Ah, remember the days of packed auditoriums? Maybe we’ll get back there. In the meantime, I’m scheduling virtual visits for the first half of the 2020-2021 school year, and still holding out hope that we return to normalcy in the second half.
I’ve outlined a few of my talks and workshops below, but feel free to reach out for more details. I’m happy to tailor presentations to a school’s particular needs. Also, I try to be funny. Usually these attempts are successful.
Some recent comments:
“Fantastic. So engaging. He really knew how to grab 10-11 year olds…Great lesson in explaining the importance of planning, editing, and revising.” – Hingham, MA Elementary School
“You were extremely funny. Really, I mean it.” – Aimee, Grade 4
“Besides the funny stories, I liked how you taught some things.” – Julia, Grade 5
Large Group Presentations
The Writing Process (2nd and up)
I’ll be doing a virtual version of my typical talk for large groups (cafeterias, gyms, auditoriums, fields, spaceships, etc.) which begins with a focus on science and technology journalism before turning to fiction. At the start I review some of the wilder stories I’ve written over the years for magazines like Popular Science and Discover. I stress the importance of becoming an expert in whatever subject you write about, whether it’s brain surgery, flying cars, surfing, or family history. Then I talk the students through the entire process of writing a book, from the initial idea through the planning, the creative writing, the revisions, and the finished work.
STEM/STEAM: How We Got Here (4th and up)
A history of the universe from the big bang to humans. Seriously. This isn’t about writing or revising or anything like that. Just the universe. It’s based on magazine stories and books I’ve written or co-written over the years and interviews with more than fifty scientists.
The 35 Rules of Writing (4th and up)
There are enough bad books about the rules of good writing to fill a library. I’ve handpicked a few of my favorite rules, thrown in a few that I despise, and added a collection of random suggestions from kids to create my own exhaustive and occasionally contradictory list. For example, “Rule #12: Don’t start with a title. Write the story first, see where it takes you, then think about what to call it.” I do believe in that, and I find that it’s a good lesson for kids, who often suffer from self-inflicted writer’s block because they refuse to start writing until they think of their title. But I also believe in the next rule, # 13, which says, “Ignore Rule #12 if you come up with a really good title.” Each of the rules has its own little story behind it from my own experience as a writer.
Pirates, Robots, and Bugs (K-2)
An introductory presentation for younger kids focused on the basic elements of stories, including setting, characters, and plot. We focus on the different settings and characters in my pirate adventure, Fish, and work together to invent a pirate villain of our own. My rudimentary cartooning skills come in handy here, and this presentation lasts for 30 minutes, and fits up to 50 kids. With the youngest grades, though, I prefer to visit one classroom at a time.
Revising the Writer (4th-8th)
We completely tear apart and reconstruct The Adventures of Super Q, a story I created in seventh grade. We start with the big picture, then zoom in and run through exercises that give the students a deeper understanding of voice, sentence structure and fluency, word choice, and more. This is a great way to show kids what revision actually looks like on the page, and how to make a mediocre story shine. The exercises change based on the grade, and other stories are available to revise, including one about a talking taco.
“Greg made revising fun which is a huge help to our work as teachers….a wonderful learning experience!” – 5th Grade teacher, Essex, MA
Rates and Schedule
For references, fees and schedule, and more, write me a note. I’m gmmone on the gmail service.