4th Grade Frenzy: July 2016
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July 19, 2016

Author Visit!


Have you always wanted an author or illustrator to visit your school?
Finding an author to visit your school may be easier than you think! 
The following list contains the steps that I followed for our author visit. It may look like a lot, but it's really just broken down into small, manageable steps.

1. Start by Googling children's authors in your area. Make a list of possible visitors. Searching out of the area is fine too. Some may travel.
2. Narrow down your search to a few that appear to be grade-level appropriate.
3. Go to the local library or bookstore to browse the authors' books. Keep the authors on your list who appear to be a good match.
4. Contact the author(s) directly by email or phone to get details about price and availability. (Those in your area may provide a discount because no travel is involved.)
5. Discuss your plan with your administrator. It's always good to keep him/her in the loop!
6. Arrange to obtain funding. I applied for a grant from our Educational Foundation and won! You can also check with your PTA or local American Legion to see if they would be able to help.
7. Once you have funding, set the date for the visit. The hardest part is over!
8. Order some books by the author if funds are available.
9. Email the staff a Save the Date for the visit. You know we are planners and like to know everything ahead of time! I simply sent out a brief email stating that an author would be visiting and approximately how much time should be allotted for their students' experience.
10. If you order books, distribute them to classes when they arrive so that teachers and students have access to them prior to the visit.
11. Make a schedule. I grouped grade levels together in 3 meet and greet sessions. Plan what works for your school and the author's schedule.
12. Plan details. Our author/illustrator offered to sketch 10 reluctant readers/writers between sessions and to have lunch with 10 other reluctant readers/writers. I had each grade level chose students to participate, and had the names emailed to me. I then made a master list for the sketches and the lunch.
13. Contact the author three to four weeks prior to the visit, and finalize details such as equipment needed.
14. Secure the equipment and facilities needed within your building.
15. Send out final schedules to the staff one to two weeks prior to the visit.
16. Confirm with the author one week prior. Go over any last-minute details.
17. On the day of the visit, greet the author. You may want to have a few students with you for this greeting!
18. Have fun and take pictures!

*Some authors may provide order forms for signed copies of books that students may purchase.

Here is author/illustrator Michael Dooling. He visited our school this past spring, and the reviews from both staff and students were two thumbs up! We all learned about the process he follows when he writes and/or illustrates a book. Would you believe that he begins the process in an actual library?! He makes sure the kids know that it is okay to make mistakes. The experience was a huge hit. He is local to my area, but I believe he travels!

Here is a picture that one of my students helped Mr. Dooling draw:

Didn't she do an awesome job?!

Check out his site HERE.

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July 1, 2016

Boosting Staff Morale at School


There's no doubt about it....teaching is stressful!

Here are some fun and easy ways to raise the spirits of your staff or colleagues:

  1. Have random drawings at staff meetings for free and inexpensive prizes such as a preferred parking spot for the week or a new set of markers.
  2. Distribute bubble wrap during testing week or other stressful weeks. Include a note saying, "Pop 3 capsules every 4-6 hours or as needed for stress."
  3. Place a bowl of fresh fruit in the teachers' lounge.
  4. Write positive notes, and slide them under classroom doors.
  5. Plan and implement a staff member exercise group.
  6. Have students sing Happy Birthday to each staff member on their birthday.
  7. Check with local businesses for donations of coupons towards freebies and discounted services and products. Distribute in mailboxes or at meetings.
  8. Have a jeans day just because.
  9. Compile and distribute a list of businesses that provide educator discounts.
  10. Have a staff shout-out board! Read the shout-outs at monthly staff meetings.

Click HERE to get started for FREE!

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