Check Out These Resources for Mentoring Student Authors

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checklistIn this blog, I am sharing how I mentored a group of high school science students to write and publish books about their science research experiences in 2015.

The biggest challenge for a teacher who wants to start a new project is finding the time to gather all the necessary resources to plan it out. I like to plan thoroughly for any lesson, so building a lesson from scratch takes me a lot of time—usually longer than the lesson itself. Doing this project where I mentored a group of student authors took me hours and hours of planning and researching to gather what I needed to show them the process to follow, and I am sharing all these resources so you can use them. Click here to go straight to my website’s Resources page that has checklists, templates, and guides for mentoring student authors. My book, Creating Student Authors: How to Mentor Any Student to be a Self-Published Author, has all of these items and more neatly packaged and organized so that you can just follow the book and download what you need as you go. I hope you find all of this useful—please give me feedback on what works for you.

Each month, my post will share how this project worked so you can duplicate it in whatever way works best for you.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with monthly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I mentored three high school science students to become published authors in the spring of 2015. 

Student Authors Explain Their Book Projects at CSTA Conference

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In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

CSTA ConferenceThree of the student authors I am mentoring attended the Connecticut Science Teachers Association (CSTA) annual conference with me this past Saturday, November 22, 2014. We had an exhibition hall table and showed the teachers attending the conference all about our books. Jen Schwartz, John Diorio, and Alexandra DiGiacomo each brought flyers, business cards and materials explaining their books and the science research behind them. I also explained how teachers could duplicate this project, the subject of my book. It was a good test of our marketing skills.

From a teaching perspective, this was a crucial assessment of the project. I wanted the students to be able to coherently discuss their books with strangers and “close the deal” by ensuring every person they met walked away with a business card or flyer. Prospective authors can’t be shy. They must promote what they are doing and engage people. Otherwise, their work will remain in obscurity. My students passed the test. They were thoughtful and engaging, and I had many conference attendees come up to me later and share how impressed they were with these three student authors. The students also succeeded in giving out dozens of business cards and flyers and in getting many attendees to provide their emails for follow up correspondence. I would recommend to any teacher conducting this project to have your students attend a conference like this one—the experience the students will get is invaluable.

Next week, my post will share the feedback we are getting from beta readers.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

Meet the Student Authors – Watch This Video Interview

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video interviewIn this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

One of the great things about a project like this is that I can have other students contribute in ways that accentuate their talents. Andrew Denaro is a student in one of my physics classes, and he showed me early in the school year that he was talented at making videos. He made an outstanding video describing one-dimensional motion, our first unit in physics. I asked him to help our student authors get information out about their books, and Andrew offered to do a video interview. Check it out (it’s only a few minutes long) and see these student authors firsthand: video interview.

Next week, my post will recap how some of the student authors and I presented our project to the Connecticut Science Teachers Association’s annual conference.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

How to Analyze Your Blog – What’s Working and What Isn’t?

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In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

Student authors need to blog about their books – well before publication. As independent authors, they need to build their readership through their own marketing. Blogs are a free and relatively easy way to do this. My students have been blogging for a few weeks. Here is a sample of what they have been saying:

John photoJohn Diorio contrasts a required high school curriculum with one that is more open and inspiring in The Curriculum.

Sarah photoSarah Patafio discusses the creative effect of writing in The Indefinite Existence.

Jen photoJen Schwartz provides hope for cancer patients by previewing her book in A Cure for Cancer Is Not My Goal? (Book Preview).

Siqiao photoSiqiao Mu explains how she named her blog that examines the dichotomy of art and science in Why India Yellow?

Alexandra photoAlexandra DiGiacomo shows how sharks are threatened in Shark Threats Special.

 

Wordpress Stats show blog traffic and its sources

WordPress Stats show blog traffic and its sources

As a blogger, I want to know some things about my blog’s readers. How many people are reading my blog? How are they finding out about it? Of the things I am doing, what’s working, and what’s not? The answers to these questions provide data that I can analyze to see if my blogging is effective or not. The way to get this information is from an analytical tool provided by your web service or by Google Analytics. I use WordPress’ “Stats” that are on my “Dashboard” options. These stats are in bar chart format, and by clicking on the bars, I can get more details about each day’s blog readers, including how they found my blog. For example, if I shared my blog post on Twitter, I can see how many people clicked on the link in Twitter and visited my blog. This type of information helps me see how effective sharing my posts is.

Next week, my post will discuss how to coach students to provide high quality content on their blogs.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

Social Media for an Author – Avoid the Quagmire

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Bryan Holmes (@BryanHolmesSTEM) | TwitterIn this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

Social media is a great way for an author to get his or her name out there, but it is not necessarily a good sales venue. If you are teaching student authors how to use social media, it is important to make sure they use it appropriately and safely. One appropriate method is to share your blog posts so that they go out automatically on your social media accounts. WordPress has a widget for this, a free plug-in feature. Additionally, short posts or photos of your writing experience would augment social media well. I told my students that if their social media accounts are full of personal information they don’t want to share publicly, then they should open a new Facebook, Twitter, or other site just about their book experience. There is not one way to do all this. Here is what I have done, as an example:

  • I used LinkedIn (click here to see my profile) extensively for this project since it is a professional network where I can reach other teachers. I share my blog posts automatically so that my connections see them, then I also share the posts with LinkedIn “groups” I have joined, such as the National Science Teachers Association. In this way, my blog posts are visible to thousands of other teachers who can comment on them and share the information.
  • I set up a new Twitter account (@BryanHolmesSTEM) for this book. My blog posts go out automatically as Tweets. I have connected with other teachers and science educators, plus many people involved in writing on Twitter. I also linked my Twitter feed to my blog website, so the two are closely linked. I also retweet writing and publishing articles that I think my students and other teachers would find helpful.
  • I started using Google+ (click here to see my profile) a couple years ago, but really got going with my previous book. The most useful features are to build “circles” and to join “communities” that match up with the target audience. I share my blog posts with the appropriate circles and communities.
  • Facebook – I had set up an account as an author, then stopped using it recently. I did not find it gave any useful return in the time spent. You may find it useful.

The last thing about social media is TIME. It can become a black hole into which you sink all of your time, if you are not careful. Get out there, post some appropriate content, respond to comments, then exit it. Do your social media posting and checking on a schedule, say 15 minutes per day. Don’t succumb to endless checking of your sites. This is critical for busy students. By mentoring them to use social media wisely, you will help them with time management.

Next week, my post will feature some of my students’ online activity.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.