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Author Visits

I would love to share my passion for writing with your community of learners! Sessions range from 1/2 hour felt-board retellings of my first book, Leaf, to 2 hour writing workshops.

The best scenario is to start the day with the youngest grades and move up as the day progresses. Things run more smoothly and less time is lost during transitions when I am set up in one room and the students travel to me. When that is not possible (ie. I move to the gym for a large group presentation), I ask to set up my prop table first thing in the morning so everything is ready to go when I enter the gym for my presentation.

Kindergarten and Grade One: Felt Board Story (30-60 minutes)

Students participate in a felt-board retelling of Leaf, ending with an invitation to wonder what adventures Leaf might have had once he finally let go of Tree Mother. Teachers appreciate the tie-in to the Science Curriculum. If desired, the 30 minute story-telling session can be lengthened to an hour, providing students the opportunity to create and hang a leaf on Tree Mother (a branch in a bucket that travels with me). Depending how quickly the children work, we may end with a reading of my second book, Down in the Jungle

For maximum benefit, it’s best to keep these groups small (max. 30 students).

For the Felt Board retelling, I need: 

  • An easel with a sturdy ledge and a slight backwards incline to hold my felt board. 
  • If they are doing the Leaf activity, students are asked to bring crayons/markers, scissors, and a few extra handheld hole punchers.

Grade Two to Six: Idea Generation (60 minutes)

Students are treated to a humorous and informative presentation about where authors get ideas, where I, in particular, get ideas and how I capture them (including some of the stories-in-progress that have grown from those ideas). I describe the process of taking those ideas from first glimmer to final product and end with a reading of Leaf. Depending on the size and age of the group and where the students’ questions take us, I may share my second book and/or provide a taste (literally) of the middle grades novel I am currently writing. 

For this presentation, I can accommodate large groups in a gymnasium.

For the Idea Generation presentation, I need: 

  • A table to hold my props (7’ by 2’ is ideal)
  • A smartboard or projector (and someone in the room who knows how to run them). 
  • If this takes place in a gym or large multi-purpose room, a lapel mic is very helpful.

Grade Five and Six: Writing Workshop (2 hours)

I ask that this workshop be capped at 30 students, please.

Students engage in several writing exercises centered around the information presented in the Idea Generation presentation and begin to ‘lay track’ for writing a story of their own. They need to be able to comfortably write at desks or tables in a classroom or library setting.

For the Writing Workshop, I need: 

  • A table to hold my props (7’ by 2’ is ideal)
  • A smartboard or projector (and someone in the room who knows how to run them)
  • A whiteboard and markers
  • A flip chart/easel that can hold a large pad of paper (I bring the paper)
  • A room large enough to comfortably seat the students at desks or tables. Please do not move tables into a gym for this workshop.

Note: I request that teachers take part in the writing exercises with their students.