Welcome teachers, librarians, homeschoolers and nonfiction writers! This blog offers innovative resources for teaching science and tips for writing nonfiction.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
The Secret of a Great Author Visit
What’s the secret of a great author visit?
Of course, I need to be prepared. But so does
the school community.
If students have read my books and are looking
forward to meeting me, the day always goes better. The best visits of all
happen when students have done meaningful projects related to the books and
ideas I’ll be discussing.
Here are some great examples of project-based
learning that students did in the days and weeks leading up to my visit at
Pownal Elementary School in Pownal, Maine.
One classroom read Under the Snow and then created four lovely murals that show how animals discussed in the book survive in their winter environments. Fantastic!
In another classroom, students were learning to
identify the main idea and supporting details in a text. After students spotted
the main idea of Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes,
and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs, their teacher wrote it on a piece
of paper and hung it on the wall. Then students used words and pictures to
highlight supporting details.
After reading No Monkeys, No Chocolate, Grade 3 students suggested creating a
bulletin board showing plant and animal relationships in the cocoa tree’s rain
I especially love this detail, which comes
equipped with a magnifying glass (on the far right). What a great idea!
Students in grade 5 practiced the readers
theater script I wrote to accompany No
Monkeys, No Chocolate and performed it for me just before I presented to
them. They did an amazing job!
Thanks to these projects, students had some skin
in the game. They had a deep understanding of the books before I even walked in
the door. And not surprisingly, the day was a tremendous success.
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 nonfiction books for children. Her lifelong fascination with the natural world led her to earn a B.S.
in biology and M.A. in science journalism. When Melissa isn’t writing or speaking to children or educators, she’s usually exploring natural places near her home or around the world. Website: www.melissa-stewart.com; Twitter: @mstewartscience
• AAAS/Subaru Prizes for Excellence in Science Books • ALA Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award • CRA Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award • Cook Prize for STEM Picture Book • Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List • Cybils Nonfiction Awards • NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People • NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children • NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfictionfor Young Adults