Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Special Post: Elementary School Career Day

Today I am doing a very special post instead of my usual Tuesday book review. My eleven-year-old brother Chad is my best buddy, so when he asked me to come to his school's career day I couldn't refuse, even though public speaking is the LAST thing I would normally volunteer for! I thought it would be cool and a great experience. Until last night. Then I started freaking out. But thanks to my Master Koda family I pulled some things together and created what I thought would be a good presentation. It was my job to present to the students the "tools of the trade" for an author, and tell them more about the career. I felt a little bit unqualified, considering I self published and that only happened less than a month ago, but it was a lot of fun to be able to answer the kids' questions. Most of them were really fascinated. One sixth grade class did what I expected and just didn't really care that I was there, but the others were fantastic. I was pretty much as famous as J.K. Rowling in Chad's class, thanks to all the talking up he has done about my book and I in his class, haha! Several of the kids wanted copies! So, when Chad gets home today I may have to place another order. Chad got to follow me around to the four classes I spoke in and so I had him take pictures :)


The props I chose to use: Notebook, tiny notebook, Kindle, my published book, my first finished book. I loved asking them what they thought the "tools of the trade" were for authors. Almost always the first answer was "a pancil." One kid said "a lot of erasers, because you can't just cross things out because that won't look good in a book," haha! That was from the second grade class. I talked to them about always having something to write down your thoughts (or a voice recorder like a phone), spelling, grammar, computer skills (I talked about formatting and ebooks here), people skills (a.k.a. networking with other authors), and imagination. Imagination was my big one. I read them an excerpt from Through the Paper Wall, which I will tell you more about in a couple of minutes. 

  

First I talked to some first graders. Holy cow, they were adorable, and their morning work just so happened to be writing full sentences and reading comprehension, woot! So I tied that in. My tiny notebook was a huge hit. They thought it was as adorable as I thought they were. Their favorite books were Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat!

 

These kids were awesome. A little timid, but awesome. Their teacher came up and showed me a book that one of the kids had made. She told me how they had been writing their own stories and that she typed them up, then they illustrated them. They were so cool! That's what I'm holding in that picture there with the teacher. 

 

The second class I went to was a sixth grade class, but they were the boring one, so there aren't any pictures, haha! They weren't totally boring though. Like, the teacher asked me how long the entire process of writing the book and editing and publishing took, too which I had to respond that my particular book was very out of the ordinary, since it only took me twelve days to write and I only spent six weeks on editing and everything until it was actually published. Very un-typical!

These pictures are from Chad's sixth grade class, so of course he took pictures of his classmates. I like that the one picture shows somebody asking a question. The girl in the pink asked me how I actually got my book published, so I told her about the traditional route, and then what I did.


 

 


That last picture is from my very favorite class! I LOVED THEM! They were second graders and they were spunky. I let them answer my questions for longer than the other classes and I let them ask more questions because they were just so great. See the kid in the green shirt? He's in front of the guy with the red sweater. This kid was totally my favorite. He made my day and validated my entire existence! To illustrate how I use my imagination as a writer, I read all the classes an excerpt from Through the Paper Wall. I read the part where I describe my character Blaze. Here is part of what I read:

"The boy's hair was very spiky-looking and it stuck straight up, except for every few seconds when the spikes did a sort of wave, as if a gust of wind had come by. Occasionally the spikes of hair just sort of quivered like someone standing out in the cold."

When I finished reading I looked up and saw that the little dude in the green shirt had his hands up by his hair and was, I don't know how to describe it, sort of waving his hands and fingers around the top of his hair. This huge grin broke across my face and...

Heidi: Can you picture what his hair looks like?
Kid: Yeah, and my hair is spiky today too!

Haha, it made me so happy! And then a bunch of the other kids started doing it too! I seriously loved this class. I got to tell them that one of my very favorite series was Horrible Harry and they freaked out and almost all of them had read those books or knew what I was talking about. One little girl asked me what "grammar" meant, which made me smile. The same little girl asked me if I had written any kids stories. At first I said no, but then I remembered! So I told them about a story that I started a while ago and sort of forgot about, Jerry the Dragon Slayer, to which one kid responded by swiftly cutting with his arm to one side like a dragon slayer! AMAZING! The other kids all ooh-ed and ah-ed over the title. That's it, I just decided. I'm gonna finish that story for them and give their class free copies because they were just so dang awesome! I can just see their faces...


When all was said and done I wished I could stay and be a second-grader for ever. No lie. I still wish that, actually. As I left a lady gave me this thank you gift, which I love and will totally use! I needed some more, and I love the tab-like ones!


Overall I had a great time, even though my worries were made real a little bit in that one class, but it was totally worth it for that second grade class. It was also worth it because Chad was, and is, so proud and he was totally beaming because he got to show me off, because his sister didn't have some ordinary job - she was an author! One last thing: Chad wanted to record me, so here's the bit that he recorded, in the second grader classroom! Not one of my better moments, but oh well, you'll get an idea. It is pretty quiet, so if you can't hear, I am telling them that it is really important for writers to read. Either way, it was awesome. 

video

12 comments:

  1. That sounds like it was super fun! :D

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    1. Being in front of others is probably the hardest thing for me..but I would have loved to have been there too.

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  2. It was so nice reading your first school presentation experience, Heidi. I haven't yet done one, but it sounds like it went super well for you. :-)

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    1. Thanks Rita! It really was a cool experience!

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  3. That was so adorable. It looks like you did a fantastic job. Congrats. Another first out of the way and a great success!!! Wonderful!!!

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    1. Thanks Brenda! Yes, getting firsts out of the way is nice!

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  4. What a great experience to share with all those children. I loved career week as a kid! It was fun to learn about different careers!

    I was on vacation all week and took your book with me. Started it on the plane and am half way through :) I'm hooked!

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    1. It really was so much fun! Thanks Kim, I'm glad you like it!

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  6. I love your enthusiasm. If I had as much get up and go as you do, I'd be very near to publishing my book. From the sounds of it, the kids really enjoyed it and you took something back from it. Well done :)

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