SPEAKING – Student Workshops

Student Workshops choral reading

Student Workshops:

 Becca Todd, Berkeley District Librarian, Matthew, and Estella Sisnero of
LeConte Elementary School in Berkeley, CA, summon rare gusto for reading aloud

“Thank you so much for your performances and workshop. I have heard nothing but raves from the faculty and students. We enjoyed you and the students learned from you.”

—Janet Barrows, Administrator, Lincoln School, Santa Rosa, CA

“My favorite book is Jazz Fly 2! I love how you detailed the story and showed us how. When I grow up, I want to learn all kinds of languages, too! Right now, I only know two: Spanish and English.”

—Anahi G., 5th grade student

In addition to his dynamic author assemblies, Matthew often can provide one or more creative writing workshops for students. Here is a description of his most popular, interactive writing sessions:

Jazz Poetry

Za-BING, Zoo-BOING. Ha-ba DEEN-doon ZUB-ba. Rhythm, scat and phonemic awareness are the starting points of this invigorating talk. Matthew makes students aware of how words flow by analyzing phonemes (parts of words), and chanting newly composed student poems. No time to doze while he taps time on a frying pan! He introduces long and short vowels, soft and explosive consonants, blends, dipthongs, and “the unexpected.” Kids who like writing gain appreciation for the role their ear plays in the editing process. Kids who don’t like to write come away with the sense that their creativity can lead to expression in other media.

Group size: 20-90 students
Grades: 2-8th
Length: 50 minutes
Language: English
Set-up Time: 15 minutes
Materials: A chalkboard, whiteboard, easel with marking pens, or overhead projector with appropriate pencils and at least 4 transparencies. Students will need paper, writing implements and a writing surface (notepads will do if desks or tables are not handy).

1,2,3, Write! A Creative Writing Workshop for Students

From concept to finished manuscript, Matthew answers questions about the creative process then helps students cook up their own plots. Age appropriate exercises designed for even reluctant writers trigger sensory thinking and evocative verbs. Thought by thought, phrase by phrase, ideas flow forth as stories take shape. With humor and heaps of encouragement, Matthew stresses that writing takes the patience to explore many questions. Students leave with a work in progress that they often cannot wait to finish!

Group size: 20-30 pre-selected students who have demonstrated
a special interest in writing
Grades: 3-8th
Length: 50 minutes to 1.5 hours
Language: English
Set-up Time: 15 minutes
Materials: A chalkboard, whiteboard or easel with marking pens. Students will need paper, writing implements and a writing surface (notepads will do if desks or tables are not handy).

Creative Writing Seminar

In response to the stated need at some schools, Matthew has developed this “seminar” to accommodate larger groups than the creative writing workshop. Like the workshop, the seminar entails writing exercises. Matthew leaves time to answer questions about being an author and, with the help of participants, models examples of good writing. Students take away an appreciation of the painstaking effort behind seemingly simple prose as well as the beginnings of their own unique story.

Grades: 3-9th
Group Size: Up to 100 students
Length: 60 minutes
Language: English
Set-up Time: 15 minutes
Materials: A chalkboard, whiteboard or easel with marking pens. An overhead projector, screen, and P.A. system. Students will need paper, writing implements and a writing surface (notepads will do if desks or tables are not handy).

Cool Haiku–Turn to Poetry!

Because haiku consist of sensory details–things that students can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch–these short poems serve as an excellent stepping stone to writing compelling prose. Students discover haiku ideas by exploring seasons, food and the sensations of daily life. Lists of related verbs and nouns help get students started. Participants leave feeling inspired to observe nature closely, and to record a meaningful moment in time.

Grades: 2-9th
Group Size: Up to 30 students
Length: 50 minutes to 1.5 hours
Language: English
Set-up Time: 15 minutes
Materials: A chalkboard, whiteboard or easel with marking pens. Students will need paper, writing implements and a writing surface (notepads will do if desks or tables are not handy).

Note: It is highly recommended that students prepare themselves for this workshop by reading Cool Melons–Turn to Frogs!

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Meet Matthew

I have a passion for encouraging young people to read--and for encouraging parents to read to their kids. "Language, rhythm, color, life!"™ are the threads I weave through my books and presentations. Read more...

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Contact Matthew

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Phone: (707) 544-4720 PST

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Tortuga Press

2777 Yulupa Ave. #181
Santa Rosa, CA 95405

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Matthew makes reading FUN!

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"Language, rhythm, color, life!"™