Recently, I had the most wonderful school visit at Neptune Middle School in central Florida. Every year, students choose which author they would like to invite for their author visit and they chose me after reading Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen.
Before I came, the kids created a trailer to generate interest and excitement. Check out their great work at the end of this post.
I knew I was in for something special when I was greeted by the sign on the left as I entered the school. Diana Triplet, Neptune’s Literacy Coach, spearheaded a school-wide effort that involved language arts, history, and art teachers, as well as administrative faculty and the media specialist.
On Thursday, I gave presentations to all of the sixth and seventh-graders. They were an enthusiastic crowd and seemed to really enjoy my talk on the many ways we are not so different from the ancients.
That night, the PTA hosted A Night at the Museum type event where Egypt ruled! Thanks to the efforts of several dedicated teachers and students, the media center was transformed into a gorgeous center of Egyptian “artifacts.”
I was so impressed by the attention to detail. For example, there is one bust of Cleopatra that had been damaged over the eons. It’s nose had been broken off (she was said to have a big nose, you know).
Anyway, after finding a damaged head /base at a crafts store, the teacher grabbed it up, knowing she could make it look like the original, as shown in Cleopatra Rules! How cool is that?
After a wonderful meal of Greek salad, stew, and cookies, teachers treated the kids to a bunch of ancient-themed games such as, The “Mummy Wrap” game (wrap your mommy–or your daddy), face painting, hieroglyphic pictionary and Greek Olympics.
Along the way I gave a talk on the 10 Funniest Facts about the ancient world that I’ve discovered over the years. Needless to say, the bit about how the Romans bleached their teeth (with urine!) and how public toilets worked in Rome where a big hit. The fact that the Romans had a god of farts was a particular favorite of 7th grade boys. (No surprise, there!)
On Friday, I gave a talk to all of the eighth-graders in three different presentations. I knew they were studying U.S. history in social studies, so I made sure to include details about the Roman roots of our nation’s founding. I even shared a little known myth about the creation of Greek democracy. During questions-and-answer, one boy asked me to be his Valentine, which was the cutest thing ever. The school was hosting it’s Valentine’s Day dance the next day.
It was also a treat to be able to show everyone the new cover of Thor Speaks! which releases in September.
Many students were curious as to why I studied myths and the ancient world. After trying to answer like a grown-up, I ended by telling the truth–because this stuff is often weird, hilarious, or awesome. Sometimes all three at once!
From the principal down to the support staff, everyone at the school worked together to make “Author’s Day” a success for all involved, especially the students. The kids had no idea just how much work had gone into the event but I did–and I was deeply impressed.
Thank you Diana Triplett and Neptune Middle School for an extraordinary experience!
The Student-Made Trailer for my appearance is below: (Note, if it’s not showing up, go directly to the link here: http://youtu.be/29jwYlcGdlU)