up of the daffodils that cover Sefton Park, Liverpool by Walton's Garden Buildings (top image) is licensed under CC BY 2.0 The image has been modified. Watercolour art - Olivia by Ann, r0701 by Kay Adams, Blue Bottle Tree by Art Poskanzer, Art Yarn Scarf by NY and angry flower by Adiran Tombu are all licensed under CC BY 2.0 (slideshow of inspirational images). another anemone by erika g., insect art by Malcolm Murdoch, 2018-06-09_15-04-16_ILCE-6500_DSC06284 by Miguel Discart Photos Vrac 2, metamorphosis by Malachi Brown, Knitted Garden, Bournemouth Library by Tanya Hart and 2018_71_Flowers_And_Seeds by emma marie andersson are licensed under CC BY-S.A 2.0 (slideshow of inspirational images).

 

Say it with flowers

 
 
 
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