Friday, May 11, 2012

School Programs - Author in Residence

For my Author in Residence program, I can be at your school for a week or longer. This allows me to cover certain topics in much more depth than would be possible during a regular author visit. We can also look at working with the students on a specific project.
A week in residence can be designed however you would like, to best meet the needs of the students. Here's what a week could look like, based on a school where I spent five days working with students from grade one through seven. However, this is just an example and I am very flexible and happy to discuss your schools unique requirements with you.

K/1/2 Story Creation

This highly interactive presentation explores story structure relating to the creation of a well-defined beginning, middle and end. Using a series of seemingly unrelated objects, students participate in creating a story in what is always a lively and fun filled session. Although this exercise is done as a group, afterwards students are so enthusiastic that they want to create their own illustrations to go with the story and expand on the narrative that we have created together. In the weeks after my visit, some schools have added the children’s pictures to the story, as they create their own books and design covers for them. These have often been displayed in the classroom or sent home to parents.

Grade 3 Fantasy Realms and Creatures

In two sessions, we discuss the elements of fantasy and the many creatures and characters that inhabit the fantasy realm. In The Emerald Curse, the main villain has created monsters in his laboratory, combining some of the most fearsome creatures on earth. Most students are very familiar with monsters and strange creatures from mythology, books and movies and really enjoy the workshop where they get to invent their own unique mythological creature along with its powers, enemies, diet, habitat and the fantasy kingdom where it lives.

Grade 4 Superheroes

The Emerald Curse involves a young boy who is propelled into a strange comic book dimension, to save his grandfather, the world's greatest comic book artist and writer. The novel was influenced by the comic books and superhero adventure stories I read whilst growing up. In two sessions, we explore the superhero genre, before students create their own superhero, complete with costumes, powers, secret identity, headquarters, friends, family and one or more archenemies. They are also encouraged to draw their creation and some may even write a short story.

Grade 5/6/7 Time Travel, Historical Fiction and Writing Strategies

The Heretic's Tomb, The Sorcerer's Letterbox and The Alchemist's Portrait are time travel stories. These sessions look at where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories. We examine how history has served as inspiration for authors and filmmakers and learn about the importance of historical research. Students will then invent their own time machine or device, paying attention to detail and to the need for authentic historical settings. We also explore how to write gripping fiction and cliffhanger endings.

Grade 8 The Shape of Things to Come

The events described in The Clone Conspiracy may be science fiction, but cloning has become very much science fact in recent years. These sessions examine how much technology has developed in the last one hundred years, how the pace of change has rapidly accelerated in recent decades and challenges students to contemplate what types of technology we may expect to see in the century to come.

Grade 9 People Plotting: Creating Memorable Characters

Without people there is no plot and characters are at the heart of any story. In these workshops, we explore where writers get ideas for the people in their stories, the many methods of creating strong characters and how to use descriptive language to build them. Students invent their own unique characters and also learn how to write effective and engaging dialogue for their creations.

The the above scenario is merely a guideline as to what a week in residence could look like and I am very happy to discuss your school’s unique requirements with you. Contact me directly for details of fees and availability for Author in Residence at

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