SCHOOL VISITS

With over ten years in classrooms, first as a K-8 science teacher and recently as a middle/high school creative writing teacher with Seattle's Writers in the Schools program, I know how to inspire, engage, and entertain any size and age group. I've presented at over a hundred schools, and my talks can easily be easily adapted to suit groups from grades 3-12. Below is a sampling of my current talks and workshops, as well as a couple testimonials, and I am happy to tailor a visit to suit your needs. Suggested topics and fees below. CONTACT ME for more info!


Elementary/Middle School Visits
Books: Chronicle of the Dark Star Trilogy (featuring LAST DAY ON MARS)
This lively, engaging, 40-60 minute talk, perfect for grades 3-8, begins with my personal journey from a kid writing fan fiction and comics to a published author, focusing on what I learned about the perseverance and determination it takes to succeed, no matter what you dream of doing. Second, we let our imaginations run wild in the gritty, adventurous world of LAST DAY ON MARS, from the choices Liam and Phoebe make to summon the courage to leave home and follow their convictions across the universe, to the mind-blowing REAL SCIENCE of Mars and of space travel, including exciting and sometimes freaky facts. What will it really be like for humans to go to Mars, to live in space? With smaller groups, we can even do a science experiment or two. The talk ends with plenty of time (though never enough!) for all the questions students are sure to have!

Middle/High School Visits
Book: Any Second
This illuminating and engaging 40-60 minute talk begins with my personal journey from teen writing fan fiction and comics to published author, focusing on my struggle with anxiety throughout my teen and adult life. We then shift to the intense world of ANY SECOND, focusing on how Maya and Eli Survive and find hope in the wake of a near-attack in a Seattle mall, battling PTSD, anxiety, and difficult relationships in the aftermath, as well as a brewing threat of school violence within their midst. Through it all, they discover solace and friendship in one another. While the topics are challenging, this is an open and hopeful talk about our common worries and fears in this modern age, when violence is all around us, where teens' spaces have become targets, and where social media can trigger us at any moment. The talk concludes with plenty of time (though never enough!) for student questions and discussion. 

Other Talks
The Inside Story: Has your class read another one of my books? I'll tailor my talk to focus specifically on any title, diving deeper in where the story came from, how I put it together, and the themes that I hope are meaningful for my readers.

Following Your Inspiration: using my personal journey, as well as examples from other authors, athletes, and public figures, we talk about how our own lives can become a source of strength for following our dreams and becoming who we want to be. 

The Three Keys: For this talk, I focus on the genre of your choice: science fiction, fantasy, realistic fiction, creative nonfiction, and discuss the three keys to creating successful, unique stories. 


Writing Workshops

I have taught hundreds of writing workshops in Seattle and across the country, working with middle school, high school, and elementary. These lessons have worked with both highly motivated and reluctant writers. In 2013, I was selected to present my lessons at the NCTE national conference. Below is a selection of topics I've covered. I work hard to design workshops that engage all students, even those who don't see themselves as writers, and can guarantee that with very few exceptions, kids will write! If you don't see a topic you'd like, just let me know, I probably have something. Fees for writing workshops are based on travel costs and number of hours requested. (I have done multi-day residencies at schools or in districts). I am aware of how budgets vary, so please contact me and we'll make it work. 

  • Character Development: What makes an excellent, nuanced character, and how do we create a captivating story around them?
  • Plotting vs. Inspiration: How much should you plan out your story in advance? Is there a benefit to making it up as you go? Is there a way to get the best of both worlds, and what are the key strategies of each approach?
  • Crafting a Setting: Not enough, too much? What is the perfect amount of setting to creative an immersive story experience, and how do we go about conceiving it and crafting it?
  • Finding Your Voice: How do we put ourselves into our stories, from the characters to the settings to the themes, in order to create more singular, unique work, and transcend the cliche?
  • Creative Nonfiction: Are real stories interesting? How can we write nonfiction with style and flair, so that readers are as hooked as they are when reading fiction?
  • Just Get Started: Why is it so hard to find an interesting beginning, or sometimes, to just get started at all? What strategies can we use to start our stories that engage both us and the reader?
  • Points for Style: How do we elevate our writing to create unforgettable voices? 
  • World-building: From fantasy to realistic fiction, sci-fi to a zombie wasteland, what are the best strategies for planning your world?
  • The Art is in the Revision: What are the best ways to think about, (and to stay sane during) revision? What strategies can we use to take our first (and second, and even third) drafts to the next level? 

Testimonials
"Kevin was amazing! His presentation style was very personal and he really drew kids in. He had them laughing and involved from the first moment he started speaking and kept them captive until the very end." -Melanie, Middle School Teacher in IL

"Kevin's presentation was hugely entertaining: funny, insightful, sad, thought-provoking, and energetic. In person, as in his novels, he is a gifted storyteller. He speaks to and from an adolescent perspective." -Kendra, Middle School Librarian in WA 

4 comments:

  1. Be sure to also read this little article about argumentative essay writing to not only increase your writing skills but also find out some good writing advices and tips

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  2. Make a visit to Orlando Science Elementary School

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  3. Please make a visit to Cascade Ridge in Trossachs

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