A call for teachers to help with our book

Hi everyone,

Now that Mary Jo Fresch and I are fully engaged in writing our new book, it’s time to identify some teachers who would like to participate by trying some specific activities with their students based on the book and sharing the results with us for potential publication. This time we’re writing about vocabulary development for students in grades 3-5.

Here’s how Mary Jo expressed it in a note to some of her teacher friends. “Hi! Thanks for considering helping out….we need field testing of the lessons and student samples. Any student samples you can provide (along with parental approval) could be included in the book. You and your students will be acknowledged in the book. We are thinking we will have something by end of March to send to you… If there are any other teachers in your building (or district) that you think would be interested, just let me know. You can invite them…copy me…or I can email them – whatever you think is best.”

I know already that Ken Slesarik in Arizona and Susan Hutchens in Colorado are on board. Please help me add to the list by letting me know of your interest and/or telling other teachers about the opportunity.

One step closer

Hi everyone,

Another step today toward a new book for teachers co-authored with Mary Jo Fresch. We received a form to complete and return to our editor, which will lead to an official contract being issued in the coming days.

This is another project that will call for student writing samples so after the first of the year we’ll be looking for teachers who would like to participate.

We’ve tentatively agreed to complete our work by next summer. The length is to be in the 150 page range.

Seeking Veterans’ Voices

Hi everyone,

Tina Hacker is an old friend and colleague from Hallmark days. Tina is a poet, strong supporter of the arts, and has for years played an active role in promoting The Writers’ Place in Kansas City. If you aren’t familiar with Tina’s adult poetry, one of my favorites is LISTENING TO NIGHT WHISTLES.

Since 1976 Tina has edited poetry for “Veteran’s Voices Writing Project.” The mission of the project is to enable military veterans to experience solace and satisfaction through the writing program. Veterans are encouraged to share their poems, stories, prose, photos, song lyrics, and artwork as a way to heal as well as entertain.

If you are a veteran or know someone who is, please consider getting in touch with the project to submit work. At the moment Tina has 75 poems for the upcoming spring edition but needs 90 before January 1. For information about how to do it, visit this site:
And here’s the home page: Veterans Voices Writing Project | Veterans’ Voices Magazine – User Profile

Tina, please make any corrections necessary to this post and/or add additional thoughts. Good luck with the project. It sounds wonderful!

A new book project in the hopper

Hi everyone,

After a wait of several months, Mary Jo Fresch and I have received a response to a proposal we made for a book for classroom teachers. The answer is yes and a contract is under way. Mary Jo and I reviewed the comments and suggestions that came with the notice of acceptance and now we’re eager to get started writing the rest of the book.

We haven’t set a schedule yet but I’d say we’ll shoot for late spring or early summer. We’ll be working with teachers and students so we need to finish those elements of the book before the end of the spring semester in 2019.

It feels good to become involved in a new project with Mary Jo! This will make our seventh book together. Of course this isn’t a done deal until we work out details of the contract and tie up other loose ends, but I have high hopes we’ll get those done before long. We also have a proposal at another publisher so we keep expecting word on that one any day.

CASA Christmas cards

Hi everyone,

A few days ago Springfield News-Leader featured an article about CASA Christmas cards, which are illustrated by area children. Each year the project raises $15,000 for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

CASA trains volunteers to follow the cases of children who have been abused and neglected and reports what they find to the court when a child’s case comes up for review. The organization works closely with the system to make sure that all facts possible are brought out in time for the child to receive the most appropriate placement — either back to his/her home or into foster care.

I had the pleasure of serving on the area CASA board of directors from 1999-2005 when Rhoda Clark was executive director. In 2001 I suggested to the board that instead of purchasing Christmas cards each year from a third party we could and should create our own line. With the board’s permission I took the lead to make it happen. For the first few years I made most of the contacts with area schools to ask for student artwork and after the board and staff selected the winners I wrote the brief sentiments to go with each design.

Seeing the great article by Linda Leicht in the paper brought back exciting memories of when and how those CASA cards got their start. To quote from Linda’s article, “At a cost of $750 per child served for a year, that money helps to serve 20 of the more than 900 children in foster care in Greene County.”

I draw deep satisfaction that the project continues to help fund the annual costs of helping children around here who need help the most. If you might be interested in ordering CASA cards to send this year, here’s how to order: online: http://casaswmo.org/. By phone: Julie Good at 417-864-6202, ext. 102.