In my attempt to catch up on events in out library since January, one of the big events that happened in April was our author visit with Debbie Dadey. Debbie lives about a half hour from our school, making her an ideal choice for my first attempt at arranging an author visit. In addition to her close proximity, she has an awesome collection of titles to her name, including The Adventures of Bailey School Kids, and she has an incredibly organized and user friendly website with step by step directions for setting up an author visit. All of this combined to make it a relatively easy process. I researched and booked our visit in November on the heels of our fall book fair. I was in contact with Debbie through the intervening months, and found her to be kind, accommodating, and very personable.
To prepare for our author visit, each grade level engaged in different activities, and each classroom decorated their door to reflect a different cover of a Debbie Dadey book. Students and Teachers voted for their favorites and awards were given for "Teacher's Choice," "Student's Choice," and "Author's Choice." I put Debbie on the spot a bit with that. To facilitate voting, I took pictures of each door and made a photo album slideshow on our school library webpage in the author visit section. I also created a voting form in Google Docs and walked students through the voting process during one cycle of library classes. Teachers could vote for their favorite this way as well.
Kindergarten students talked about monsters during classes, had a read aloud from the first Bailey School Junior book: Ghosts Do Splash In Puddles, made their own puddle ghost craft, made newspaper monsters, read from Monster Goose (a good re yew of our nursery rhyme unit too!), and from the Emberley book: If You're A Monster and You Know It. The song to accompany this book is available online and is linked to our library webpage under student projects.
First grade students discussed copyright and each found the example of copyright in a Debbie Dadey book. Later, they made their own Debbie Dadey titles, like (Monster Name) Doesn't/Don't (Action) and they gave copyrights to their titles. First graders also had a read aloud from Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots, and the Miss Nelson books, since Miss Viola Swamp is featured in the first chapter.
Second graders also made Debbie Dadey titles and stories to accompany their title ideas and
read aloud from Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots, Ghost Class, the first book in the Ghostville Elementary series, and other Debbie Dadey books.
Third Graders focused on characters from the books, making mini-biographies for the characters using a variety of different mediums: crayons, computer programs like kidpix, Tux Paint, and online programs like Voki.
Fourth graders tied in what they had learned about books being made into movies and had project choices including: making a movie poster, making a radio advertisement, and making a movie script based on one of the chapters from a Debbie Dadey book. In addition to the other series mentioned, fourth and fifth graders also read aloud from the Keyholders series.
Fifth graders made advertising posters using glogster, an online, interactive program. Students focused on one of Debbie's books to make their posters and focused on different elements based on a rubric.
Books were pre-ordered through Scholastic's author visit department and through Follett as well. Debbie was able to sign many of the books in advance of the event since I was able to drive them over to her house prior to the big day.
Debbie's presentations were broken down to k-1, 2-3, and 4-5. Each presentation was different and met the needs of the group to whom she was presenting. The students read many of Debbie's books in advance of her author visit and continued to read the, following the presentation as well.
It was hard to keep the books on the shelves, a "problem" any school librarian loves to have! In addition to Debbie's website being user friendly in regards to arranging and setting up the author visit, Debbie also has ideas for lessons to accompany her books, some of which I used, but that any teacher could use in the classroom as well. There is also a message board for students to post questions for Debbie that she does answer.