Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ridglea Hills - 4th Grade

W R I T E R ' S    W O R K S H O P

After about 6 months of communication between the Ridglea Hills Elementary Counselor - Ms. Rogers and myself .... the 4th Grade Writers Workshop came to fruition! It was a pleasure to visit Mrs. Wengert and Ms. Hall's 4th Grade Writing classes on Wednesday, February 11. 4th graders always make me a little nervous ... so I knew I better bring my A game!

The teachers and children were welcoming and it was great fun to talk with them about creative writing.

I first spoke with them about the importance of keeping a journal and what kinds of things can go into a journal. It can be just about anything - sketches, definitions, new words, story ideas, thoughts and dreams ... I use mine for EVERYTHING! And read them a few excerpts from the sequel to A Simpler Time! My favorite journal is the Commonplace Journal from LEVENGER .

I explained to them about the writing process and the importance of working with the editor, illustrator and graphic designer to make your book PERFECT! I shared with them how long it took me to write The Life of Bud (10 years) and how my persistence paid off to get it published! One of their questions was how hard is it to give your book to an illustrator to do the illustrations. They loved seeing how Greg messed with me with the SpongeBob Nightmare Drawing! They agreed that The Life of Bud should NOT have been a cartoon book and really thought the illustrations were pretty!

I enjoyed sharing with them how I emailed Ted Kerasote asking for an endorsement, and him emailing me back in just TWO DAYS! I told them how he agreed to endorse the book, but he also gave me some great advice about editing A Simpler Time and all future works. I told them how exciting it was for him to invite me to his Austin book signing and actually meeting him!


The meat of the Writer's Workshop though was talking to the children about the importance of trying out new words in their writing ... using "high dollar" words. They agreed that using interesting language makes the reader want to continue reading ... So ... I read A Simpler Time and we began looking for Wonderful Words ... i.e. scanning, mesmerized, spying, persistence, picturesque, are just a few. I then challenged them to use two new words in their writing they are currently working on. Most agreed they would try!

The children had time for questions and I gave each of them one of my handmade pocket journals! I will be posting on Teacher's Pay Teacher's soon with some lesson plans for A Simpler Time! So you can see how to make and use a pocket journal!

Some students also wanted my autograph, and we were able to take a few posed pictures!
Thank you very much Mattrail Rogers, Mrs. Wengert, and Ms. Hall for inviting me to your school.  I had a wonderful time and hope to visit your school again!
If you would like me to visit your school for a Writer's Workshop, Literacy Night, or School Carnival please email me at
ALSO ... If you would like the chance to win a PetSmart Gift Card, download a rescue dog lesson plan, and win my TWO Muffin books ... visit Pre-K Pages to enter for a chance to WIN!
GOOD LUCK!!!!!  : )


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