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Talk Option #1: "Pennsylvania Proud"

A behind-the-scenes peek at David's journey to becoming an author and how he writes his books.

Length: 30-45 minutes

Audience: 2nd-5th graders in Northwest PA, who are familiar with Waldameer

Size: No hard and fast rule, but best if no more than 100 students

Topics Covered: Waldameer history, David's writing process

Overview: Students will learn interesting facts about Waldameer's 128-year history. David will talk about growing up at Waldameer (his family's business), his writing process, and how his books get made, including the design and cover illustration. Students will play three games before Q&A.

Detailed Description:

  • David gives a taste of the Waldameer Mystery Files series

  • David shows fun photos from Waldameer history

  • David describes his author journey and his writing process, from idea to publication

  • David shares his advice to Read, Dream Big, & Work Hard

  • Students play "Spot the Difference" (before and after book covers), "Guess That Waldameer Ride", & "Guess That Idiom" games

  • Q&A about Waldameer, writing, being an author, etc.

  • "Create Your Own Mystery" worksheet is provided, if students feel inspired to write!

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Talk Option #2: "Language Arts Live!"

A Language Arts lesson with gameshow energy, culminating in a post-visit writing contest.

Length: 45 minutes

Audience: 3rd-5th graders, no knowledge of David or his books needed

Size: No hard and fast rule, but best if no more than 50 students

Topics Covered: Elements of Story (genre, setting, character, plot, conflict, mood)

Overview: David and students will create the building blocks of a story on the spot in a highly interactive experience. Then, students will finish writing the story on their own in the days after David's visit. David will choose the winning story, awarding the lucky student with a signed book!

Detailed Description:

  • David teaches the Elements of Story

  • Students offer suggestions for each element (ie. setting)

  • Students spin the wheel to randomly choose the element for our story

  • Q&A about writing, being an author, etc.

  • POST-VISIT: Students complete the story themselves. Each student's story will have the same elements, but they'll be entirely unique!

  • POST-VISIT: Teachers submit stories to David for writing contest

  • Elements of Story worksheets are provided, if teachers want to reinforce the lesson!

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