Friday, July 04, 2008
The Three Robbers Celebration--The Hannah and Brandon School Presentation
I've discussed in a couple of my Three Robbers blog tour interviews that I became interested in writing a book for younger readers after talking with teachers at elementary schools where I was doing presentations for middle grade students. Then at The Miss Rumphius Effect I talk a little more about my school visits. So I thought that today I'd say a few words about the presentation I developed for first through third graders around A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat, the first in The Hannah and Brandon Stories.
Teachers suggested that I speak to the littlies about things like characters, plot, setting--what sounded like the elements of fiction to me. So I thought I could try introducing kids to those terms, or, in the case of students who already knew them, reinforce their meaning/significance. But how? I use storytelling in my talk for older kids, which is about writers using their experience in their work. I hardly wanted to stand up in front of younger children and do a literature lecture.
Preparing a presentation was a struggle for me, until I came up with a couple of metaphors. Oh, how I love metaphors--the meaningful kind that explain life. Surely you all have some of those? Mine for this presentation are:
1. Writers are scientists who make changes in their characters, plot, and setting every time they create a new experiment/draft.
2. A story is a jigsaw puzzle, and the characters, plot, and setting are the pieces that a scientist/writer moves around while experimenting, until all the pieces come together into a story.
After that, things fell into place for me. Sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, in fact. My computer guy loved the metaphors and made me a set of terrific slides.