Friday, November 1, 2013

Advice from the Trenches: Part 2

Part 1 is HERE.

More advice on school visits:
  • Announce at the beginning of your presentation that you will save the last ten minutes or so for questions and instruct the kids to save their questions until then. 

  • During Q&A time, be sure to repeat the question so that everyone can hear. (I HATE it when people forget to do that....) If kids didn't hear the question, they won't care as much about the answer. If they don't care as much about the answer, they are more likely to squirm, fidget, poke the kid next to them, or fake a great burp.

  • When you are asked "How much money do you make?" - turn it into a math problem (e.g., What is 10% of $16?) Trust me, that kid will never ask that question again and the next author to visit that school will thank you.

  • The same goes for the "How old are you?" question. Give them the year and make them do the math. (Unless the age question bothers you. It doesn't bother me. But I always give kids a heads-up that some adults find that question rude.)

  • Let the kids know when you are approaching your last slide and nearing the Q&A period. This perks up the antsy kids and they will sit up and pay attention in anticipation of asking a question (or finally getting to go to recess).

  • Include a few examples of your revised manuscripts with your visuals. Teachers will appreciate it and the kids will be shocked and horrified and maybe feel sorry for you.

  • When you are finished with your presentation, tell the kids to please stay seated until they are dismissed by their teachers. Otherwise, you might have a chaotic stampede of sorts.

  • NEVER put photos of students online without confirming that they all have parental permission. Most librarians are able to confirm this fairly quickly. Many teachers know without having to check. If you want a large group photo, ask someone to take a pic from the rear of the room (i.e., backs of heads). (Thanks to Augusta Scattergood for this reminder.) If you can't use pics of kids, try shots of book-related art, bulletin boards, even just the front of the school or classroom. It's nice for the kids to have a little shout-out on your blog.
  • As far as I'm concerned, a remote control like THIS ONE is a must-have. I've used it on many, many different computers and it has never failed me (except for dead batteries - so now I always keep spare batteries with me). Many schools have remotes but many don't. Besides, I just like having my own.
 Part 3 coming soon


Sharon Creech said...

Appreciate these notes -- spot on. Plus, just ordered that wireless presenter thingy. You should get a commission . xx

Judy Freeman said...

Love my Kensington remote. (My all-day presentations have 500+ slides--try doing that by tapping the computer every 20 seconds. It's not fun.) I'm wondering why you don't use a cordless lapel mic instead of a handheld. It's so much easier. I have my own (a Sennheiser), but when I do school visits, I request the school's clip-on mic, and most of the time they have one that goes with their own sound system. Standing-on-a-pole mics are hell on the knees; handheld mics make it hard to have enough hands to hold up books, props, and the remote (not to mention, in my case, the guitar).

Barbara O'Connor said...

Judy: It's very rare that I have to use a handheld mic, so it's not usually a problem.

Sharon: I should get a commission! :-)