Language, Literacy, and Storytelling – Part 3

A Teacher's Reflections

In Part 2, I shared worrisome statistics about children who enter school excited to learn to read, and the dramatic drop-off when they are not exposed to books and hearing words.  I talked about the next step, engaging children in both conversation and thinking – writing picture stories.

Part 3
There is proof in the pudding down the road.  Language, literacy and storytelling makes a difference, and not just with children.  Well, there’s more. Adults. That proof is in the high quality of Cuban cigars. It’s a great story, one of my favorites.

Reading aloud never gets old. It weathers time and generations. For adults, when we are read to, we listen, think and feel. And, we have to stretch our brain. When we only hear the words it sharpens our mind, and our performance is much better.

The Cuban cigar industry understood this. That’s why they make…

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Wounded

Due to the abuse of children on a mass scale in many parts of the world, I find that it is time to dust off this old post and put it back out in cyberspace…

poetry, photos and musings oh my!

“Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.” – John Locke

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss

Wounded

The tiny blonde woman wails like a banshee

Invoking her curse that I not see my children again

Since the Courts ruled she can’t see her children again

Says she will take me out like Rambo

Court orders sever familial ties

As Reunification services are terminated

A three-year-old boy

Whose name she doesn’t remember “You know, the one I hit.”

And social workers are left to assess detriment

For future visits with this parent

There will be no contact

And Jeffery learns he doesn’t have to hide

Each time he hears footsteps

Doesn’t cower at the knock on the…

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#writephoto — The Asylum Tree

Children in cages never have a nice day and PTSD often lasts a lifetime.

This, That, and The Other

img_1779“Look at that tree, Ma,” Alex said, pointing to a tree with limbs and branches covered torn pieces of cloth. “What does it mean?” he asked her.

“That, sweetie,” Cindy said, “is known as the ‘Asylum Tree.’ It’s meant to remind us of the struggles of people trying to come to the United States from other countries in order to escape violence and persecution.”

“Why does it have all of those rags tied to it?” Alex wanted to know.

“Well, under federal law, anyone from another country can seek asylum — and therefore entry into the U.S. — by claiming to have fled their countries out of fear of persecution over their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” she explained.

“But President Trump is ignoring that law and arresting people from Central America who are seeking asylum,” Cindy said. “ And worse, he’s taking young…

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Silence

“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.”   – Confucius

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”  – William Penn

“Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.”  – Marcel Marceau

                                                                                  

Silence 

 

That is not what

She is saying –

Music – a passion

But silence – silken, warm

Comforter, blanket, cape

To withdraw –

The cocoon where

Creativity germinates freely

Where her mind

slows its frantic pace

From chaos to

Inspiration

 Repressed mantra

– 

Silence – her fortress

It has her back

Shelter from the storm

 She hears the predator coming

The clacking of her heels

Rattling of keys

Always different from other disasters

Silence, sounds its warning

Flight, the favored response

Hushed cantata

Soldiers

Recount lying in wait

As the enemy approaches

Rubber sole alarm

The heart skips beats

Hands quiver, mouth dry

Words, forsake her

Her litany to be alone

 Quelled psalms of youth

Soil, secure, reticent, fertile

Where seeds finds solace, 

Nourishment, sanctuary,

Strength, time – her friends

Adapting, evolving, processing

She bursts forth

 Her ode to joy

 

Bisous,

                                              – Léa                  

                          

 

Paix et d’espoir (Of peace and hope)

Today we’re dumping 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the environment, and tomorrow we will dump more, and there is no effective worldwide response. Until we start sharply reducing global-warming pollution, I feel that I have failed.” – Al Gore

We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.” – Margaret Mead

Paix et d’espoir (Of peace and hope)

weapons of cowardice

rang out 13 November, 2015

ricocheting across Paris

echoing over France

heard across the world

lives lost – lives forever changed

in each small French village.

city and town

les enfants on planté

un olivier – de pais et d’espoir

we do not forget

symbols of hope – olives

of peace – its branch

l’arbre – biodiversité

un abre pour le climat

children across France armed,

resolute with shovels, spades,

trees, soil, hope and smudged faces

in Paris gathering commences

COP21 (Conférence sur le climat à Paris)

if only they would listen –

hear the children who plant trees,

run in the leaves, delight in the

harvest – the animals that enrich our lives

insects , plants, biologic diversity

the living tissue of this planet

fragile under human assault

what will you do?

what will you say to the children?

bisous,

léa

Loss for words…

“Trust him not with your secrets, who, when left alone in your room, turns over your papers.”

–   Johann Kaspar Lavater

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

–   Martin Luther King, Jr.

*

Loss for words

As a small girl

I had a passionate

Love affair

With paper

And pencils

But most of all

With words

Every chance I had

I would finger the smooth

Crisp pages

I marveled as the

Pencil raced, danced, glided

Or stomped

Across the sheet

All of the things

That couldn’t

Be said

Would magically appear

Wanting to be heard

Testimony in the court

Of childhood

Aching to bear witness

To all violations

Of one small girl

But

The judge and jury

Routinely

Purged this small girls room

For any trace

Of incriminating evidence

Verdicts handed down

Fast, furious and ever so harsh

Must make an example

Cease and desist

 Trying to hide my words

Lifting the blue and tan

Checked tile cover

Of the fireplace ash bin

Never used –

Maybe it would be safe

Would guard my secrets

Would reveal dark truths

After I was gone

Censorship ran rampant

And the stakes escalated

Until the words

Turned mute

Just prior to turning forty

A crack – nearly indistinguishable

In the wall

Between me and my words

The decades of mounting pressure

And erosion from neglect

An increasing force

That would be

Reckoned with – at times

The words would be shelved

After all they

Weren’t important

Only childish ramblings

That must be silenced

The little girl survived

And my words

Illuminate

This  journey

Deal

With

It!

*

Bisous,

Léa

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Le petit prince

It would be lovely for me if the words to follow were my own. Of course they are not. However, I would like to share some of the beauty contained in the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In addition, I would like to introduce you to the official website. I hope this taste whets your appetite for more.  http://www.thelittleprince.com/  Let this post be a reminder if you have read The Little Prince, perhaps it is time to revisit this heartwarming novella. If not, there is no time like the present.   “And at night you will look up at the stars.

******

It’s too small, where I live, for me to show you where my stars is. It’s better that way. My star will just be one of the stars, for you. So you’ll like looking at all of them. They’ll all be your friends. And, besides, I am going to make you a present…’ He laughed again. ‘Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!’ ‘That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water…’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘People have stars, but they aren’t the same. For travelers, the stars are guides. For other people, they’re nothing but tiny lights. And for still others, for scholars, they’re problems. For my businessman, they were gold. But all those stars are silent stars. You, though, you’ll have stars like nobody else.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘When you look up at the sky at night, since I’ll be living on one of them, since I’ll be laughing on one of them, for you it’ll be as if all the stars are laughing. You’ll have stars that can laugh!’ And he laughed again. ‘And when you’re consoled (everyone eventually is consoled), you’ll be glad you’ve known me. You’ll always be my friend. You’ll feel like laughing with me. And you’ll open your window sometimes just for the fun of it…And your friends will be amazed to see you laughing while you’re looking up at the sky. Then you’ll tell them, “Yes, it’s the stars; they always make me laugh!” And they’ll think you’re crazy. It’ll be a nasty trick I played on you…’ And he laughed again. ‘And it’ll be as if I had given you, instead of stars, a lot of tiny bells that know how to laugh…’ And he laughed again.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

***

Bisous, Léa