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What happens when Katie visits a school?
- The students will get very excited about reading, writing, and the creative process and they’ll get more out of it because your school prepared them, so they are more invested in the visit.
- They’ll treasure the books they take home from the book sale because of that investment, and that love of books will ripple out to include other books.
- Teachers and parents will cry shamelessly because they forgot to send in their book order forms and then they’ll ask if you any books left and you will say yes because you’re so smart and you ordered extra.
Hosting an author visit is one of the best things you can do for your students because it connects kids to books in a much more powerful way than simply reading them; it gives kids an appreciation of the process that creates the books they love; it offers kids the opportunity to interact with a professional author/illustrator, thereby modeling this possibility for the kids; and it significantly forwards literacy efforts. To top it all off …it’s fun!
I can alter or create my presentation to your needs but the following are descriptions of the skeleton of what I do for students of all grades, from kindergarten through high school. Obviously, each presentation is appropriately tailored to the audience’s age group!
The following are just samples of the many presentations I have done – I can tailor it to your studies, and whatever your interests and needs are!
Writing workshops involve brainstorming, plotting, descriptive narrative, and character development. Though better suited to smaller groups, a modified version of the writing workshop can be accommodated in an assembly. For example:
Title: The Bones of a Story
Description: Tailored to each age group, Katie presents a highly interactive illustrating and storytelling session. The children help write a story, and volunteers join Katie up front where she asks each to make a different emotional expression. She then draws their faces on the characters from her books and together they create a new narrative story with emphasis on beginning, middle and end.
Length: 30-60 minutes
Audience size: any (though keeping it age-apecific works best!
Title: Story Creation Using Characters, Plot, Conflict, Resolution, and Revision
Description: Story construction, sequencing, and how an idea transforms from a thought to a published book. Students learn how to do simple drawings of emotions, Katie talks about revision and editing, reveals mistakes she’s made while writing and illustrating her books, and teaches skills they can use when creating their own stories. Whether an assembly or workshop, this presentation involves brainstorming, plotting, descriptive narrative, and character development.
Length: 30-60 minutes
Poetry workshops are a collaborative experience, with students working together to create a community poem, like the Surrealists invented with their “exquisite corpse” at the turn of the 20th century. For example:
The Vulcan Mind Meld Poetry Workshop
Description: This is a shiver-inducing workshop because of the results produced. It involves all the students working, writing dozens of progressive poems together, yet unaware of what the others are writing. How it works: everyone starts with the same premise, and as each child is finished writing his or her two lines, the paper is folded back until only the second line is showing. The next child receives that paper, and adds two more lines, the paper is folded again to only reveal the last line, and so on. By the end, all the students add to all the poems, creating dozens of unique poems along a similar base theme, with many of them circular in nature, despite the fact that the contributors didn’t realize it.
Illustrating workshops teach kids how to see so they’re able to illustrate any story the write. Even better, it can get them writing “through the back door.” That is, students become connected to their character through their drawings first, and then write a story incorporating them. For example:
Title: Story Writing Workshop Through Character Illustration
Description: Students will learn to draw – learn to see – in this workshop, creating characters that will become the protagonist or antagonist of a story they create with Katie’s guidance. Students brainstorm, plot, develop characters and create descriptive narrative. Optional homework will be assigned, and the kids will need to do editing and revision.
Length: 90 minutes