MORE pests of the ancient world!
In ancient times (and even today in parts of the developing world), ordinary people had to grow their own food. Imagine a family plowing and then sowing the seeds they had carefully dried and saved from last year’s harvest after the floodwaters of the Nile had receded, only to have their new crop visited by a hoard of locusts. Not only did these flying short-horned grasshoppers swarm in to gobble up the seeds, leaves, stems, and shoots but also their toxic droppings poisoned
Invitation to a free in-service workshop for teachers
Classroom Teachers! Please join me and my colleagues at Creative Connections for this fun, educational workshop. #education #schools #teachers
An update on my co-writing project
So…as many of you know, since last October I have been co-writing a middle grade novel with a colleague, Susan Montanari. This is the first time either of us has co-written something, so it has been something of a literary adventure. Now that we’re “co-finishing” a readable draft, I think we have a somewhat better perspective on the process at large. I admit that once we decided to embark on this idea, we had to google “how to co-write a book” to figure out what to do next. L
What the *##@** is a Teaching Artist?
I’ve worked in the arts in education field most of my career, but it’s only been in the last 15 years or so that “what I do in the classroom” has been given an official and completely baffling moniker: teaching artist. Most people assume that means I am an art teacher. If you knew me, and had ever seen me wield a piece of chalk or crayon, you would buckle to the floor and wet your pants. Or something. The truth is that teaching artists are ARTISTS in the broadest sense of
Colonial Burial Vaults
This past week I was in Savannah, Georgia to research a new middle-grade (or should I say “grave”) novel. This is my first co-writing adventure, and my writing partner, Susan Montanari, and I had lots of fun learning about Colonial burial practices. Our story, loosely based on a Savannah ghost legend, takes place in the early 1800′s. Savannah’s oldest existing cemetery, Colonial Cemetery, dates back to the mid-1700′s. One of its most interesting architectural features is i
The rewards of worm composting
In this blog, I’ve talked before about the rewards of worm composting, but today I thought I’d post a few photos to illustrate my point. This is six months worth of worm castings harvested from my 18 gallon Rubbermaid worm bin in early spring. It took me about an hour to sift through the bin after I carefully flipped it over and onto a plastic tarp. The worms burrowed down to the bottom, making it easy for me to collect this great compost. This is my lovely garden, even in
A recap of my recent all-school residency
Last Friday was the “culminating assembly share” for a rather remarkable all-school residency. As a children’s book author, I do lots of school visits. Usually, it’s a quick in and out, a one-day visit. But this visit became a 23 day residency. Here is how it came about. Jack Jackter Intermediate School (JJIS) in Colchester, CT has 700 students in grades 3-5. Each year they bring in a HOTs teaching artist to do an all-school residency. (HOTS stands for Higher Order Thin
Welcome to Off the Page
Okay, so this is what I’m thinking: this blog will be an extended conversation with maybe teachers, fellow writers, possibly students, editors, and the wide world of people who are curious about writing for kids, working in classrooms, and looking at the intersections of “art” and education. I’m interested in how kids learn, and how art, in its broadest contexts, colors the way they filter ideas. And…knowing me…I’ll probably digress once in awhile to talk about something to