Sarah Weeks is coming to visit your school!
These pages have been put together in order to help you get the very most out of the visit you have planned with author, Sarah Weeks. If you’ve had authors come to your school before, then you know that every author visit is different. We encourage you to print out and share this information with teachers, PTO coordinators, staff and tech support. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact Sarah directly at: [email protected].
On these pages you’ll find helpful information about:
- HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE VISIT
- HOW TO SCHEDULE THE DAY
- A/V NEEDS (LCD Projector, Microphone etc.)
- APPROPRIATE BOOKS FOR EACH GRADE LEVEL
PREPARING FOR THE VISIT
The first step is to contact Sarah directly at ([email protected]).
Sarah’s booking agent:
Children’s Authors’ Ally, LLC
Antonio Gonzalez at Scholastic ([email protected])
Once you have confirmed the date for the visit and the honorarium, you will receive a letter of confirmation.
Use the weeks, or even months preceding the visit to focus on the author’s work. Make sure that a good selection of Sarah’s books is available in the library. In addition, pre-ordering books is an excellent way to help build interest in an upcoming visit. Providing enough books for classroom read alouds, and encouraging teachers to include the books in classroom art and curriculum lessons is a wonderful way to help engage students as they anticipate the visit.
(You will find a list at the end of this document suggesting titles appropriate for each grade level. See FAQ for some suggestions for art projects, etc.)
SCHEDULING THE DAY
Every school has things they need to plan around. It may be that the room where the author is presenting, doubles as the cafeteria or the gym. Or your students may have “specials” that need to be worked around.
How long do the presentations last?
The length of the program varies depending on the age group and attention span of the students. Students should be grouped together by grade.
30 minutes for K-1 programs
45 minutes for 2nd-3rd programs
45 to 60 minutes for 4th-5th programs.
45-60 minutes for grades 6 and up.
Every presentation includes a brief Q&A.
Autographing will take place after the presentations
Making the schedule
In planning a schedule for your day, please keep in mind the following things:
- The author does THREE presentations.
- The schedule for the day may determine the honorarium for the visit. Sarah offers two options:
Half-day (three presentations in the morning)
Full-Day (two morning presentations and one afternoon presentation)
Whenever possible it’s best to schedule presentations back-to-back in the morning. Allow a few minutes between presentations to move kids in and out of the venue.
10:30- 11:15/11:30: 4-5
Having trouble finding a schedule that works? Consider some of these solutions other schools have come up with:
- Smaller bodies fit in smaller spaces! Host K-1 in a smaller more intimate setting, like the library or music room. Schedule them for the third presentation to free up the multi-purpose room for lunch.
- Have a picnic! Ask the lunchroom to provide bag lunches on the day of Sarah’s visit and have kids eat in their classrooms.
- Consider rescheduling “specials”.
SETTING UP FOR THE VISIT
When setting up for the visit keep in mind that the author will need the following:
- LCD PROJECTOR
- MICROPHONE AND PA SYSTEM
- A ROOM WHICH CAN BE DARKENED
- BOTTLE OF WATER
IF YOUR SCHOOL HAS A TECH PERSON ON STAFF, PLEASE HAVE THAT PERSON AVAILABLE DURING THE INITIAL SET-UP.
Sarah travels with a laptop (Macbook Air) and a VGA adapter, sometimes called a “pig-tail”, which works with all LCD projectors and SmartBoards. She does not bring her own projector or screen with her.
Please be sure that the space where the presentations will take place is set up before her arrival with the following things:
- LCD PROJECTOR ceiling mounted or on a cart with power cord, VGA cord (Sarah will bring the adapter, but not the cord) and extension cords if necessary. The newer the bulb in the projector, the better!
- SCREEN, which has already been pulled down or set up. Paper or fabric taped to the wall will not produce a clear image for the audience.
- MIC and PA System. **This is essential!**
Regardless of the size of the room, the author will need a microphone. A wireless hand-held mic or a hand-held mic with cord is preferred, but a body/lapel mic which can be clipped on is fine if that is what’s available. Test the equipment before the day of the visit to make sure everything is working. Use fresh batteries, and have spare batteries on hand, just in case.
- Please check before the day of the visit to make sure that the projected images can be easily seen by the audience in the room where the presentation will be taking place. If the projector needs to be elevated so that the image is centered on the screen, do it in advance.
- If the space has windows, please make sure that they are covered. If you don’t have blinds or curtains, you can tape construction paper over them to block out the light.
- Some auditoriums and gyms have time-delayed LIGHTS, which make it difficult to adjust lighting during presentations. Please make sure that there is someone who is familiar with the lighting available to help- especially if it requires a key.
- The author will stand at the front of the room and use a remote control clicker during her presentations. She does not need a table, chair or lectern but she would appreciate it if you could provide a bottle of water. Ideally students will be sitting on the floor, or in fixed auditorium seating. Teachers should sit near their students.
- If you do not have a ceiling mounted projector, please leave enough space around the cart so that there will be no risk of the equipment being touched or jostled by the audience. A few small plastic traffic cones can help protect equipment and keep students safe from tripping over wires.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What Sort of Program Does The Author Do?
Sarah designs her programs to fit each grade level. For grades K-1 she focuses on her many picture books and talks about her life as an author. For grades 2-3 she focuses on her chapter books and shares writing tips. For grades 4 and up she focuses on her novels as well as the writing and editing process. Every program includes a PowerPoint presentation followed by Q&A.
- Do we need to prepare students for the Q&A?
You can help students prepare by compiling a list of appropriate questions. Some teachers like to have students write a question on an index card and bring the cards with them to the presentations, but this is not necessary.
- What do we do about lunch for the author?
If all three presentations take place in the morning, there is no need to provide lunch for the author. If your schedule requires that the author stay past noon, or if you have a particularly large number of books for the author to sign (more than 100) after she finishes presenting, Sarah will be happy to bring her own lunch, or a simple salad or sandwich can be brought in from a local deli.
It’s important to provide a quiet space for the author to eat her lunch. It is not necessary to plan anything fancy, in fact Sarah prefers to have her lunch time to herself or with a few members of the library staff. If your school would like to plan an author lunch with kids or teachers present, this is something you need to discuss with the author before the visit.
- How do we go about ordering books?
There are several options:
- You can contact your local Independent
Bookstore. Be sure to inquire as to whether they offer
a discount for large book orders, many do.
- You can contact the publishers directly:
- HarperCollins: 1-800 242-7737
- Scholastic – 1-800-SCHOLASTIC
- Simon and Schuster – 1-800-976-1726
- Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin- 1-800-543-1918
- If you are interested in having a booking agent handle all the
arrangements for your school including the book sales, feel free to contact:
Kerri Kunkel of Children’s Authors’ Ally, LLC
- How do we get the books ready for autographing?
The more organized you are, the more quickly and smoothly things will go. Here is the method Sarah prefers:
- Place a post-it note on the front cover of each book with the FIRST NAME ONLY of the person the book is to be autographed for. Make sure that the name is PRINTED
(You can put the full name of the person, or a classroom number or teacher name at the bottom of the post-it to make it easier to deliver the
- If a child has purchased more than one book, please put a
SEPARATE POST-IT NOTE ON EACH BOOK. If possible, use
clear plastic bags to keep multiple orders together rather than rubber-
bands. If you must rubber band books together, please make sure
the rubber bands are large enough so that they can easily be taken
off and put back on.
- Organize the books by classroom/teacher in order to speed up the process of getting autographed books back to the classrooms after the visit. Some schools use paper shopping bags with classroom numbers printed on them to make this process easier.
- If there are a large number of books to autograph (more than 100) whenever possible, have a volunteer available to work with Sarah while she signs. That person can flap books (turn to the page the autograph will appear on), remove and replace rubber bands, organize and stack books. Deliver books to classrooms.
- Provide a comfortable adult-sized chair and a sturdy table in a quiet, private area for autographing.
- Sarah is happy to sign library copies, classroom copies and copies brought from home in addition to pre-ordered books. Every book will be signed before the end of the day.
IDEAS FOR ENRICHMENT
Encourage students to visit www.sarahweeks.com. Explore the ABOUT ME page, and the READER’S THEATRE page, where you can download free pdf’s of Readers Theatre scripts to use in the classroom.
Get the art teacher involved! You’ll find photos of art projects based on Sarah’s books on the AUTHOR VISITS page of www.sarahweeks.com.
Reading GLAMOURPUSS? Visit scholasticstoryhour.com for a nifty picture of Glamourpuss you can print out and have kids color in. Go to the HOME page and lick on the picture of the Glamourpuss book cover.
Reading HONEY? Host a nail polish party. (Make sure to invite the boys too- you may be surprised how many of them want to try it!) Inexpensive “quick dry polish” is available in lots of colors. For the more adventurous, try making your own. You’ll find instructions galore on the Internet. Or you can order a DIY kit. Warning: have plenty of nail polish remover on hand….
Reading PIE? Host a pie party in your classroom or library using the easy recipes in the book. Students may also enjoy reading this interview with Sarah: http://bookboxdaily.scholastic.com/2011/09/27/pie-a-delicious-interview-with-sarah-weeks/
Reading OGGIE COODER? Try charving with your students. Visit the BLOG at www.sarahweeks.com and look for the post called “SOME COOL IDEAS?” for a creative alternative to using cheese.
Reading group guides are available for SO. B. IT and AS SIMPLE AS IT SEEMS from HarperCollins through their school and library promotions department (212) 207-7000).
Grade levels are only suggestions, many books are appropriate for more than one grade.
Pre-K, Kindergarten and First grade:
- McNosh Hangs up Her Wash
- McNosh and the Great Big Squash
- Oh My Gosh Mrs. McNosh
- Woof, A Love Story
- Mac and Cheese (I Can Read Book)
- Mac and Cheese and the Perfect Plan (I Can Read Book)
- Drip Drop (I Can Read Book)
- Splish Splash (I Can Read Book)
- Baa-Choo! (I Can Read Book)
- Pip Squeak (I Can Read Book)
From Simon & Schuster:
- Catfish Kate and the Sweet Swamp Band
- If I were a Lion
- Paper Parade
- Angel Face
- Two Eggs Please
From Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin:
- Ella Of Course
- Oggie Cooder
- Oggie Cooder, Party Animal
- Without You
- Follow the Moon
From Simon and Schuster/Beach Lane Books:
- Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth
Third and Fourth Grade
- Oggie Cooder
- Oggie Cooder, Party Animal
- Regular Guy
- So B. It (best for 4th)
- As Simple As It Seems (best for 4th)
Fifth Grade and Up
- So B. It
- Jumping The Scratch
- As Simple As It Seems
- Up All Night (short stories appropriate for teen readers)
Sarah Weeks looks forward to her visit with you!
An author visit can be a wonderfully enriching experience for your students and teachers. These suggestions are offered in order to help you plan the most successful visit possible for your school. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact Sarah directly at: [email protected]. Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sarah if you have questions or concerns. Here’s to a wonderful visit!