My friend Heather runs a summer literacy camp. Thursday was the last day and she asked if I'd come in and do my Wink presentation for the kids. Of course! My visits to Tootin' Hill School (which Heather also organized) went so well - I decided to do the exact same presentation.
That was a mistake. (More on that later.)
Here is the crowd. I asked them to make silly faces. The boy in the lower left corner isn't going for it. :)
Things went along well enough. There were a few blips in the road. Summer is a hard time for a group of kids to sit still so I should have motored through instead of stopping to ask questions like I normally do.
I'm learning there is a place early in my presentation that helps sum up the group. When Wink climbs into the panda pen at the zoo, I often ask the kids if it is a good idea or a bad idea. When the group is focused and invested, they say it's a bad idea. This is a group I'm going to be able to have a back-and-forth with while keeping on track. There's always a few that say it's a good idea to climb into the pen, to be funny. But when MOST of the kids say it's a good idea... That's a group that is not along for the ride. That's a group I'm going to have to be very careful with. That was this group.
Not to say that they weren't lovely. They were. And there were plenty of smart kids with great answers and ideas. But there was a decent chunk who'd talk to their neighbors or shout out answers. They weren't really listening, yanno? It is summer, after all.
After about 35 minutes, one kid in the front said (loudly) "How long do we have to sit here?" :)
Another child chimed in, "Yeah - how much longer?"
Remember that mistake I mentioned earlier? I have two presentations for Wink. A long one and a shorter one. The shorter one doesn't go into the selling of the manuscript and publishing houses much. I should have gone with the shorter one. Live and learn.
So I wrapped it up quickly.
Toward the end of the slide show I have a photograph of me and Magoo at the Viking offices, standing on front of a case of Viking books. One little girl said, "You're wearing a bathing suit!"
"No I'm not," I said, chuckling. "I'm wearing a top and a skirt."
"You're wearing a bathing suit," she insisted.
"Do you really think I'd go to a publishing house in New York City in a bathing suit?" I asked.
"It's a bathing suit." She wouldn't budge.
How do you respond to that? It took all my will power I had to not whip out my can of sarcasm on the girl. So I just said, "Okay, thanks so much. Have a great summer!"
This might not have been my best presentation ever - but it all adds up to experience which is great for me. And I'm forever learning from the back and forth that I have with school groups.
Thanks Literacy Camp! (And I'm still not in my bathing suit.)