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Alpha Echo
01-08-2015, 05:14 PM
I'm friends with my 5th grade teacher on Facebook. He is one of my favorite teachers, always pushing us to go beyond what we thought we could do. He had us doing 7th grade algebra by Christmas.

I have so many great memories of his class - Four Square tournaments, Mancala tournaments, we did a Stock Exchange Project, created our own board games - then played them all...

Okay. Enough Memory Lane.

He left a comment on one of my pictures yesterday. "Why don't you come talk to my 5th graders about being an author?"

My response: "Oh, you can't be serious. I'm just self-published. No one reads my stuff except friends and family. I haven't even written anything in months!"

Then his response: "The theme could be "passion" for writing or never giving up on a dream, or how you go through the process of starting a writing????? endless possibilities - 5th graders will think you're awesome as I have a very, very intelligent group who love to write"

I am...thrilled and flattered and floored, even though my first response was to laugh. Out loud. Literally.

I told him I would think about it. One person has already commented on the thread saying I should do it.

Part of me thinks I should. I mean...why not? But the other part of me thinks it's ridiculous. For the most part, I don't consider myself a real author. I love writing. I do have a passion for it. But I have a couple self-pubbed books only a few even care about.

Regardless, he has inadvertently reignited my motivation to write. I can't wait for the work week to be over so I can get back to it!

But...what are your thoughts? Advice? Should I do this? If so...what the heck do I say?

(I admit I fell asleep thinking about it. "How many of you have a dream?")

stormie
01-08-2015, 06:14 PM
I say go for it. You are a writer. Your former teacher sees something in you that makes him want you to speak to his class. Just make sure he stays with the class during your presentation, engage the students (they can build sentences to make them show the action, not tell, talk about hooking the reader within the first paragraph or page, show them your work and how you revise, have them ask you questions about the writing life).

Also, talk to the teacher a few times beforehand to get his input on what you plan to do, and he can also help you on what they might be interested in.

Maggie Maxwell
01-08-2015, 06:18 PM
Do it! What a wonderful opportunity to give back to what sounds like an amazing teacher. You could be the person to inspire one or more of his students to follow their dream of being a writer. I know I would have loved a speaker like you when I was that age (especially considering the crapfest that was my 5th grade experience.)

Talk about the different ways to get published today, about doing what you love and making it work for you, how to get started on a story and the steps to finishing it. Tell them about NaNoWriMo and the Young Writer Program and encourage them to try Camp NaNo as a class in April. Bring a fun prompt and have them write for a few minutes. Heck, you could probably fill up time with just a Q&A. There are so many options for great discussion topics.

KMTolan
01-08-2015, 06:33 PM
You're a writer. That's what's wanted. Proceed at speed.

Kerry

Alpha Echo
01-08-2015, 06:35 PM
Wow...thank you guys. I was so...surprised, I guess, that I couldn't even begin to think about what I could do with them! So thank you both for jogging my brain a little bit.

I guess I have some planning to do. I will definitely talk with him several times, as stormie suggested. He knows his students and would be able to tell me whether or not something would interest them.

Prompts...I like that idea. Prompts after maybe we talk about hooks and show vs. tell. I like that. I am sure teachers talked a bit about hooks while I was in school, but I'd never heard of the whole show/tell concept until I got serious about my writing as a young adult and read some books on the subject and came here to AW.

And definitely, bringing up NaNo and the Young Writer Program...great ideas!

I knew coming here would help me get started! Thanks guys!

Alpha Echo
01-08-2015, 06:39 PM
Wow. I just took a brief glance at the NaNo YWP website, and there is ton of helpful information there. Prompts, lesson plans, etc.

ULTRAGOTHA
01-08-2015, 06:52 PM
Talk to them about making it better. That the first draft isn't perfect and that's JUST FINE. Editing and re-writing are part of the process.

I did some of that with 3rd graders when I was student teaching. Write the story. I did some editing. Re-write the story. Re-write it again to get a clean copy, then we bound the stories into little booklets and did cover art.

I think it's inmportant for aspiring writers to know that IT'S OK for the first draft to not be perfect. It's not MEANT to be perfect. It gets better with editing and re-writing.

Once!
01-08-2015, 07:02 PM
Yes, yes, yes. A great opportunity for you and a treat for them.

kurt behm
01-08-2015, 07:31 PM
this teacher obviously had a big effect on you and now you have a chance to 'pay it back.'

I would much rather do this than speak to some upper middle class book club with too much time on their hands.

Developing minds

I'm sure you have a lot to offer them.

Kurt

Tazlima
01-08-2015, 07:45 PM
It sounds like fun! You might also consider taking something to read aloud (it could be your own work or just something that you find inspiring). When I was in fifth grade my mother came into class and read "The Cremation of Sam McGee." I thought reading poetry to my class would be a disaster (nobody would ever have described that bunch as "a very, very intelligent group who love to write"). Instead, not only did the entire class love it, but the memory became a bright spot in an otherwise miserable year.

I was particularly amazed by one student. Not two weeks before, this kid had attacked me without provocation. He shoved me against the wall and punched me repeatedly in the head (which hurts a lot more when bricks keep your head from bouncing backwards to absorb the blows). He constantly interrupted in class, was failing all his subjects, and I wasn't the only person he had attacked that year. Heck he took swings at the teacher on more than one occasion. Looking back, I shudder to think of the miserable home life that could produce such an angry and unhappy child, but at the time I only saw him as a threat.

This guy, the biggest troublemaker in the school, was enthralled. He actually sat quietly and listened. I think he even asked a question.

I can't say that he turned his life around. He was still unruly and unpleasant, but it was a good moment. You never know whose life you'll touch with this kind of thing. Maybe someday one of these kids will look back on your visit and say, "it was a good moment."

Ken
01-09-2015, 01:15 AM
quite an honor, congrats
just relax, sure you'll do fine

ishtar'sgate
01-09-2015, 01:58 AM
Absolutely do it! Kids are a blast to interact with. Whatever you do, don't talk down to them. Kids are smart and will ask great questions. Have fun with it.

Book Chic
01-09-2015, 09:34 AM
Just do it! I got my start as a public speaker for youngins' based off of an article I wrote. A few quick tips.



Be prepared.
Start your talk with a question to engage your audience. Kids can be fidgety, so they'll most likely pay attention when you include them. For example, my book deals with peer pressure. So I simply lead by saying, "By a show of hands, how many of you have had experience with peer pressure?" And then I lead into my personal story and what lead me to write my book.
Be confident. Kids can sense nervousness and there's nothing worse than standing in front of a class watching them talk to friends, stare at the wall, etc. while you pour your heart out. So make sure you command that room!
And finally - be proud that you've been asked to talk to a class. It's one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.

Can't wait to hear how well you did. :)

blacbird
01-09-2015, 09:41 AM
Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be authors.
Don't let 'em read novels and write stuff that sucks,
Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.

(apologies posthumously to Waylon Jennings)

caw

Bolero
01-09-2015, 03:01 PM
Couple of comments

1. I once gave a talk on being an unpublished writer :) . The joys of submissions, the odds etc.....

2. So fifth grade - 10 to 11 year olds? You probably want to plan in five minute blocks approximately to keep them engaged. Talk to the teacher for advice. As in do word association for five minutes and then something else next five minutes....

Go for it. Have fun. Can be nerve racking, but most of them will want to be entertained - so be entertaining. :) You are a storyteller - so go tell stories (as it were).

Alpha Echo
01-09-2015, 10:31 PM
Absolutely do it! Kids are a blast to interact with. Whatever you do, don't talk down to them. Kids are smart and will ask great questions. Have fun with it.

My daughter is actually in 5th grade...and she was funny when I first asked her what she thought I should do. Funny by just saying, "I don't know" and shrugging her shoulders. I guess I'm just "Mom" so it's not a big deal to her that I write. I just do.


Just do it! I got my start as a public speaker for youngins' based off of an article I wrote. A few quick tips.



Be prepared.
Start your talk with a question to engage your audience. Kids can be fidgety, so they'll most likely pay attention when you include them. For example, my book deals with peer pressure. So I simply lead by saying, "By a show of hands, how many of you have had experience with peer pressure?" And then I lead into my personal story and what lead me to write my book.
Be confident. Kids can sense nervousness and there's nothing worse than standing in front of a class watching them talk to friends, stare at the wall, etc. while you pour your heart out. So make sure you command that room!
And finally - be proud that you've been asked to talk to a class. It's one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.

Can't wait to hear how well you did. :)

Excellent advice, thank you! I'll be checking this thread out more and more and rereading all these posts I'm sure.

The confidence will be the hardest part to maintain.


Couple of comments

1. I once gave a talk on being an unpublished writer :) . The joys of submissions, the odds etc.....

2. So fifth grade - 10 to 11 year olds? You probably want to plan in five minute blocks approximately to keep them engaged. Talk to the teacher for advice. As in do word association for five minutes and then something else next five minutes....

Go for it. Have fun. Can be nerve racking, but most of them will want to be entertained - so be entertaining. :) You are a storyteller - so go tell stories (as it were).

1). Thanks for saying that. That makes me feel a little bit better about the whole self-published thing. :)

2) 5 minute blocks...that's a great idea. I know my daughter can't keep focused for long at all.

I emailed my teacher and asked him a few questions, and he responded by asking for my number so we could talk. I think we'll talk this weekend, and I can get more information about what he's looking for, what he's done with the kids so far this year in regards to writing, and...well, reconnect with my 5th grade teacher!

Carrie in PA
01-12-2015, 04:34 AM
How cool is that?! That sounds like so much fun. Enjoy it!