I visited my local first grade class for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I was nervous and worried. I (over)planned it all out. The teacher wanted me to talk about myself--what I do, my books--and how to write a story.
I think it was the having to talk about myself that really made me uneasy. That and getting up infront of people, even though they're small. But I made myself do it. If I can't start with my own kid's class where can I?
So, I talked to them about being a writer. I talked about illustrators. I showed them some books I loved when I was a kid(they really liked that). Read the first chapter of my book. Did a question and answer session. Then I showed them the cover for Bedtime Monster since that's all I have, and we wrote a story There's a monster who lives under my bed ... together. I figured since I was controlling the story I wouldn't let it go in a scary direction. And it was pretty good although it was hard to try to include everyone and use a little bit of each kid's ideas(didn't want anyone to feel left out).
It went okay. I mean, the teacher told them that I'm famous and they all wanted my autograph, except for my son who rolled his eyes. Now the kids are making their parents look up my website and they all know about me. Sheesh. So much for being the anonymous mountain weirdo. But the kids seemed to like it.(A couple of them hug me every morning now.) And the teacher said it was great, but she's very nice so I wouldn't expect anything less. I hope I did all right.
I went in again today. It was much easier since I didn't have to talk about myself or my books. I read Laura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster to open up some ideas. Then the kids wrote their own stories starting with Today I went to the pet store and picked out a monster ... It was fun to see them come up with their own stories. Writing down their own ideas; and there were some great ones! Creative! Funny! They seemed to enjoy it for the most part. There was laughing and smiling going on. There was one little boy who was having a particularly hard time with the writing, but his picture was excellent. He has told his teacher that he wants to be an illustrator when he grows up. Pretty cool.
Now the fourth grade teacher wants to know why I've been visiting the first graders and still haven't come to his class. Oh the price of fame. *sob