Monday, March 16, 2009

Highlights Foundation - Life in the Spotlight Workshop (part 2)

(<-- Boyds Mills House)

Day 3 – Thursday

We spent the morning re-performing our extemporaneous speeches (videotaped), except this time we had had the evening to practice. I felt much more comfortable and confident speaking with a little bit of preparation. And of course it didn’t hurt that I knew the other participants a lot better by then.

Next, we spent some time practicing reading from a script (videotaped of course). This was a breath of fresh air compared to the extemporaneous speaking, but still a harder task than you’d think. Again, it’s something that takes preparation to master.

After lunch, we had time to prepare for our school visits, which took place Friday morning. We also had the opportunity to meet with Peter Jacobi one-on-one to discuss our presentations. I would be speaking with a 5th grade class and giving a mini-workshop on creating story characters. Peter had a lot of good feedback and helped to add content to my opening and conclusion.

Dinner on Thursday was garlic roast lamb and vegetables.


Day 4 - Friday

School presentation day! This was probably the most anticipated morning of the entire workshop because we went to local schools to give our presentations. Three of us – Nathan, Carol and I, along with Peter, left the earliest around 7:50 to get to our school. We arrived at the North Intermediate School of the Wallenpaupack Area Schools around 8:30 and our presentations began in the school’s library at 8:50.

The librarian welcomed us – she was very energetic and enthusiastic and helped set the whole tone of our visit. Nathan presented first to a group of 4th graders on how to illustrate a book using his book Drive as an example. I went second and presented to the 5th graders. I thought it went well – I kept their interest, they seemed excited, they all participated in the character creation activity and were eager to share their character creations. (In a later blog post, I may write more about character creation, so look out for that in the near future). After me, Carol presented some of her books of poetry, including her book ABC Art Riddles. She had a challenge because half of her class was a regular 4th grade class, the other half was the life skills class, but she handled it perfectly.

After our presentations, we met in Honesdale at a restaurant Elegante for pizza and ice cream. Kent Brown, the head honcho of the Highlights Foundation and, I believe, the founder of Boyds Mills Press.

After lunch, back at the Boyds Mills House, we began our school presentations critiques until dinner, which was salmon and potatoes and green beans, all with some kind of wonderful creamy sauce.

When we finished dinner, we went into the living room (pictured to the right) to read each other our stories and pieces of our unfinished manuscripts until 9 or 9:30. We had done this the past two nights – and it was great getting to hear everyone’s writing. There’s something very energizing and inspiring about being surrounded by so much talent. (I've started to add some of their websites and blogs, so definitely check them out.)

Conclusion to the Life in the Spotlight Workshop due tomorrow!

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