Monday, May 14, 2012

Author visits in Montana

Last week was the most amazing experience. I was asked to visit Poplar and Wolf Point, MT. While there, I taught some writing workshops, read to the students and answered questions. I felt right at home working with the students, grades Kind through 5th grade. Shawn (my hostess) had me scheduled back to back with negative 30 seconds between classroom visits. We did 11 different location visits in 3 and 1/2 days! Monday I had 6 visits at two schools, plus the library. And Tuesday I did 5 classroom visits, then a college talk, and a reading.

The kids all thought I was there age, so I think they connected with me in a way they don't with adults. It was fun to see how they all couldn't wait to hear what I had to say, and realized that they to can follow their dreams.

At one school, each teacher wanted me to teach on a different writing program, so I was literally pulling out my notes as I ran. The kids were great though. I didn't feel like I lost any of them.  I could really see the wheels in their head turning, watching them think "I can do that!".


They had great questions including:

  • Do you make a lot of money (answer, no.)
  • How long have you been writing (answer, since I was your age.)
  • How did I write the words (answer, I let them come to me, wrote them down, then read them aloud over and over and over.)
  • Where do I get my ideas (answer, everywhere.)
  • Do my kids help me (answer, I test my books on them to see if they need to be sacrificed to the delete God's or polished for potential future literacy)
  • What is my favorite book (answer, Anne of Green Gables)
  • How old I am (answer, how old do you think I am? To which I was guessed from 4th grade to age 50)

The visit was special because I got to stay with a dear friend, Shawn. She and her family were great, and her husband was open to all of my thousands of questions about life on the reservation.

I also got to speak at the college about tools to teach future writers, which I shall blog about in the future.

One of the perks was eating lunch with the kids. At Poplar Elementary, I was sitting there eating when Shawn looked at me and said, "You have a blue tray."
I answered, "yes, I do."
She said, "I have a red tray."
I looked at her puzzled until she pointed out all the students had blue trays, while the staff got red trays. They thought I was one of the students!

We had a great time at recess!

At the Headstart visits, I learned how to count to 10 in Dakota and my colors, though I don't remember much. It was intriguing how long the words are.

My last day, we added a school visit since a teacher found out I was going to be in there area. They are working on a book, and thought I'd make a great addition. The kids were all prepped with questions for my whirlwind 20 minute squeeze in. I was so impressed with all they had done to prep for my visit.

And as a bonus, I got to visit the Badlands and do some Sand Ball hunting, which my boys loved.

I will work on writing more about my visits! There was so many wonderful things happening as we connected, and I learned more about their environment. But in the meantime, I have some manuscripts I need to finish up. There is nothing more motivating then kids asking you when they can get your next book!

If you are interested in having me speak with your school, daycare, or group, let me know. I do everything from a simple reading with questions, to writing workshops, to playing with the kids on the playground. :-) You can email me by clicking here for more information.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Author Visits in Montana!

I just wanted to give you a heads up that I am in Montana visiting schools and libraries! Look for fun updates about my journey and the great people I'm meeting next week. :-)

Happy writing!