Back in May, I visited my daughter’s third-grade class. I wanted to share a little about the visit, because the teacher worked with me to organize a fun and memorable experience for the kids. Perhaps my experience could provide some ideas for other authors making classroom visits.
When I arrived, I introduced myself and told a little about my work both as a writer and as a telescope operator at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I showed a photo we’d taken of the planet Jupiter with the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope. After that, the teacher and her aid passed out paper. We told the kids to listen carefully to the passage that I was going to read because they would draw something from the scene.
I read an excerpt from my young adult science fiction novel The Solar Sea. I deliberately picked an excerpt that was both short—less than 15 minutes to read—and one full of scenery the kids could visualize. In the excerpt, crewmembers from the Solar Sail Aristarchus flew into the clouds of Jupiter. Knowing that they had to draw something from the story, the kids listened carefully. Afterwards, they drew and asked questions. I also read a couple of short, fun science fiction poems.
At the end of the session, they showed me their drawings and told me about them. Here are the drawings on the classroom bulletin board afterwards. The photo of Jupiter that I showed is hanging at the top.
Have you made a successful classroom visit? I’d love to hear what worked for you. It sounds like I get to visit fourth grade soon!