Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some Resources – Connecting with Students from Military Families

Rosanne Parry, Suzanne Morgan Williams and I all contributed to the list, but it was Suzanne who did the heavy lifting of putting all the links in one cohesive document.  Note: Revised by Sara Lewis Holmes and Valerie O. Patterson April 2013

Some Resources – Connecting with Students from Military Families

The Military Child – School Support:
http://www.militaryimpactedschoolsassociation.org/misa/documents/Educators_Guide.pdf A guide for educators on reactions of students to deployment with many suggestions and additional resources. From the Military Impacted Schools Association. General website is Military Impacted Schools Association www.militaryimpactedschoolsassociation.org 

https://www.militarykidsconnect.org/educators Part of the MilitaryKidsConnect website, this page has videos and info for educators who want to understand military culture and what it feels like for a military child when their parent deploys.  Lesson plans, guides to "tough topics," and more.

www.ourmilitarykids.org which provides funding for extra support during wartime, including tutoring and extracurricular activities for military kids whose parents are in the Guard or Reserves.

Student 2 Student and Junior Student 2 Student: a student-led program at the high school and middle school levels to support students who are transitioning to and from their school.  For more information regarding Student 2 Student, contact S2S@MilitaryChild.orghttp://www.militarychild.org/child-student/student-2-student/

Operation Military Kids:  http://www.operationmilitarykids.org/public/home.aspx -- great booklet for helping military kids in school at this website.

 Building Resilient Kids: a free online course with continuing education credit from the Military Impacted Schools Association.  Two continuing education credits/all fourteen modules OR one continuing education credit/ seven modules. Info at: http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/military-child-initiative/training_course/

For the Military Family:
Military One Source: www.MilitaryOneSource.mil. Education, relocation, parenting, stress - Military OneSource helps with just about any need. Available by phone or online, this free service is provided by the Department of Defense for active-duty, Guard, and Reserve service members and their families.

Military Families Speak Out http://www.mfso.org/ -supporting families who openly oppose the war.

Operation Purple serves military families through Operation Purple Camp, Operation Purple Family Retreats or Operation Purple Healing adventures: http://www.militaryfamily.org/our-programs/operation-purple/

Operation We Are Here provides resources for the military community and military supporters, including resources specifically for military children and teens, humanitarian aid, and teachers/homeschoolers: http://www.operationwearehere.com/

Programs that use the Arts – art, literature, theater to support the military child:
The annual Military Child and the Arts Contest Each year children are asked to submit work that can be utilized in the MCEC's publications, conferences, and other activities. Included in the request for work from military-connected children, kindergarten through high school, are artwork, film, and writing (essays, poetry, and short stories). http://www.militarychild.org/parents-and-students/programs/the-call-for-the-arts

Art from the Heart: Expressions from America’s Military Children: http://issuu.com/militarychildeducationcoalitio/docs/art_show_two?mode=window&backgroundColor=%23222222
Tell Me a Story: an initiative that was created to empower our military children by    using literature and their own stories in a way that fosters skills for resilience, strong peer and parent connections, a sense of pride and accomplishment, and a caring community. http://www.militarychild.org/parents-and-students/programs/tell-me-a-story-tmas

A Story Before Bed: Parents who are members of one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces who are deploying or already deployed away from their children for any amount of time are eligible to sign up for free recordings from A Story Before Bed. http://www.astorybeforebed.com/military

United Through Reading: helps ease the stress of separation for military families by having deployed parents read children’s books aloud via DVD for their child to watch at home.  http://www.unitedthroughreading.org/military-program/military-book/

Operation Homecoming Writing Program: The NEA’s program "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience," now an online project, encourages the soldiers to discuss their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2004. http://www.nea.gov/national/homecoming/

Also, the NEA's "Great American Voices" and "Shakespeare in American Communities" visited military bases in 2005-2007. http://www.nea.gov/national/gav/index.html

The Philoctetes Project: Theater of War presents readings of Sophocles' Ajax and Philoctetes to military communities across the United States. These ancient plays timelessly and universally depict the psychological and physical wounds inflicted upon warriors by war. By presenting these plays to military audiences, the hope is to de-stigmatize psychological injury and open a safe space for dialogue about the challenges faced by service members, veterans, and their caregivers and families. http://www.outsidethewirellc.com/projects/theater-of-war/overview

Musiccorps: http://musicorps.net/About.html Aids injured vets by adapting musical instruments for prosthetics, and by using musical instruction to enhance recovery from brain injury.

Connecting with and Supporting Troops and Veterans – Possible Class Projects:
USO Go to http://www.uso.org/programs/  for a list of programs the USO provides that may be useful to your students or that your students may want to support.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) For America’s newest generation of veterans and the people who support them. This includes a Troops Charities page. Or visit http://iava.org/take-action  and http://iava.org/transition-home , http://iava.org/content/organize 

America Supports You  www.americasupportsyou.mil  A nationwide program launched by the Department of Defense recognizes citizens’ support of our of our military men and women and communicates that support to them. It includes an online e-mail form for messages.

Letters to Soldiers   www.Letterstosoldiers.org   provides an online e-mail form to send messages to soldiers.

Holiday Mail for Heroes http://www.redcross.org/ca/los-angeles/ways-to-donate/individual-gifts/holiday-mail-for-heroes sponsored by the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes. From here, you can learn how to send your holiday mail to our American service members. 

AnySoldier.com  www.AnySoldier.com for Community groups, churches, etc. that may want a more ongoing relationship with someone in our armed forces. You can choose a group of deployed military to receive care packages and/or letters.

Fisher Houses http://www.fisherhouse.org/ provide lodging for families of injured troops and veterans close to veteran and military hospitals.  Fisher House also sponsors scholarships for military children.

Information about Traumatic Brain Injury
Brainline.Org www.Brainline.org  a site devoted to preventing, treating and living with traumatic brain injury.

 Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center www.dvbic.org  Their mission is to serve active duty military, their beneficiaries, and veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) through state-of-the-art clinical care.

The Real Warriors www.realwarriors.net  This campaign promotes the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration of returning service members, veterans and their families.) 

ReMIND.org - The Bob Woodruff Foundation www.ReMIND.org  educates the public about needs of injured service members, veterans and their families as they reintegrate into their communities. Empowers all people to take action.

Find authors Online

Sara Lewis Holmes (Operation Yes, Letters From Rapunzel)
Sara has a free downloadable teacher’s guide with military lingo and theater games http://members.authorsguild.net/saralholmes/work1.htm
Blog: Read*Write*Believe http://www.saralewisholmes.blogspot.com/ 

Rosanne Parry (Heart of a Shepherd)
E-mail: rosanneparry@comcast.net
 Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1472137.Rosanne_Parry
Blog: From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/

Suzanne Morgan Williams (Bull Rider) 
Suzanne also has a teacher’s guide of lesson suggestions for Bull Rider. Go to Fiction/Teachers.
Blog: Too Much Information http://www.suzannemorganwilliams.blogspot.com

Valerie O. Patterson (Operation Oleander, Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)

Monday, November 22, 2010

NCTE Stands Behind Military Kids

Isn't this awesome? I asked teachers and authors attending the NCTE Conference if they would participate in the National Military Family Association's "Wall of Thanks" to show support for military families. And look how many said yes!

(If you want to join us, go to this site and download the PDF of the sign. Fill in your name, hold it up and snap a photo of yourself. Upload the photo, and you'll be part of the slideshow.)

David Macinnis Gill

Wendy Mass

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Elaine Magliaro

Kurtis Scaletta

Kirby Larson

Kate Messner

Jack Gantos

Anna J. Small Roseboro

Tricia Stohr-Hunt

Holly Black

Carrie Ryan

My NCTE panel on "Military Families in Fiction":
Rosanne Parry, Suzanne Morgan Williams, and me

Jessica Anderson, Jo Whittemore, P.J. Hoover

Gennifer Choldenko

Teachers and others who attended our panel on military families

Oh, and yes, I brought home a lot of books.

The haul

And my signing at the Scholastic booth was wonderful. They always make me feel like a rock star.

At the Scholastic booth
(note my Scholastic red dress)
To everyone who came by to say hi, to buy books, to hug me, to tell me your class is using Operation Yes in literature circles, to share that you are reading my book to your three boys, to say that you're buying my book for your grown brother :), or just to give a wave of encouragement: Thank you!

And to the young boy who walked by, snapped his head around and pointed at my cover, and said "I loved that book!", you are in charge of the world from now on, you hear?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Poetry Friday and What I'm Reading Now: Borrowed Names

Finding a book to read while I'm revising is tricky. If I pick a compulsive page-turner, I'm tempted to not write but read in great gulps. If I pick a novel too close to my own attempt, I worry about confusion and undue influence. If I only read the Washington Post and my email, though, I get fiction-thirsty. I long for something that helps me remember why I'm doing this writing gig in the first place.

So it's with great happiness I report that Jeannine Atkins' verse biography, Borrowed Names, has come to my rescue.

The poems in Borrowed Names dive into the historically rich lives of three mother-daughter pairs (Laura Ingalls and Rose Wilder; Madame C.J. Walker and A'Lelia; Marie and Irène Curie) but they linger on the personal undercurrents, illuminating the ongoing push-pull of relationships where women both love and doubt each other's choices.

Borrowed Names is also an exquisitely honest account of how any creative endeavor, be it raising a daughter or writing or starting a business or exploring the scientific frontier, can be both richly rewarding and emotionally turbulent. While reading it, I'm reminded of how the right word can make me shiver, and how beginnings always affect endings, and how, when you read, you are hoping--- no--- NEEDING--- to have "the top of your head taken off" as Emily would say. It's exactly what my writing soul was thirsty for. Thanks, Jeannine!

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Terry at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


In honor of Veterans Day, I salute my husband, Mike Holmes, who has given almost 30 years of service to the United States Air Force.

I'm also happy to say that I will be speaking on a panel about military families at the National Council of Teachers of English next week.

National Council of Teachers of English
Fiction and the Military Family
(with Rosanne Parry and Suzanne Williams)
"Giving Military Kids Roots
Through Literature and the Arts"
Friday, November 19, 2010 12:30 PM to 1:45 PM

As part of our talk, we'll be handing out a list of resources for teachers and others interested in connecting with military families. As soon as it's ready, I'll post a permanent link here on the blog. Thank you to all who serve our country, both veterans and their families.