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August 2015
FoxSchoolBack to School!
This past week on social media a lot of my friends with young children have been posting pictures of their progeny on their first day of school. And a lot of my teacher friends have been posting pictures of their newly redecorated classrooms. All of this is filled with the excitement of launching another school year, igniting imaginations and sparking curiosity. Yes, I do miss being a parent of young children. And yes, I also miss the excitement of meeting a new group of students from my days as a classroom teacher. But I always look forward to the school visits, artist-in-residency programs, family literacy nights, home-school programs, teacher training workshops, teacher conferences, and all of the other ways I get to interact with the educational community! To help launch another successful year of teaching and learning allow me to share a few stories, lesson plans and program suggestions to get folks off on the right foot:

"We have heard it all before, but we rejoice in the retelling.” Beowulf        
"A bad writer borrows, a good writer steals outright!"   Mark Twain

Great writers from Homer to Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy to Toni Morrison, have borrowed ideas from the past and made them new. What makes them a great writer is that they can add their wit, their life experience, and their imagination to make it truly a new story. This works especially well with scary stories, folk tales, old fables and myths.

You too can borrow from the past and make something new in five easy steps.
1. First, find a traditional story, folktale or fable that you like.
2. Make a list of the five W's and H: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
3. Change the details to fit your life experience, be creative.
4. Tell the story to a friend.
5. Then write your version.  Read more…

WolfNewsletterIt was a beautiful day, much like today.  The sun was shining. It was springtime. The flowers were blooming. You could smell the springtime in the air.  Two friends, best of friends were walking down a trail, walking through the forest. As they were walking along ... R-R-R-O-O-O-A-A-R-R-R ... out came a bear!

One of them saw the bear and took off running. He quickly climbed up into a tree.

The other one saw the bear too late. He knew if he tried to run the bear would catch him and eat him. So instead of running, he fell to the ground and pretended he was dead, because everyone knows ...Read More

Follow this link for three different versions of this simple fable.

And here is a performance of this story from a recent Summer Reading program:



MouseNewsletterThis is my Midwestern adaptation of an old fable, older than Aesop, a Jataka Tale from India, Two Friends. I rewrote it as if it happened to my mother when she was a little girl.    

My mother grew up in a large family with twelve kids. She was the youngest. My Aunt Clarabelle was her older sister. When my mother was a little girl my Aunt Clarabelle was like a second mother to her.
They lived on a farm in rural Ohio. Anyone who has lived in the country knows: no matter how clean your house, in the fall when it starts to get cold, rats and mice move inside looking for a warm place to sleep and something to eat.
Early one morning, my mother woke up before anyone else. She woke up her older sister. The two of them quietly went downstairs to the kitchen for an early breakfast. When they opened the kitchen door, there was a huge ugly rat in the middle of the kitchen table eating ...Read More


Educational Programming

As I mentioned in the introduction, my personal passion is presenting educational programming. There was a time early in my career when I presented more than 300 school programs a year including ten or more week long artist-in-residencies, a few dozen family literacy nights, several after school teacher in-service workshops and teacher conference keynotes. I am still presenting a fair number of these kinds of programs. But sadly, school budgets have been axed in so many areas that they are cutting bone and flesh from the curriculum. This is done with the excuse that we need to focus on tests and test readiness. Yet there is a growing body of research affirming that storytelling improves reading and writing test scores.

So we must find more creative ways to fund storytelling in the schools. There are a few art council grants, partnerships with museums, business sponsorship and PTA funding. My favorite source: several folks have come up to me after a public performance and asked what it would cost for them to send me to go to their children or grand children’s schools. As a generous benefactor they decided to step up and sponsor a program for their community. If you are interested in funding a program let’s talk. If you are interested in hosting a school program please give me a call or drop me an e-mail and lets discuss ways I can help you find funding!


Upcoming Programs

SAVE THE DATE: Annual Twinflower Inn Writer’s Retreat January 15-18, 2016. More details in the next newsletter.

August 29, 2015
  • Fox is hosting the 3rd annual Bishop Hill Chautauqua, with performances from 1:00-4:00 pm both days. There wiil be a workshop for educators, actors, and homeschoolers Saturday morning at 10:00. Sunday at 1:00 local students will perform! Located in the Village Park, this small town tradition is a FREE, family-oriented event where you'll hear re-enactors tell inspiring stories portraying famous historical figures. This year we are celebrating the Life of Lincoln. Come meet his childhood friend Austin Gollaher, his law partner Billie Herndon, Mary's dressmaker and family confidant, Elizabeth Keckley, the Drummer Boy of Shiloh, James Monroe, and of course President Lincoln will be there. Rain or shine, we have in door options. Bring a lawn chair, bring a picnic, bring a friend! Come early to enjoy the shops of Bishop Hill. For more information visit www.bishophillheritage.org or call 309-927-3899.
September 04, 2015
  • Fox will perform "Lincoln Tales Tall & True" at 4 schools in Greeneville, IL.

September 05, 2015
  • Fox will perform as Black Jack Logan "Follow the Drinking Gourd" for the Bicentennial celebration in Greenville, IL.

  • Fox will perform "Black Hawk's View of American History" at the Jacksonville, IL Chautauqua.  Performance begins at 5:00 pm in the Community Park.

September 08, 2015
  • Fox will perform as John James Audubon in Glenview, IL.

September 11, 2015
September 13, 2015
  • Fox is hosting the 3rd Annual Murphysboro Chautauqua at the Liberty Theater on Main Street in downtown Murphysboro, IL Meet Billie Herndon, Lincoln's Law Partner, Mary Todd Lincoln and President Lincoln. Performances begin at 1:00 pm.

September 14, 2015
September 18, 2015
September 22, 2015
September 25, 2015
  • Fox will present "River Stories" in Murfreesboro, TN.

September 27, 2015
  • Fox will be performing "Lincoln Tales" at the Lincoln Log Cabin Harvest Frolic in Lerna, IL.

September 29, 2015