Classroom visits

I’m happy to visit classrooms, scouting troops and other organizations to talk about writing, character, setting and details. Contact me at madelynruth (at) gmail (dot) com for more information.

Some themes of my writing workshops have included:

Writing is a schmutzy business: For younger kids, ages 4 and 5, we talk about The Schmutzy Family, where the idea came from, and how to share stories about their own schmutzy experiences.

Promises, promises; For younger kids, ages 4 and 5. We talk about Happy Birthday, Tree, and the sorts of things we’d like to do to help the world, not just at Tu B’Shevat, but year round.

Make your own monster: Building a Character

Elementary School: We’ll talk about character, and how well we have to know people (or monsters) before we write about them. Students will imagine their own monsters and figure out what really makes them tick. Younger kids can draw pictures of their monster, and share their monster’s adventures. Older kids can work on written stories.

Make your own monster: Taking the Plot over the Top

This one is where I talk about what has historically been my own weakness in story writing and how I learned to bring things up to the next level.  We will talk about plot, escalation and tension. Then we’ll take a normal situation and talk about how to make things go Over the Top for a more exciting story. We’ll write one together as a class.

Researching Historical Fiction: Where do you start? Where does it end?

My life in books: from reading them to writing them.

For more on classroom visits, visit my page at the D.C. Children’s Book Guild.

Some things to think about when you’re planning a school visit, either virtual or in person:

What month were you hoping to have your school visit? Please list several dates and times when contacting me.

How many students would be attending this event?

Which of my books have your students read?

Do you live in a state where coal mining is an important part of the economy?

Did you have discussion points in mind, such as how to research historical fiction or how to build a character?

Before the visit, please …

-Read one or more of my books to your students. A visit is much more meaningful if the students have heard the work of the person giving the presentation.

-Have the students think of questions they would like to ask – either about my books or about the writing process or about being an author. Have them write the questions down so they don’t forget!

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