School visit

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow I’ll make my first school visit of the year and I’m looking forward to being with kids again. This won’t be a long visit, it’s for first grade students only, and it’s local. The school is Rountree Elementary, named after one of Springfield’s early settlers in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The original school was a crude affair by today’s standards. Today its location is remembered by a marker erected on the site. I found this description in an article titled:
History of Greene County, Missouri
R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian

The first school house was built in 1832. It was of small logs and stood where is now the old Christian church (used at present as a private residence), on the north side of College street, a little west of Main, and near where Gen. Lyon’s general headquarters were, and where his dead body lay. But the first school house attended by children who then lived on the present site was built in 1831, and was also of small logs. Of this school house, John H. Miller says it stood a mile and a quarter west of town, and the first teacher was old uncle Joe Rountree; the pupils were Henry Fulbright and some of his younger brothers, the Rountree boys, John Miller, J. J. Weaver, and his two older sisters, Louisiana, late wife of Col. C. A. Haden, and Jane, mother of Joe Farrier, and a few others. The school house had a good dirt floor, and one log, cut out for a window, no door or shutter. Here they learned to spell, read, write and cipher in Pike’s arithmetic, on three-legged benches. Mr. Miller says the old school house on College street had a loose plank floor, a door shutter, a mud-and-stick chimney, and then the builders thought that in the matter of school house architecture they had nearly reached the top round of the ladder of civilization, and the Ruskins of that day were greatly delighted with the beautiful effect produced.

Rountree Elementary School is special to me for two other reasons. My wife Sandy and daughter Robin both attended school there.

Touring my website

I hope that by now most of you have toured my website. Sometimes I get so busy with the blog that I overlook some of the great features that Kathy Temean has designed for the website itself.For example, on my bio page just above the picture of me as a six-year-old fisherman, you can click on ARA Interview to read the interview that Dr. Ann Porter Gifford did of me for the Arkansas Reading Association Journal in 2006. If you click on the picture itself, you’ll see my first poem, inspired by a fish, and also the poem I wrote as an adult (for Connecting Dots) about that first fish I caught so long ago in Arizona.

At the bottom of that same column, just below a picture of me giving a commencement address at Drury University, you’ll see James C. Kirkpatrick Library in red letters. A click on that takes you to a list of mansucripts and correpsondence that I’ve donated to the library, which is on the campus of Central Missouri University Library in Warrensburg, Missouri. I think there are seven boxes of material. Once in a while I hear from a graduate student who is working on an advanced degree and has been studying my work. Which reminds me that I have several more boxes in my basement waiting for delivery to the library.

Have you discovered that if you click on any of the book covers at the tops of each page — Bio, Books, Awards, Guest Book, etc. — you’ll see something about that book and read a few reviews of it? I thought Kathy outdid herself on that feature!

If you look under Visits, you can find the Drury commencement speech by clicking on my picture. I called that talk, “Never Go Camping With One Pack of Hotdogs.” I thought that sounded nice and scholarly.

On that same page you’ll see in red letters SCHOOL VISIT KIT. What you find there comes from my pages on the Scholastic website and is meant to assist those who might be interested in arranging for me to visit a school. I don’t do as many school visits as some of my friends but I see a few thousand students each year.

On the Teacher page I post a new teaching tool each month. The one for November is called “Inspiration Through Observation.” By walking around my house and making a list of what I saw (or imagined) there, I eventually wrote the book of poetry called Alligator in the Closet. I wrote that book partly to demonstrate the technique.

On the For Kids page, each month features one of my books and a puzzle to work out based on words from the book. This is pure Kathy. I’m not sure I could create one of those things!

I hope this gives you a few places to look. There are other features tucked here and there and I hope you will discover them the next time you tour my site.

As for me, it’s back to my “thanks” poem. Yesterday I decided I didn’t like what I’ve been working on so I threw it out to give myself a fresh start. Maybe this time I’ll like the approach better.