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Arts Discovery, Pages Online

Like learning phonics and grammar and punctuation and rhetoric, artists too have tools that enable them to bring shape to an idea so that a “reader” might engage and be inspired by that idea. Color is one of the important tools the enables great art to tell a story.



During Session 1 of Pages Online, we are offering our very first class in visual arts for storytellers! We are so excited! Students will not only learn about the mechanics of color, the physics of color, and how artists use color to tell stories, but they will be using color to create an original idea!


Click through to learn more and enroll. Space is limited. Don’t miss out!

Tuesdays 5th – 8th Grade, 9:00

Thursdays 9th – 12th Grade, 9:00

Visual art is language. Blackbird & Company is excited to introduce a series of visual art classes through Pages this coming year because learning to read art extends literacy—Read well! Write well! Make well! Think well!

“Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet.” ~Paul Klee

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Music Discovery, Pages Online

Each day a boy named Peter opens a gate and wanders into a familiar meadow and so the story begins thanks to Sergei Prokofiev. Music, like fiction always exists in the present tense.


Back in 1936, Prokofiev was commissioned to write a musical symphony for children. He had an idea. And he got to work crafting the story of Peter and an imaginative cast of characters who are sonically represented with themes played by specific instruments of the orchestra. Genius!

Children (and adults alike) across the ages simultaneously learn about the different voices of the instruments of the orchestra and the power of story through this singular work.

We are so happy to offer two classes during Session 1 to introduce Peter and the Wolf for both elementary and middle + high school:

Tuesdays 5th – 8th Grade, 10:30 PST

Thursdays 9th – 12th Grade, 10:30 PST

Music is language. Blackbird & Company is excited to introduce a series of music classes through Pages this coming year because music extends literacy.

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ~Hans Christian Andersen



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Pages Enrollment is OPEN!

We hope your summer has been filled with joy and opportunities for continuous learning. We are thrilled to announce that registration is now live for our highly anticipated online workshops!

At Blackbird & Company, we understand the importance of providing resources that foster creativity, critical thinking, and a love for learning. Our carefully curated workshops offer an exciting opportunity for your child to explore a range of subjects while having fun engaging with their peers in a virtual environment.

Who are Pages classes for?

All students Earlybird through Level 4 (grades 2 through 12).

When are the classes?

Classes meet once per week and are scheduled Monday through Friday at various times for convenience. No matter the level, you will be able to find a class that works perfectly with your schedule.

  • Session 1 | 9.11.2023 – 10.13.2023
  • Session 2 | 10.16.2023 – 11.17.2023
  • Session 3 | 1.8.2024 – 2.8.2024
  • Session 4 | 2.19.2024 – 3.22.2024
  • Session 5 | 4.1.2024 – 4.29.2024

Class space is limited, so click through to reserve your space.

Register NOW!

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Meet Ms. Clare

I’ve been writing this summer about our amazing Pages staff and the classes they are teaching.

I’m truly honored to be a part of such a great team.

Some of you may have wondered, but what about you?


Clare Bonn

Don’t you also teach Pages classes?

Well, yes, I do!

It’s hard for me to know where to start since I’ve felt like I have shared so much about my classes over this year in my blog posts. I soon found my inspiration in my old dairy from 1984-85. I was in 5th and 6th grade at this time, so you now have an idea of how old I am!

My son Grady is into the book series, Diary of the Wimpy Kid, this year. We will snuggle on the couch and read the books together. On one of these days, I remembered that I had an old diary hidden away. I thought I would show my son so he could see a real diary. When I pulled it out and showed it to Grady, he was so impressed. It is really small—as big as my hand—and it is white with lavender hearts in lines and proudly says “Diary” on the front. It had an old lock that once-upon-a-time time required a tiny key. Now it’s so old it just opens on its own!

Inside, each entry was dated at the top and I wrote in beautiful, neat cursive writing. I forgot I could ever write like that! On June 7th 1984, the day before the last day of my 5th grade year, I talked about the teacher handing out awards. I received one award for reading and one award for creative writing. I don’t remember that day, or the awards, and I don’t remember what I read or wrote that year that triggered all the award giving! But reading that journal entry made me reflect back on my education and feelings about writing. As I got older, middle school, high School, college, I don’t ever remember loving to write. I do remember feeling it was easy. I was always grateful when the test or assignment was to write an essay. It always came easy to me and I was always graded well. What I do remember liking was when I had the chance to free write my thoughts or experiences in a poem or a letter. I enjoyed writing something that was meaningful, where I could express my intimate feelings.

I wrote for so long what was required that I forgot I enjoyed writing.

The hard part is finding the balance between writing free within constraint, finding freedom within all of vast writing domains!

Teaching Blackbird & Company curriculum helped me to remember what I enjoy about writing. I love reading good books, which I get to do with my students every time I teach a class. I love writing my own ideas and that is what I assign my students. Every section of every book we read has its own built in writing prompt.

When speaking at conferences, I’m often fielding the same questions: “How do I get my child to write? ” And, if the child writes, “How do I teach my child the form of writing, without turning them off of writing?”

First, what I have learned using Blackbird & Company is that students of all ages want to write or, may I say, have more motivation to write their own ideas. Most students don’t want to regurgitate information.

The second thing I’ve learned is that anything we learn that is hard requires discipline and encouragement. Writing can be personal and expressive and creative but in can still be a process that feels difficult. Learning to write and let your ideas flow without worrying about the rules helps to ease this difficult process. But the form does matter, it is important to communicate effectively. This hard process can be achieved with warmth, kindness, patience, and respect. This process is important personal work.

My son and I always start with connection before we read and write. We have our own cozy spot together that helps it feel less like work. We put a blanket over our laps, we have the dog curled up next to us. We tell each other what we are grateful for today, or what we are looking forward too, but the time is set aside for my son’s important work.

His ideas are important.

His words and thoughts are valued.

He is a storyteller.

When we encourage our students over and over in this way, they begin the process of believing. And this, in turn, helps the young writer dive into valuing  the work itself.

When we start our work, Grady knows what to expect. Blackbird & Company curriculum has helped me so much with this process, whether it’s my own son or students in class. The structure repeats every week, and at every level, just increasing with difficulty as they move up. Students start to know how to structure writing, “Today I complete Characters and Vocabulary, tomorrow, Setting or Plot. The following day they will dig into Comprehension questions. The other critical point that has helped our process is holding my son to this process. Free, creative writing, is beneficial and I do always leave a time for that, but writing based on great literature is important too. Being able to demonstrate not only comprehension, but to question, to dive deeper into meaning and characters, to write what you think or feel based-off of what you have read, is important work. If we value only one type of writing or learning we greatly limit ourselves, our learning, our thinking, our communication and our understanding of our world.

What I’ve learned from Blackbird & Company, is to set aside time for important work and to push, or lean into difficult things so we can learn, stretch, and grow into our great potential and uncover the gifts inside of each one us.

Now that I have let you know all that I have learned from teaching using Blackbird & Company curriculum, you may still wonder, “Miss Clare, what are you teaching!!!”

I’ve the pleasure of teaching Literature Level 2 and Level 3 again this year! Miss Lori will be teaching Level 2 and 3 as well, but only novels that are tied to a history add-on class. I will also be co-teaching many of the applicational classes with Mr. Søren! I’m very excited about this! We will be teaching Introduction to Composition, Intermediate Composition, poetry, creative writing tied to Operation Lexicon, and even letter writing (how fun)!

I love my job.  I’m consistently learning to read well, write well and think well, right along with my students!

~Clare Bonn

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Meet Mr. Søren

“Talk with a little luck in it, that’s what poetry is—just let the words take you where they want to go. You’ll be invited; things will happen; your life will have more in it than other’s people’s lives have.” ~Poet William Stafford

I recently had the chance to talk with one of our poetry and writing teachers at Blackbird & Company. I’ve had the honor of teaching with him this past year and have learned quite a bit!  He is imposing in stature, but one of the wisest, gentlest, men I have encountered. His hair and beard are wild and free, and he has a carefree smile and smooth voice. It’s no wonder he teaches the arts! When I asked him about Poetry writing using Blackbird & Company curriculum, he expressed that he loved how the curriculum tries to teach both freedom and form. “Most students,” he said, “feel confined by form.” The classic struggle he sees in young writers is the need they feel to write what someone else wants to hear rather than what they want to say. It is a learning process to learn to shape your own voice to fit an assignment.

“Even though we spend so much time learning the rules of writing, we must let writers know that rules are meant to be broken. The writer’s voice needs to come before the rules, or simply change the rules.”  ~Poet (& screenwriter) Søren Bredberg

Søren was homeschooled with Blackbird & Company ELA curriculum at center stage. He believes this methodology helped him to find his voice in writing and develop the skills he has today. Søren has taught in the classroom and online for over six years using Blackbird & Company curriculum. He has a passion for poetry, but he teaches other forms of writing, the essay, as example. The difference in essay writing, Søren pointed out, is the importance of getting the necessary information out concisely and within boundaries. Søren noted that when he first works with a new student, he typically notices they write in a formulaic style. The student will start and end paragraphs the same way. Students often get taught there is a correct way to open a paragraph. They might feel confined by form and the need to follow it to a T, like there is no leeway and room for their personal voice. These are the hardest students to reach. He notes the power of writing our own ideas. This is something he has appreciated in Blackbird & Company approach and has seen firsthand how this helps his struggling writers to find their voice and find meaning and joy in writing again. I am looking forward to teaching with Søren again this coming year, encouraging our students to find their own voice and break some of the rules along the way!

Mr. Søren is currently pursuing his degree at the LA Film School as he continues to imagine his ideas into the shape of feature-length screenplays.

“The more that you read, the more things that you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!  ~Dr. Seuss


~Clare Bonn

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Meet Miss Lori

“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

~Winston Churchhill, 1948 speech to the British House of Commons


I recently had the pleasure to talk with a new member of our Pages team. She is definitely not new to teaching, having taught for over 20 years and having worked with children her whole lifetime in some capacity. She has taught many subjects including language arts and has specifically used Blackbird & Company curriculum in the classroom. But her real area of specialty is history. We have expanded our Pages classes this year to include a history opt-in class to students participating in her Core Literature + Writing classes.  The opt-in classes will dive deeper into the time in History being discussed in the books that are set during a certain time period in history.

“History is all about people, and as a society, we like to know what people say, how people act, and interact. History is my passion.

~Miss Lori May, History Teacher

Miss Lori talked about the value of being introduced to history through great literature, “We can give students a more personalized account of a certain time period. History can be told through the eyes of a child, this is something we often don’t hear in a history class. History is often told through the eyes and perspective of adults.”

“History is written by the winner, by the person in power.”  ~Miss Lori

Miss Lori pointed out that we don’t often get taught history through the eyes of a child but we also don’t learn history through the point of view of people who hold less power. To really understand history we need to look at events through other people’s eyes. We need to look at our own preconceptions. History teaches us to critically think and ask important questions: Who? When? Why? was this written. Miss Lori pointed out the fact that there are nuances we need to shine a light on and ask, “What was the author trying to say?”

“Great Literature books are springboards into times in history we cannot comprehend.” ~Miss Lori


Miss Lori noted her biggest challenge teaching history is really having her students understand what the challenges were during that time. “Everything we teach is relative. Most people have experienced life with a home, and food–their basic needs met.” Miss Lori recently taught anchored to the book, Out of the Dust, to a class of 4th and 5th graders. This book takes place in Oklahoma during the time of the Dust Bowl, seen through the eyes of a young girl. Miss Lori had the chance to dive into the history of the dust bowl, the Who? Why? When? She recalls, “It was so hard for my students to really grasp how much dust was involved and how much covered their bowls, tables, and food. The process of covering all window sills and door jams took time. The face coverings and gas masks that were worn because the dust would fill people’s lungs.”

Miss Lori will start the first Pages Session of this coming school year teaching 1. Out of the Dust (once again) along with, 2. Macaroni Boy, set in 1933, Pittsburgh during the Great Depression, and 3. The Red  Umbrella, set in Cuba during Castro’s revolution.

If you are interested in Miss Lori’s classes, enroll soon because we know they will fill up fast—remember that you will enroll for TWO, both the CORE Literature & Writing class and the History Opt-in. Miss Lori has two sections available during each session for CORE classes (one on Monday and one on Friday). The History Opt-in is offered on Tuesday for both sections.


~Clare Bonn

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Introducing Master Taylor

“Music and Art, whether we are conscious of their presence or not, are integral to our daily experience.” ~Taylor Bredberg, Composer and Teacher

Our Pages online offering will be expanding this year, and everyone I’ve talked to is really excited about this news!

I recently been posting about our amazing Pages teachers .

We are especially excited to announce Music and Art Discovery.



You might ask: How is a language arts connected to music and visual art? Well, I’ve had the chance to talk to the talented teacher and learned the inside scoop.

During my conversation with “Master Taylor” his passion and enthusiasm for both music and art was evident. Taylor has been teaching for 8 years, starting as a peer mentor, private tutor, classroom assistant and then lead classroom teacher. We are grateful to have him join our team of online teachers. Taylor explained how the visual art via the craft of graphic design exists in the world everywhere we go. Music too is often in the background of our daily world, whether in a store or on TV. It’s important to have a more active understanding of these two significant languages. That’s right, he called music and art language! No, wonder Blackbird and Company wanted to offer these classes. Both music and visual art are significant branches of literacy. Taylor went on to say that learning about music and art can not only help us understand, but also help us help us appreciate, the art we see on a daily basis. Learning the history of both disciplines can help us understand what we see and hear.

When I asked Taylor what he would be teaching in music, he said he would be concentrating on the history of music, specially in the classical and jazz era, to help students develop listening skills. Stated simply, his goal is music appreciation. The historical background will offer the insight that, no matter the era, music brings community together. Taylor went on to share that it can be daunting for a student to listen to music for half an hour that has no words. Taylor’s goal is, “to have my students enjoy music and know what they are listening too.” Class will have a required writing element but this will be tailored developmentally. Writing about music ties the languages together through translation. The class format will not require reading, but it will require listening to music inside and outside of class.

Anyone familiar with Blackbird and Company curriculum and our philosophy, know that we promote the pencil work of handwriting from Kindergarten forward. Master teacher, Taylor pointed out that writing is a core to English, and the rules of phonics, for example, are presented to our students starting day one. Art on the other hand is not considered a core subject and most people want a free form class, want fun with crayons! Taylor agrees that free form art is important, but insists we need to supplement with tools, “We don’t just set a child down with high quality art supplies and watch them create amazing art.” When Taylor sees in students that they have a creative idea, “I want to make this happen,” he realizes the state of frustration that happens when that student doesn’t have the tools to do what they want to do.

“My goal is to give my students the tools to assist in bringing their ideas to life through their art.” ~Master Taylor

There is a mechanics to art—a way to hold the pencil and how much pressure to apply. We are taught small finger movements to handwrite. In art we are taught to use the arm to assist in drawing a line as opposed to fingers. Wrist and arm movements can assist in making bigger lines. Learning the mechanics of art is skill learning. Taylor plans on teaching these skills and techniques, getting down to the basic elements of art. He will assist students in slowing down or in his words, “settling down” into the process of art-making to inspire students to make beautiful, important work, that is authentically theirs. Notice the connection between writing and art? In both we talk about  s l o w i n g  down, doing less but better, doing it well. This all takes time. It’s all important. It’s your work.  It’s your idea.  It matters. We want your work to be yours. We just want to support you in building your toolkit to get your idea where you want it to be. The possibilities are endless.

Ultimately, writing is art making and so, what better pairing for an ELA curriculum than a study of music and visual art?


~Clare Bonn

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Meet Miss Julia

“As a Pages teacher, I consider myself to be an adventure guide, leading my students on a journey through a story, pointing out details and nuggets of advice along the way.” ~Julia LaMonte, Earlybird and Level 1 Pages Teacher

I have written quite a bit about reading with my children when they were young, snuggled up in a nook. Some of my favorite memories are of reading together, talking, sharing, and imagining. I think when things changed for me was when I wanted to take these beautiful conversations we were having and encourage my children to engage in the pencil and paper work of writing their thoughts and ideas. I talked in my previous blog, on Pages classes, about having relationships with the students we teach and building a community of support. I realized I needed this with my own students— my beautiful children—too!  Blackbird and Company was the first ELA curriculum I found that helped me inspire pencil to paper writing through the reading of great literature. My children, like most I have worked with, were much more inspired to write their own ideas from a prompt tied into a great story. But throughout our homeschooling and private school years, I, at times, needed my own community of support which truly enabled me to become an adventure guide for my children!

“We learn more about ourselves when we dive into and discuss the actions of characters in books, and a class like Pages is a wonderful opportunity to do just that.”  ~Miss Julia

If you ever get to sit in on Miss Julia’s classes you will see an adventure guide at work with our youngest of learners. Miss Julia teaches our Earlybird (2nd grade) classes along with our Level 1 (3rd grade). Miss Julia reads rich literature out loud to her students and guides them through the path of discussing vocabulary, character traits, comprehension and writing their own ideas through a personal prompt. I remember watching Miss Julia teach a class to Earlybird students using the book Fedrick by Leo Lionni. She would read aloud, stopping  to point out different vocabulary or to notice the artistic style the author had used. It occurred to me in that moment how much there was to learn from such a simple story. The gift of having an adventure guide is that they have usually traveled the trail before and can show us things we have never seen or never noticed or overlooked or disregarded. During my quest of being a mother and teacher I would want to get things done,  I would bypass the trail for the highway. I appreciated having an adventure guide who I could follow and could slow me and my students down so we could really capture the details, the deeper meaning and gifts of a great story.

“ I really appreciate having Miss Julia as the teacher. It gives me the opportunity to help, but not be the one in charge.”  ~Jessica Heafner                                             

If you ever get the chance to sit down with Mrs. Julia she might share that she was homeschooled for a period of time growing up and that, during that time, she was introduced to Blackbird and Company curriculum. She has often said that it was exactly the support and inspiration she needed to become the writer she is today. Mrs. Julia was my youngest son’s teacher and adventure guide for a year. During that time my son’s writing skills grew and so did my tools to support him.

“Our goal as teachers is to inspire both students and parents in the joy that is Language Arts.”   ~Miss Julia                                                                              

This next year I hope you consider building or adding to your community of support. We want to inspire all students to read well, write well, and think well. By building your community of support you can build the relationships that will teach well, encourage well, and inspire well right alongside you!


~Clare Bonn

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A Word from Miss Clare

Products – Blackbird and Company

What parents are saying about Pages:

“Thank you for making class so enjoyable and personal. My daughter’s writing has really expanded since being in classes with you.” ~Brit Riddle

“I really appreciate you going through the different areas of reading and writing in class as opposed to having him do it all on his own at home. It sets a good example of what to do (i.e. what to look for and pay close attention to as he reads) and how to do it (i.e. organize his thoughts and get ready to write into paragraphs).” ~Paulina Yeung

I’ve been overseeing and teaching Pages online literature + writing workshops for two years now.

I’ve homeschooled for over 15 years plus taught in the classroom along the journey. I’ve gone to Homeschool Vendor fairs as a parent and a teacher. And I talk to many parents and teachers. I often get asked what makes our curriculum or our classes different. I’m  never sure where to start. But a word that often comes to mind is relationship.

This word makes a difference. I can see this difference when we’re at conference and a parent comes to our booth. Or I get a phone call, or a parent sends in an email with a question. Parents don’t seem to worry as much about finding a child’s history program or science materials. Parents even seem to worry less about pairing math. But reading, and even more so writing, is a whole different story. Reading and writing are essential to understand the world, to communicate with people, understand culture and are vital to learning and exploring all the other subjects. When parents contact Blackbird & Company, they tend to share stories of their triumphs and struggles with reading and writing. For someone who has children who learn differently, or are simply not motivated to read or write well, the work of reading and writing can lead to worry, frustration, sadness, and many a day in tears. I was one of those moms for many years until I discovered Blackbird & Company Curriculum and my very own community of support.

Pages classes are, first and foremost, a Community of Support. We take a great piece of literature and walk students through it for 5 weeks using the curriculum as guide. We break up the reading each week and dive into Character Traits, Setting, Plot, Vocabulary, Plot Questions and Discussion. We end each week with a personal writing prompt that ties into the book. The teacher becomes your student’s editor, teaching all the form needed to become a successful writer while, at the same time, protecting and valuing the student’s great ideas. The time and support we give each student are something I have never seen before in other classes. We communicate with both the parent and student regularly forming a strong relationship based on mutual respect. Both parents and students share their hearts and, consequently, writing skills soar.

Students might begin in a Pages class timidly writing just a few sentences, but by the end they are courageously writing multiple paragraphs. Their ideas are valued and that is motivating. We learn in collaboration and that is encouraging. On the last class of each session, each student presents a final project that they created inspired by the book. This project always involves creativity and might be something built, crafted, written, or researched. this opportunity gives students a creative outlet to dive deeper into application and an opportunity to participate in public speaking.

When parents have their students take a Pages class, both will learn how to pace and structure the work. Parents will learn tips to support their student, and both will experience the rhythm of the guides. Students form relationships with the teacher and their cohort of students, relationships that are long lasting. They engage in meaningful and challenging discussions of literature. They learn tools to write quality, original ideas. They learn to read closely and write authentically.

I am really honored to be the Lead Teacher of the Pages team of teachers. You will find bios of all our amazing teachers on our website soon. Please take a look! We are all excited for this year’s offering which we have expanded to multiple times and multiple days hoping to accommodate more of our families’ varying schedules. We have printed a sneak-peak of our session a year in advance so you can plan!! Come July 5, enrollment will open!

We hope to form a relationship with you and your student(s) and, come fall, become your Community of Support. We look forward to the journey and hope to give your student the needed tools to fill their blank canvas, one idea at a time!

I’m certainly looking forward to reading well, writing well and thinking well with your students!


~Miss Clare

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Let’s Zoom our Hatchlings into School!

If you a parent or a teacher using Hatchling Volume 1 (Kindergarten) or Hatchling Volume 2 (1st Grade), have we got a Zoom for YOU!

Join us for an informational session where we will be sharing strategies, inspiration, and downloadable FREEBIES! There will be time for you to ask questions of our Pages teachers and time to cheer each other on. May this informational (FREE!) session help you feel empowered to step into 2022/23 with pep in your step.