A keynote is an interesting beast. It should make listeners laugh—and maybe cry. It should move them, show them their best selves and give each one something practical to bring home to their classroom or library, something that makes a difference in how they do their job. I try to do all that when I address a group—and I do it with the oldest and best tool in the human toolkit: stories.
I’d be happy to create a keynote speech specifically for your organization or event, but here are a few of the keynotes I am currently giving:
Think Like an Author: Discover the Creative Writer in All Your Students
I share my own road to becoming a writer (replete with stories). Then I explain my sure-fire approach to teaching creative writing using unusual prompts and introduce exercises guaranteed to generate real excitement about writing. This talk is especially good in the hands-on department. Anyone charged with inspiring young writers will come away with practical exercises to take back to the classroom—and the inspiration to make it happen.
Note: If you have attended my creative writing workshop
you will find my “Think Like an Author” handout here.
Letter of Endorsement
I was at the Illinois Reading Conference this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed your workshop.
In fact, that is putting it very lightly. You invoked emotions within me that surprised me and moved me to tears. Never before have I been so inspired by a prewriting strategy that I wanted to start writing immediately, and I knew that if I had been so moved, my students could be also. I have been so “programmed” to be a planner and teach planning, that I was starting to lose my passion for the art. Your workshop gave me a profound “Ah ha” moment, that helped me put into words what I should have known all along. I feel I will now be a much more effective teacher who can reach the “blurters” just as much as the planners. Thank you so much!!
Obviously, I am very eager to take you up on your offer of sending out references and the packet of materials from the workshop. I am an 8th grade Language Arts and Literature teacher, and would be thrilled with anything you might be willing to share.
Again, from the bottom of my heart–Thank you!!!
8th Grade Language Arts/Literature
John L. Nash Middle School
In Love With Words!
This is a humorous and insightful look at how we relate to language, how we acquire a sensitivity to good writing and how, as teachers and writers we can engender a love of language in readers who are just beginning a long relationship of their own with words and literature.
Keep the Lights Burning
This is a great closer for a conference. It is inspirational and encouraging. It talks about the role of teachers in the world. As an author who visits dozens of schools a year all over the country, I have had ample opportunity to observe the struggles and the triumphs of teachers. This talk should help teachers to focus on what they have gained from the conference and to bring it back to the day-to-day job of teaching.
I present conference sessions both on my own writing and on methods of teaching creative writing that help teachers encourage young writers while achieving success at meeting the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts.
Conferences and Organizations I have addressed include:
Bay County Reading Festival
Bill Martin’s Pathways to Literacy (keynote)
Duval County Reading Association (keynote)
Florida Association of Media Educators (featured speaker)
Florida Center for the Book Florida Council of Teachers of English (keynote)
Florida Reading Association International Reading Association (keynote)
Keystone State Reading Association Leon County Reading Council (keynote)
Missouri Association of School Librarians National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN Workshops)
Ohio Counsel of Teachers of English Language (keynote)
Okaloosa County Reading Festival (Keynote)
Phi Delta Kappa Society of Orange Park, Florida (keynote)
South Dakota Reading Association
Southeastern Booksellers Association
Southeast Regional International Reading Association
Tallahassee Writers Association (keynote)
Amelia Book Island Festival
Kern County Reading Festival
Bakersfield California Lee County Reading Festival
Miami Book Fair
St. Petersburg Reading Festival
Authors in April, Rochester Michigan