Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

School Visit Giveaways

on October 4, 2014

I’ve always enjoyed doing school visits. As a former teacher, school visits allow me to do what I’ve always loved the best–talk to the kids about writing and work with them on writing their own stories.

My programs run for 60 to 90 minutes and I present no more than three programs in one day. I do charge for school visits, and often teachers and librarians work with the PTA or the school’s education foundations to obtain the funding. Sometimes grants can also be written for monies from local organizations such as banks and businesses.

Some of my workshops include a talk about being a writer where I show a power point with pictures from my childhood and feature each of my children’s books as well as talk about the process of how I write and what it’s like to publish with small, royalty paying epubishers.

I also present specific talks tailored to a specific writing skill such as Crafting Character or Writing from Life: Flash Prose. All of my school visit workshop topics can be found here.

Usually, I am invited to the school for the day, but some of my favorite ways I’ve visited with kids in the schools include:

Lunch with an author--This was a specific group of kids who were preselected by their teachers to have lunch with me and talk about writing.

Young Authors Clubs–Small groups of kids in an after-school program at schools or community centers and we focus more on a specific element of the craft of writing.

Alternative Education–I love visiting kids who are attending alternative high schools, middle schools, home schools and juvenile detention schools. I taught in an alternative high school and I find the kids who attend alternative schools to be highly creative. Poetry workshops or writing personal essays are some of my favorite workshops for these groups of kids.

One of the questions which often comes up from other authors is: What do you use for school giveaways? It’s not mandatory to offer giveaways, but it does make the workshop fun.  Here is a list of some of the things I offer: (I do one of these in a workshop–not all)

  • A drawing for one of my print books–Kids write their names on small pieces of paper and I draw one name.
  • A drawing for a critique of anything they wrote with limits (3 poems/10 pages of writing)
  • Postcards with my book cover on the front and a place for me to sign a message to the kids on the back–they love these!
  • Bookmarks with room to sign a message to them.
  • A drawing for a small bundle of goodies including things such as: a journal, and a special pen,
  • A drawing for a book about writing such as On Writing by Stephen King(This one works well for high school kids or 8th grade students)  or Spilling Ink: A Young Writers Handbook  by Anne Mazer (this works well for 4th-8th grade) or Wreck This Journal books are very popular with the kids too.

For those of you who do school visits, I’d loved to know what you offer as giveaways at the end of your visit!




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