Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Help Wanted!

So...I'm getting down to writing my speech for the presentation at the high school where I used to work at. It's tomorrow. (SIDE NOTE: if you're in the Shelby/Cleveland County NC area, come to Burns High tomorrow for a public signing from 3:30-5:30!)

Here's the thing: I've been thinking about this speech NON-STOP for about a week now...but now that I'm actually writing it....I'm coming up short.

What are some of the best classroom presentations by teachers you've seen? What would you like to see? Any help or advice is greatly appreciated! I'm starting to panic a bit here....

34 comments:

ali said...

Sadly, I don't think I've ever seen one! Or none that made a lasting impression. But I'm sure you'll do wonderfully Beth.

Deep breaths ...

kimscarecrow said...

I don't think I've ever seen one either. :/
Sorry I can't help you, but you'll be great. :)

Zoƫ Marriott said...

Have they given you any sort of criteria? Would they like you to emphasize the importance of literacy, or encourage the kids to write, or is it supposed to be more about you and your path?

The most inspiring speeches I've heard usually started out by asking the readers to make a leap of faith (maybe by reading a piece of poetry or by telling the kids to believe that each of them had the potential to be a star or a bestseller) and then circled around to make the same point again from the other side at the end. The leap you need to start with and the point you finish with will depend on what the school, or you, want the kids to take away from the talk.

Probably not as helpful as you were hoping. Sorry. I usually find Yeats a very good inspirational poet to read from, though.

aurora M. said...

OK, first I would recommend taking a deep breath. Standing at a podium and reading a prepared "speech" is not something that anyone wants to hear....Just be yourself! Write down a few key points on 3x5's and then wing it! I really mean it. Sitting on the edge of the table and admitting that this is something that makes you nervous and then take it from there. I am being truly serious. No one wants anything profound....need an example for how to speak to a crowd check out some of Maggie Stefivaters stuff. Now she is good and trust me she wings it! Everyone there loves your work and is excited to see and hear anything you have to say. Develop a personal connection, make everyone feel that you are just as excited to speak to them. You WILL do great!

nomadshan said...

I've seen YA authors use PowerPoint. The most effective slides were fun ones - goofy photos of them and/or their dog. :)

A picture book author sheepishly displayed a looooong printout of his 6,500-word 1st draft. Besides making us laugh, it drove home something I'd read: that kids like to hear about your path to publication.

Goofy photos of you and your former colleagues @ the school would probably go over well (w/ the kids, anyway). :)

Anonymous said...

Everybody loves stories, and you get paid to tell stories. So tell them the story of how you became a professional writer. I always enjoy people's stories way more than lectures.

Hope that helps!

Kat said...

You used to work at BURNS high school, Beth?? I had no idea. I've been to there several times for cross-country meets and I go to East Lincoln High (probably you know where that is?) I'd love to go to the signing, if I can convince somebody to drive me over that way.

As for the speech presentation, I second what Zoe said and add that the best speeches I've heard guest speakers make at schools are usually inspirational, but light-hearted in tone. Wish I was better help, and hope I'll see you at the signing! :)

Izzy Trampson said...

Any speech that has ever gained my respect or interest for that matter, made me feel like I had a reason to perk up. What I mean is, is that the speaker related themselves and there speech to me. Every kid in that room has a common interest or common want. Like for instance everyone wants to succeed at what they want. No matter if its writing or singing, or becoming a computer engineer! Try to relate to them. I know that when i was in high school everyone kept telling me I was to young and one day I would think like them yet they wanted me to make life altering decisions like school and career choice. And everyone asked me what my interest were but no one really asked me what I wanted to do just what they thought I would be good at in life. Ok maybe a bit of rambling but hopefully that helps.

Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

Visual aids are always a plus. They keep the presentation/speech more engaging than just some person talking. If you can use a powerpoint presentation, it would help to include funny but relevant pictures to enhance your speech!

A.J. said...

I use to live in Shelby. :o Like 10 yrs ago.

Good luck with your presentation! What I like to see are visuals. Not necessarily PowerPoint. Could even just be a poster. Something with some words and pictures. Or maybe a little display with your book.

Mflick1 said...

My students always like the presenters that interact with them. They like to feel apart of the presentation to some degree... asking questions, chance for prizes, things like that...
HUMOR!!!! its always a key part!
GOOD LUCK!

Donea Lee said...

I second visual aids - power points, slide shows, anything visual at all is great for kids. I went to one of Shannon Hale's book launches a while back and she showed pics of her "stalking" other authors (she knew them all, of course) and it was hilarious! Best of luck to you - I'm sure you'll do great!

Becky Levine said...

If my son's reaction this morning is any indicator, and you want to get the "boy vote," wave the inside of the cover around a lot!

How did you keep the kids' hooked when you were teaching? Honestly, I think comedy & animation (YOUR level of animation, not a computer's!) have been in the best ones I've seen. And stories? Just about yourself--funny ones about what's happened to you through the writing process? You know, basically, channel Eoin Colfer!

LOVING THE BOOK, BTW!

Carrie said...

Be honest about your doubts and failures. You are going to seem like an amazing-out-of-reach-honest-to-God-I-COULD-NEVER-DO-THAT famous author to them. Tell them exactly how hard it was to get there and give them the hope that they can achieve their dreams as well if they are dedicated and work. Don't skate over the bad times! They have their own bad times and need to hear that bestselling authors have them too :)

Plus, funny pictures and youtube vids are always welcome!

Ann Eisenstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Eisenstein said...

Do you have a model of GODSPEED? That would be an awesome visual! I found that I was constantly looking at the wonderful drawing of the ship while I read the book!
That kind of A-V along with some great stories of the life you have had that inspired such a wild ride would be memorable for me!

KLo said...

Prezi ... it's like PowerPoint but far cooler. A lot of eyes glaze over at "not ANOTHER PowerPoint", but Prezi has some incredibly cool features. It's a great way to emphasize a speech (and you'll really wow this technological generation ;))

http://prezi.com/

Oh, and be WICKED funny :-)

Corinne O'Flynn said...

As a kid I remember meeting authors and thinking - wow, they are just regular people. I also like the idea of telling your story about the path to publication... warts and all. I think kids need to know that nobody is perfect and to be inspired and encouraged to write if they have that in them. Not to be stifled by insecurity or fear. Good Luck!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Talk from your heart. Laugh at yourself. Don't worry about being perfect. Ask for questions early on.(That way the audience is involved and you're talking about stuff that at least a few people wanted to know more about.)

So exciting! Good luck. :)

Beth S. said...

If you go up there with excitement and enthusiasm for reading and writing, that's what they'll remember more than the words you said.

I would also try to show them the association between learning and failure. A lot of writers tell kids, "I got lots of rejections before I finally published my book..." but to show them how those stumbles can apply to their own lives and schooling is great for them to see that they don't have to be perfect all the time. As a teacher I'm sure you remember those students who were afraid to take risks for fear of failing. I MAKE my students leave their little bubble and force them to take risks and challenge themselves. If they hear a person in the "real world" tell them this, then maybe it will hit home more.

I'm sure you'll do great!

javaintheam said...

I've never seen a good one at school, but the best presentation I saw in a while was by an author named Marilyn Johnson (This book is overdue-a librarian book). She used power point with some funny photos that went with her topic, some music, etc,
It held my short attention span....ooh, sparkly.....

Anonymous said...

Visuals are terrific. Visuals of the pages you've thrown away. Visuals of the text you tracked changes on. Visuals of your office space.

Cynthia Lord does a great presentation, and it's heavy on the visuals and the personal quotient.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Elana's Johnson is my go-to person for this type of thing!

I'd suggest you think back to the days you were their age and think about the things you would want to have been told. And you're a YA author, which means you have a connection with that age group already. So channel that.

Elise said...

The best presentation I've seen was a teacher who won the best teacher award at a university and he explained what led him to being a professor and what led him to teach the specific subject he taught and how serendipity(making desirable/fortunate discoveries by accident) played a huge important role in leading him to where he was today. He said he didn't know his path until serendipity came along and opened up his eyes.

Sophia the Writer said...

My kidlings love when I talk just a teensy bit about me/my life. This month, for instance, I have "Ask me a question every week" where they're allowed to ask me random things at the start of the week. (I get things like "Where are you from?" "Do you have a boyfriend?" "Is that pepper spray on your keychain?")

Anonymous said...

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Keep up the great blogging!

Shari said...

You have some excellent suggestions. I don't have any more to add, but I think they would like interaction with you and it might be a good thing to check and see if the teacher wants you to touch on anything.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll do great!

Liza said...

You want to hook them with humor and something they know. Did you happen to have a nickname the kids called you...or a trait for which you were known (hard grader or something of the like?). If you could pull them in with something they are familiar with and then reference your writing in the context of things they know, it would help to keep their attention. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Just today we had an amazing biology class b/c our teacher talked to us like we were completely free and not bound to our seats. He talked about his wife who cries over movies over and over and brought up many examples from real life to visualize the topic.
I think what's important is that you don't go in there and tell yourself you have to teach those little humans something. View them as equals and tell them about your life the way it is.

lotusgirl said...

I think it's important to remember that these kids already know you and love you. Telling them a bit of your background story, especially how your teaching them helped you is good as is including where you're headed. I like it when the author reads a compelling scene and does question and answer.

Lindsay Cummings said...

are you speaking to highschool kids? HUMOR, HUMOR, HUMOR!!! They'll pay attention instead of texting while you're talking, they'll respect you, they'll want to read your book. =]
which is always a good thing!

Charity Bradford said...

It's been so long since I was in school that I have no idea. I think as long as you are positive, upbeat and lively you'll be great.

BTW, I finally got your book yesterday! *squeee* I can't wait to read it during my 7 hour drive tomorrow.

Emily said...

First of all, I think you'll do great no matter what you do. But what I think is a particularly great thing for our Young Adults is to let them dream.

You have followed your dreams and been successful. Let them do the same!

You'll be great!

Eric said...

The best teacher speeches are those that treat the students like people, not kids. I think they want to be talked to, not talked at. Beyond that, just be yourself and it'll be awesome.