January 4th, 2007

School Visits ahead

Happy New Year!
My goals include developing a dynamite school presentation and learning to love doing school visits. Repeat after me. “I love an auditorium full of wriggling kids. I love an auditorium full of wriggling kids. I love an auditorium full of wriggling kids…”
Now, I need to figure out what to do. I’m observing other local authors at their school visits to get ideas. Derek Munson, author of Enemy Pie, has been nice enough to let me sit in on some of his presentations. He does 40-plus school visits a year. 
He offers a nice selection of programs including three smaller workshops and a larger “meet the author” show. I like his mix and match approach. And I suspect that schools do, too.
And his presentations are great-- packed with visuals and examples and fun ways to get at things. For example, with older kids he uses a simplified approach to the Myers-Briggs personality assessment to help them figure out what their imaginary story character is like. He has younger kids make a wonderfully horrid pie for an “Enemy Pie” packed with rubber worms, plastic eyeballs, dirt... all topped with shaving cream. Of course, the students adore coming up with the yucky things they want to add and, after years of doing this presentation, he seems to have just about anything they can name in a big treasure chest he brings along. And he’s always thinking of more. He’s developing life-size cardboard characters as part of another writing workshop. He was excited because he’d spotted a huge balloon and realized he could add it to the workshop and gradually blow it up bigger and bigger and bigger to illustrate building story tension. 
Now that’s the kind of presentations I’d like to give.
Check him out at enemypie.com Look under workshops to see the kind of programs he offers.