Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year, New Ideas - Time for Up & Down New York

With the whole toddler poetry thing coming to a standstill, I've moved on to bigger and better things for my little students for 2008. I've revised our curriculum... we will be reading Up & Down New York, a beautiful book by Tony Sarg from the 1920s. Remarkably, most if not all of the places Sarg featured back in 1926 can still be visited today. So one by one, Kelly, Molly and I will visit these 24 New York landmarks. In this social studies-based learning approach, we will also incorporate art, literature, science, etc. as it relates to that week's location. We'll also compare and contrast the then and now. I'm really excited, and hope the little ones share my enthusiasm for our revamped educational agenda!

Click here to read a review of Up & Down New York.
Click here to order Up and Down New York from Amazon.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Poem Time Again

I cant believe my last post was about thanksgiving poems, and now it's already time for winter solstice, holiday (hanukkah, christmas, kwanzaa) and new year's themed poems.

And TPCers out there with some great classics or contemporary finds to share?

Happy everything to one and all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Toddler Poetry Community

Can this really be true? I just typed "toddler poetry community" into Google and this blog is the ONLY result that was returned. Now as happy as I am to be indexed, and to be an almost-sort-of a Googlewhack, what has happened to the rest of the TPCers? Just a few weeks ago, we were flooding servers! Demanding to be heard! And now, am I the lone person out there in all of cyberspace teaching my toddlers poetry?

At first this made me sad, to be alone in my poetry-focused toddler curriculum. But then I decided, perhaps it is too narrow to focus all of my educational efforts on poems of the day. And the kids are bored of it, that much is for sure. So starting next week I will be back with a more comprehensive educational agenda, perhaps one that more reflects the original city mom focus of this blog.

What do you think is the most important thing to teach kids? I'll take your ideas to form our first lesson plans here at Big City central.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving poems?

We had a great Thanksgiving, full of booze, good friends and family, camp, and food that somehow all turned out ok despite having to be cooked by me.

I really wanted to share some good Thanksgiving poems with the TPC, but couldn't find any that weren't overly patriotic, self-righteous, or otherwise not exactly what I was looking for.

So I ask you, my loyal TPC members - who has a good Thanksgiving poem to share? We'll post the best submissions this Friday for everyone to enjoy.

Thanks and as always have a poetic day! ;)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Special Spooky Poem of the Day

So, the poetry readings are back on at our house! Hooray!!! I won't say the girls woke up begging for a poem, but when I suggested I had a very good and very spooky poem to share with this morning, they were excited to hear it.

Here is Lewis Caroll's wonderful poem:

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky.

As you can imagine, this cracked-up my 2- and 4-year-olds to no end. They both love Alice in Wonderland too, so I may let them in on the origins of this poem and read an excerpt from Alice tonight for their bedtime book.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coincidence? I think not.

So, I just went to - a blog called out in my newly added blog roll, and saw that it was updated not once by TWICE on Oct. 29. A blog that I remind you has not been updated since MAY. A mere three days after I add her to my blog roll, and point out her obvious failing and that she never updates her blog.

Do you think THIS BLOG is the reason she started blogging again or is it just coincidence?

No poem of the day today. The kids are still in their anti-poetry phase. Philistines.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some interesting developments

ok, so i just added a 'blog roll' to the blog! hurray for progress! thanks so much to AVL (aka EotP) for encouraging us to take on this feat. we did it!

and, in doing this, stumbled across something perhaps even more fascinating... the "person" helping me put up the blog roll (a blogger in his own right too!) thinks this blog about toddler poetry lessons is not as good as my "other" blog, which is about trying to teach my dumb-ass (yet loveable) husband not to be such a clown.

So, I'll let my readers decide do you like my other blog, instructions for mike, more or less than this one? you can comment here or there (you can comment anywhere)

I'll tally the votes and let you know the winner in the next few days.

Update for all the TPCers out there - you will not believe this!

You are not going to believe what happened today! So, even though I was set to resume poetry education for my two- and four-year-old on Monday, I thought I'd treat them to a little vacation poetry while we are away this weekend. So, as we're walking out the door this morning, I say, "girls you can pick-out a poetry book to bring on vacation." Now, I'm expecting a little debate, perhaps even consternation, as they try and choose between the Ginsberg, Dickinson, Auden and Nash they both love so much, but instead Molly says: "Oh no, no... I don't want any poetry on vacation."

I was floored. What toddler does not want to read poetry on vacation? So, I was going to have a special vacation poem installment, but it looks like we will need to wait until Monday for our regular poem of the day.

So I just want to ask all you TCPers out there - how this ever happened to you? Is it really possible for a toddler not to want to read poetry? I'm interested to hear if this has happened to anyone.

And BTW, our vacation is FANTASTIC. So maybe Molly was right, we could live without our daily dose of poetry for a few days.

Friday, October 26, 2007

GREAT news

WOW!!!! We did it!!! Not that I had any doubt that the TPCers would, because the toddler poetry movement is one of the biggest out there! And yes, our blog description at Eye on the Prize is now WAY more accurate. It reads, in full:

my sister's toddler poetry blog.

how AWESOME is that????

i cant believe it. one day. we. did. it. made a major change, just by the fact of our many voices working together. wow. wow. wow.

tomorrow I'M gonna add one of these blog rolls to MY blog, and guess whose gonna be the very first blog I link to???

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good News, and Some Bad News

Ok, I've got some good news -and bad news- to share with all the other members of the toddler poetry community (TPCers) First, the good news - we've been added to someone's blog roll!!!!!! It's called Eye on the Prize, looks like it is by a writer living in New York, who goes to a lot of restaurants. He has some cool photos up, so you should check it out. And it's really exciting that this really cool blog is linking to me, of all the blogs out there. I can't believe it!!! I never thought this little blog would get so big, but it has. YAY!!!

Now, here's the bad news. Our description is "never undated blog." CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?????

So please, please, please everyone take a minute to go to Eye on the Prize at and leave a comment (or two!) that we are not NEVER updated. We are RARELY updated! And, then we'll get that changed to SOMETIMES updated! Then, to frequently, practically often! Or even fairly often!

So, everyone, let's go!!!! We can do it!!!! GO TPCers!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sorry for the long time with no posts

It seems like a while since the poetry curriculum has been posted here for all of you also implementing toddler poetry at your home schools, and I apologize. The last month has been spent undertaking a pretty massive overhaul of the home school here. After reading a very compelling article in the NYT about the Reggio method - one aspect which is to expose kids to lots of beautiful things - I've put the poetry lessons on hold to redecorate our apartment, which previously resembled a crack den, and that is a generous description about the domicile. We now have a much improved space, ready for the little poetesses to learn and flourish in, so be sure to check back in on Monday when our poetry lessons start up again. Can't wait! Hugs to everyone! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Today's Poem - Thursday

So, we missed a day yesterday - no poem of the day for Wed. The kids are in back-to-school mode, and between meeting new teachers, getting new sneakers, and a few last minute summer adventures, we forgot to read our daily poem yesterday.

But no matter, because today was a new day, a new day ready to march forward with our preschool poetry curriculum. The hands-down favorite poem so far has been Emily Dickinson's "I'm Nobody." Molly must recite it 2 or 3 times a day - emphasis on the "shhh, don't tell anyone they'll vanish us!," which clearly is an improvement on the original "banish us." So I decided to give the people what they want, and read them one of Em-D's oldest standards:

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.

This poem was another clear winner, with both girls really enjoying acting out the poem, and there was also the added benefit of being able to work in an etiquette lesson in line 8, when we demonstrated how the bird "let a bettle pass." I'm guessing that bird does not live in New York City!!!!! :) LOL!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Today's Poem - Friday

I just realized the last three, and only three, poems of the day have all been New England poetresses, so I thought I should branch out for today's poem. Also thinking these are all poems I know and love, it would be nice to find a poem not only new to the girls but also new for me too. So I hunted around and found one I think will be perfect, DH Lawrence's Suburbs on a Hazy Day. It makes the suburbs sound like the boring cesspools they are, which is perfect because lately Molly has been campaigning that she wants to live in the 'burbs (because a lot of her friends have moved there and in her four-year-old world "the suburbs" are probably imagined as some purple-hued pony pastured magic playland) and this poem should paint the more relaistic cookie-cutter wastland which would await her there in reality.

Suburbs on a Hazy Day

O stiffly shapen houses that change not,
What conjuror’s cloth was thrown across you, and raised
To show you thus transfigured, changed,
Your stuff all gone, your menace almost rased?

Such resolute shapes, so harshly set
In hollow blocks and cubes deformed, and heaped
In void and null profusion, how is this?
In what strong aqua regia now are you steeped?

That you lose the brick-stuff out of you
And hover like a presentment, fading faint
And vanquished, evaporate away
To leave but only the merest possible taint!

Today's Poem - Thursday

Today's poem is a fun one. Elizabeth Bishop's One Art.

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I first read this poem in college as part of a fresh(person) year seminar called Poetry and Being, which as the name implies, was both enjoyable and pretentious. I always remembered this poem and then began remembering it all the more when it made the cut as one of the "Poems on the Underground' and I got to read it most days on my way to or from work. That was forever ago now - 1992.

Anyway, I remembered this poem all of a sudden today because I knocked a bowl off of the over-crowded drying rack and it rattled and shattered all over the ground. It was truly no biggity, but Molly seemed really upset it had broken. I explained it was no big deal, I didn't care about the bowl, but she still seemed flustered by the whole thing. I then explained even if I did care about the bowl, it was still important to practice the art of losing, and I went and got my still-owned from fresh(person) poetry class Elizabeth Bishop antholody. It took a while to find becuase I was looking up "Art of Losing" instead of "One Art" but being very patient, as all almost 4 and 2 year olds are, I finally found it and they were ready to listen with apt ears - again as all toddlers are when promised the sweet sounds of New England poetresses. Actually, they did like it. Molly requested for me to read it about 6 times until moving on to other lofty pursuits like eating play doh off the kitchen floor. She seemed to especially like the Write it! part, as if she could understand Elizabeth's inner struggle here, and I felt as I do most days like she must be a very old soul, or at the very least the reincarnation of someone very spirtual. Ghandi maybe. Or Jim Morrison.

Today's Poem - Wednesday

Today I read to the girls from Sylvia Plath's Ariel. You might say, isn't that a little heavy for an almost two-year-old and almost four-year-old, even for little New Yorkers? And generally, yes I think it is. But Molly loves her stuffed animal horse, named Ariel, so it seemed an obvious choice. Even more so when I looked-up a little background about the poem, and it turns out Plath herself had a real-live horse also named Ariel. Talk about coincidences!

The anthology's cover is a nice glossy white with A R I E L written in a clear black block print, so Molly enjoyed this poem from the very first moment the book was presented. For those of you interested in a developing a poetry curiculum for your preschoolers as well, here's Ariel:

Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.

God's lioness,
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees! -- The furrow

Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,

Berries cast dark
Hooks --

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Something else

Hauls methrough air --
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels

WhiteGodiva, I unpeel --
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child's cry

Melts in the wall.And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today's Poem - Tuesday

Today I read my daughters Molly (almost 4) and Kelly (almost 2) one of my favorite poems. It is by Emily Dickinson:

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one's name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Molly thought it was pretty great, so now I'm inspired to read some poetry every day.

When I looked the poem up online to cut-n-paste it here, I found an alternate version as well:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one's name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Maybe this will be tomorrow's poem...