Elissa Brent Weissman
Baltimore, MD USA
SCHOOL VISITS: 3 - 12
Elissa's books have been described as both hilarious and thought-provoking, and her school visits strike the same balance between kid-appeal and substance. Her dynamic Author Jeopardy game—complete with dollar-bill bookmarks and a prize for the winner—provides information about the writing process, publishing, and the inspiration behind her stories, all in a fun, interactive format. She also loves running creative writing workshops and hosting a Nerd-Camp-style Color War that celebrates learning with physical and intellectual challenges. Elissa's youth, energy, and infectious enthusiasm get students fired up about reading and writing.
Year(s) of participation: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
A4ED school visit photos & blurbs:
GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL in Owing Mills, Maryland USA
GILMAN SCHOOL in Baltimore, Maryland USA
ELISSA FUELS CONSERVATION AT GILMAN
This year marked my fifth Authors for Earth Day visit, and I was thrilled to spend the day at The Gilman School, an all-boys school in Baltimore, Maryland. Before my visit, librarian Faith Ward got the entire lower school thinking green. The fourth graders split into groups to research the five nominee organizations. They raised awareness for the causes with posters, presentations, and conversations with the rest of the school so that everyone in grades 1 through 5 could cast an informed ballot.
The boys impressed me with their thoughtful and passionate reasons behind their votes—and with their knowledge of the writing and publishing process! Some lucky boys won Nerd Camp T-shirts and retainer cases, but the big winner was the name on the big check: the Rainforest Alliance.
THE NEW CENTURY SCHOOL in Baltimore, MD USA
ELISSA GIVES KIDS A CHOICE AT NEW CENTURY
My fourth Authors for Earth Day visit brought me to The New Century School, a small language-immersion school in downtown Baltimore. Before my presentation, the second-through-fifth-grade students told me about the nominee organizations that they researched, including which ones received their votes and why. Their passion for the various causes was palpable—and they put that same passion to task playing my "Who Wants to Be and Author" gameshow! The winner of the game got a free copy of my newest Nerd Camp book, but everyone cheered the loudest when I announced the organization that would be receiving the $350 donation: Hug it Forward!
No matter the state of world affairs, my Authors for Earth Day visit always leaves me happy and hopeful. With dedicated kids like on the case, our planet is in good hands.
FEDERAL HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL, Baltimore, MD, USA
ELISSA CONNECTS WITH STUDENTS AT FEDERAL HILL
My third year participating in A4ED was all about thinking local. I had a lot of fun visiting Federal Hill Preparatory #45, the Baltimore City public school in my neighborhood. The third, fourth, and fifth graders were excited about reading and about conservation. After all, Authors for Earth Day was just one component of their environmental awareness—their sustainability practices make FHP an official state of Maryland "green school"!
The Green Club helped create a rain garden and a bird sanctuary outside the school, quite a sight on these city streets. The students' local thinking extended to their A4ED voting. The winning organization was Blue Water Baltimore, which protects and restores the quality of Baltimore's rivers, streams, and harbor. I later learned that Blue Water Baltimore has worked with Federal Hill Prep students on their environmental initiatives, so the students' vote further demonstrates their efforts to give back. Even better, they created up a "quarters for conservation" jar prior to A4ED, and by the day of my visit, students had put in a total of $79, which I added to the $250 I was already planning to donate! It was so inspiring to see my neighborhood school doing such great things for our community and the environment. Keep up the awesome work, FHP!
THE BOYS' LATIN SCHOOL, Baltimore, MD, USA
ELISSA GIVES BACK AT BOYS' LATIN SCHOOL
I had a blast at the Boys' Latin School of Maryland! In the weeks leading up to my visit, librarian Terri Floccare had the 30 fourth graders split into teams to research the five nominee organizations. They created slideshows and presented their research to all 95 students in third, fourth, and fifth grade, making their most compelling case for why their team's organization deserved the most votes.
In between my presentations, I got to have lunch with the boys who lobbied on behalf of the winning organization, Wildlife Conservation Society. They were bubbling with passion for the cause, describing their love of animals and desire to do their part to make a difference on our planet. They praised the other teams' nominees as well, and some admitted that they were so swayed by another group's presentation that they voted for a different nominee.
I was blown away by how maturely these boys embraced the opportunity to make their vote count. They were also intelligent, outgoing, and excited about reading—a perfect combination for a fantastic day and a really bright future!
GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL, Owings Mills, MD, USA
ELISSA EMPOWERS YOUNG READERS AT GARRISON
arrison Forest is a small all-girls school in the suburbs of Baltimore. I was very excited to visit, as I knew the fifth graders (36 girls) had been reading my book The Short Seller and participating in the Stock Market Game. The girls asked thoughtful questions about my book, and they did an impressive job answering my questions as part of the Author Jeopardy game. The winner of the game got a Nerd Camp T-shirt, but the real winner of the day was the organization that the girls chose for their donation: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee! You should have heard the cheers that erupted when I announced it. The librarian, Faith Ward, was ready with a giant check—check #2021, representing the year the girls will graduate high school! April is Financial Literacy Month, and I was happy to share that solid financial planning involves supporting causes that matter. All told, it was an extremely rewarding—and fun—first Authors for Earth Day experience. Read more about my day on the Garrison Forest School Blog.