Author: Roots To Learning: Education & Consulting

Great Poetry Books for Kids of All Ages

As a poet and literacy teacher, I am always on the lookout for great books of poetry as well as poetically written stories that encourage kids to explore and play with language.  Poetry is the perfect way to teach phonological awareness, and wordplay is beneficial for all students, but especially those who are diagnosed with language learning disorders. Check out these resources at your local library or bookstore for use at home or in the classroom!  All of these books have been selected for their wonderful poetry and visual art. Most can be used for teaching broad language skills such as phonological awareness and phonics.  I’ve included target grade levels for each. Great Poetry Books for Kids (Young & Old!) I have used this book of poetry for years in my teaching. It’s a delightful collection of all kinds of poems (including some great concrete & personification poems) organized by theme.  Meilo So’s watercolor illustrations are a wonderful accompaniment.  This is a must-have for any bookshelf at home or school! Grades 2-12   A gorgeous book …

Mindful of the World

“I look at the bird before me and imagine how it senses the world, how it feels breathing cold air, how it feels to have its feathers ruffling in the wind, how it feels to always have an eye out for possible food and possible predators. The bird sees me and is a nanosecond from flying off, but it stays. Why? By imagining the life within, the bird I am seeing is alive, no longer a shape and its parts, but a thinking, sentient being, always on the brink of doing something. By feeling the life within, I am always conscious that all creatures have personalities, and so do trees and clouds and streams. To feel the life within, I now imagine myself as the bird that is looking at me. I imagine its wariness, the many ways it has almost died in its short life. I worry over its comfort and safety, and whether I will see my little companion the next day, the next year. To feel the life within is to also …

What’s in your Pocket?

Here’s hoping it’s a poem that pulls at you all day.  If you’ve not yet found one, take a moment, press pause, and sit with a poem before you rush off to life’s next very important calling. Here’s my pick: blessing the boats (at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back       may you open your eyes to water water waving forever and may you in your innocence sail through this to that –Lucille Clifton, from quilting, poems 1987-1990 Find poems at The Poetry Foundation, The Writer’s Almanac

Music for Spring & Educational Resources

What song could be better than jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring” for this, the first weekend of spring? This morning, I was reintroduced to an old favorite as a bright blue sky filled my window and I awoke to the Abbey Lincoln and Stan Getz version from 1991. Here is their version and the classic Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers recording with the giants Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Cedar Walton (piano), Jymie Merritt (bass), and Art Blakey (drums). Listen while taking in the playful dance of crocus and daffodil, cherry blossom and forsythia, and new green below and high above your feet! Want to learn more about Jazz? Check out these sites & books: PBS Kids GO! Jazz  Nicky the Jazz Cat: A fabulous book for kids of all ages, but especially K-3, by photographer Carol Friedman.  I recently used this with a student to both reinforce phonological awareness (the book has wonderful rhymes) and introduce him to some pretty cool jazz cats like Abbey Lincoln, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones …

Setting Goals: Turning Intention into Action

The clean slate of  January 1st  heralds a time when many of us embrace the concept of change and set resolutions for the New Year.  With the all of the emotions and frenzy of the holiday season behind us, January is like a wide open field full of possibility.  A tangible energy abounds as people move and buzz about with newly found purpose. But often by mid-February, the best laid plans often have gone astray.  This leap year we have the gift of an extra day—today!  Thus, it seems the perfect time to take a moment and reflect on our intentions:   Are we making progress?  If not, how can we capture and sustain the energy to best help us fulfill the goals or resolutions we set?  How might we best use this extra 24-hour period to get us back on track? Rarely is something worth doing done easily; however, the approach we take to meeting our goals can make all the difference in our success, and might even make it easier along the way.  I find …