The final stop of my four-day swing through San Diego was Curie Elementary School. I used to live in the University City area of San Diego before moving to Sacramento, so I felt like I was going home. I was particularly gratified to see that the EDUCATE Foundation that I helped found when I lived in University City has grown exponentially and gives thousands of dollars to the five schools in the area.
During the morning hours, I spoke with six small groups of students from the fourth and fifth grades in a “close encounter with the author” format. Using Jingle the Brass and Nugget on the Flight Deck to illustrate several points, I spoke about my idea phase, research, revision, illustrations and working with my editors. I also answered the students’ questions about writing. One piece of advice I offered students: Put your stories/reports in a safe place for a week or two to let your brain rest and recharge. After the rest period, read your story with a new eye and you will immediately see places it can be improved.
After lunch, I spoke to an assembly of third graders in the auditorium. We had a great time reading Nugget on the Flight Deck (my first school visit reading!). Students helped me demonstrate aspects of flying; solved head-math problems (did you know the 18,000 meals served on a carrier each day will feed one third grader three meals a day, every day until he’s 26 years old?); and learned how to spell our names using the aviator’s alphabet (Ryan = Romeo Yankee Alpha November).
Bravo zulu! Curie students are spooled up now!