First School Visit

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on June 21, 2013 in Anecdote, Elixir Bound, School visits, Technology, Writing |

Don’t forget, voting opens today for the You Gotta Read blog cover contest. Elixir Bound is entry #10. I’d love to have your vote if you get a minute to check it out!

In other news, I had my first school visit last week. I did a presentation on creating characters. It was for a group of 8th graders (including my oldest nephew, who is also one of my writing buddies), less than a week before graduation. Uh oh! Seriously, though, they were great. They were attentive and I even got some student participation…when they had to. When I mentioned Katniss, one girl said fairly loudly, “Katnip!” And when I talked about Edward Cullen, there were some sighs of delight and a few shouts for team Jacob!

We had a bit of technological snafu when I couldn’t get my PowerPoint presentation to come up on their computer (still not sure why it wouldn’t recognize my files). So instead of having all the bullet points and pictures up on the big white board, they were just up on my laptop screen. Luckily the group and the classroom were on the small side, so they were able to see all the silly pics I created. Including when I put the teacher’s head on a certain famous villain! (The teacher is my friend’s mom, so she was cool with it.)

I was sweating a bit when with the computer stuff, but I had a backup so it worked out okay (for future visits, I think I’ll be prepared with even more ways to access my presentations). Still wish I had been able to give them the full effect, but they got the meat and potatoes…just not the full bells and whistles. The teacher asked some good questions in the Q&A part about revision techniques for the students and also on generating ideas for creative writing. I think I might come up with workshops for students about those topics.

For those of you who do school visits, how do you access your visuals during school visits?


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  • Ha! Yes, I’ve had tech problems a few times too. That’s why I get there a half hour early so I can sort them out. Once it took 15 minutes to download my booktrailer. So a teacher went to the next class and got them to start downloading right away so it was ready when I got to their class. Another time, the Muse website wasn’t functioning properly. I think they were maintaining. But I did get the presentation up and running anyway. But if you’re really at a loss, you can always read from your book. Kids love that.

  • Mary Waibel says:

    Sounds like great fun!

  • Sounds like fun despite the technical difficulties! Instead of using the school’s computers, I usually bring my own laptop and just ask for a projector to hook up to. That way I don’t have to worry about file issues. Just in case, though, I also email a copy of the presentation to myself and put it on a flash drive. If you have to use the school’s computer, it’s a good idea to send the presentation to the teacher a day in advance and ask him/her to test it out before you get there. Oh the fun… 🙂

    • Thanks, Anna…good advice about sending the file to the teacher. This particular visit was set up at the very last minute, so it was kind of a scramble from the start.

  • Kai Strand says:

    Congrats on the school visit! I love getting into classrooms. I try to keep my visits technologically simple and have visual aids I hold up or display on the projector, like picture cards. I usually read a short story. Then do an interactive editing lesson with the picture cards. I provide the boring first draft and they help me spice it up and I scribble all over the whiteboard.

  • Meradeth says:

    Sounds like a great visit! Glad it went well, even with the technical trouble. I’ve had that happen before (not for school visits, but while teaching). It definitely gets you sweating. I had a film refuse to play one day (a dvd–I mean, I know how to play a dvd! It just wouldn’t work!), and I was a mess. Anyhow, I’m sure you handled it better than me 🙂 Off to vote now!

  • Ann Herrick says:

    Glad it went so well in spite of the computer problems! 🙂

  • I’ve never done a school visit. I’m so glad you figured out and managed the problem. It does sound like fun.
    lol. Next time you’ll be ready for anything.

  • Kerry says:

    Hey Katie! That is so exciting about your school visit! I like what Anna said, that if you can send it to the teacher ahead of time to try it out that is a good idea. You can save files (possibly powerpoints!) in different ways. I know that I can save a word document into about 10 different formats with the Linux system I have on my computer right now. I think in PowerPoint, it might matter what year / version you are using (the one at the school is likely to be more outdated and then it’s sometimes not compatible with a new version, but the new version on your computer should allow you to go to “Save As” where you can click on a little drop-down-arrow by “file type” that lets you select a version to save it into. I hope this is clear! I think it’d be easier to show in person! But we have trouble with that kind of thing all the time in the library. Then, we can’t change the version to update it, someone from “central” like an administrator has to do it. If I try, I get “told” by the computer that I don’t have permission! Yeesh! 🙂 Good luck with every everything! Talk with you soon! I hope you have more visits next year! Woo! 🙂

    • Thanks for the tips, Kerry! I do always make sure to save my files in the compatible version…still not sure why I couldn’t get my files up. Probably just the Universe giving me a hard time.

  • Congratulations on surviving your first visit. I’ve talked at a few schools, but didn’t have any technology with me. Sometimes it’s a specific topic like setting goals in general, or I’ve had schools that want the visit to be a question and answer session.

  • Leandra says:

    Sorry about the techno probs- I would’ve been sweating bullets! But glad the rest went spiffy. And hey, participation from teenagers, that’s an A plus right there, lol!

  • I’m so glad everything went okay! That’s really great advice about bringing backup. Scary otherwise. I love your idea of using fun pictures to create a discussion.

  • Erin says:

    Congrats! Sorry about the technical difficulties. I need to get on this school visit action. My college alma mater did ask me to come speak, and that totally freaks me out! LOL! 🙂

  • K.L. Pickett says:

    Congratulations on your first school visit. I’m glad it went well, despite the technical problems.

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