joan-marie-galat

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Touring In: Nunavut

Craft: author, storyteller

Genre: picture books, beginning readers, early chapter books, junior fiction, non-fiction

Ideal Audience Size: up to 60

Maximum Audience Size: 75

Grades: Kindergarten-Grade 12

Special Equipment:  Whiteboard, markers, and eraser (or Smartboard with markers); CD player; Table for materials; Water to sip. Presentations marked with * require a projector and computer with PowerPoint. (I’ll bring presentations on memory stick.) If in gymnasiums for multiple sessions: A sound system with a hands-free microphone appreciated. If possible, gymnastic mats for children to sit on and absorb echoes. (Prefer music rooms or libraries when possible.)

Website: www.joangalat.com and www.moondotmedia.com

2015 Santa Monica Green Prize for Sustainable Literature Winner
2008 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award Finalist

Presentation Information

Dot to Dot in the Sky Literacy: Author Presentations that Build Reading and Writing Skills

When it comes to helping students find the joy in reading and writing, the sky’s the limit for astronomy author, storyteller, and freelance writer, Joan Marie Galat. In lively presentations that blend facts, storytelling, self-editing, and writing tips, Joan launches reluctant readers into books.

Students of all ages find it hard to resist the lure of constellations, exploding stars, and black holes. From ancient myths to the marvels of space, Joan also intrigues young writers with her story of becoming a paid columnist at age 12. By the end of a presentation, students will head to the library to take out books and appreciate the idea that writing can be fun. They’ll also know how to find the North Star.

Joan’s presentations, perfect for grabbing the attention of all ages, provide links to science and social studies curriculums throughout Canada. Chris Hadfield and other astronauts have read and endorsed Joan’s books. Visit www.joangalat.com to read their comments, along with testimonials from teachers, librarians, and students.

Please note: I’m happy to modify content to suit class preferences. Hosts may also request Aboriginal stories, Inuit content, or stories from other cultures featured in the Dot to Dot in the Sky series.

Kindergarten to Grade 2: Pictures in the Sky (* Can be delivered with/without PowerPoint.)
Joan uses science and storytelling to introduce the wonders of the night sky. She reveals how to find the North Star and constellations, and leads a game called “Picture Book: Fact or Fiction.” Joan shares the most important point to remember to become a better writer and juggles star-shaped beanbags to reinforce the importance of reading (by explaining she learned to juggle from a book). A question and answer period is included. Follow-up activity sheets are provided to extend presentation benefits. Based on the Dot to Dot in the Sky series.

Grades 3 to 6: Branching Out – Trees by Number *
Find out why trees matter to people, animals, and the planet while exploring the science of trees through numbers. How many species exist? How high is the tallest? How many ways can you use a tree? It all adds up in this interactive session for young dendromaniacs—people who love trees. Discussion on what’s involved in writing a nonfiction book, and a question and answer period follow. Based on Branching Out, How Trees are Part of Our World.

Grades 3 to 12: Dark Matters – Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution *
From nesting turtles, to migrating birds, light pollution affects more than just humans. Discover how our need to light the world affects wildlife and people. Joan discusses how her writing process evolved to include personal tales to connect readers to ecology. She encourages students to read fact-based books and write their own stories. A question and answer period is included. Based on Joan’s nonfiction book, Dark Matters, Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution.

Grades 3 to 6: Write and Explore the Night
Joan uses science and storytelling to introduce the wonders of the night sky. She explains what happens when stars explode and black holes form, as well as how to find constellations and the North Star. Joan inspires future authors with her story of how she was first published at the age of 12. She shares rough copies to reinforce the need for “writers at all levels” to revise their work, and discusses the writing process and how to come up with ideas. Students learn the two most important things to remember to become a better writer. Joan reinforces literacy by juggling star-shaped beanbags, making sure student understand she learned to juggle from reading a nonfiction book. A question and answer period is included and follow-up activity sheets provided to extend presentation benefits.

Grades 4 to 12: The Northern Lights (Stories of the Aurora) *
Early cultures looked up at the same night sky we see today, seeking connections between what happened on Earth and what occurred overhead. They told stories to explain the shimmering northern lights and other night sky phenomena. Discover the science and legends of the lights, as well as the relationship between art, science, and nature in our Earth-sky environment. A question and answer period follows. Based on Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Aurora and Dark Matters, Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution.

Grades 7 to 9: Password to Publishing
Launched with celestial storytelling, this junior high presentation includes how Joan became a paid writer in grade eight. Joan discusses challenges of the writing life, using personal stories to show how she built her skills and how perseverance benefits anyone pursuing a dream. Joan offers tips on writing, revising, and finding writing topics, followed by a question and answer period. Hosts may extend presentation benefits by accessing writing resources on Joan’s website.

Grades 10 to 12: Write Your Own Future
Expanding on the junior high content described above, Joan discusses writing as a career, noting that most writing in adult life is fact-based. She shares her experience writing in different styles including speechwriting, websites, and radio commercials. Joan delivers the message that good writing is essential in all career fields, particularly with changing technology and competitive environments.

Family Literacy Events

– Ideal for ages eight and up. Younger children seated with adults welcome.

Dot to Dot in the Sky
Joan Marie Galat introduces the wonders of the night sky using storytelling to share ancient myths, interspersed with astronomy facts. Her enthusiasm for stargazing is contagious and leaves attendees ready to locate constellations and explore the mysteries of the night sky on their own. Dot to Dot in the Sky can be offered as an evening star gazing session.

Dark Matters – Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution*
From nesting turtles, to migrating birds, light pollution affects more than just humans. Discover how our need to light the world affects wildlife and people. Joan discusses how her writing process evolved to include personal tales to connect readers to ecology. She encourages audience members to read fact-based books and write their own stories. A question and answer period is included. Based on Joan’s nonfiction book, Dark Matters, Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution.

Writing and Storytelling Workshops (For individual classes)

Kindergarten to Grade 2: Finding Facts
What’s so fun about facts? Students find out by learning how to express what they already know. Everybody contributes in this fun group writing effort.

Kindergarten to Grade 2: Storytelling Workshop
Oral storytelling is the first step to story writing. Students discover how stories can have parts that are both true and make-believe. Everyone participates as the class builds a story together.

Grades 3 to 12: Stories in the Stars *
If the thought of writing makes your class groan, schedule this workshop to show how writing can be fun. Students enter the room with a blank piece of paper and leave with the first draft of an exciting space-themed story.

Grades 3 to 12: Tell a True Story *
Everyone has interesting tales to share. Students learn how to come up with writing ideas and organize their facts to tell a true personal story, complete with a beginning, middle, and end.

Book List

Dark Matters: Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution (Red Deer Press, 2017)

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Aurora (Whitecap Books, 2016)

Branching Out, How Trees are part of Our World (Owlkids, 2014)

Give Yourself a Pep Talk (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013)

The Discovery of Longitude (Pelican Publishing Company, 2012)

Black Holes and Supernovas (Capstone Press, 2011)

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Zodiac (Whitecap Books, 2007)

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Moon (Whitecap Books, 2004)

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Planets (Whitecap Books, 2003)

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories in the Stars (Whitecap Books, 2001)

Dr. Bufflehead Explores Energy (Scholastic Canada, 2006)

Dr. Bufflehead Explores Dirt (Scholastic Canada, 2006)

Biography

As a child, Joan Marie Galat spent hours gazing up at the night sky from snow forts. She shares her love of the stars in the Dot to Dot in the Sky series, which combines sky science with the myths ancient cultures first told to explain constellations, auroras, planets, and the Moon.

Joan’s passion for writing started early. She entered a writing contest, which led her to become a paid weekly newspaper columnist at the age of 12. Also loving the outdoors, Joan studied biological sciences and worked as a naturalist. She eventually found work in radio, and wrote news, commercials, and content for her shows. Always a reader, Joan wanted to create her own books and her first title was released in 2001. Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories in the Stars became a bestseller six weeks after its release.

When not busy writing or public speaking, Joan works as a freelance writer and editor. Some of her projects have included CBC Radio features, magazine editing, speech writing, museum text, video scripts, and a cartoon. She also teaches writing skills to all ages.

Passionate about promoting literacy and making sure everyone knows how to find the North Star, Joan often visits schools, libraries, and other venues. She juggles star-shaped beanbags to illustrate the concept of falling stars and sometimes brings stilts to her presentations. She towers nearly nine feet high over students while explaining how reading led her to stilt-walking.

Facebook Fan Page | Twitter: @joanmariegalat | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads

Awards

Branching Out, How Trees are part of Our World

  • Winner of the 2015 Santa Monica Green Prize for Sustainable Literature
  • Shortlisted (Honorable Mention) for the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award
  • Included on the 2014 list of Distinguished Books by the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California.
  • Included on the 2014 Year’s Best Nonfiction Book List (Preschool – Grade 6), Resource Links Magazine
  • Starred review, 2015 Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids & Teens, Spring Edition

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Zodiac

  • Winner of the 2008 Gold Moonbeam Award (science/activity category)
  • Winner of the 2008 Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award
  • Nominated for the 2008 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Semi-finalist in the Calgary Public Library Foundation Literary Awards
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Edmonton Public School Board recommended title

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Moon

  • Winner of the 2005 Writers Guild of Alberta R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice selection
  • Edmonton Public School Board recommended title

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Planets

  • Nominated for the 2004 Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice selection
  • Edmonton Public School Board recommended title

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories in the Stars

  • Bestseller within six weeks of release
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice selection
  • Edmonton Public School Board recommended title

Other achievements:

  • 1988 Multi-Media Society Award
  • 1987 CFWE Radio Award

Praise for Joan Marie Galat

“Looking up at the Moon has inspired explorers and dreamers for eons, floating as a beacon of endless mystery. It lured me into space. The largest Dot in the night sky is the Moon, and its facts and mysteries are beautifully connected in Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Moon.”
—Chris Hadfield, astronaut

“All the teachers were impressed with Joan’s relaxed approach in making what can be a very complex subject so fun and easy to understand. The grades one and two teachers were very excited at how engaged their students were while she told her stories. The Div II teachers were equally as enthusiastic in giving praise to her animated stories and tidbits of interesting facts, all the while maintaining the students’ interest from start to finish. We would not hesitate to have Joan come to our school again.”
—RoseAnn Johnston, Librarian Fort Saskatchewan Elementary School

“Joan is a great storyteller. She held all 75 kids attention as she told ancient tales of the stars and moon. The teachers were thrilled that Joan’s talk and her books were curriculum related for grades 4 and 5. I would have Joan again.”
—Sandra Burke, Ruth E. Dickinson Library

“The grade 4/5 students who attended Joan’s presentation really enjoyed it. The combination of factual information, storytelling, background on Joan’s childhood, the writing process, and participatory activities was really effective. She had the young audience’s full attention.”
—Megan Clare, St. Laurent Library

“Many of our communities in Northern Alberta are small rural settings and when an author is brought in every student in the school attends. Joan frequently presented to a mixed age-range simultaneously. At one school, 80 students from K-6 were hosted together, and in the case of the home educators association, 35 grade 1-9 students were in the same group. She managed both opportunities effectively, spreading her attention and interaction across the audience.

“One public library invited two schools that together packed in 75 grade six students. Joan kept their rapt attention for the hour. Joan also presented well to the younger audiences of K-4, and one young student commented afterwards, “That was a good one.” A librarian made this unsolicited, glowing remark, “I had the most favourable response that I have ever got from any author visit. The teachers raved about her.  Thank-you for bringing her.” A grade eight student later exclaimed “That was an hour?! That sure didn’t feel like a whole hour!” Such is the power of fascinating subjects and a good presenter.”
—K. Wiebe, Peace Library System

“Joan’s presentation brings the universe down to Earth in a way that kids (and adults) can understand. Her books are informative, colorful, exciting and fun – just like Joan.”
—Monique Roy, Children’s Librarian, Greater Sudbury Public Library

“What a terrific experience it was for our students to get to meet and interact with a real Canadian author. Ms. Galat is a warm, friendly, and knowledgeable, so if you have the chance to welcome her to your school, go for it!”
—Marc Daneault, Principal, SIS Canada, Sokcho, South Korea

“I would love to express how much we enjoyed your presentation—not just the students but also the teachers. You presented it in such a way that all who listened could hardly wait to go out and try all the methods on the night sky. I heard them talking to each other about the different methods for finding certain stars, etc.

The teachers felt it would be wonderful to have you be the one to teach sky science to our children and the children thought that was a good idea too. Along with your knowledge of the subject you also have  great storytelling skills. Thank you again for sharing with us.”
—Irene Portsmouth, Information Specialist, Hines Creek Composite School, Alberta

“Thanks so much, Joan, for coming to our island! I was able to attend two of Joan’s book talks while she was on tour here, and I enjoyed both of them very much. She is a natural, enthusiastic speaker, using her voice and gestures so effectively to augment the wonderful stories and interesting information. In addition to my own pleasure, I was pleased to see how engaged her audiences were, people from small children to seniors. What a gift!”
—Kate Thompson, Manitoulin Island, Ontario

“We were fortunate enough to have author Joan Marie Galat visit our school. Joan did two presentations for the students from grade 1-8. Joan was well organized, personable, and engaged with the students during her presentations. She shared excerpts from her books and made her material very student friendly. Both students and teachers really enjoyed her visit. It was a pleasure to meet her and hear her wonderful storytelling.”
—Michele Kettles, Library Manager, Bonanza Municipal Library

“All the teachers were impressed with Joan’s relaxed approach in making what can be a very complex subject so fun and easy to understand. The grades one and two teachers were very excited at how engaged their students were while she told her stories. The Div II teachers were equally as enthusiastic in giving praise to her animated stories and tidbits of interesting facts, all the while maintaining the students’ interest from start to finish. We would not hesitate to have you come to our school again.”
—RoseAnn Johnston, Librarian, Fort Saskatchewan Elementary School, Alberta

“Every single group of students that came to listen to you, found what you had to tell them interesting. I have had many students come into the library asking for your books to read, and also asking more about other nonfiction books like you suggested. You have been an incredible roll models for the students. Again, Thank-you for coming to visit us.”
—Vanessa Plett, Library Manager, Rosemary School

 

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