Come along on the adventure of where book ideas come from, the writing and editing process, manuscript submission, acceptance, and finally the long-awaited publication date. Donna McDine shares her experiences of the roller coaster ride of writing children’s books.
Workshop 1:The Golden Pathway, Powder Monkey, or Hockey Agony Educator Guides
The Golden Pathway, Powder Monkey, or Hockey Agony Educator Guides are comprehensive across the curriculum based teaching tools for English, Social Studies, Math, Science, and Art teachers, as well as Homeschooling families. Teacher’s can select one activity from the guide to engage the students with during the author visit.
The workshop will begin with showing of either The Golden Pathway, Powder Monkey, or Hockey Agony book trailer to the students. Upon conclusion, a description of the activity (selected by the teacher prior to the author visit) will be introduced to the students and then the activity will begin.
Educator Guides available upon request.
Workshop 2: Meet the author, journal writing, and Q&A
The session begins with a brief introduction and showing of either The Golden Pathway, Powder Monkey, Hockey Agony, A Sandy Grave, Dee and Deb Off They Go ~ Kindergarten First Day Jitters or Angel’s Forever Home book trailer followed by reading an excerpt and discussion as to what the students know about the particular theme of the chosen book.
Donna will then share with the students how journal writing affects her writing and how it correlates to developing story ideas. Donna will then present each student with a pocket journal and pen and will ask them to write about how they enjoy spending their weekends. After about 10 minutes students will be asked to share their journal entry with the class if they so wish.
Workshop 3: What Happens Next or Non-fiction Graphic Organizer
Your session will include the reading of the short story or non-fiction article aloud to the students followed with a short discussion and Q&A on the reading and interactive breakout sessions.
At the conclusion of the reading, the students will participate in a group breakout session to brainstorm and develop a new ending or what happens next in the short story.
If the reading includes a non-fiction article the students will also participate in a group breakout session to develop a graphic organizer and illustration of the topic discussed.
All workshops are scheduled around a standard classroom timeframe of approximately 40-45 minutes.
A personalized Certificate of Participation will be presented to each student and special handouts curtailed around the workshop will also be distributed to the students.
The Nanuet Elementary PTA hosted me as their keynote speaker for their PARP Night. I presented “How a Book Comes to Be” to the students and their caregivers at this exciting interactive evening.
Everyone was so welcoming and the students engaged in a lively discussion about their own writing experiences.
Thank you to Dana Ramirez and Lee Ann Devine for extending the invitation!
Exhilarating experience at Bardonia Elementary School! From the moment I stepped through the doors at the school I was welcomed with open arms. The administrative staff, teachers, and students made it for a most pleasant week of author workshops. Each workshop was curtailed to the specific grade level to ensure the best level of interest and participation. A sample of each workshop:
Workshop – K-1: Meet the author, where story ideas come from, and Q&A -The session began with a brief introduction and showing of The Golden Pathway book trailer followed by reading The Golden Pathway with studentparticipation of holding up poster sized illustrations correlating to each page. The youngsters enjoyed taking part in displaying the illustrations and the chat after reading the book was indeed a lively discussion. The students asked intriguing questions and I in turn engaged the students in asking them questions about their lives.
Workshop – Grade 2: Meet the Author, Language Arts, and Q&A - The session began with a brief introduction and showing of The Golden Pathway book trailer followed by reading The Golden Pathway with student participation of holding up poster sized illustrations correlating to each page. We continued with a discussion on the different code words utilized to run the Underground Railroad and why the code words were necessary. The second graders concluded the session with the Underground Railroad Word Search puzzle and questions.
Workshop – Grade 3: Meet the Author, What Happens Next, and Q&A -The session began with a brief introduction, showing of The Golden Pathway book trailer, and the students took turns reading The Golden Pathway. The students then participated in group breakout sessions to brainstorm and develop a new ending or what happens next in The Golden Pathway. After about 10 minutes each group shared their “new ending” or “what happened next” with the class.
The students from kindergarten through third grade received a certificate of participation and The Golden Pathway bookmark.
WORKSHOP – Grade 4 & 5: Meet the Author, Journal Writing, and Q&A -The session began with a brief introduction and showing of The Golden Pathway book trailer followed by reading an excerpt and discussion as to what the students know about the Underground Railroad. Each student was then presented with a pocket journal and pen and was asked to write a journal entry from the point of view of a runaway slave. Such as:
· Why did slaves run away?
· How hard was the escape?
· What dangers did the slaves face?
· Where do they hope to go?
The students then shared their journal entry with the class. The students will keep their new pocket journals and pens. Each journal entry was astounding.
The week flew by! The schedule worked seamlessly and the interaction and engagement from the youngest students through the 5th grade provided me with wonderful insights to the creative minds of our young muses.
My school visit to St. Dominic's was a terrific learning experience! A visit I would enjoy conducting over and over again. St. Dominic's is an alternative school for children with special needs and the enthusiasm from the students for my visit was overwhelming and heart touching.
We started off our two hour visit with the classroom teacher, Ms. Jacqui introducing me to her students, I then in turn asked each of them to introduce themselves. With introductions complete, I discovered much to my delight, Ms. Jacqui and the students prepared themselves for my visit beforehand by writing questions on index cards they wanted to ask. Focused and on task, the ease of conversation was exhilarating and we moved on to watching the book trailer of The Golden Pathway and reading an excerpt.
I then shared my experiences of journal writing and discovered several of them enjoy writing. This was the perfect opportunity to give them each a pocket journal and pen and asked them to write about how they enjoy spending their weekends. After about 15 minutes they each shared their journal entry with the class. I then encouraged the students to continue with their journal writing for enjoyment and before I knew it, it was time to say thank you and good-bye. Encouraging them to stay in touch through Ms. Jacqui.
The feedback that very afternoon from Ms. Jacqui via email set the tone for a wonderful weekend:
"The kids absolutely loved having you come in and talk to them! Your book is amazing and since we have recently learned about the Underground Railroad the students were able to connect with your book easily. They also LOVED the journals and your ideas/inspiration for writing in them! Carol and Peter spent computer class doing just that! They are all bright kids and your talent of coaxing them out of their shells was effortless. They really enjoyed meeting you and the time you took to get to know them a bit over the course of your visit. Thank you." Ms. Jacqui, St. Dominic's
A wonderful exciting and affirming time as to why I write for children!
Visit at the Tappan Library, Tappan, NY recap.
On Monday, January 17, 2011 I visited the Tappan Library, Tappan, NY in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day when I presented my children's book The Golden Pathway.
Prior to showing the children and parents The Golden Pathway book trailer we chatted about what they knew about the Underground Railroad and provided them an opportunity to ask questions after reading them an excerpt of the book.
It was quite the lively conversation with a few of the older children expressing that they would do whatever it would take to help slaves reach freedom if they lived then.
Several more expressed interest in writing their own stories and I took this opportunity to talk to them about the Guardian Angel Kids Ezine http://www.guardian-angel-kids.com and their chance to submit their stories for publication consideration. The parents happily provided their email addresses to receive the submission guidelines. To see the excitement from the children with not only reading, but with writing too is an experience every children's author is thrilled to experience. I know I was!
I would also like to share with you the heartfelt feedback from several of the parents via email:
"Donna is adept at relating well to young children. Her book deals with an important subject and a difficult time in our history with grace and simplicity for young minds. The story comes alive through the characters' feelings so that all children can understand the courage and sacrifice by both David and Jenkins. The book would be a great tool for learning in schools." ~ S. Cama
"We were happy to attend your presentation on The Golden Pathway and thought you did an EXCELLENT job!! Brady had so many questions at the dinner table about the Underground Railroad, which made for very stimulating conversation!! Also, he was looking at the pictures in your book all evening long and is very excited for me to read it to him!! Congratulations!" ~ Amy Clarke, M.Ed., LiveFree Coaching and Personal Fulfillment Coach
"Donna's beautifully designed title about the underground railroad or 'the golden pathway' illustrates clearly for young readers the history of the deep-rooted racial divide in our nation. It helps our children grasp the significance of more modern tragedies like the assassination of Martin Luther King and serves as an outstanding complement to standard 2-6 grade course material about slavery, emancipation, and the perennial kindness across the color line. Donna's presentation at the Tappan Library needs to be replicated across schools and libraries. It speaks to listeners as young as Kindergarten and teaches children more than 'just a story' about the freeing of a slave - it teaches children about the importance and power of empathy that sprouts in childhood and grows with the person through adulthood." ~ Jill Gross, Librarian, Tappan Library (Tappan, NY)
4th Grade Class participated in the Kids Book Reviews - Musing Our Children reading and writing activity during the 4th quarter of the 2007-08 school year.
The students read the book Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynold Naylor.
Upon completion and submission of their book reviews, I made a class visit to the students and presented them with a booklet of their book reviews and a certificate of participation.
The students were especially thrilled to learn their class will have a designated page on the Musing Our Children website and that their reviews will be published for the world to see.
SCHOOL VISIT TO HAVERSTRAW MIDDLE SCHOOL, HAVERSTRAW, NY
In conjunction with Musing Our Children (http://musingourchildren.tripod.com), I conducted my first ever school visit to Haverstraw Middle School on November 19, 2007. I met with two sixth grade classes. The first was with an ELA (English Language Arts) class. After a brief introduction by teacher, Mrs. Debra Brennan, I immediately drew the students in with tidbits of my youth and briefly explained to the students about my background.
A fictional short story was read out loud to the students. They were then broken into groups of four to brainstorm and develop a 3-4 sentence paragraph regarding the last sentence of the story: “Hey, wait up. Let me tell you how I scared the last new kid. You’ll laugh your head off.”
It was also shared with them that their brainstorms and paragraphs do not need to be perfect. The concept of the activity was to have fun and to get their creativity going.
The second group was a Science class. Again a brief introduction was conducted by the teacher and myself.
Before beginning to read the non-fiction article on jellyfish, I engaged the students in conversation about different species of the ocean. The article was read out loud to the students and then were broke up into groups of four to develop a graphic organizer of eight characteristics of jellyfish.
Even though this age group is use to working independently the teacher and I walked around to the groups to check on their progress and to see if they needed guidance. Both classes jumped right into their tasks without hesitation and produced fine results.
The enthusiasm, creativity, and group work of the students was quite the rewarding experience!