Thursday, March 15, 2012

Slice of Life 15 - Author Visit

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are challenging ourself to write a Slice A Day. Here we go!

I went to school for the morning only – I am still sick and do plan on resting but couldn’t miss the author visit we had planned. Luckily my student teacher is in take over so I could minimize my contact with students. That being said, it was an amazing experience.

I should start with how this event even transpired but I already wrote about it on a previous post here. To summarize, my friend Donalyn recommended The Sixty-Eight Rooms to me at NCTE. I loved it and was surprised to find that the author, Marianne Malone, lives 30 minutes away. I emailed her and asked if she could come. When she found that it was just for my classroom and not the entire school she waived her fee. Trying to brainstorm how my students could obtain copies of the sequel to The Sixty-Eight Rooms, which is called Stealing Magic, Marianne mentioned she knew teachers had success with Donor’s Choose. My project was funded in one day. (YAY!) Finally, at a loss in regard to preparation for an author visit I turned to my friend John who gave me wonderful advice.
Marianne was due to visit our class from 10:30-11 today. In preparation we had read The Sixty-Eight Rooms as our class read aloud. We also read her bio on her website and learned as much as we could about her. The kids made some welcome posters that lined the hall to our room. And this morning we brainstormed some questions they wanted to ask her and I wrote the questions down on index cards for them. Then, we went on with our day. (They went to math and Social Studies – my student teacher taught two classes of reading.)
Marianne came right on time and I hustled to meet her at the office. Coming back to the room I could tell the kids were vibrating with excitement. Her “biggest fan”, Sophie, introduced Marianne to the class and she began talking to them about her writing, pets, her family, and more. The kids were sad to learn that the dog on her website, Leo, has passed away. They were curious if she would get another dog and would it be a German Shepherd too? The girls were envious of her beautiful necklace that was made especially for her and looks like the key from the books. (They want a jewelry line for the book.) Marianne talked to them about the future plans for Jack and Ruthie and where she gets her own ideas for her books. Finally, another student, Cansas, gave our closing statement and we moved on to book signings and snacks.
The kids were so excited to get the chance to talk to Marianne one on one and she couldn’t have been nicer. Many of them got their cell phones out of their backpacks so I could take a picture of them with her when they got to the front of the line. One boy told me it was the first time he had met “a real live author in the flesh.” Loved that. They were so excited to have their books signed to them from Marianne that I know many of these will become treasured items for them to keep.
Thanks to Marianne Malone and Donor’s Choose for making this a day my students will always remember.