Day 19: School Visits (Appearances Pt 4/4)

One of the first things you need to do if you want to know anything and everything about school visits is to listen to this interview I did with school visit expert Alexis O’Neill and then surf over to the site she started called, um, She may be the expert, but I have learned a thing or two over 15 years of doing visits, so read on before heading over there.

Here’s my #1 top tip to have a successful school visit:

On the walls at a school
Get the kids invested before you even get there. You can’t control what the school actually does to prepare the students, but you can make it easier for them to do it (between all the test prep they’re mandated to do). If you download my packet, you’ll find this table of contents:

Plastering the walls with author studies
An invested school, plastering author study stuff all over the walls!

I include lots of goodies to help my host prepare for a great, productive, educational and fun visit. I provide a mini-poster for them to plaster all over the school, as well as backpack flyers for the book sale, complete with review blurbs. I also include a checklist for the organizers, but to be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no idea whether anyone has ever used it! I also include info on why it’s so important to get the kids invested in the visit.
Here is how I look at it:
Say you have this handknit sweater with carved buttons and every time you wear it you feel like perfection itself. You go to a party one night and start talking to the woman next to you by the guacamole. “What do you do?” you ask. She tells you, “I hand knit sweaters and then carve the buttons.” You would completely geek out on her, wouldn’t you?
Now imagine this scenario:
You have no sweater that makes you feel like perfection itself, and you are at that same party and start talking to the guacamole lady. “What do you do?” you ask. She tells you, “I hand knit sweaters and then carve the buttons.” You’d say, “Oh, how nice,” and move on to the bean dip.
My point is, if you—or in this case, the students—are invested in something beforehand, it will mean so much more. So provide whatever the school would need to do an author study prior to your arrival. Once you’re there, you will see a difference from the schools where the kids aren’t prepared.
During a demonstrationDuring a demonstrationDuring a demonstration

Recent Comments

  • Kirk Jackson
    April 18, 2012 - 3:23 pm · Reply

    Hi, Katie. Thanks for the great wealth of information. I am curious to hear the interview with Alexis O’Neill regarding school visits, but the link does not work, and I do not see it listed in your podcast list on iTunes.
    Is it still around?
    Going Home Stories

    • katie
      April 18, 2012 - 3:42 pm · Reply

      You’re welcome and thank you, too! I’ll have to look into that. I don’t know why it wouldn’t work!

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