School Visits - Teachable Topics

Teachers often ask “What will you teach the students?” or “Can you talk a bit about a topic we are currently working on in class?” I like to structure my visits around a few different ideas and I have created a helpful list called “Teachable Topics”.

Readings (K-3)

Time Requirement: 1/2 hour

Class size limit: none

Singing, Dancing, Stomping, Grunting, Snoring and finding hidden objects and letters…. my readings are full of all sorts of fun and exciting audience participation. The children will enjoy the many zany characters I have created in all of my books. This is a high energy half hour reading and is always a good choice just before recess!!

Presentations (Gr 1-7)

Time Requirement: 45 min-1.5 hours

Class size limit: none

Presentations generally cover the entire process of making a picture book. I discuss all sides of creating the book from writing to illustrating to the printing process itself. I talk about the initial stages of creating the story,the rough illustrations, the steps in creating a successful illustration, creating of characters both in written description and then visually, scene developement, research, dealing with my editor, handling rejection, the printing process of the book and a Q&A period. All of my rough sketches, original illustrations and books are on display for all presentations.

Workshops (Gr 4-7)

Time Requirement: 2-3 hours

Class size limit: 30 students and 2 teachers

Workshops require longer time periods than presentations so we are generally limited to only 2 workshops per school day. Additionally, due to my hands on approach, class size is limited to approx. 30 students and requires 2 teachers to assist. In my workshops we will cover the making of a picture book. I have two workshop programs available:

  • Drawing from the Funny Bone- In this workshop we create a short story idea from a supplied visual (usually a humorous photograph…this is to get the students thinking outside of their safety zone…to have them write something they wouldn’t normally write about). Once their stories are complete, their stories are then handed out to a different student who will then have to illustrate their words (without use of the visual). At the end of the session, the author returns to class with their own story and another students illustration. This demonstrates the difficulty in illustrating another individuals words.
  • Working From a Manuscript-In this workshop the students are supplied one paragraph from an existing manuscript (usually one that I am currently working on). They are then asked to act as the illustrator of that one particular scene or moment in the story. This workshop usually follows an in depth look at creating powerful characters and scenes in a story.

Please note that all presentations and workshops can be adapted to cover topics you are also working on in the classroom setting.

Recent testimonials from my school visits:

  • “Dianna was tuned into the students and spoke their language. This is a person who knows young children!”

    Michele Weintz

    Springvalley Elementary School

  • “My classes loved the presentation this morning and came back raving about all aspects of their visit...I am thrilled that they too got the opportunity to hear such an engaging speaker.”

    Wendy Cameron

    General Wolfe Elementary

  • “The kids LOVED Dianna's presentations and she was very accommodating!”

    Suzanne Hall

    Alexander Robinson School

  • “Your presentations surpassed all expectations when you visited our school. The information you covered and the illustrations you brought to share were inspiring! Your rapport with students came through as you adjusted the session appropriately for different grade levels. A superb day!”

    Erika Godfrey

    Craigflower Elementary School