May 19, 2011

Rose Springs Elementary School Workshop

I just finished doing a workshop with Mrs. Nielsen's 6th grade class at Rose Springs Elementary School. It was a 4-hour workshop with only one 10 minute bathroom break in the middle, yet the kids were VERY involved and respectful. What great students! I'm certain I had a better time than they did!

My wife, Crystal, my friend, Travis, and his daughter, Emma, joined me for the workshop.

Here is a picture of Travis and Emma sporting the King's Cross. Travis isn't in any of the other pictures because he's the guy behind the camera.

I mentioned in yesterday's blog post that I would be going dressed as a Beholder from the First Age of Appernysia (from my book). Here's what I looked like.

Here is a closer shot of the tattoo on my face, which is called the Beholder's Eye.

We started out the workshop with a Q&A session about INSIGHT, which Mrs. Nielsen's class had just finished reading the day before. AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER, I had to cut the questions short and move into the presentation portion of the workshop. Seriously, they had the best questions and so many great things to say about the book. It was great to meet a crowd of fans that were as excited about the book as I have been. I was especially pleased that they still had so much to say after our written Q&A a month ago.

To start off my presentation, we outlined the basic components of a sentence (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition), then we did a MadLib exercise together, A Day in the Life of a College Student ( After the students gave me 20 words to fill in the gaps of the story, this was the result.

"Every dusk, I wake up and get off my Walmart. I don't always have time to kiss a shower, but I always make sure to run my hair. Once that's done I get some narwhals, and then it's off to my first lawn. I often get caught bleeding in class. No one likes it when the construction worker give a surprise McDonalds. My second class is Sports Authority Theory. Dr. Alex Rodriguez is incredibly sparkly, but I never say her because of her thick castle. Her refrigerators, however, are really brown. After lunch, I have no more teapots and I'm free to kick under my friends. Before I go to bed I talk a little bit."

It was an entertaining exercise. More importantly, its purpose was to show the students how crutial every word is to a sentence.

After the MadLib, I put up a brief outline of a story on the board (I woke up. I ate breakfast. I went to school...). We discussed how important the details are to a story, then I shared a couple examples of how to turn "I woke up" into a detailed paragraph.

After that, the students took 15 minutes to write their own story from a sentence in the outline while Crystal, Travis and I walked around helping them brainstorm.

I was SO impressed with their talent! The students were very imaginative and came up with a large variety of stories that were engaging and entertaining. What a privilege it was to hear their creative minds at work!

After the workshop, I shared a bit of my background, then my wife and I spoke about the importance of literature--not just in our lives, but in everyone's lives. As much fun as I've had writing BEHOLDERS, the main reason behind it all was to create a story that would be enjoyable enough to help inspire a greater love for reading in everyone who gets their hands on it. My wife and I really tried to get this point across.

My wife had to leave at that point, but Travis and I took some time to help the students create their own fantasy name from their real names. Although some names were much more difficult than others, we succeed in creating at least one name for every student. Those who really like their fantasy names are going to email them to me so I can try to add that name to the next book of BEHOLDERS.

We ended the workshop with more talk about BEHOLDERS. Amidst the conversation, the students were brainstorming ideas together on how to help publicize my book to make it a success. I was very touched by their excitement.

At the end of the workshop, I handed out King's Cross tattoos to each of the students and gave them business cards so they can track the progress of the publication of INSIGHT.

Although the workshop lasted 4 hours, Mrs. Nielsen was amazed by the excellent behavior of her students. They are also very smart! They would all be great candidates for a Beholder!

One more note. I have to admit that I was taken by surprise when a student raised his hand and asked for my autograph. That was a first for me.



Kim said...

Terron... thanks so much for coming and doing this workshop for us. You did an amazing job! I couldn't believe how you kept those kids attention for so long! no one even asked about recess! That NEVER happens :) You did so great and we love your book. I hope it does well for you and takes you far. Even if you did take MY copy....ha ha... anyway.. thanks for everything and letting us read your wonderful book

Terron James said...

The pleasure was all mine, Kim, and don't worry about the manuscript. The book will be even better. :)

Grandmama and Gramps said...

I'm so proud to be your mother! Can I have your autograph?? =)

Miss Jenny said...

What a fun experience! It sounds like everything is going well. You better hurry and get this book published - we're all dying to read it! Stop teasing us and get it out already!

My only question . . . crutial? ;0)

Jenny said...

Ha ha, sorry. I didn't realize I was logged in under my dance studio account. It's really me. :0)

M. M. C. C. said...

You better start perfecting your autograph... you won't want to embarrass yourself!

Seriously, love ya and so glad it went well! I'm sure you and the students loved every minute of it. So happy for you!

Dawnie said...

Wow! It sounds like the kids really had a special day. Now I just really want to read the book. I hope it gets published soon!