I am passionate about writing, and I love to help students experience wonderful words and write their own!
I've worked with thousands of students of all ages--from kindergarten through graduate school--as well as adult writers and teachers. I received the Barbara Juster Esbensen 2000 Poetry Teaching Award for my work with a third grade class.
I offer both in-person and virtual visits.
My in-person rate of $750/day includes up to three presentations. Depending on distance, visits may require accommodations, mileage, and/or meal expenses. Contact me for a price quote.
Virtual visits are $100 per presentation with no travel expenses or accommodations required.
To plan a visit, choose one or more topics from the Presentations list below.
To schedule a visit or to discuss additional topics or scheduling options, e-mail me through the "Write to JoAnn" link (under "Send a Message") on the left side of any page of this site.
From Cats to Moo: Inspiration, Imagination, and Publication
This presentation is suitable for all ages, including students, families, teachers, and community groups. It lasts about 30-45 minutes. I talk about the inspiration for each of my books, my writing process, poetry, and publishing. Participants are invited to ask questions.
Nature in Your Neighborhood
Inspired by my experiences with monarchs, bees, birds, and other wildlife, this presentation is suitable for all ages. It lasts about 30-45 minutes and includes tips for observing, researching, reflecting on, and writing about outdoor experiences. Participants are invited to ask questions.
Turn This Earth Around: Everyday Ways to Help Our Planet
Suitable for grade 3 and up and based on research for a middle grade nonfiction manuscript in progress, this presentation provides in-depth, up-to-date information about climate-related issues, encourages young readers to do what they can to help, and reassures them that it's not too late to make a difference. A companion web site is also in progress at TurnThisEarthAround.com.
Writing Lively Nonfiction
This presentation is suitable for large or small groups, grade 3 and up. It lasts about 45 minutes. Participants discuss the following topics:
• Good ideas
• Research and resources
• Storytelling techniques
• Exciting language
• Creative formats
The presentation includes wonderful, age-appropriate nonfiction examples and time for questions and answers.
What Makes a Poem a Poem?
This interactive discussion is suitable for small or large groups, grade 3 and up. It lasts about 45 minutes. Participants discuss the following topics:
• Form: how a poem differs from a story
• Patterns: what rhythm, rhyme, and repetition contribute to a poem
• Language: the kinds of exciting words poets use
• Imagery: how poets use all their senses to create word pictures
• Ideas: how a poet starts writing a poem
The presentation includes examples of wonderful poems (many written by students in my poetry workshops), opportunities for students to contribute their own creative ideas, and time for questions and answers.
Write a Poem Step by Step
This popular writing workshop lasts from 90 minutes to two hours. It is intended for a class-sized group, third grade and up. Each participant writes a draft of a poem in five logical steps:
• Finding a good idea
• Adding imagery
• Using exciting words
• Patterns in poetry
• Breaking the lines
The presentation includes examples of wonderful poems, many written by students in previous workshops, and includes time for writing and questions.
For the youngest students, I am happy to read one or several of my picture books and answer questions. For more ideas, write to me!
Ordering Books for School Visits
Most publishers offer significant discounts to schools for ordering books in conjunction with author visits. Schools can then either resell the books at a discount or sell the books at the cover price and use the income to help fund an author visit. For information about ordering my books for school visits, see the following web sites:
Three Routes to Publishing and a Few Side Trips
Activating Passive Language
Write a Poem, Step by Step: A Simple, Logical, Effective Way to Write Poetry with Your Students (for teachers)
This 2-hour workshop gives teachers the tools to help students write their own poems. Each participant writes a draft of a poem using the simple, logical method I teach in my workshops. Then teachers learn how to help their students write their own poetry using the step-by-step method and other resources.
Participants receive specific instructions for revising first drafts and suggestions for encouraging students and evaluating their work. They also learn how to customize a presentation for their own students that includes age-appropriate and subject-relevant examples of wonderful poems.
I can tailor any of the student presentations for adults. Contact me for more ideas!