Friday, 19 September 2014

SCBWI Masterclass on School Visits

Last Saturday I went to Charing Cross for the workshop on School Visits by Jane Clarke. This is going to be a summary of what I learnt because I can't give away all of Jane's secrets. So here we go.

First it was the business side of visits.
Jane gave us handouts of sheets that showed what correspondence to schools were like, and what invoices should be like.
Get your promotional tools together. Have a pack to give to libraries and groups.
Jane makes her own bookmarks.
She ran free school workshops until she was felt confident and competent enough to do them for money.
She mentioned to belong to a few websites that specialise in school visits, such as Contact an Author.
You do need insurance for visits, esp if you are visiting little ones, in case you accidentally hit a child. But you don't need CRB for one-off visits. If you are a regular visitor, then the school will get it for you.
Do what is comfortable for you. Be yourself.
Take blue-tak.
Enthuse the children to write and draw. Get them to have ideas.
Be nice.
Have a back-up workshop in case they have already done a similar subject to yours.

We had lunch. I had burger and chips (no bun).

Then it was more about the visits and sharing our ideas.
Put props on floor.
I shared my idea of what I do for my mermaid workshop for 9-12 year olds (Year 5&6). Jane later told me that she liked my idea.
We asked questions. I asked about indie authors. Jane said to just ask, esp if local. I also asked about special needs. Jane said that she has come across special needs children. They are guided by their teaching assistants. To ask the teacher to represent pupil if they want to talk.

So, what did I learn? Basically, I feel that I need to work more with children in libraries before I think about wanting to visit schools. I got a couple of ideas for mermaid workshops I could try out at different libraries. Oh, and to get a promo pack in place for libraries and other groups.

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