Today I did my first author Skype visit to a school in Washington DC, right across the country from Seattle. I was invited to kick off the school's 'Poem In Your Pocket Day' in their morning assembly in front of 400 kids (the entire elementary school).
To keep the visit engaging, I decided to not just read poetry to the kids, but to illustrate it LIVE so they could watch me draw along with hearing the words, and bring the words and images together to their funny 'punch-line' conclusion. Thanks to the magic of Skype Desktop Sharing, the kids were able to see me draw on my tablet even as I spoke to them on Video. The school librarian later sent me the following testimonial:
"Vikram's presentation via Skype was excellent! Our 300 students in grades one through five sat enraptured during his time with us and were inspired to ask him lots of questions. He focused on his experiences as a poet for our "Poem in Your Pocket Day" assembly and was both funny and completely on target. I had at least a dozen of our teachers tell me how wonderfully perfect they found his presentation to be."
-- Primary School Teacher Librarian, Washington International School.
The visit was a great success and I am going to be doing more such Skype visits, especially as I feel I can create a unique poetry + illustration experience for the kids and hopefully inspire them on two fronts.
If you know of a school that would like to invite an author/poet/illustrator for Skype visits, please let me know.
Well, that was short-lived.
I got past Round One of the MM Poetry 2014 Tournament and went head-to-head in Round Two with the very talented Buffy Silverman. Her word was 'Fortitude'; my word was 'Quintessential'. Here are the poems we came up with:
As you can see her poem was pretty darned good and in the end triumphed over mine. She got the majority of the public vote and the poet vote. As a consolation, I had the majority of the school-children vote so something for me to feel good about.
Only one person goes to the next level, and that wont be me. On the positive side, I've already written about 6 new poems for this tournament. 94 more and I will have my next book. Time to start thinking seriously about Book 2...
I managed to squeak through Round One of the 2014 March Madness Poetry Tournament. See the entry and voting results here: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/3-avid-vs-14-concurrent/
There are three pools of votes: (1) General public (which was a close 115 to 104 in my favor); (2) Classrooms across the US (which was a close 9 to 8 in my favor); and (3) other competitors (which was almost 2:1 in my favor). An entry needs to win 2 out of 3 categories to progress which makes for some exciting tally counts.
Below is how my entry looked like as published compared to how I really wanted to have it look like but couldn't do short of using an image.
Now onto Round 2 where my assigned word is 'Quintessential'....
Every March the ThinkKidThink.com website hosts 64 poets in an competitive online tournament where poets compete by writing time-limited poems using assigned words, duking it out with each other till only one poet is left standing (thereby ...earning bragging rights).
This year I am taking part in this March Madness and the general public (that includes you) is invited to contribute by reading the poems and voting for your favorites. Here's my round 1 entry - come take a look: