SCHOOL VISITS: WINTER 2011 IS COMPELTELY BOOKED. SOME OPENINGS REMAIN FOR SPRING 2011. THE 2011-2012 SCHOOL YEAR IS ALREADY BEGINNING TO FILL UP! BOOK NOW!
Do You Want Phil to Visit Your School?
When Phil comes for an author visit, get ready for an exciting and informative interactive presentation. Each presentation lasts approximately 40-45 minutes and includes time for a question and answer period.
Phil uses PowerPoint to demonstrate how picture books and chapter books are created. Using his own books as models, Phil traces the life of a text from idea to publication, sharing rough drafts, thumbnail sketches, editorial letters, sample layouts and corrected proofs. Throughout his presentation, he incorporates his skills as a teacher in order to make a variety of real world-to-classroom connections.
Phil prefers to meet with students in smaller groups in classroom or school library settings; however, Phil recognizes that many/most schools want to include the entire student body. As a result, Phil often accomodates groups as large as 400-500 students. He prefers working with students second grade and older, and he finds it helpful when the students are already familiar with at least one of his books and when the students have each prepared a question of two prior to the presentation.
Without a doubt, after attending one of Phil's presentations, students of all ages will never look at picture books and chapter books the same way!
Lately, during some of Phil's school visits, he has been leading "Writing Camps." Lindsay Jones, a librarian from Round Rock, Texas, came up with the idea, and they've really taken off.
During the "Writing Camps," Phil meets with smaller groups of students (usually between 30 and 50 third, fourth and fifth graders). Writing strategies and techniques are discussed, and Phil shares some of his approaches to writing. Phil speaks the language the students are learning, covering such concepts as "Show, Not Tell," "Seed Ideas," "Vivid Verbs," "Utilizing the Five Senses," and "Exploding the Moment." Then using the characters from "Sluggers" as a launching point, students participate in a writing workshop.
If you would like for Phil to visit, please take an additional moment toread the following "Tips for Planning an Author Visit." These tips were compiled by Jean Dayton of Dayton Bookings. They apply to all author/illustrator visits in general.
1) Start planning well in advance. Many authors book school visits between six months and a year in advance.
2) You will need to decide what specifically you hope to get from an author visit. Would you like for the author/illustrator to speak to all of your students or just a segment? Do you want for the author to discuss their books and career in a general way or would you like for them to do a writer’s workshop with the students? Be sure to find out how many presentations an author is willing to do during the school day.
3) In what part of the school will you hold the author talks? If you want to have a more intimate session, the library or an individual classroom works well. If your goal is to have as many students as possible participate, then you will want to consider the cafeteria or an auditorium as the appropriate setting. If you use a larger setting, it may be necessary to provide a microphone for the author.
4) Make sure that you know what the author’s audio-visual requirements are. Many authors use either a slide projector, an overhead projector or need equipment for a power-point presentation. Always inquire in advance so that you can get access to the necessary equipment. Be sure to test the equipment prior to the first session.
5) Prepare the students for an author visit by reading and discussingone or more of the author’s books as part of classroom work.
Encourage your students to think of questions to ask the author. Many times an author’s book can be used not just in English class, but in history or social studies as well. Enlist the assistance of the art department to work with the students on illustrations and alternate book jackets.
6) Order books for your author event approximately eight weeks prior to the event. You can work with a local bookstore or you can order the books directly from the publisher. Send a sales flier home to the parents so that students can order their
books prior to the event.
7) Arrange for a convenient location for the author to sign
books for the students. You can have a book-signing for 10-15 minutes following
each author session or you can have students who wish to have their books
signed come to the library at a designated time to meet and greet the author.
It can be a very special time for the student to meet the author one-on-one
as they have their book signed. For those students who want to have their
book personalized, be sure to have the student’s name written neatly
on a post-it
note and affix the note to the title page of the book. That enables the author to have more time to talk with the student and alleviates spelling issues.
8) Plan a careful itinerary for the day well ahead of time. You will need to think of transportation issues. Will the author need to be picked up from the airport? Will the author need to be picked up at his/her hotel? At what time of the morning will someone need to pick up the author and transport him/her to the school? Please be sure to plan breaks in between the sessions and allow plenty of time for book-signing. Careful planning can assure that both you, your students and the visiting author will enjoy a productive and rewarding day.