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Monday, March 10, 2014

School Presentation: How and Why To Do Them


LOS ALTOS HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS



On Thursday I was at Los Altos High and had the pleasure of talking to three English classes--one senior and two sophomore sections. The kids were so wonderful that it made me nostalgic for those classroom days when I taught English.

LOS ALTOS HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH CLASS


In the 40 minutes I had, I told them a little about who I was and what I wrote, read from two of my YA novels, then gave them a 10 minute writing exercise, saving the last 5-10 minutes for Q and A.

I based the exercise on beginnings. A few weeks before I'd submitted sample beginnings of stories I'd written, they'd read them and we discussed what I call the EICE, /ice/, formula. Credit for this goes to Stein in Stein on Writing, and I keep it posted above my desk.


  • Excite the reader's curiosity about the character or relationship.
  • Introduce the setting and tone.
  • Create images for reader.
  • Evoke emotions.

They wrote, trying to follow the formula and produced some great beginnings. 

The best part of this kind of presentation is that you not only engage with young readers, you also have the chance to meet their teachers and talk to school librarians. As a result of my presentation, my books will be on Los Altos library shelves. 

I left bookmarks, business cards and some postcards with my book covers on them. The students snatched those up, so I'm hoping they'll be interested enough to follow through with a visit to my website and that they'll be curious enough about my books to read them. 

Of all the promotion I do, this is my favorite.



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39 comments:

  1. Glad it was a huge success. That's a good exercise for the kids. I bet their beginnings were amusing.

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    1. They were and some were quite exciting.

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  2. I like your idea of making the visit more interactive with the students so it isn't a bore to them.

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    1. So true. I always like it when I got to participate with the presenter. Still do!

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  3. Thanks for the tips. One of the things I'm scared of is trying to do an interesting school visit. We don't have many in our high school though. They have a full schedule of what they need to get through in class.

    I really appreciate your tips. Makes me a bit less nervous.

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    1. I was nervous since I hadn't done one at this school before, but it turned out to be a great experience for me.

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  4. I'd like to be at one of your school visits. I want to learn at the feet of the Mistress. :)

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    1. Very sweet! And I'd love it if you were there.

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  5. What a great idea. I imagine the kids and teachers enjoyed your visit. The schools around here, even where I taught, have not been interested in school visits. :) Oh, well.

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  6. that sounds wonderfully creative!

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    1. Let's hope they did, too! But I got good feedback, so that was nice.

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  7. Excellent marketing strategy that serves as a helpful lesson to the students. This is a great way to cultivate your potential audience.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. And it's fun for me. It also keeps me on my toes.

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  8. Sounds like everyone got something out of your visit.

    No A to Z for this year. April is too hectic. I'll enjoy reading other people's posts though.

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  9. Anytime I've visited a school, I've done my character development exercise. It's a great way to encourage kids to write and get you (and your books) in the door.

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  10. I really enjoy seeing the perspectives of children. They usually have such a different point of view.

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  11. Very helpful formula. High school kids are cool. I remember when I used to substitute teach in their classrooms, and we had a ball.

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  12. That sounds like it went awesome! I'd like to go to one of your presentations as well. :) I'm a good student.

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  13. I'm sure that the students enjoyed it as much as you did! It's also nice that you included special keepsakes for them to remember you by.

    Julie

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  14. I remember little things I would take away when I was in school. I still have a few in a junk box. One such item is a novelty size pair of moraccas that for some reason mean a lot to me.

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  15. From one English teacher to another, there's nothing like connecting with teens (or kids) over books.

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  16. I've spoken to Honors classes in high school. It was a lot of fun and a great reminder that there are still good kids in this world!

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  17. Sounds like an awesome experience! I would love to do something like that. Glad you had fun!

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  18. Your school presentation sounds great. I'm sitting out A-Z this year. Have fun!

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  19. Enjoy! The school presentation sounds great.

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  20. This sounds like so much fun! I love school visits for so many reasons. Connecting with readers is so exciting and so is the chance to meet teachers and librarians. I bet the kids loved having you in to their classrooms. :)
    ~Jess

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  21. Greetings Lee,

    Yes and thank goodness, I have arrived. Great pawst! Thanks for sharing! Following!

    It seems those school kids were taking on board what you were saying. My human and I try to write in such a way that we are "talking" to the one reader. The intimate style works for us.

    I've every confidence that those students will want to read your books. Heck, I'm going to read a book about alligators overhead to my rather confused human.

    The A to Z? Make the ridiculous thing go away! Gosh, I see Arlee Bird has been here. Hi Mr. Alphabet Man!

    Pawsitive wishes, your starstruckest dog fan,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

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  22. Ooh! I love it! I totally want to get out there and hit the classrooms...but having 3 homeschooling kids at home is making it a little difficult. It will happen. Soon, I hope. Thanks for a great outline of your process!

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  23. I'm glad it went so well. It certainly sounds wonderful!

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  24. What a lovely promotional activity indeed.

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  25. Very cool! I've presented to an elementary school, even though they weren't exactly my buying demographic... LOL

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  26. I've just submitted a proposal to start a writing club at the new school I'm at... I'm looking forward to it!
    I'm here to pick up the award you presented to me...

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  27. That's a fantastic experience. I can't hit the classrooms since I'm already teaching, but during the summer or if I ever leave teaching, I'd love to do this.

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  28. What a great thing to do to engage students in writing. And that's a neat formula, I might just nab it myself!

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  29. Your visits with the three classes sound so productive. (Teens scare the hell out of me. I expect them all to be "mean girls." I don't know how you fearlessly walk right into the lion's den.) I love the EICE info. That encapsulates what's necessary in a beginning perfectly!

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  30. I didn't know you used to teach English! That's great. I've never heard of EICE. Great tip.

    Last week I spoke for the first time in front of 4th and 5th graders. I was nervous but they were so much fun!

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  31. Hi Lee - that sounds an amazing session .. and how clever to prepare the kids in advance, then you've got your handle for the session ... I bet they learnt loads .. so fascinating to read - I'd love to join you too ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I'm so glad I came across this post. I'm working on ideas for school visits, so reading this couldn't have come at a better time.

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