This past Monday, I literally walked from my house to the elementary school across the street for an all day author school visit. Talk about convenience!
I love this school. HCES is in its first year of existence, and it’s getting a lot right. For example, while setting up, I was visited by the yoga instructor who teaches a 30 minute yoga class for students. She does this every Monday morning before school starts. Talk about getting your week started off in a zen way.
It was a full day of visits, beginning at 9:15am with the 2nd graders and ending at 2:00pm with the 4th graders. With bigger schools like this, breaking the presentations up by grade level makes the most sense. This means six 30-minute presentations with over 100 students in each group.
The PTA was wonderful and provided lunch for me, a nice break in the middle of my presentations. I get to rest my voice, gather my thoughts and fuel up for the next 1.5 hours of presenting.
Like my past school visits, I have separate presentations for K-3 and 4-5. With the younger grades, I focus on the story itself. We talk about the difference between the author and illustrator and where I generate my ideas. We also talk about submitting the story to publishers, how it feels to be rejected and ways you can improve from those rejections. I often relate this to playing on a sports team or getting a bad grade, this seems to be a tangible metaphor for the students.
At the end, I read the story and open the floor for questions (for the younger kids, I recommend allowing a max of three questions, once you allow for chatter, you will lose their interest).
The 4th and 5th graders get a more in-depth synopsis of what it means to be a writer. I delve into the different types of writing from advertising to journalism and being an author. I am lucky to have had experience in all areas of writing, my goal with the older kids is to generate an excitement for writing. I want to keep the skill alive and thriving in the hearts of our future.
The story is a bit too young for the 4th and 5th graders so I do not read it out loud. However, I have them chime in on changes that I needed to make in order to have a publisher pick it up. They leave with an understanding of creating a unique story and submitting it to a publisher.
And most importantly, they know to write in pencil and to use that eraser until it falls off!
“Hearing Jacqueline Boeheim speak was a wonderful experience for my students. Not only did she talk to them about her job as a children’s author, but she also taught them about critical life skills like perseverance and bravery. She encouraged my students to take risks and never give up. She did a wonderful job engaging all of the students in my school, from kindergarten to 5th grade. I’d thoroughly recommend her!”
Alexis Kagel, Music Teacher, Hortons Creek Elementary
Cheers to HCES and its lovely students. And if you are interested in booking a school visit, click here.