Yesterday I had the chance to go present at my neighborhood elementary school. I spoke to a group of kindergarteners and a group of third graders. It was so much fun! I was really impressed by the kids, both behavior-wise and smarts-wise.
As it turns out, my background in teaching was very helpful, though I never made Amazon Rainforest animal noises with my college statistics students. Oh well, their loss! The kindergarteners were really funny. I mentioned that I lived just down the street from this school, and one student called out excitedly, “I live in Castle Rock, too!!” So the above picture is us figuring out how many of us lived in the same town (all of us!).
I talked about how an idea becomes a book, and shared some of the things I learned about Brazil during this process. The favorite slide by far, though, was the one with pictures of my dog!
One thing that really impressed me with the kindergarteners was how good they were at mimicking the pronunciation of the few Brazilian words we discussed. I will definitely keep those parts in my next author visit!
The questions were pretty hilarious. I had heard that it wasn’t a good idea to give them time to ask questions, but I thought I’d try it since it was the end of the school year and they are therefore very grown up kindergartners. I kind of loved the questions that really were random stories about their own pets (we talked a lot about animals), but I want to make sure I’m making the most of everyone’s time, so I don’t think I’ll do that again in my next kindie presentation.
Speaking of questions, the questions the third graders asked were awesome, and really did contribute to the learning experience. I got asked about how long it took to write, when I published it, how the statue was made, how high Corcovado Mountain is, what Brazilians eat and drink, and all kind of great things.
I think one of the things that made me the happiest is that I had several students ask where Mr. Elephant was going to go next! I also got lots of suggestions on where they wanted him to go, but the fact that Mr. Elephant has fans who want to see more of him makes me very happy.
All in all, it was just a really fantastic experience, and I hope the students enjoyed it as much as I did!