Wonder-Powered Research: A Writing Workshop for Students

As part of my school visit program, I enjoy doing writing workshops with kids. One of my workshops is called, “Research Is the Writer’s Edge: Finding Evidence, Finding Stories.” This workshop helps students generate a research plan, develop observational skills, practice finding evidence to back up statements that they make, and create a work based on […]

Continue Reading...

Happy Birthday, Kite Book!

Today my new picture book for older readers launches — both literally and figuratively! We’re heading up to Ventura Harbor this afternoon with family and friends for a kite-fest birthday celebration. So Happy Birthday to The Kite That Bridged Two Nations: Homan Wlash and the First Niagara Suspension Bridge. Later this month, I’ll be traveling to Niagara […]

Continue Reading...

Keep Your Antennae Up!

Next week, the SCBWI Summer Conference will be underway in Los Angeles. Published authors and illustrators will be giving keynotes, workshops and intensives over the course of four days. It’s the perfect lab for you to study their presentation techniques and see what you might borrow to put in your own presentation toolbox. Many of […]

Continue Reading...

4 Tips for Book Festival Presentations

Book festivals offer big challenges to authors and illustrators when it comes to keeping the crowd focused and engaged in your presentation. In school assemblies, you’re confident that the kids have a collective understanding of the school’s rules and are grouped by age. You can use a PowerPoint presentation to great effect. But book festivals […]

Continue Reading...

A Questioning Strategy: The Power of Wait-Time / Think-Time

If you conduct workshops with students, here’s a bit of research that can help you take your questioning techniques to a higher level. Research by Mary Budd Rowe at Columbia University found that the average amount of time a teacher waits between asking a question and calling on a student to answer is one second. […]

Continue Reading...

Choosing Volunteers

  So, you’re facing 250 kids in an assembly.  You’ve asked a question.  Or you’ve invited volunteers to join you on-stage.  What’s the best way to choose respondents or participants?  Kids are all about fairness.  They want you to be equitable in your choices. So I try to make sure that I choose kids from […]

Continue Reading...

TIP: Revisit Schools Every 5 Years!

Four principals surprised me this year by inviting me back to do assemblies for all their kids.  “But I’ve already visited your school,” I said, thinking they might be having a memory lapse.  “Yes,” they said, “but we have a whole new crop of kids here now.”  And that’s when the lightbulb went off over […]

Continue Reading...