School Visits

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Poetry and ecology, science and art!  Discover the poetry that is all around you.  Splish Splash with words and let ideas Flicker Flash through your imagination as we explore the amazing array of shapes water, light, and poetry can take--from waves and waterfalls to fireflies and fireworks.

          During my slide presentation, we do poems interactively, climb a water- fall at Yosemite, snorkel in Bora Bora, and view the Northern Lights.  I discuss poetic techniques and explain how poems and books take shape, including displaying press sheets--the whole book on one big page.  I bring puppets, rainsticks, and my ocean drum (photo above); children can join in as I do my "Wave" poem in sign language.     

My program is suitable for grades K-6 (I've also worked with 7th and 8th graders), and I vary it depending on the age level.  Possible formats include two or three 45-minute assemblies in which I can speak to the entire school with children grouped by age--i.e. K&1, 2&3, 4&5,(6).   At the end of each assembly, I can offer a poem-writing challenge, then in the afternoon visit three classrooms briefly (20 minutes each) to check on the poetry project results, offer suggestions, and answer any further questions.  A poetry writing workshop with a smaller group, or groups, is another option.  Both are great ways for students to respond immediately to what they've seen and heard! 

           I enjoy having lunch with the teachers.  A former teacher myself, I provide you with Teacher Idea Sheets for ways to use my books across the curriculum, a copy of my article "Surprise!  It's a Shape Poem" (Instructor  Nov./Dec. '94), a master for "Popsicle" bookmarks, and much more. 

           If you choose to sell books, I'm happy to autograph them and can supply you with a pre-sale flyer to duplicate and send home.   Books can be ordered through a local children's bookstore or my publisher, Houghton Mifflin.

          I am very flexible.  Please call or e-mail to discuss what your particular

needs are so that we can plan the perfect day for your school.  I love to challenge students to be creative, to take a different perspective, to see things in a new way!  Hope I have a chance to work with you!        




"Bravo and many thanks for a fine and compelling presentation . . . the audience was dazzled . . . this group will never forget you."  librarian, Los Angeles Public Library
"phenomenal in terms of her ability to communicate effectively with students of all ages . . . entertaining, in an elegant sort of way, and everyone present came away with an enhanced appreciation and interest in books and the writing process.  I highly recommend Joan B. Graham as a presenting author--she will provide an enriching experience!"  principal, Bakersfield, CA
"everything I'd ever hoped for in bringing an author to interact with the children . . . You really touched a lot of lives in a positive way."   3rd grade teacher, Gautier, MS
"We are inspired!"       5th grade teacher, Manhattan Beach, CA
after presentation:  "I have so many ideas, I don't know where to start!"  student, Red Bluff, CA
"still buzzing about your wonderful visit . . . you made it such a special day . . . You're a very talented, unique and generous person who deserves all the success and happiness the world sends to you."  librarian, Camarillo
"Can we lock the door so she can't leave?"   first graders, Pasadena, CA
"How can so many ideas fit into just one head?"    third grader, Glendale
"Thank you so much for your inspirational presentations and writer's workshops.  Your enthusiasm for writing was great motivation for our students.  The children were grateful for your book signing and will enjoy reading them for years to come.  We appreciate all that you do for young writers, you are truly a role-model for them.  Our Young Author's Faire on May 31st will culminate the events that you sparked for our school."
GATE coordinator, Northridge, CA                                                                     
"an inspiration to students and teachers alike . . . a most memorable experience."   third grade teacher, Tustin, CA
"creative and inspiring"--Reading Association Conference Coordinator, Thousand Oaks, CA
"fantastic!"     third grade teacher, Van Nuys, CA
"Thank you for your wonderful presentation at the 'We Love California Authors & Illustrators' luncheon on February 20, 1999.  Your poems so beautifully depict the forms and nuances of water and light.  I know you inspired many of the educators there to return to their schools and get their students writing poetry."          educator, LAUSD, Los Angeles, CA
"excellent and interesting . . . wonderful suggestions . . . you were definitely the right choice to speak before a group of teachers."      
 Delta Kappa Gamma, teacher, Ventura, CA
"On the evaluations you got 10's!"             librarian, Lakewood, CA
"Listening to a 'real-live' poet was a valuable learning experience for our fourth and fifth graders.  The slide presentation, along with your commentary, provided the students with glimpses of how your travels and experiences influence your poetry.  And your visuals helped make the writing and production of a book more interesting and enjoyable for everyone . . . Joan, thank you again for sharing your life and your talent with our students.  Your visit will continue to be a highlight in their lives."   library coordinator, Pasadena, CA
"I have heard many wonderful comments about your presentation.  One teacher I spoke with described your session as fantastic."     Chairperson, Reading Association Authors' Faire, Ventura
"You could hear how responsive the audience was to your interpretive reading of your poems as we joined in, enjoying the sound of the words with you."       librarian, Reseda, CA
"Parents were coming up to me for days afterward commenting on how much they enjoyed the evening."     Family Reading Night, parent volunteer, Thousand Oaks, CA
"informative, inspiring, and gracious . . . very well organized, nicely paced and engaging . . .  I look forward to seeing more books published by you, they're definitely a favorite and standard for the GAB trainings."  Grandparents and Books Advanced Training Workshop, Children's Services, LAPL
"Thank you so much for helping us bring literature to the school children of Kern County by appearing in our "Heroes Read" program.  We have had many positive responses from staff, teachers and students."  Coordinator of Instructional Media, Kern County
"thank you for your flowing and sparkling verses of inspiration.  We have had fun splashing in your footsteps.  Keep Writing!"  2nd grade teacher, Lakewood, CA