It’s been a few years since I’ve spoken to school children. But I did last week, at the Necedah Public School in which elementary, middle-school and high school students are all in one building.
I didn’t quite know what to expect, but soon I was sitting in front of 134 third through fifth graders all sitting on the floor in the band room. My task was to talk about what farm life was like when I was a kid. I brought along an old cow bell and a barn lantern.
I asked how many of them lived on farms. Three or four hands went up. I talked about milking cows by lantern light. I talked about doing chores and walking to a one room school. They had unending questions. How many animals did you have? What did you like most about growing up on a farm. Good questions. How old are you? I told them.
Soon I was talking with a small group of high school students interesting in writing. They had read several of my books and had seen my TV shows. I talked about the value of keeping a journal. I told them to write about what they knew, and also to write about what they didn’t know, which required doing research—reading, interviewing people, sorting out what was true and what wasn’t.
And then I was escorted into the gym where I talked to 162 middle school kids, plus teachers and a few adults from the community. I talked about writing and how I started doing it. I talked about storytelling and how important it was. And I shared a few stories to illustrate my points.
Prior to my coming, my guide for the day, Middle School teacher, Mary Alice Laswell, and her students had visited the classrooms and talked about me, my books and TV shows, and asked students to have questions prepared for me. And they did. Good questions. What was your worst job on the farm? What was the best? What did you do for fun? And many more.
I was most impressed with the students. They were courteous, respectful, smart, thoughtful and they read books. I talked with several teachers and administrators as well. Committed, hardworking people. Anyone questioning the importance of the public schools should spend some time in one. Under sometimes trying circumstances they are doing a great job in educating the next generation of citizens.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Visit your public school. You’ll be impressed
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Writing Workshops for 2016
Telling Your Story Workshop at Wild Rose Library, Saturday June 11, 9-4. Call 920-622-3835 to get your name on the list as enrollment is limited.
Telling Your Story Workshop at The Clearing in Door County. Friday, August 12, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to get your name on the list.
March 9, 7:00 p.m. THE LAND WITH JERRY APPS, hour-long documentary to be aired on Wisconsin Public TV stations throughout Wisconsin.
March 10, 7:30 p.m., Wisconsin agricultural consultants. Keynote talk, Wis Dells. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
March 12, 11:00-2:00, McFarlane’s Sauk City. Book Signing.
March 19, Gathering of the Green, Davenport, IA. Banquet keynote speaker. Lessons from the Land.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street