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Exactly what to expect when we visit:

Note: Session content will vary depending on audience age and attention span and time.

We arrive 20 - 30 minutes early unless you need us earlier. 
Charlie (my writer-husband-assistant) sets up our equipment. 
We bring a document camera and projector and a suitcase full of props.

We need you to supply:
+  teachers in attendance  - they serve as our story editors
+  electrical outlet
+  paper and pencils for your kids
+  large screen (or blank white wall) to project onto
+  table (4 foot to 6 foot long is ideal, standard height). I'll put props on it and also sit at it and draw at the table.
+  1 chair
+  lunch if we're at your school during lunch time, other meals if we're there overnight.
+  microphone
+  an audience -- best audience size: 1 to 200 students. (please seat talkative kids near kind, attentive teachers)

I'm happy to incorporate your school's special rules or ideas or themes; just email Charlie your list.
We want each presentation to be useful.

Please have students come into the room with pencil and paper in hand; we will start drawing immediately.
This is an interactive workshop from the minute they walk in the door; handing out supplies after we start wastes time.

The school keeps all of my sketches generated during the presentations (usually 10 - 20 pages per group).
Some schools make copies for the teachers. You may use them however you like except for resale.

My hourlong presentation:

Part 1: Drawing Ellie McDoodle Words -- Audience doodles with me.
Doodle to enhance writing creativity*, unstick after writer's block, or, for older kids, remember accurate spelling.
*Art literacy studies show that when people first create art and then write, their writing is richer.

Part 2: The value of journals -- Audience views a few pages from my high school sketchbook (given to me by my
art teacher!) and a few of my current journals. This demonstrates the variety of notes/art kept in my journals, first
drafts of new books -- and how they develop into whole stories, including the revisions process and art ideas. 
Many of my journals are homemade; students see how easy it is to make and keep their own journals.

Part 3: Character building -- Audience brainstorms what makes a good character out of a drawing we make together.
At this point the presentation becomes mostly a collaborative effort with Charlie and the audience and me.

Part 4: Story Creation workshop -- Audience brainstorms a story arc, setting, and tension. We create the beginning
of a story on the spot with super-quick illustrations of scene, setting, and characters, emphasizing big emotion.

Each session is tailored to the age of the kids attending, usually ages 3 - 14.

We're always recrafting and tweaking our presentation to make it the best it can be for the next audience.

 

Thank you for considering bringing me to your school.
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