KEN SLESARIK is a special education teacher and children’s poet from Phoenix, Arizona. His “Heroes and Poets” assembly program, poetry “Lunch Bunch” and after-school poetry club called “Poetry Rocks” have been well received by teachers, students, parents and administrators. Ken has spoken at conferences, written poetry curriculum and enjoys providing professional development for teachers. When not teaching, speaking or visiting schools Ken writes poetry for children with poems published in IMPERFECT-MIDDLE SCHOOL POEMS ABOUT MISTAKES, THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY K-5 EDITION, THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL, THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR SCIENCE, THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS, DEAR TOMATO: AN INTERNATIONAL CROP OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE POEMS, GET REAL WITH STORYTIME and two upcoming anthologies 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.
As a special education teacher with over 21 years experience I began making distinctions on what works in getting students to reach their full potentials. I have been lucky to have made many of those distinctions while facilitating an after school poetry club called “Poetry Rocks” in Phoenix, Arizona.
One thing I can tell you for sure in my work with hundreds of students from across the spectrum is that regardless of what a student knows or doesn’t know, regardless of IQ or reading level and even regardless of test scores is that techniques can be taught to nurture whatever talents and abilities a child has in poetry AND in life. Even the most dyslexic child does not reverse all words and letters but does better at certain times. That’s where I come in.
It is my mission to transform students by getting them to believe in themselves through the medium of poetry and my high energy poetry programs are a dynamic way to encourage a love of poetry AND life in your students.
I visit as many schools as I can with my “Heroes and Poets” assembly program and my audience can range from several grade level programs to whole school presentations. The basic message I hope to convey is that we can be strong, brave and kind as we face the world and each other. Walt Disney would have his animators step into a squared “magic box” marked with masking tape. I do a very powerful, modified version of that and children start to realize just how strong, brave and kind they really are. I’ll act silly, bring out a harmonica, and really bring it. Often I will call on shy and reserved kids to assist me in reciting poems and through a series of questions and by teaching them my “hero move” I turn those shy and reserved kids into rock stars. My program builds to a crescendo and before I’m through every person in the room, from the most gifted to the most challenged is feeling strong, brave and kind. I proceed to expand on the idea beyond poetry to empower and challenge them to be their best before their next classroom test, sports game or when interacting with each other.
“Heroes and Poets” grew out of my motivation to help children become their best and my love of poetry. My goal when I visit a school is to have a lasting impact that goes beyond an afternoon and I stand ready to serve.
For more information and to check my availability please see the “Contact Me” tab above.
My poetry collection CREATURES, CRITTERS, BEASTS and VARMINTS (A Poetic Guide to Ozark Wildlife) combines fun and science as I examine both familiar and unique wildlife. CCBV contains 32 animal poems and 31 unique animal facts as well as 32 of my most requested poems as an added bonus to reach reluctant readers (64 total poems). I also include 25 poetry tips with examples from my own writing to help your students write their own verse. It is available at Amazon so click this link Creatures, Critters, Beasts and Varmints: A Poetic Guide to Ozark Wildlife: Ken Slesarik: 9780615859491: Amazon.com: Books
IMPERFECT: A MIDDLE SCHOOL ANTHOLOGY ABOUT MISTAKES (Coming Spring 2018)
DEAR TOMATO: AN INTERNATIONAL CROP OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE POEMS I’m so excited to be included in this worldwide anthology along with 33 very talented poets.
GET REAL WITH STORYTIME: 52 Weeks of Early Literacy
In addition I am very proud to be part of the Poetry Friday Anthology series along with many of today’s most talented and prolific authors. The series is compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong and is available at Amazon or PomeloBooks.com.
THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY K-5 EDITION
THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY for MIDDLE SCHOOL
THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY for SCIENCE
THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY for SCIENCE (Kinder and 2nd Grade Student Editions)
THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY for CELEBRATIONS
POETRY ROCKS 2012 is an e-book that I compiled with poems from the students and staff of Esperanza Elementary School. It has a high percentage of poems written by the special needs children that I have been privileged to work with.
My poems have also been used in fundraisers, cookbooks, magazines and school functions. When not visiting schools or writing and teaching poetry I perform at coffee shops or bookstores while creating my niche. Currently I am working on several collections that emphasize creative humor.
Helping students read and compose poetry are my passions. As an elementary school teacher, I incorporate higher-order thinking skills, including word play and other idioms, to give my collections depth. My audience is 5 to 14 year-olds and children of all ages. Many years from now, I hope children will continue to read my poems and smile.
Last but not least, I am a husband to Julie, proud father to Kenny, Cathy and Bonnie and stepfather to Derek and Justin. They are the loves of my life and why I write.
To contact me with questions or to check my availability for school visits, speaking or evening library or school literacy programs please click the “Contact Me” tab above.