School Visits (Virtual Options Available)

I offer school visits year-round to educators and students throughout the world. To schedule a school visit or school event, please contact me or use the form below.  If your dates are flexible, please indicate that, and we can work together to find a time that works for us both.

Please follow this link to the school visit flyer.

I offer a variety of presentations and workshops for elementary and middle school audiences and am happy to collaborate to tailor a whole school read, book fair, or cross curricular program.  You can find out more about collaborations I have done through this link.  I also offer presentations including:

Fee: In lieu of an honorarium, I ask that you buy copies of Smack Dab for children that you select, and I am happy to personally inscribe each one with a note of encouragement.

Writing and Revision Techniques that Really Work (Grade 3 – Adult)

Would you like to take your students’ writing to the next level? This session will equip you and your students with tools and techniques to make their writing (both academic and creative) more powerful, more persuasive, and more fun. It also encourages students to embrace revision as an integral part of the writing process. Handouts include a variety of writing prompts, brainstorming tools, tips to keep inspiration close at hand, and bookmark revision tools designed to be used for both creative writing and academic essays.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Writing but Were Afraid to Ask (Grade 3 – Adult)

Now is the chance for your students to get a behind-the-scenes look at the writing process. In this interactive session, I offer insights about lessons I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made, and how my writing and revision process has evolved.  I also answer student questions and brainstorm with students about how to turn their ideas into polished pieces of work.

A Ghost Town, A Reclusive Artist, and a Poetry-Loving Dog:  Drawing Inspiration from Real Life (Grade 3 – Adult)

Sometimes the best ideas for works of fiction come from real life. This session provides a behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration and research for Smack Dab and explores how participants can draw upon their own experiences to create characters who come alive, settings that feel lived-in, and plots that keep the reader engaged from the first page to the last word. The presentation and handouts include worksheets for mining personal experiences for character, setting and plot ideas, and  tools and techniques to translate those ideas into stories that connect with readers. 

Using the Power of Poetry to Improve Your Overall Writing (Grade 4 – Adult)

Poetry can be a powerful tool for students to express their diverse perspectives, honor the perspectives of others, and improve overall writing skills. This session presents tips and techniques that poets use in their craft to brainstorm, create and refine their work. The session also provides practical ways to help students use poetic techniques to become more critical readers and to make their own writing stronger. Handouts include a revision tool to use the power of poetry to improve overall writing.

Explore Your Natural World through Cricket Challenges (Grade 3 – Adult)

Study after study has shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress, boost creativity, and improve well-being, and that students benefit from making cross-curricular connections, but how do you inspire students to use nature to make connections between their readings, their own world and STEM subjects? This session presents a series of nature-based “Cricket Challenges,” nature-based activities designed to encourage curiosity and interaction with the natural world and to help students make cross-curricular STEM connections to fictional stories and non-fiction works. Handouts include Cricket Challenges to help students explore their natural world.

Harnessing the Power of Nature to Make You Happier, More Creative, and Less Stressed (Grade 2 – Adult)

Research shows that engaging with nature makes students happier, more creative, and less stressed, but how do you start? This session presents easy, free, and low-cost ways to make nature a part of every day. Handouts include free nature activities.

Becoming the Hero in Your Own Story with the Building Grit Kit (Grade 3 – Adult)

We all know that grit, resiliency, and social-emotional awareness are key qualities for student success but how do we go about building them? This session introduces students to the free “Building Grit Kit,” (developed and revised over three years in collaboration with experienced professionals) and primes students for success. A version of the kit is available for both young readers and young adults. Each kit helps students become the hero in their own story by setting personal goals, brainstorming potential obstacles to those goals, and developing strategies to help them navigate around those obstacles. Through the activities, students identify their strengths and things they would like to work on. Students also identify positive adult role models who can help them achieve their goals. They explore positive habits that they can build into their daily lives to help them become the best version of themselves. Each kit also includes team-building activities and nature activities to help students explore their natural world and reduce stress. Handouts include the Building Grit Kit.

Engaging Your Curiosity to Take Your Writing to the Next Level (Grade 3 – Adult)

Curious students are engaged learners. This session provides the backstory of how curiosity created a career and a novel. In the session I lead students through an exploration of things about which they are curious and, with handouts and activities, provide students with a template to capture their ideas and map out next steps for turning their ideas into academic essays, research papers, and creative writing pieces.

Making Books Come Alive with Music (Grade 3 – Adult)

We all know that students learn in a variety of ways. In this session I help students explore the book they are studying by creating a chapter-by-chapter playlist, with a narrative explaining the connection between the song and the chapter, and playlist artwork that relates to the overall theme of the book. I provide examples of each. Students learn to critically examine each element in their book and song, and to write from the perspective of a music critic as they engage more deeply with the world of the book’s characters and explore the setting, history, and culture that shaped the book characters’ choices.

Book Jo

If you’re interested in having Jo visit your school (in-person or virtually) or attend your school event, please fill out the following form:

School Visit
Grade Level of Students
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