T.J. Casey is a cowboy who believes that the preservation of our western and cowboy culture is very important. He uses the art of cowboy poetry and the Code of the West to pass on to future generations the same strong morals and values that he was fortunate to be raised with. His belief that kids need to learn that they are a very significant link of preserving our western American heritage is a lesson that he mixes in while teaching cowboy poetry. He believes in our roots and heritage, and that he has a story to tell. “We all need to stand up and protect the traditions and legacies we’ve inherited.” He wants to be an image for kids to look up to, and hopefully instill in them this same love of country and customs that he knows and respects. “Without our heritage, our children lose focus. Without our children’s focus, we lose our world.” With this in mind, T.J.’s main objective is to utilize the natural talent and imaginations of kids and give them confidence to believe in themselves while learning how to express themselves through cowboy poetry. Workshops/Residencies/Activities for Youth Flexibility in working with schools; one day to 2 weeks or longer. Target students are grades 4-8 Willing to work with up to 4 classes per day One week residency allows T.J. to teach a more in-depth process of writing poetry. By giving examples of his own work, and introducing students to what he’ll be teaching. From there, T.J. divides the next 4 days with the history of the American Cowboy, culture and heritage, Code of the West, Indian Education, teaching rhyme and meter, brainstorming in groups or individually for ideas, and actually composing poetry in groups or individually. Throughout the week, he may use cowboy gear, (saddles, bridles, etc), for ideas on individual poems, and give titles to the students, and will assist with revising and editing processes. The week may culminate with an all-school assembly or concert, including parents, where the students can recite their poems to an audience of their peers. His goals are to teach students our American Culture and heritage and the Code of the West, work with them on rhyme and meter in poetry and to use their imagination. By the time the class is finished students will be writing their own poetry about more modernistic experiences related to American Culture and family history of their geographical area.