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Blackbird & Company

Leonardo – A man for Today

Leonardo DaVinci self portraitLeonardo da Vinci reminds us that “Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation… even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”

This past summer our home became an Exploratorium—celebrated learning all summer long Leonardo da Vinci style. My children, who range in age from my youngest son who is 11 to my oldest daughter who just turned 21, each participated in his or her own way. They wrote stories, sketched still life, built bikes and model planes, made meringues from scratch, designed a toy crossbow, and composed the score for a short film!

What did I learn from the Renaissance Man? I learned to be inquisitive,
Fall may be “Back to School” but does learning ever really stop?


Add some creativity to your “Back to School” easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Read and Write!
    Spark discussion. Here's a little something from Henry David Thoreau to ponder as you begin exploring literature with your students: “A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”
    There are new things on the horizon at Blackbird and Company. Stay tuned for announcements in our next email!

  2. Explore!
    Visit our blog fourandtwenty.typepad.com to join the conversation,

    inspire :: be inspired
    encourage :: be encouraged

    Leave a comment between now and October 31th and you will be automatically entered to win a $25 iTunes card to create a “Back to School” playlist!

  3. Create!
    Collective Banter provides three great opportunities for student writers, artists, and musicians:
    • Collective Banter Challenge is a competition for artists, writers, and musicians to explore a specific directive within their chosen art form. Chosen winners are published and presented with cash prizes!
    • Collective Banter Review is an annual online and in-print arts journal dedicated to providing a forum for student writers and visual artists to showcase their work. Teachers send us the best of your student’s previously unpublished creative writing and visual art for publication consideration.
    • Collective Banter Salon is a forum where students publish their work in various stages and are constructively critiqued by their peers.

      Please visit our website collectivebanter.com to see what all the banter is about.

      Join us on Facebook or Twitter to receive banter updates.


“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”

—da Vinci   

can you talk like a pirate?

Treasure Island

Not only will Treasure Island shiver your timbers with its tale of courage, loyalty, treachery, and betrayal... as an added bonus you'll also learn to truly talk like a pirate from the most famous buccaneer of them all, Long John Silver! (Arrrr...)


Better prose through poetry!

Our Exploring Poetry guide gives students an opportunity to delight in the reading of great poetry and discover the craft of writing poems, incorporating both analytic and creative exercises to spark the poet inside of your student.

Exploring Poetry Unit

Created for middle and high school students, Exploring Poetry is appropriate for 5th grade and beyond and is designed to work for a range of writing abilities. The bundle includes a seven-week poetry guide that can be expanded to 14 weeks, a personal journal, art cards and required books.


about us

We love books! Reading is a passion in our families and classrooms and we believe that great stories have the power to instruct, inspire and enlighten. With beauty and clarity, we desire to provide tools that will foster your students’ delight in learning and encourage them to become lifelong readers!

Blackbird & Company Educational Press

11613 Washington Place, Los Angeles, CA 90066 | Visit our website blackbirdandco.com

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© Blackbird & Company, LLC