By Kirsti Call
I went to my first school visit armed with an umbrella, rain boots, a Google presentation, a box full of interesting objects, signed copies of my book and my own apprehensions.
Would the kids listen? Was I dynamic enough to keep their attention? Would the kids respond to my silly jokes and the questions I asked them? Would I run out of things to say? Did I have too much prepared? Would the teachers and principal feel I was wasting their valuable teaching time, not to mention the money they paid me for the visit?
I went to the school a day early to make sure the technology was working. The next day, I arrived an hour early to set up for my presentation and the technology wasn’t working. After trying to make it work for over an hour, I told the principal to call the kids in. “I can do it without my visuals”, I assured him. I got one last spark of inspiration, ran to the office, downloaded once last time, and as the kids were filing in, I got the Google presentation working! I wiped my brow and began with a shaky smile. Was I ready?
300 kindergarten, first and second graders looked at me expectantly. “ When I was your age”, I began…. We sang an onomatopoeic song, created a word storm, read first lines of perfect picture books. They asked me questions about my book.
How can a raindrop think? How many stories have you written? How long did it take for your book to get published?
My second session with 250 third, fourth and fifth graders was easier. I was in the flow. We sang my onomatopoeic song again (without embarrassing my fifth grade daughter!), created our own story from a box, and I showed them all the red my editor sent me when we were revising The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall. More questions about stories and raindrop’s brains…and I was done!
Here are some of my reviews:
“Last week all students enjoyed a wonderful presentation from Kirsti Call, with a published children’s book titled The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall. Her interactive presentation encouraged the children to be innovative when in the writing process. The theme of the book fit nicely with our curriculum… to remain positive and persistent when working towards achieving personal goals.”
Dr. Mal Forsman, Principal of Bancroft Elementary School
“That was the best assembly I’ve ever been to!”
2nd grade student
“I loved the book and the song. I can’t stop singing ‘what does the rain say?'”
2nd grade student
“The presentation was really fun because we got to interact with Mrs. Call and participate- not just sit there and listen.”
Fifth grade student
“The author visit was very engaging and the kids enjoyed it!”
Corie Little, Fifth grade teacher
It really doesn’t get any better than that!