Over the summer, I shared my kite poem from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong’s latest fantastic Poetry Friday Anthology–the one focused on science (awesome idea). Today I’m sharing another poem, this one by teacher and poet Ken Slesarik. It’s from the Kindergarten section/edition, Week 19: Soil & Land.
My rock is cold,
gray, white, hard,
Are rocks living?
–Ken Slesarik, all rights reserved
I love how simple and specific this poem is. And, of course, how it ties in facts. I feel like kids could hear this poem and know that poems are 1) about things that matter to them and 2) that poems are within reach. That little question/wonder at the end takes this poem from a list of attributes into a poem of wonder. I also love it because I love rocks:>)
Here I am reading it:
Now, you might not already know Ken. He’s a special education teacher and children’s poet from Phoenix, Arizona. His ?Heroes and Poets? assembly program (more on that in a second) has been well received by teachers, students, parents and administrators. Ken’s poetry for children has been published in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY SERIES, the forthcoming DEAR TOMATO: AN INTERNATIONAL CROP OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE POEMS, as well as an animal collection called CREATURES, CRITTERS, BEASTS AND VARMINTS. Ken’s mission is to empower students through the medium of poetry, and he is a poetry advocate to children and teachers alike. You can tell from his enthusiasm (and from these kids!) that he does a great job:
“I may be tired and stressed, but at 3:40pm I come alive for our after-school poetry club called ?Poetry Rocks? at Esperanza Music Academy. Our club is made up of 26 kids in 4th-6th grades. A typical student may struggle in one or more academic areas but I make sure, without a doubt, that every student feels valued and capable. The main premise of my assembly program is that heroes are strong, brave, and kind, and we try to live that. We just finished our third week, and already there are so many ?magic moments? when a kid just lights up. Performing our poems is an essential element of our day, and this too has been so gratifying. We hope to put together a book-length collection before April, so the kids are looking forward to that. As far as my teaching background, I have more than eighteen years’ experience with the last ten being in the K-6 elementary setting. My district practices full inclusion as much as possible, so as a special education teacher, I have been fortunate to provide direct language arts instruction to students and/or co-teach with teachers from all grade levels. My job is to scaffold instruction for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities so that they can access the general education curriculum. I strive to be a compassionate educator and advocate for students, community and poetry in the classroom.
“Esperanza Music Academy in the Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, Arizona is a Title 1 school with a diverse population. Mrs. Sepuka, our principal, is a supportive and compassionate educator herself. I’m grateful for the 21st century grant that supports ?Poetry Rocks? and other enrichment programs at our school.
It is so inspiring to meet teachers who are passionate about education, kids, and poetry! And now, for more inspiration, visit the always delicious Jama Rattigan’s blog for the Poetry Friday Roundup!