Thanks for your interest in having us visit your school. We want this to be the best learning experience for all involved. So here are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions we receive drawn from our combined 35 years experience working with teachers and students.
How do you like to set up a typical visit?
We like to start with an assembly where we perform our own poetry for the students followed by writing or public speaking workshops. We have different assemblies for different ages – primary – intermediate – middle and high school. The assemblies may be as large as your facilities can accommodate. We understand that sometimes four separate assemblies are impossible – in these instances k-5 and 6-12 is doable, but the more individualized for the grade levels the better the student’s experience. K-12 will not work. We have found that after seeing us in assembly the students are much more eager to participate in the writing workshops and we are able to concentrate on the students work rather than introducing ourselves with every workshop. Assembly length can be from 20 minutes to an hour.
What equipment is needed for the assemblies?
We need a projector and microphones suitable to the space. We project the text of all our poems along with accompanying graphics. This keeps the kids heads up and helps the EAL crew to follow along.
How are your writing workshops structured?
Our Writing Framework clinics are designed to be completed in about 50 minutes. We can squeeze them in at 45, but the more time the better. Our initial goals can be met in the first 45-50 minutes; any extra time allows for revision and a more sophisticated finished product. In a perfect world an hour to an hour and a quarter is great and allows us to have a meaningful writing experience with the kids. Our frameworks can be used across the curriculum and we love to write about whatever you are currently studying.
How many students in a workshop?
Whatever is your normal class size. We have found that doubling or tripling the number of students tends to turn the workshops into an exercise in crowd control. Even with the students on their best behavior, the time needed to transition from one portion of the lesson to another is multiplied. Our workshops are very interactive and high energy. We have also found it is best for us to come to the classroom to lead the workshop – this assures us a full period and access to normal classroom materials such as a white board and a projector. We are here to support your teacher’s classroom goals and invite them to help us achieve this objective by actively participating and providing their expertise in the culture of their classroom. We are modeling the strategies we would present in a PD session, so teachers get the opportunity to see how the lessons perform in the wild. This works best in a classroom environment with normal class sizes. We understand that you want to have as many of your students interact with us. This is why we recommend the assemblies. We cannot do writing workshops for groups of over 30 students. This is one of the reasons we split and lead these workshops separately, in order to have contact with as many students as possible. Please respect this and please do not put us in the position of having to turn students away.
What equipment/supplies are needed for the workshops?
Ideally we need a projector or smart board and a writing surface that can be seen by all participants. Students will need paper and pencils in order to write their version-ones longhand – if we have enough time revisions may be entered and made on their electronic devices – laptops, iPads etc.
How many presentations in a day?
Four. We will each do up to four presentations in a day of up to one and one quarter of an hour long. Presentations done together will count as a presentation each. So, a typical first day might be two assemblies in the morning and then two workshops each in the afternoon for a total of six student sessions. The second day of a visit would not require an assembly since the students will have already been introduced to us and we would be able to do four sessions each for a total of eight sessions. Over one and a quarter hour long we will do three each.
What about Professional Development?
We are happy to provide your staff with professional development based on any of our five professional books. We specialize in writing across the curriculum, vocabulary acquisition, public speaking, and creative writing. PD Sessions can be anywhere from an hour long to a full day.
Thanks, we hope this gets us started on what we are sure is going to be a great visit.