I WOULD LOVE TO VISIT YOUR SCHOOL to talk about “The Blueberry Girl -The Story of Elizabeth Coleman White,” and offer classroom workshops.
As the discussion/curriculum guide included on this website shows, my book about Elizabeth, or “Miss Lizzie,” is extremely versatile as it relates to history, social studies, women’s history, agriculture, nutrition, cooking, health, gardening, New Jersey, and the Pinelands.
EXPLORING OUR HISTORY, NURTURING A DREAM.
I offer a K-4 session for larger groups. This session, slightly altered, is also available for older children. It includes an interactive power point presentation using the beautiful art work from my book. It is suitable for a larger audience in an auditorium setting, but also works in a small classroom setting. I ask lots of questions and we do a blueberry tasting, if allowed. I bring the blueberries! Organic from a local south Jersey farm. There is full-on participation in this 35-40 minute presentation. I can offer two of these presentations per day.
Following the larger presentation, I can offer up to two writing or educational-craft workshops per day, each approximately 40 minutes. I prefer a class size of under twenty-five students, but can also accommodate more for the individual classes.
I will tailor a class to fit your needs, offering a writing activity related to my personal story as a writer/author, or emphasizing your classroom needs. The “craft” activities are fun and educational, drawing on my years as a teacher, and almost thirty years living on an organic
mini -farm in New Jersey.
WRITING RELATED WORKSHOP,
following a large assembly presentation.
As a poet, essayist, short story and nonfiction writer, I offer a variety of writing workshops.
Collaborative writing of a blueberry poem, “Muncha Buncha Blueberries,” with my guidance. How to make your words sing. Metaphor and simile without all the hard work!There is a possibility that Ms. Stephanie Schrader, an Elizabeth C. White re-enactor, who portrays “Miss Lizzie” at the historic White home in Whitesbog Village, Browns Mills, N.J., can join us for this session. After we create the poem, Miss Lizzie arrives, answers questions and we read our poem out loud to her! The children love it – always a favorite!!
- How historical nonfiction requires research. Developing ideas. Using old photographs, museums, interviews, to develop your subject matter. The collaborative process between author and illustrator to create picture books. This workshop includes examples of illustrations being developed and illustrations showing use of revision in text and art.
- So you want to be a writer? How to use your writing skills in the real world. Following your dream. Writing and re-writing, or revision, discussed in a friendly way. I show some of my own early (fourth grade!) illustrations and short stories. I talk about the use of keeping a journal just for fun, and as a way to guide you through the rest of your life.
- Write your own mini-memoir. What is memoir? How Miss Lizzie might have written her own story. Tapping into others’ stories, and your own stories. I will guide the students through a writing exercise, “From My Childhood Trunk,” that gives them each a fool-proof poem or prose piece of invention and discovery.
CRAFT RELATED WORKSHOP,
following a large assembly presentation.
- Bake a pie/Buy the book:
Each student receives a softcover book with beautiful French flaps autographed by myself, and together we make a mini-blueberry pie the child can take home to the family to bake later. Students will decorate a mini-pie box, as I guide them through pie-making and the nutritional aspects of blueberries. I thread stories about Elizabeth C. White, “Miss Lizzie,” the creator of the modern blueberry, throughout our time together.
- Create an herbal blueberry vinegar dressing in a beautiful bottle/Buy the book:
Each student creates an herbal vinegar with fresh herbs (from the author’s organic garden). We add blueberries to a fancy “antique” bottle, decorated with a hand-made tag, and student takes it home to his/her family, along with recipes for its use. I tell stories about the “Blueberry Queen,” Elizabeth White, and the herbs she grew in her garden, while we sample herbs. We discuss various aspects of Elizabeth’s early life, food, and nutrition, comparing past and present. I tell the folklore story of the bleeding heart plant, one of Elizabeth’s favorite native plants, and we learn about sphagnum moss, which grows around the Whitesbog cranberry bogs (a hands on activity the kids love!).
Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you’re looking for. Remember, we can always design something to fit your special needs!