Karen is not only an author but a teacher with eight years of experience in elementary and junior-high classrooms. She is in her element among school groups and loves sharing her high-energy presentations with students in English, and in French/English sessions.
Karen offers both in-person and virtual presentations, which include readings from her books and from her works-in-progress. Depending on grade levels, sessions generally run 45-60 minutes and finish with a question and answer period.
Maximum class size is 75 students; 30 students for writing workshops.
“Finding Your Inner Superhero” (Kdgn -gr3; 45 minutes; offered in English; musical conclusion in French)
Karen draws students into story-building by tapping into their personal experiences at home, at school, and in their communities. With a shift into her superhero alter-ego, she inspires students to create their own superheroes to bring about the changes they want to see in the world. The session concludes with Karen’s original French song, which is suitable for students in English and French Immersion classes.
Writing workshop: “Trouble-making” (Gr4-6; 50-60 minutes; offered in English)
*maximum: 30 students
Starting with picture prompts, Karen helps students brainstorm ideas about the characters and conflicts those images might suggest. Students will work through the twists and turns that might befall a protagonist working toward an end goal, while writing within a compelling narrative structure.
Writing workshop: “I Didn’t Do it!” (Gr4-7; 50-60 minutes; offered in English)
*maximum: 30 students
Have you ever been accused of doing something you didn’t do? This lively workshop focuses on building a story around the theme of having to prove your innocence. Bring your sense of adventure, your imagination, and your appetite for adventure!
“Picking On Your Protagonist” (Gr4-6; 50-60 minutes; offered in English, or in French/English)
Karen demonstrates how to create a well-rounded main character, or protagonist, who has a problem. Using examples from her middle-grade novels, she demonstrates how to turn real-life events into compelling stories where characters overcome their challenges. This session concludes with a question and answer period.
“Show Me Some Emotion” (Gr7-9; 50-60 minutes; offered in English)
With emphasis on how building powerful emotions into your stories will hold your readers spellbound, Karen illustrates writing techniques to heighten story intensity as emotions clash. Karen also leads students in her original role-playing game called “Show Me Some Emotion!” The session concludes with a question and answer period.
“High School Writing…. and Beyond!” (Gr10-12; 50-60 minutes; offered in English)
Students sometimes overlook writing as a career because they are not aware of the various writing forms open to them. Karen discusses a range of writing opportunities, and offers candid insights into the joys and challenges of being a professional writer. Students will better appreciate how improving their writing can enhance their lives—even if they never plan to pick up a pen again after English 30. (Spoiler alert: they will pick up a pen!)
Karen’s presentations address the following Alberta Education learning outcomes:
- Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences;
- Comprehend and respond personally to oral texts;
- Listen, speak and write to enhance the clarity and artistry of communication.
- Engage in critical and creative thinking;
- Engage in problem solving and conflict resolution;
- Communicate ideas and information in an informed, organized and persuasive manner.