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
A4ED school visit photos & blurbs:
2016 at 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!
2015 at 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!
2014 at GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL, Owings Mills, MD, USA
ELISSA EMPOWERS YOUNG READERS AT GARRISON
Garrison 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.