School Visits

Ms. Russell is available to visit schools and community organizations. Visits will be tailored to best-fit the individual class or group. Possible components include: Reading Aloud, Presentations, Writing Workshops, Motivational Speeches, Discouraging Speeches and Book Signings.

If you are interested in learning more, email robin(at)robinrussell(dot)net.

Writing Activities

Ms. Russell is available to teach writing workshops for all ages. Each activity can be tailored to fit the needs of the audience. Sample topics include: 

Showing not Telling is a strategy authors use to make their work more engaging and sophisticated. It's what allows you to paint a picture in your reader's mind. For example, Martha pulled over a stool to reach the curry powder on the second shelf, shows the reader that Martha is short. As we read more, we might also discover that Martha is self-sufficient (perhaps she's cooking dinner for her family) or mischievous (perhaps she's planning a prank), that she's Indian, or in India or maybe just likes spicy food. 

Story Mapping is used by many authors to help them plan. It's especially helpful in delineating plots, subplots and character development. For example, the main plot of the story could be Martha making a special anniversary dinner for her parents. The subplots might be her fear that they are getting a divorce, her anger that her older brother is off to college or her struggle to get a passing grade in her cooking class. 

Character Development is the key to making readers feel like the characters in a story are real people. It's what vests the readers in the story and keeps them from setting the book aside. For example, Martha and her brother may have had a big fight before he left. Now he's studying in London and she finds out from a friend that he switched the salt and the sugar to play a trick on her and that's why she failed her Cake Test! Everyone has experienced fighting or losing contact with a friend, being hurt by a joke or maybe being the person who took a joke too far. Everyone has felt like a failure, so we sympathize with Martha. We too are angry at her brother and care what happens to her. 

Writer's Block is the nemesis of every writer. It's the worst thing that can happen - to have no ideas. There are myriad tactics writers use to battle this debilitating demon. For example, playing "what if," and brainstorm a bunch of ridiculous ideas in the hopes that there might be a good one hidden in there somewhere. What if her brother is a secret agent? What if the curry powder is poisoned? What if she's adopted?

For more information or to book a writing activity for your class or group, please contact Ms. Russell at robin(at)robinrussell(dot)net