||Your school or library can choose from two programs:
- Minerva Louise stars in the original program, aimed at K through 2nd graders. Ms. Stoeke reads from some of the books, pointing out the events in her life that prompted her to think them up. Then, asking open-ended questions, the author elicits a character, a plot (beginning, middle and end) and plenty of hilarious twists and turns from the students. Sketching quick and lively images on the board, the author pulls together their ideas, having them vote on the best ones, and tugging them toward a satisfying conclusion. In the end, they have made a story. The students see first hand that they can do it! Creating a book is not only possible, but great fun. Questions about authoring round out the session. 45 minutes.
- The new program, aimed at fifth and sixth graders, focuses on writing from personal experience. It features the author's latest book, Waiting for May, her son's story about anticipating the adoption of his sister. Using the book as an example, Ms. Stoeke helps the students search for which events from their lives might be story-worthy. The focus is on the emotion the event elicits. Students are reminded to write the whole piece with that feeling in mind. Life happens in a random sort of way, but stories need some structure. I will show the students how to rethink the event and find the inherent structure, building on their central feeling throughout. Teachers can refer to this streamlined writing tactic again and again throughout the year. 45 minutes.