Program Length: 40-50 minutes, including interactive activities and Q&A.
I love talking with students and their teachers about writing, and I try to keep my whole presentation fun and interactive. I tend to share personal stories about my writing process and my life as a teen, and I always leave a lot of time for Q&A—I want to hear what the students have to say and answer the questions they most want to know. My style is informal and personal, rarely scripted. I want to get to know students, and for them to get to know me.
I usually begin with a short presentation to introduce myself and my books, and then read an excerpt from one of my more recent novels. I tend to present for fifteen minutes, and then open the floor to Q&A (my favorite part). I sign and personalize books right after the presentation and/or during lunch.
I also enjoy talking informally with smaller groups of students. These can be casual conversations about writing, or more specific discussions in line with specific curriculum—it’s entirely up to you. I’m flexible and open to new ideas.
Writing workshops allow me to work closely with a single class or a smaller group of students on specific projects. We can tailor these to your needs.
I also teach two formal workshops: One on writing time travel fiction, and another on writing novels that read like movies using a familiar screenwriting structure. These presentations are fun and fast-paced, using familiar pop culture references to keep students engaged and leave them inspired to write stories of their own.
The Word Wall (Middle & High Schools)
We can also use some of our time together to create the popular “Word Wall.”
Many of the anecdotes I share are about how writing helped me work through tough times when I was young. Every Last Word captures this idea through a teen named Sam, who finds that words in sets of threes calm her anxious mind.
In Sam’s honor, I pass out slips of paper and ask students to write three words that mean something to them. I let everyone think. And giggle. And write. And then I walk around with the microphone and let them share their words with the group (completely optional, but many students love this part). After, they each add their words to the Word Wall. This twenty-minute exercise is filled with lots of laughs and whoa’s and awww’s (and this author’s mind totally blown by the collective brilliance). I leave the Word Wall behind, and many schools hang it on a wall in the library.
After doing this exercise at numerous schools, I find it works best in groups of less than 100 students.
Coding Activities (Elementary & Middle Schools)
My elementary and middle school presentations focus on my middle grade novel, Click’d, and emphasize computer coding. I introduce a few of the Code.org activities featured in the back of the book as part of the presentation, and afterward, we bring the Binary Bracelet activity to life in real time. Using beads and string (provided), every student creates a binary bracelet spelling his/her name. It’s a fun and interactive activity that teaches a coding fundamental while giving everyone something to take home.
I can meet with up to three groups in a day, or larger groups all at once. Please allow a minimum of 10-15 minutes between presentations so I can set up before the next program.
BOOK SALE & SIGNING
We ask that all schools send home forms that allow parents to purchase books in advance, and also sell my books on site during my visit. Most schools find it most convenient to order from their local bookseller. We can help with pre-order forms and other sales recommendations.
I bring lots of bookmarks to sign and give away to all students, no purchase required.
I’ve done presentations in gyms and auditoriums, as well as in individual classrooms or in the library. The location is entirely up to you. Because my style tends to be more informal, personal, and conversational, it’s especially nice for smaller groups to gather on the floor or in chairs set in circle.
*For large groups or large rooms.
- Projector with audio capabilities
- MacBook connection cables
I love visiting middle/high schools, both in person and via Skype. All school visits are coordinated by my publisher. Please complete the form below, and someone from Disney Hyperion will be in touch with you.