School Visits

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So much more than an just an “author visit”…

Schools use Mister Lemur visits to:
  • Create enthusiasm for writing
  • Feature writing as a profession
  • Celebrate literacy and/or a literacy event
  • Inspire students to set and achieve goals
  • Allow students to learn from an expert

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Using stories and songs, the writing process come alive as Jen Hartvickson (a.k.a. “Mister Lemur”_ walks students through writing, drawing, editing and printing books. Over the course of 30 to 45-minutes (depending on the audience), Mister Lemur re-frames writing as the starting point for creativity and learning, and inspires them to unleash their own imaginations.

1st Year Assembly: Book Making
Future Year Assembly: 5 Ingredients of a Good Story
Common Core Standards Addressed
Reading Standards for Literature (K-5)

  • Grade 1: With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity
  • Grades 2-5: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grade text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills (K-5)
Grade 3-5: Read on-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings

Half-Day Assembly ($500)
The most popular assembly package, Jen will work with you to host two back-to-back assemblies for K-6th grades. UYou will receive a set of Mister Lemur books and music for your library, and a custom website for families to learn more about the visit. Jen will work with you to ensure a memorable event for all!

Full Day Assembly ($800)

The only thing better than the half-day assembly is Mister Lemur’s full day assembly! Jen will host two assemblies for K-6 grades, followed by activities specifically designed to meet your needs. Examples include lunch with the author, poetry writing workshops, drawing lessons, and classroom visits. Jen will work with you throughout the planning process to ensure an outstanding event!

Custom (TBD)
Looking for an extra-special visit that has been customized to meet your exact needs? Mistur Lemur will create a custom talk, just for you. Past examples have included key-note addresses, writing workshops, teacher trainings and specialty group visits (i.e. GATE classes and or summer school)

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We aim to provide experiences that gently lead young readers to new perspectives on reading, writing and poetry with positive life changing results. After all, Mister lemur changed our lives. But don’t just take our word for it…

Librarian – It was so easy to plan!
Principal – Students couldn’t wait to begin reading and writing their own stories!
Librarian – I cannot keep the books on the shelves!
Teacher – My students love Mister Lemur!
“I highly recommend having her visit your school to encourage students to read and write. After she visited, our students couldn’t wait to begin reading and writing their own stories!”
Aaron Jetzer, Principal
Culverdale Elementary School, Irvine, CA
Jen was just amazing!!! She combines reading, writing, drawing, music, and creativity into one 30 minute assembly ~ magical!!!
- Sharon Arsenault, Reading Specialist, Kehrs Mill Elementary
“My name is Iris. I’m 12 years old and I love to draw. Also, I love to write. When I grow up I want to be an author and illustrator. I just recently saw you at my school with your book “Train of Thought”. You inspired me to become a writer and illustrator. So pretty much, this email is just to thank you.. I really needed some inspiration, and now I have it!”
-Iris, student
“We just had our Mister Lemur assembly and I wanted to let everyone know it was more than expected. Jen Hartvickson (illustrator/author) was energetic and held the different grade levels interest the entire time. If you have an opportunity to hear her you will be very pleased with her assembly.”
- Kitty Copple, Westridge Elementary school, Ballwin, MO
Television

KSDK Channel 5, Saint Louis, MO, Mar. 3rd 2012
KTVN Channel 2, Reno, NV, Mar. 20th 2012

Print

March 13, 2013 – St. Louis Today, Children’s Book Authors Unleash Mister Lemur

May 9, 2012 - Reno Gazette Journal, Authors visits jumpstart reading

Mar. 29, 2012 – Ballwin-Ellisville Patch, MO, Cast Your Vote for Ballwin’s Best Young Writers’ Works!

Feb. 2012 – Pines Miramar Town Times (p.34), Author reads to PPCES-East Students

Feb. 16, 2012 – Stockton Record, Author’s madcap storytelling shows fun side of reading

Feb. 14, 2012 – Modesto Bee, Writing pep talk: Author shares insights with Modesto students

Jan. 21, 2012 – Sun Sentinel, Children’s book authors visit Pines school

Nov. 19, 2011 – Union Democrat, Bret Harte grad speaks about book

Author Interviews:

April 15, 2012 – Escape Adulthood Meet Jennifer Hartvickson, Apr. 15, 2012

Brummet’s Conscious Blog, Feb. 11, 2011

Planning a Successful Visit

Planning a Mister Lemur vist for your school? Start by downloading the Planning A Successful Mister Lemur Visit Checklist. Browse the information below and if you still have questions, please give us a call: (415) 322-0511

Choose the Date

One of the most important decisions you’ll make in planning a successful Mister Lemur visit is choosing the date of the visit. Mister Lemur visits are often most successful when they coincide with a school-wide focus on literacy, poetry or reading. When possible, try to schedule your visit around the same time as a book fair, poetry month, or as a kick-off to a summer reading program. Equally important is to avoid dates when students, teachers or parents have other focuses, such as testing. In short, the ideal time for a Mister Lemur Visit is when your school is already focused on literacy and when parents, teachers and students are not overwhelmed with other priorities.
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Itentify a Coordinator

After choosing the date of your visit, your second most important decision is to decide who will actually coordinate the visit. It’s been said that “success is not an accident.” All successful Mister Lemur visits have been spearheaded by dedicated, enthusiastic and organized individuals! If you will not be coordinating the visit yourself, look to assign someone who is a natural fit for Mister Lemur’s fun and educational style and who is also well-established and respected by his or her peers. Some of our best coordinators have been excited teachers, librarians and parents. Look to support coordinators as much as possible. They may need additional access to supplies, teachers and administrators as they coordinate the visit.
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Make a Plan

Once you’ve identified a coordinator, we strongly suggest creating a plan for the visit. But don’t worry! We know you’re busy, and that’s why we put together a simple planning checklist that you can download here. Combined with the information you’ll find on this webpage you’ll be well on your way to planning a FANTASTIC visit for your school!
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The Venue

Mister Lemur presentations are designed for audiences of 200+ students. We will work with the space that is available at your campus. Mister Lemur visits include audio, video, music and live entertainment. As such we will require the following AV equipment:

To be provided by school To be provided by Mister Lemur
  • Multi-Purpose Room or Auditorium
  • Projection Screen
  • Microphone (optional for smaller audiences)
  • 1 chair
  • 1 table
  • Projector
  • Speakers
  • Table (available upon request)

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Pre-Order Sales

Mister Lemur author visits are the most fun when students are already familiar with Mister Lemur Stories. We highly encourage pre-reading, and will make copies of the book available in advance of our visit. Based on suggestions from other schools, we suggest handling pre-sales in the following manner:

  1. Mister Lemur sends the campus a box of books three weeks prior to the visit.
  2. The campus sends home the Mister Lemur Book Pre-Order Form
  3. Upon receipt of payment, the campus point-person delivers books to teachers and/or students.
  4. Students take home the book to read.
  5. The day before the visit, students are reminded to bring their books to the assembly to be signed by the author after the presentation.

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Involve Teachers

There are lots of ways to expose students to Mister Lemur stories, but before students can get excited, teachers must be excited themselves. Therefore, get teachers involved early on in the planning process. The following ideas were created and used by teachers as they prepared for a Mister Lemur Author Visit.

Idea #1: Read Stories
Curious to know what Mister Lemur is all about? Download an assortment of stories from Mister Lemur’s Train of Thought and share them with your class. This serves as a great introduction to poetry or a sneak-peek of what they will hear in a Mister Lemur Author Visit.

Idea #2: Listen to Stories
Mister Lemur stories are known for their rhythm and musicality. After you’ve read the stories on your own or with your class, consider re-reading the story as you listen to the authors narrate in their own voices.

Idea #3: Sing a Mister Lemur Story
Poets and songwriters are not-so-distant cousins. Listen to how one Mister Lemur poem, Come and Join the Body Band, became the lyrics to a fun and interactive song. Better yet, get your class to join in the fun and create their own body band!

Idea #4: Lemur Coloring Pages
Build enthusiasm for Mister Lemur by printing Mister Lemur Coloring Pages. Host your own in-class coloring contest using drawings from Mister Lemur’s Train of Thought.

Idea #5: Mister Lemur Decorations
Is your class looking forward to meeting Mister Lemur? Grab some paper, paints and brushes and paint your own Mister Lemur signs and posters to decorate the walls of the assembly hall on the day of the author visit.

Idea #6: Word Find
Cannot find what you’re looking for? Get in the habit of finding things with a Mister Lemur story themed word find!

Idea #7: Poetry Lesson
Curious how Mister Lemur writes his stories? In this Poetry Writing Guide, Mister Lemur shares his tips for finding inspiration and creating fun, rhyming poetry – lemur style!

Idea #8: Lemur Snacks
Lemurs LOVE bananas, so to get your classroom excited about meeting Mister Lemur, plan to have parents or kids bring bananas to class the day of the assembly.
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Involve Parents

Mister lemur stories are fun for all ages; in fact, we often hear that parents continue reading stories from Mister Lemur’s Train of Thought long after the kids have gone to bed. Therefore, parents are welcomed to get involved in all parts of the planning, awareness and even attendance of Mister Lemur school visits.

We suggest the following steps to keep parents involved:

  1. Two weeks before the visit send home an Author Visit Information and Order Form.
  2. The week of the visit, re-send the Announcement and Order Form.
  3. Unless your campus has a policy against parents being on campus, encourage parents to attend author visits along with their children.

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Create BUZZ around Campus

Mister Lemur author visits work best when students are already familiar with the stories. We’ve found that two of the most effective ways to grow enthusiasm for Mister Lemur visits are to (1) read the stories over the school intercom as part of the morning announcement and (2) allow students to purchase advanced sale copies of the book and take them home to read beforehand.

Here are ten other creative ways that schools have generated buss about Mister Lemur:

Idea #1: Announce a Mister Lemur visit on your school website
Idea #2: Post it to your school Facebook page and/or create a Facebook Event announcement
Idea #3: Tweet about the visit
Idea #4: Put up signs around campus
Idea #5: Distribute bookmarks to student attendees beforehand
Idea #6: Highlight Mister Lemur’s visit in your school newsletter
Idea #7: Work with the PTA to spread the word
Idea #8: Invite a local paper to attend the assembly
Idea #9: Announce the date on your school marquee
Idea #10: Create a display for Mister Lemur’s Train of Thought in your Library
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The Visit

Reminders

As the planner, you know the most about the Author Visit and are excited for the day to arrive. That, however, may not be the case for all teachers and staff, so it is helpful to remind them. Let the front-desk staff know what time to expect the authors. Include a note in staff boxes or the morning announcement to teachers that includes the time of their assembly. Make sure that books have been handed out to kids and that they bring them to the presentation to be personalized afterward.
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Author Check-In and Set-Up

Jen (and Hans) will arrive 30 minutes prior to the first presentation. We’ll go to the front desk to await further instruction on where to set-up.

We will need access to a projection screen and a stand upon which we can set our projector. We will provide our own computer and speakers. We like to interact with the kids, so while some auditoriums have a stage, we prefer to be on the floor with the students.

We will also need access to a table and chairs. This is where we will sign books after the assembly.

To be provided by school To be provided by Mister Lemur
  • Multi-Purpose Room or Auditorium
  • Projection Screen
  • Microphone (optional for smaller audiences)
  • 1 chair
  • 1 table
  • Projector
  • Speakers
  • Table (available upon request)

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Introducing the Author

While no introduction is necessary, it is not uncommon for a principal, librarian or teacher to introduce us. A typical introduction usually sounds like this…

“I’m excited to introduce you to our guest(s) today. You all have been reading stories from the book, Mister Lemur’s Train of Thought and some of you have purchased copies to have signed today. Over the next thirty minutes you are going to learn about how the book was written, how the authors fell in love with lemurs, and how YOU can set goals and make plans to achieve them. With that, I now welcome you aboard Mister Lemur’s Train of Thought!”
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The Presentation

Our presentation teaches students that if you have a goal, in order to achieve that goal, you must make a plan! To illustrate this point, we share our own story of falling in love with lemurs, being inspired to write a book, putting together a plan for the book and ultimately creating the book. Students will be exposed to videos, music and readings throughout the presentation and have an opportunity to ask questions at the end.

The presentation typically last 20-25 minutes with 5-10 minutes of question and answer. If you are planning to do multiple sessions at your school, we recommend at least 20 minutes in between groups to allow for book signing and student entry and exit.

Click here for a preview of the Mister Lemur assembly.

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Book Signing

At the conclusion of Q&A, those students who purchased books will be able to have them personalized. It typically takes about 30 seconds to personalize a book so we can personalize books for 20 kids in about 10 minutes. Personalization includes a drawing, message and Mister Lemur’s signature.
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After the Visit

Follow Up Book Orders

Often, after hearing the assembly, students who did not purchase a book decide that they want one. In these situations we recommend the following two approaches:

  1. Collect the order forms and work with Mister Lemur to have an additional box of books personalized and mailed to the school (Mister Lemur will cover the cost of postage).
  2. Direct students to purchase a book directly from www.misterlemur.com. Books are available for $14.99 plus $2.99 shipping and handling. Students who wish to have their books personalized will be prompted for personalization during the order process.

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Organize a Write Your Own Mister Lemur Story Competition

“The Mister Lemur book and author presentation inspired my students to write, write, write! We had students publishing poetry in class, at recess and at home! What a great way to make poetry fun!”

–Kevin Keegan, Principal
Kathryn Hughes Elementary, Santa Clara, California

After attending the assembly, many kids are so excited about writing and drawing that they want to create their own Mister Lemur style stories. With the Write Your Own Mister Lemur Story Competition we encourage them to do just that! Competitions are easy to organize and require little work on the part of the school. Just follow the steps in the checklist to get started.

All participants will have their entries posted to the Mister Lemur website. From there, friends and family can view their work and vote on their favorite entry. All participants receive a certificate from Mister Lemur and the winners receive prizes, usually from the Mister Lemur Store.

View past competitions here.

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Give Feedback

At Mister Lemur, learning is central to all we do. We have already learned much from the teachers and administrators who have hosted a Mister Lemur visit in the past. We would like to learn from you too!

To facilitate that process, we have created a Mister Lemur Assembly Feedback Card and seek your help in collecting feedback from teachers and administrators who attended and planned the visit. We will provide you with the feedback cards and an envelope on the day of the visit. We’d ask that you distribute to teachers and ask for their feedback within 1-2 days of the assembly. Alternatively, feedback can be submitted online at: https://creator.zoho.com/misterlemur/mister-lemur/#.

With your help we will continue to improve the Mister Lemur school visit experience and better achieve our mission of delighting and educating readers. Thank you!

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Schedule a Future Visit

Mister Lemur author visits are a great way to expose your students to the arts, without placing additional strain on already strapped budgets. Due to their popularity, Mister Lemur school visits book-up quickly. If you would like to have us back on campus next year, please let us know early so that we can hold a space for you.

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