School Visits

“The best author we have had.” —Barbara Merritt, librarian, Wentworth Intermediate School, Scarborough, ME

“A highlight of our year.”  —Jennifer Antonson, 2nd grade teacher, Dooley Elementary School, Schaumburg, IL

“I thought your presentation today—visual, interactive, well-paced, student-friendly, and extremely interesting for all—was fantastic!”  —Jane McNeely, 4th grade teacher, Brown Elementary School, South Portland, ME

 

9780761461647_p0_v1_s260x420Around the Neighborhood: Fun with Song and Story
Preschool-Kindergarten

The students join in singing Around the Neighborhood, a re-imagined version of the classic folksong “Over in the Meadow.” Then we talk about animals children see in their own neighborhoods, and create a very simple book that can be left in the classroom. A handout to take home encourages parents and children to take a walk together and count, draw, and write about the animals they see. (30 minutes)

 

9780060544522_p0_v2_s260x420Gorillas and Tigers and Sharks…Oh My!
Grades K-3, Nonfiction

After reading my I-Can-Read title Amazing Tigers, I discuss how I write nonfiction, and the basic steps of research, selections, and organization. Students work together to organize 4-6 facts into a “mini-book.” Great for units on the environment or conservation. (30-45 minutes)

 

9780689852183_p0_v1_s600Imagine: A Poetry Workshop
Grades 3-5, Poetry

After reading my poetry collection Imagine a Night, I discuss the writing process with an emphasis on editing and revision. The students write their own poems and try revising them. Great for poetry units and creative writing classes. (45 minutes)

 

9780061288487_p0_v1_s260x420Hatching the Egg: A Fiction Workshop
Grades 4-5, Fiction
After reading from my middle grade fantasy, Dragon’s Egg, I talk about myth and folklore and how they can be used to inspire stories. The students and I pick a mythical creature (perhaps a unicorn or a mermaid) and discuss what we already know about it and how an author might change existing legends to come up with a idea that’s fresh and original. The students try a writing exercise about an imaginary animal of their choice. (45 minutes)

 

9781934031360_p0_v1_s260x420Mercy: A Fiction Workshop (with a little bit of history)
Grades 6-12, Fiction
After reading from my YA fantasy, Mercy: The Last New England Vampire, I talk about New England folklore and the true story of Mercy Brown, whose tragic death at the age of 19 led to the writing of Mercy. The students and I talk about ghost stories and frightening folktales, why they have such influence over us, and how writers can use them to create stories that connect with readers on many levels. Then the students brainstorm ideas for their own ghost story. Perfect for creative writing classes, history projects, and Halloween. (45 minutes-1 hour)

Deadly Flowers

Deadly Flowers

Deadly Flowers: A Historical Fiction Workshop (with ninjas)
Grades 5-12, Fiction/Fantasy
After reading from my novel, Deadly Flowers: A Ninja’s Tale, I discuss the process of writing historical fiction. Showing the stages of my work, I demonstrate how a writer can use historical incidents (such as the existence of an all-girls ninja school in 16th-century Japan) to inspire memorable storylines, and how research can help develop character and advance a plot. Then the students try a quick writing exercise, using historical facts to create an introductory paragraph for their own ninja story. Perfect for creative writing and English classes, history projects, and anyone who loves ninjas! (45 minutes-1 hour)

All presentations allow time for Q&A.

Fees
In Portland, Maine: $200 per presentation
Outside of Portland, Maine: $800 for 4 presentations a day, $1000 for 5 presentations, plus travel expenses

Contact information: slthomson@earthlink.net