“Let Me Tell You a Story…”

At this year’s Missouri Early Learning Conference, we’ve added a new feature we think you’ll love–storytellers! And not just any storytellers, but two world-class, award-winning storytellers. During the mid-day break before and after lunch, you’ll have the chance to drop in and listen to Milbre Burch (on Thursday) and Tim Lowry (on Friday).

Considered one of the most important voices in the American storytelling revival, Milbre Burch received the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award in 1999 and was nominated for a spoken word Grammy Award in 2007 for “Making the Heart Whole Again: Stories for a Wounded World.”

Milbre weaves gesture and language into personal, literary, and traditional stories and dramatic monologues, creating a whole new genre of storytelling. The New York Times has praised her “classic wit”; the San Diego Union-Tribune has called her “mesmerizing, like a fine solo dancer.”

Also a produced and published playwright, Milbre holds a PhD in Theatre from the University of Missouri.

Tim Lowry has been telling stories of the People, by the People, and for the People for 15 years. Telling a variety of Folk Tales and Stories from American History, Tim has presented thousands of educational programs for schools across the country. At festivals Tim entertains audiences with a mixture of Folk Tales and Personal Narrative. When Tim is not on the road, he makes his home in Summerville, SC, where he often performs stories of southern culture and history from the “Sweet Tea Trail.”

Tim grew up in southeastern Kentucky, where he learned the art of storytelling from Appalachian folk who spun yarns and told tales to entertain, teach morals, and pass along local history. He studied drama in high school and toured the East Coast in 1987 with a drama school from Greenville, SC. After earning a degree in Theater, Tim taught English language arts for five years. He left the classroom in 2000 to become a full-time professional performer. He has made several television appearances, recorded a number of storytelling CDs, filmed a DVD, and written a storytelling handbook.

So, don’t miss your chance to hear these two fabulous storytellers at this year’s Missouri Early Learning Conference. Take a few minutes now to register now!

See you in a few weeks!

Willy Wood
Conference Coordinator
Posted 10/25/17

Come and Meet our Award-Winning Children’s Authors: Bruce Lansky and Jarrett Krosoczka!

Bruce Lansky is one of North America’s most popular authors and editors of children’s poetry and fiction. His twenty children’s poetry books (including Kids Pick the Funniest Poems and Mary Had a Little Jam) have sold more than 3.5 million copies. His three children’s fiction series, including Girls to the Rescue™, Newfangled Fairy Tales™, and Can You Solve the Mystery?™ have sold more than 1.4 million copies. And he has recently launched two new series of picture books for young children: Picture Readers (for children ages 3 to 6) and Early Readers (for beginning readers).

Bruce is also the creator of, one of the most popular children’s poetry websites in the world. It provides children, parents, and teachers with some of the most entertaining poems and songs ever written for children, available at no cost, along with free instruction on how to write poems, poetry theater scripts, and other creative activities.

New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and a deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores. Jarrett has more than thirty published books to his credit, including several picture books and his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels. He is a two-time winner of the Children’s Choice Book Awards Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year and has been a finalist for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award. His Punk Farm, Lunch Lady, and Platypus Police Squad series are all currently in development for film.

Realizing that his stories can inspire young readers beyond the page, Jarrett founded School Lunch Hero Day, a national campaign that celebrates school lunch staff, and Platypus Police Reading Squad, a program in which police officers read aloud to children in schools and libraries. A consummate advocate for arts education, Jarrett also established the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships, which fund art classes for underprivileged children, in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Please join us at the 2017 Missouri Early Learning Conference and hear these two amazing children’s authors as they share their thoughts about writing for children and what we as educators can do to nurture a love for reading and writing in our students!

If you haven’t yet registered, go to the Register page to sign up.  We look forward to seeing you in November!

Willy Wood
Conference Coordinator
Posted 10/17/17

Are You Ready to Rock ‘N’ Roll?  Come and Hear Jack Hartmann at MO Early Learning!

Friday morning at this year’s Missouri Early Learning Conference is going to get off to a rockin’ start with nationally recognized children’s singer, songwriter, author, keynote presenter and workshop leader Jack Hartmann.

Jack started his work with children’s music working with autistic children at the University of Florida Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. As a counselor, social worker, and trainer, Jack worked for twenty-five years with children, families, and human service professionals in Pinellas County, FL.

Jack has written and recorded over one thousand songs for children on forty-two albums. His highly-regarded educational songs are used by teachers and sung by children in schools across the United States and around the world.

Jack’s Kids Music Channel on YouTube boasts over 450 educational videos and is used by teachers and parents all over the world for helping children learn phonics, numbers and counting, skip counting, science, fitness, social skills, and more. His channel is watched by over 4 million children each day.

His wife Lisa, a kindergarten teacher for fifteen years, was his motivation to write children’s songs, and she now manages their successful children’s music and book company, Hop 2 It Music and Press, Inc.

You won’t want to miss Jack’s presentations at this year’s conference. You’ll learn some great new songs to use in your classroom, and you’ll have a blast doing so!

To find out more about Jack and the many other great speakers at this year’s conference, check out the Speakers page on the conference website. And if you haven’t registered to attend yet, go to the Registration page to sign up.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Willy Wood
Conference Coordinator
Posted 10/12/17

Meet our Thursday Morning Keynote Speaker–Dave Burgess!

Dave Burgess is the New York Times best-selling author of Teach Like a PIRATE, co-author of P is for PIRATE: Inspirational ABC’s for Educators, and the president of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. which delivers powerful, inspirational, and innovative books, keynotes, and professional development across the United States.

Do you sometimes have challenging students who are difficult to motivate?  Never fear!  Dave specializes in teaching hard-to-reach, hard-to-motivate students with techniques that incorporate showmanship and creativity.

Dave’s presentations are a unique blend of outrageously energetic performance art and magic, mixed with an inspirational message of how and why to become more passionate in the classroom.  In his keynote address and his breakout sessions, he will model and fully explain all the techniques and methods he discusses so as to leave no doubt about how you can apply the methods in your own classroom right away.

You absolutely do NOT want to miss your chance to hear one of the true master teachers in education today!

Willy Wood
Missouri Early Learning Conference Coordinator
Posted 10/4/17

Registration is Now Open for the 2017 Missouri Early Learning Conference!

In case you missed our earlier e-blast announcement, registration is now open for the Nov. 9-10, 2017 Missouri Early Learning Conference.  This conference has become one of the premier conferences for preschool through 3rd grade teachers in the Midwest.  Each year, hundreds of primary grades teachers attend to hear an eclectic selection of presenters on a wide variety of topics: reading, writing, math, science, classroom management, ed tech, and much more.

This year’s conference features keynote presentations by Dave Burgess, the best-selling author of Teach Like a PIRATE and award-winning children’s singer-songwriter Jack Hartmann.  You’ll have the opportunity to attend sessions by math expert Gregory Coleman (“Mr. Elementary Math”), hands-on science guru Lisa Murphy (“the Ooegy Gooey Lady”), writing expert Matt Glover, reading experts Jennifer Sarravallo and John Schumacher, early childhood blogger Amanda Morgan, and ed tech guru Kara Knollmeyer.  And you definitely won’t want to miss this year’s featured children’s authors, Bruce Lansky, whose twenty children’s poetry books have sold more than 3.5 million copies, and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels.

And that’s not all!  This year, we’ve added two new features to make your conference experience even more enjoyable and entertaining.  During the middle of each day, as you take a break from your morning learning sessions and recharge your batteries for the afternoon, you will have the chance to listen to two of America’s leading storytellers–Milbre Burch and Tim Lowry.  And on Thursday evening, we’re keeping the good times rolling by adding our first annual Thursday Evening Concert, this year featuring best-selling children’s performer Jack Hartmann.

All in all, we truly believe you won’t find a better use for your PD dollar than spending a couple of days with us at the 2017 Missouri Early Learning Conference.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Willy Wood
Missouri Early Learning Conference Coordinator
Posted 9/28/17

Be on the Lookout…Registration Opens Soon!

IMG_0008We know that you have a million things to do right now as school gets started, but while you’re setting the ground rules for this year’s class, learning all your new students’ names, and establishing relationships with their parents, keep an eye out for news about the launch of this year’s Missouri Early Learning Conference.

Registration will open in just a few days, and we will do what we can to let you know about it.  We will be sending out thousands of postcards next week, urging you to go to the website to register; we will be posting the registration details on Facebook and Twitter; and we’ll be sending out an e-mail blast with the information, as well.  Hopefully, we’ll reach you through one of those communication channels.  If not, you can still find all the details right here on the conference website.

So, whether you get a postcard or e-mail or see our Facebook post…or none of the above, we want you to know that we look forward to your registration and to seeing your shining face at the conference at Tan-Tar-A in November!

Willy Wood
Missouri Early Learning Conference Coordinator
Posted 8/16/17