Studies show that children learn best when they are fully engaged. More and more schools are inviting visitors to talk about different subjects. My daughter’s class had a visit from a former member of the school board. He taught them about ice fishing, the parts of the fish, and how to cook fish. He brought a freshly caught fish to school to show them. She talked about this for days.
During I Love To Read month they had a local radio announcer come and read to the school. Last year they had two football players from the Blue Bombers come down to read.
Math, Science, and Literacy are a lot harder to get excited about than Art or Music. That’s why these visitors are so important.
As a local author I love visiting schools to share my books, and my love of the written word. I offer different reading packages for different age groups and different needs.
Basic Readings: I have books for all grade levels from pre-4 to Grade 12 (Senior 4). At a reading I read. That simple! For younger kids I read all of one or even both of my picture books and let them ask questions and tell me stories as young kids love to do. With grade 3+ I read excerpts of a grade appropriate story and ask questions to get them engaged. What do they think will happen? Questions about setting and character. And I let them ask their questions. These last roughly 30-45 minutes, depending on how many questions they have.
Q&A Sessions: These focus a little less on the reading and more on the questions. I encourage teachers to brainstorm questions with their students ahead of time. I answer questions about the writing process (brainstorming, writing, editing, and publishing), my own creative process (where I get my ideas, where I find my covers, my writing schedule, etc), the marketing side of being a writer, and even some basic personal questions about myself. This can take 30-60 minutes depending on the questions, and the teacher’s needs.
Basic Writing Workshop: Teachers should schedule at least a full period for this (40-65 min) or more depending on the size of the class. I go over all the basics of writing: character, setting, plot, outlining, writing, editing, project length, publishing … I engage the students with short writing prompts and encourage them to share what they write. This is a great introduction to a creative writing unit.
In-Depth Writing Workshop: Teachers should schedule three-four full periods roughly a week apart for this workshop. In the first session I go over things like character, setting, plot, brainstorming, outlining, and the first draft. I go over some writing prompts and answer questions. The students then have a week to work on their project. In the second session we go over the editing process in detail. If teachers send the first drafts ahead to me I can return them to the students with a critique (don’t worry, I’m gentle!). The students then have a week to self and peer edit their projects. In the third session we have the chance to share our works in progress and we talk about polishing and publishing. I have a package of ideas for the teacher that goes over various options for putting the stories together in a book – anything from using the comb binding machine to duotangs to a professionally bound book. A fourth visit can be arranged a week or two later to reveal the finished project.
So far I have only done in class visits but I would love to expand to doing Skype visits as well. We have smart boards in the schools and this sounds like a great way to make use of them. I live in southern Manitoba in Canada and I’m willing to travel a little to visit schools in a wide area around me. Anyone interested in more information or booking a visit can contact me through the form on the blog or at my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/schreyerauthor.