Friday, February 29, 2008

School Visit from Heaven

What a fantastic school visit I had yesterday. Camille Hogan, media specialist extraordinaire, planned the perfect day. Props to all the teachers and students at Prairie Junior High School in Alsip, Illinois! Here's how they did everything right:

Before I got there....
1. They talked up JULIA'S KITCHEN and got it circulating.
2. They offered my book for sale.
3. They told the kids that 10 of them would get to have lunch with me. In order to qualify for lunch, they had to purchase my book, read it, and e-mail the media specialist a couple questions they would like to ask me. She chose the kids with the best questions, and she also bought them lunch. How cool is that?
4. They created a lesson plan about character descriptions and worked my presentation about revision into the lesson.
5. They had a display in the library about me, my book, and my upcoming visit.

When I arrived...
1. The administrators in the office greeted me warmly because they were expecting me.
2. The library was set up with enough chairs for all the students and with a digital projector for me.
3. They offered me yummy coffee.

During my presentations...
1. The students paid attention and asked thoughtful questions.
2. The teachers paid attention, took notes, and asked thoughtful questions.
3. They gave me a nice break in between presentations. I even had time to lounge on a sofa and read a bit!

During lunch...
1. They got my lunch order exactly right. (No onions. Yes cucumbers!)
2. The kids and teachers were delightful.

1. The teachers gave me wonderful feedback about the students' responses to the presentation, and they told me they plan to incorporate some of the revision skills I talked about into their lesson plans.
2. They allowed time for me to sign books for all the students and teachers who had purchased them.
3. Camille gave me specific reverse directions so I wouldn't get lost on my way home. (I am directionally-impaired!)
4. And last but certainly not least, they told me they would love for me to come back next year!

Thank you Camille and Prairie Junior High. I wish Camille could give lessons to other schools on how to organize an author visit. Perhaps she should write an article or something. I'm pretty sure this was her first author visit, but you would never know from how well she ran it!

I took a couple of pictures, but for some reason, I can't get them to load right now, and I have to get ready for my weekend writing workshop with Richard Peck. So I'll try to get the pictures up next week.

Have a great weekend!


Lisa C. said...

That visit sounds perfect in every way! I especially like the luncheon idea. I know I would have loved to have had lunch with a REAL-LIVE AUTHOR when I was a kid! (Still would, come to think of it.)

Brenda Ferber said...

Yep! They really got it right. When I was a kid I thought authors were magical creatures. I never ever thought of them as real people. To meet one when I was younger would have the coolest thing ever.

Brenda Ferber said...

would have been the coolest thing, I meant!
I've got to slow down!!!

Anonymous said...

Our school has done some cool author visits like the one you described - contest, luncheons, etc. Must be cool to be on the receiving end! Can't wait to see the pictures! KYM