Honoring teachers

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I mailed my check for a ticket to this year’s Teacher Appreciation Banquet, which is always attended by 800-1,000 teachers, family, and supporters of public education. It has been held every year since 1994. Nancy Graff and I organized the original banquet. I was master of ceremonies from 1994-2000 and guest speaker in 2001. The date this year is April 15 and will be held at Oasis Convention Center in Springfield. Tickets are $35, which includes a silent auction featuring designer wear, gift baskets, movie passes, tasty treats, and much more. There will also be a performance from the cast of Kickapoo High School’s theatre production of “Into the Woods.” Tickets can be purchased from Foundation for Springfield Public Schools, 1331 Boonville, 65802. Maybe I’ll see you there!

This year I’ll have the pleasure of sitting at the table with teachers and staff from David Harrison Elementary School and rooting for Harrison art teacher Kevin Zimmerman, one of the five finalists for Teacher of the Year. If he wins, Kevin will be the second teacher from Harrison who has held that honor. The delightful teacher in the picture is Dawn Licata who teaches second grade at Harrison. She and her students made valuable contributions to 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS, the 2018 Scholastic book I co-wrote with Mary Jo Fresch. The picture was snapped at the 2016 banquet and I don’t recall why I was suddenly sporting a beard and long face, but it must have been fun!

The banquet has a life of its own now and is in the capable hands of others. These days I get to wear my special tie, which I’ve worn to every banquet since the beginning, and take quiet pleasure in watching teachers enjoying themselves on the evening set aside to honor them and remind the community of the vital role they play in our lives.

Getting ready for February

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I finished my talk for South Carolina IRA in February, but then I decided to put it into PowerPoint. Now I have thirty-five slides to make so there goes today and maybe Monday. It will be nice to have this done because my next chance to focus this many hours on it will be toward the end of the first week in January, and that’s cutting it too close.

Christmas shopping? I’m failing that course. Must. Do. Better!!

Planning the future

Hi everyone,

Busy day yesterday. Received feedback on an education book proposal. Overall: good, but with strings attached. Lotza suggestions before going forward. It’s reflection time. We want to go forward but need to weigh the price in time and effort without a guarantee it will produce a contract. That’s what today is for.

I know now I’m on the panel next year in Baltimore that will introduce the 2019 NCTE Notable Books (including CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS). I’ll read a couple of poems and introduce my new (by then) book, AND THE BULLFROGS SING.

Yesterday I spent most of my work time writing and submitting a proposal for a presentation at the conference. I’ve written other proposals over the years; won some lost some. You never know if you’ll be accepted. There will be more than 1,000 submissions for the judges to read. I enjoy the challenge and love it when I’m accepted. Winners are announced late in March.

In the meantime I hope to connect with other writers for another panel or two. Baltimore in November may too brisk to walk around much outside. Might as well stay inside and work!

Family Night in Centerview

Hi everyone,

Today I’ll finish pulling my thoughts together for a school family night presentation on Monday evening. I’ll be leaving from Branson that afternoon for the drive to Centerview, Missouri, a small community in western central Missouri between Kansas City and Sedalia.

I haven’t been to Centerview before so I look forward to meeting parents, teachers, and kids there at Crest Ridge School and spending an evening talking about reading and writing. I’ll drive back that night so it will be a good day. I’ll be quite safe because Sandy is going with me.

The arrangements for my visit came through a grant and include an all day visit at the school next year plus a family night and day visit in another community during the 2019-2020 school year.