School Visit Information

      What’s in Your Character’s Pocket? (3-6) Based on story, So Many Legs and/or The Donut Lady.  Students will discuss the parts of a story. Author will introduce the difference between a character/ plot driven stories. Students will discuss “voice” and why it is important to know your character. Students will learn the plot arc, or The Three Big Questions (character problem, obstacles, solution.) As a group, students will brainstorm and  chart ideas about a new character.  Students will choose different items from the author’s “magic bag” that might be in a character’s pocket. They will diagram similar ideas about their own character to prepare them for an introductory paragraph about their character: What would your character’s ideal gift be? Students can share aloud or perform a skit based on their character.

      Animal Talk: Mixing Fact and Fiction- (K-6) Based on several “faction” (fiction/non-fiction mix) type stories. Students will discuss non-fiction/fiction and what makes a good story for both genres (beginning, middle, end, action, description, point of view, etc.) Author will discuss research techniques, accuracy, etc. Students will learn how to write a “faction” story  using live animals (walking sticks, snakes, millipedes.) Groups will brainstorm and chart different animal facts and use this information to begin a story in first or third person. Primary grades will create a  group story.

      There’s a Dinosaur in my Backyard! Creating Realistic Fantasy (3-6) Based on story Grandpa’s Grapevine  and middle grade novel, The Puzzle Seed. After a brief discussion about fantasy/reality, students will learn how to mix the two to create the realistic fantasy genre that includes the following components: realistic setting, characters with real problems and real facts. A quick art activity and over head  projector activity will lead students into writing a quick group fantasy story. Students will choose an item out of the “magic bag” to begin a first paragraph or outline of a realistic fantasy story.

      Story Elements: A Quick and Easy Recipe  (3-6) Students will learn the plot arc, or The Three Big Questions. Using a simple plotting formula: 1.) What your character wants. 2.) What obstacles must your character overcome? 3.) How does your character overcome those obstacles?  Students will choose photos of potential characters and  brainstorm a potential plot based on their character.
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