*scroll down for brochure with pricing.
I'd love to visit your school!
"Jen spoke to all four of our fifth-grade classrooms about revisions and hearing directly from an author how much revising is part of the writing process really helped them learn not to internalize constructive criticism, but instead to get excited about making their stories even better. It was inspiring!"
Megan O'Reilly, 5th grade teacher, Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, Malden, MA
"I cannot thank you enough for your time with us- making it come to life for the students and connecting writing to our real world invigorated them. Your lesson is spot-on in teaching students to describe (without telling). It's always a challenge to encourage students to read, and additionally to use and apply rich vocabulary to their writing. You allowed me to springboard off of your lesson and refer back to it. This is exactly what these students needed! I'd love it if you would come back and visit every year!"
-Rina Hatch, teacher, Albert Parlin Elementary Everett, MA
For ten years I traveled the world giving half-day workshops on global citizenship to schools, and I love speaking to school groups- even more so now that I get to talk about writing and publishing books! I've also taught college for sixteen years and am on year five as the Author-in-Residence for both a middle school and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, so I've got a bit of a handle on lesson plans and all that fun jazz. I'm based in the Boston metro area, and willing to travel!
When I visit your school, I promise to bring high energy and fun, mixed with a healthy dose of "here's how we writers do things" that fits with Common Core curriculums (outlined below).
Here is just a sampling of workshops you can choose from (adaptable to suit grades three through twelve):
SHOW DON'T TELL
Little secret: even the pros wrestle with this one! It's an abstract concept that can be difficult for students to grasp, so this workshop shows (instead of telling) them exactly what it means, using active participation from the audience. After looking at some written examples of how showing through detail can enhance a story, we'll try out our theory by clamping headphones on the teacher so s/he can't hear us while we draw characters in specific environments. Based on visual clues (like what the character is wearing, what he is holding, or where she is hanging out) we'll have the teacher guess who we've created. Then we'll discuss ways we can accomplish the same goals in written form. Suitable for all-sized groups, ages eight and up.
Common Core: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.3.A, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.3.A,, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.3.A,, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.3.A
STORYTELLING GOES HIGH TECH
This session will focus on showing students how authors use today's technology to create characters, worlds, and moods for their stories. We'll use Pinterest boards to create a character and get inside his or her head by "shopping" as the character, decorating his or her room, and inventing unique character traits (for instance: What books or music would this character love? What collections would this character have?) We'll examine map-building software to create setting and, to address a story's overall mood, students will create a playlist of songs that match the ups and downs of a popular novel or a recently assigned read. Each of these activities will present students with the opportunity to focus on the (fun!) pre-writing aspects that allow authors to enter the world of their stories, even before putting pen to paper. This program requires a time block of two sessions, a projector or smart board, as well as wifi access. Best suited for small to medium-sized groups, ages ten and up. Common Core:, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.6, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.6, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.6
HOW TO REVISE (BEYOND RUNNING SPELL CHECK)
So often teachers complain that student revisions never go beyond correcting punctuation and spelling. First, I'll assure your students that all authors revise. A. Lot. In this workshop, I'll give them tools and exercises to help them see their writing with fresh eyes, pulling from revision tricks authors love. I'll demonstrate using before and after examples from At Your Service to show how a scene can evolve and change from a first draft, and will bring handouts to show students what a critique partner comments can look like compared to an edit letter from a publisher compared to copy edits and first pass pages. Best suited for classroom-sized groups, ages nine and up.
Common Core: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.5, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.5,, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.5,, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.5
FREE SKYPE VISIT
I will happily do a twenty-minute question and answer Skype visit to your class for the bargain basement price of FREE. It will be our secret that any parts of me not visible on screen will likely be clad in pajamas. if you would prefer to do one of the longer workshops above via Skype, please contact me for pricing.
For availability, please contact me.
"I asked my class what they thought of yesterday. They said you were the best author they have ever seen and thought you were so much fun! Thanks so much for visiting our school. It was a great day!"
Sue Krauss, school librarian, Manchester Essex Middle/High School, Manchester, MA
School Visit Brochure (with rates):
**I donate several school visits per year to low-income schools throughout New England. If you would like to be considered, please contact me with your request and information about your school.
Watch this video to learn what the administrators, teachers, and students had to say about my yearlong Author In Residence program at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School.
Special thanks to the Melrose Education Fund, The Victoria MacLaughlin Foundation and the MVMMS PTO for funding the grants that made this program possible.
References available from recent school visits including:
Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (Author in Residence for 2014-15, 15-16, 16-17 and 17-18 school years), Melrose, MA
Midtown Elemtary, Harrimon, TN (5th grade)
St. James Academy, Monkton, MD (5th-8th grades)
Robert E. Clark Middle School, Bonner Springs, KS (5th grade)
Roosevelt Elementary, Melrose, MA (4th and 5th grades)
Seven Hills School, Cincinnati, OH (6th-9th grades)