I had a fine time at Holland Elementary yesterday. Third grade teachers Brenda Pike and Eva Kovacs had done a wonderful job of preparing their students for the visit. They had read a number of my books and thought about what they wanted to ask. I dearly love it when teachers work with students in advance. The kids get so much more from the visit and naturally it’s a far more pleasant experience for the author. My thanks to them again and to principal Gary Tew for sending me the invitation.
A weekend with no plans. Unheard of. When my M.O.W. realizes this, I’m sure things will change. I only hope it doesn’t involve painting the house.
REMINDER: Here’s a reminder from the Springfield Imagination Library committee: United Way of the Ozarks is participating in Give Ozarks 2016! The event, a 24-hour online fundraising marathon, is off and running and we are looking for help reaching our goal! Will you be one of the 680 who donates $25? We must raise $17,000 to continue serving these children into the coming year. Your donation of $25 will sponsor one child to continue receiving their books each month for one year. We will hit our goal if 680 people sponsor a child; giving books…giving hope for a brighter future! You can support our effort by making a secure donation at giveozarks.org/2016/uwozarks anytime from midnight to midnight on May 3, 2016.
By 8:00 this morning I’ll be at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri speaking to Junior elementary education majors about children’s poetry. My host, associate professor of education Julie Bryant, has urged me to get the group involved in writing poems so I’ll make a pitch for Word of the Month. Who knows? We might discover some new talent!
On Monday I’ll do my first school visit of the year. I’ll be at Watkins Elementary in Springfield and meet with four groups of students in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5.
I’ll be reminded again of how different our audiences are from one year to the next. We write for kids, sure, but for which kids? I’ve used these examples before but here they are again: quotes from student entries in a book I did years ago that highlighted student responses to the prompt, “What I’ve Learned So Far . . . ”
Grade 2: Boys are worse than I thought.
Grade 3: You can’t keep a boy and girl hamster together.
Grade 4: I can go with eight girls at a time without any of them knowing it.
Grade 5: I like money and I don’t have it.
These examples amuse me in part because from early on we see an increased awareness of gender that goes from revulsion (grade 2) to the rather cocky lady’s man in grade 4. And by grade 5 they are finally figuring out that money has something to do with what they can and cannot get, gender-wise or otherwise.
Anything you want me to tell the boys and girls at Watkins for you? I’ll be happy to convey your messages.
BULLETIN: Hello, kids at Cowden Elementary School. I’m coming to see you today at 2:00. I predict that we’re going to have a fine time!
Sandy recently ran across her great-uncle’s 1915-16 report card when he was in 7th grade in Mt. Grove, Missouri. His name was Noel Thompson. His teacher was Lutitia Hudson. Noel did well in school. He scored 90 in geography, 95 in U.S. History, and 95 in Agriculture.
Mt. Grove is a rural area and in those days girls and boys took several courses that would help them grow up on a farm. Girls took Sweeping, Dish Washing, and Ironing. Boys took Feeding, Milking, Currying, Preparing Fuel, and Repairing. Noel received a G(ood) in currying and an E(xcellent) in the others. It looks like Noel also excelled in sweeping, dish washing, and ironing too. He was an all-around good student.
He grew up to be a good husband. He and Sandy’s great-aunt Cuba were inseparable. All the years of their long marriage they did everything on the farm together. I visited them with Sandy and her folks more than once on their place near Fair Play, Missouri. When Noel died, I bought his pea-green Chevrolet for a block company sales car. Had it for several years.
Who else came from farming people? I had several relatives, mostly near Rogersville, Missouri. So many good memories!
Today is a good day for me. I’ll visit Robberson Community School, Springfield’s first year around elementary school, to talk to grades 3-5 students from 10:15-10:45 and K-2 students from 10:55-11:20.
From 1:00-1:45 the Missouri State University IN-SCHOOL PLAYERS will perform a play based on the body of my work as part of this year’s 16-school tour.
My thanks to Community School Coordinator Christian Mechlin and Principal Kevin Huffman for arranging my visit to Robberson and to MSU’s Michael Frizell for working with the IN-SCHOOL PLAYERS. I look forward to the day!