Most of my adult life I have taught children in one capacity or another, from learning how to ride a horse, to acting onstage, to creating an original story and turning it into a play. Teaching kids in schools and libraries, and working with adult writers at conferences across the country, are some of the things I love to do the most. This is reflected in my programs which are energetic and interactive, and will light up the creativity in even the most reluctant students. Using my theatre background, I have everyone up on their feet engaging in activities that make them think about writing in a whole new way. My programs include:
* Captivating Faces (where we find our characters);
* Breathing Life Into a Setting;
* Trigger the Hidden Creative Muse;
* Revision Fun and Sculpting with PlayDo.
Presentations include a Q&A at the end where no questions is a silly question, plus an after-visit professional discussion guide which follows Common Core State Standards for English Language and includes: Discussion Overview for Georgia Rules; Character Analysis Activity; Figurative Language Lesson; Readers Theatre Script, plus a Teacher’s Discussion Guide for Swing Sideways.
It is always my goal to be completely open and honest with anyone I teach, and I encourage questions about the themes in my books such as homelessness, eating disorders, incarcerated parents, same-gender parents, loss of a friend, and of course anything about ponies. Some of these themes I have personal experience with, but those I do not I hope to encourage kids to explore and understand so they can take an active part in helping us build a world with more empathy.
Creative ways to fund bringing an author to your school:
* Combine visits with another close by school.
* Crowdfunding is a popular way to raise money through organizations such as donorschoose.org. I give monthly to this for teachers who want to raise money for books and author visits to enhance their students experience.
* Most states have artist grants available. Check with your state library and speak to whomever is the school library consultant.
* Buy copies of an author's books in bulk and sell before or during the visit and use the profits to fund the visit.
* Local public libraries often have funding available to bring in authors for local schools.