Conference Topics

Wow! Excellent! The best session of all!
What a wonderful, humorous, talented speaker!

– Wisconsin State Reading Conference, evaluations

This lively talk focusses on the making of books and, illustrated by slides of art in progress, gives interesting details on the entire book-creating process.

Where do ideas come from? How do you write a first draft? Did you know that sometimes authors and illustrators don’t get to talk to each other? Did you know that deciding on a title is the publisher’s job? Did you know there are only 4 colors in a book?

The process of writing and rewriting is covered in such a way that you will learn and enjoy, and take back the information to your classroom to share with students.

Books can change a reader, and a reader can change the world. When we connect literacy with Service Learning, amazing things can happen.
In this talk Margriet will show how she found art work online, which led to making a new friend in war torn Syria; which led to his art illustrating her story about refugees.
This, in turn, led to the book inspiring others, in countries around the world, to make a difference. Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey, has raised nearly $100,000.- for refugees.

In a similar manner, Margriet shares the making of The Elephant Keeper, a nonfiction book about an elephant orphanage in Zambia. Find out how your students can make a difference by not only reading a book but also adopting a school elephant!

My Librarian is a Camel and My School in the Rain Forest both show how children get books and an education under, sometimes, difficult circumstances. You can make a difference by supporting schools elsewhere in the world through raising funds and awareness. Margriet can tell you about the time spent in Zambia volunteering with The Book Bus, a nonprofit organization that brings books and activities to children in remote areas.

FROM THE ARCTIC TO ZIMBABWE: The Making of My Librarian is a Camel and its ripple-effect!
This touching account will show how the author got the idea for a book about unique mobile libraries around the world. Once the book came out, amazing things started to happen. Hear the story of the mobile library in the Gobi Desert; see how Margriet worked with children in the Arctic who sent books to children in Pakistan… Touch the magic of sharing books with children around the world.

A session/workshop for teachers on using and writing poetry in the classroom. Practical ideas on promoting the reading of poetry and lots of ideas to get students to write. Activities that encourage and motivate students to want to write! Learn how to classroom-publish, how to use the Internet to publish your students’ writing and how to make a… Poet Tree! Margriet will share writing by kids that will make you laugh and cry. Based on the books The Power of Poems, Virtual Maniac and A Pacific Alphabet.

The author visit was great!!! I wish more people could have attended. I didn’t realize what I was in for. She was inspiring, energetic, a wealth of information… I hope we can have her return to work with staff and/or students. We are working on funding so that we can get her here again so more people can benefit from her sharing of herself and her experiences. (Educator, Iowa)
– Comments Following Teachers’ Workshop on Poetry in the Classroom

A keynote presentation on the joy of reading and writing poetry. This talk will inspire you to use more poems in the classroom and get your students excited about writing them.

Using picture books throughout the curriculum, in any grade, will give students verbal and visual stimulation. Use published picture books to encourage students’ reading and writing about interests, places and people in their lives. You’ll get many ideas for activities that tie picturebooks to socials, art, math and other parts of the curriculum. This talk can also be aimed at parents and how to encourage their children to be readers.

For teachers interested in encouraging students to write stories. This includes brainstorming, editing, ideas for writing exercises applicable to your classroom. Handouts. Specify your interest in:

1. poetry
2. fiction (short stories) or
3. informational writing (school newspaper using scanner, digital camera, etc.)

Simply outstanding presentation!
– Colorado Reading Conference evaluation

Using computers and the Internet to motivate students to write and to publish students’ writing.