Giving commencement talk
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NEVER GO CAMPING WITH ONE PACK OF HOTDOGS
Sample titles from various talks, workshops, and presentations:
- Poetry: Shifting with the Digital Habit
- Promoting Literacy: It's Everybody's Job
- The Power of Poetry: Research Based Practices for the Classroom
- Poetry for All Ages
- 23 Ways to Get Started Writing
- Ah, the Glamour of Book Signings!
- Memory-Based Writing: A Poet Shows How
- How to Get Ideas
- Writing About Nature, Science, and the Environment
- Talking to Boys and Girls; Messages that Reach and Nurture
- Developing Young Writers: What We Can Do
- Helping Kids Write Better Poetry
- Using Poetry in Content Areas
- Writing Nonfiction Poetry
- Read to Write and Write to Read
- Poetic Food for Thought
- Stories Behind the Stories
- Become a Model
- Connecting Science and Social Studies through Prose and Poetry
- A Writer's Voice
- Finding Ideas in All the Right Places
- Ten Ways to Help Students Write Better Poetry
- The Cat Has a Cell Phone
- Ten Important Secrets About Writing
- The Art of Creating Literature for Young People
- The World of the Writer
- How to Get Hundreds of Ideas to Write About in Less Than an Hour
- Connecting the Dots
- Writing Begins with Curiosity
- Never Go Camping with One Pack of Hotdogs
- What I've Learned So Far
- Partner Poems to Develop Reading Fluency
- Developing Phonemic Awareness with Poetry
- The Relationship Between Authors and Young Readers
- A Small Miracle Happens When a Child Loves a Book
Over the past forty years I've given a lot of presentations, keynote talks, banquet speeches, university commencement addresses, and professional development workshops. I always tailor what I say to the theme or need of the particular event. I'm a humorous speaker and can talk about the natural connection between young readers and their authors.
Because I write in three genres for children and also author and co-author teaching strategy books, my
I tailor my school presentations to what is going on in the classroom. I ask teachers to give me suggestions on how I can reinforce their current focus while bringing my own insights based on personal experience as a writer. Although I'm comfortable with students from kindergarten through high school I work with primary grades more than any other.
I think it's important for an author to share how real writing happens. Writing can be fun but it's also a messy process and young writers (and their teachers) need to understand that before they become frustrated with their own early efforts. I tell students how many drafts it takes a professional writer to polish his/her work. I assure them that I don't expect them to go through that many drafts but it's helpful to know that the more they revise, the better their writing becomes. Anyone can create a sloppy copy. Real writing begins after that, it's called rewriting.
I read from my work, frequently choosing humorous poems. I explain how various books originated, discuss numerous ways that students can discover their own writing ideas, and I answer tons of questions.
I believe it's our job to keep early writing efforts as much fun as possible. Students who begin writing because they enjoy it are more likely to remain writers through the upper grades and beyond.