I have lots of experience touring around schools all over the UK, USA, Europe and around the world and would love to come to your school to do assemblies or workshops. I am happy to travel as long as expenses are covered. I can also be booked for visits to International Schools worldwide through Authors Abroad & Caboodle Books Ltd, 2-4 Briggate, Silsden, BD20 9JT United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0)1535 656015 email firstname.lastname@example.org. I do assemblies and workshops for KS1 and KS2 and can vary the content and length to fit the ages of the students. I also do workshops for KS3 in creative writing or drama in writing (see below). Additionally, I can do storytelling with Nursery age children.
What I can do for a school visit?
More People to Love Me storytelling session (3-5 year olds)
I can do a 30 minute storytelling session with my book More People To Love Me that explores the theme of families and how they come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a hugely interactive session with kids getting up and participating individually as well as actively responding in the group. There’s a craft element at the end as well ( this is suitable for 3- 5 year olds).
Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex storytelling (3-7 year olds)
I can do a 30 minute storytelling session around my book Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex that explores the idea of friendship and differences. This session has ukulele playing, singing, dino dancing and a craft element at the end too. The storytelling is again very interactive and the kids all create a soundscape for the story. It’s a great intro to Shakespeare and a warm funny story about friends. (This is suitable for 3-7 year olds. I would do a longer version for KS1 with Yr 1 and Yr2 kids but it works great).
Whole School Assembly (KS1/KS2)
I can do a whole school assembly which can be from 45 minutes to an hour long and is very interactive. There is lots of audience interaction and lots of laughing. I read a bit from the My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish books and talk about the process of taking a book from idea to actual published copy. Then I do a bit of stand up about the incident in my childhood that inspired the book and that leads into a mass brainstorming session about idea sparking for books. The kids get to share ideas, dress up as characters from the books and it all ends in a Zombie Fish Face Off. Lots of evil scientist Mwhaaa haaa haaa laughing all around but also some great story sparking and some insight into the way a book is written. (This is suitable for KS1 and KS2 and I have done this assembly for large groups of 500 kids or small groups of 50).
Creative Writing Workshop (Y1 - Y6)
I can do a creative workshop in year groups or in class groups that would probably be 40 minutes with Yr1 and Yr2, 50 minutes with the Yr 3 and 4 children and 60 minutes with the Yr 5 and Yr 6. In this creative writing session we make a story map that starts with creating a strong central character and spins out a story out from there. We work on methods for creating a story and then map out that story taking in the key points of Character, Plot and Setting. By the end of the session the kids will have a story map with sections of their story written and planned. There is plenty of opportunity for verbal input as well as drawing and writing.
Drama in Writing Workshop (KS3/KS4)
I also do a 1 hour or 90 minute Drama in Writing workshop that explores the connections between acting, directing and writing. This workshop is very much an on your feet experience that combines my experience of acting and writing. (Ideally we would need a hall space for this workshop but it could work for all year groups and could be done in groups up to about 50) The kids would not pick up a piece of paper in this workshop. Instead they would explore the creation of character and emotions on the page by acting and demonstrating those emotions. One of the most common notes given to new writers is, ‘Show, don’t tell.’ This is also one of the most common notes given by directors to new actors. We explore, through drama exercises, how to show emotion through action and how to convey intent through dialogue. We also touch on the concept of muscular memory, which is a technique that actors use to recreate certain moments again and again on stage. We show how this is useful in plotting and planning the actions of your characters, when you are, in effect, directing them in a scene. Lastly, we look at the concept of ‘hot-seating’ your characters to get to know them as an actor would when they approach a role. This is incredibly useful in making characters seem three dimensional in your book. This workshop works incredibly well with 11, 12, 13 and 14 yr olds. I can do a shorter version for 9 and 10 yr olds as well.
I am happy to do any of these workshops or a combination thereof with the different year groups. It really depends what else they will be doing in the other sessions so they won’t be covering the same ground. The drama one works great if they’ve done a lot of writing and need some free movement and thinking time. It’s a great energy boost too. The assembly works well as a kick-off to the day or as a fun wrap up in the afternoon. The other creative writing workshops can be tailored to meet the needs of the individual year groups that will be participating. For bookings and more information, please contact me.
Mo O'Hara came to Melling Primary and fired up the children's enthusiasm for writing. The whole school assembly was lively, fun and captured all the children's attention. The interactive workshops which followed were catered according to age group and gave them tips and skills for planning and writing stories. Even the teachers learnt new tips as well! Mo's visit began our book week in the best possible way!
Library Group Visits for KS1 an KS2
Local Pre-School Visit from Mo O’HaraWe had a fantastic author visit from Mo O’Hara who came to Petts Wood Library in Nov 2016 to meet a local pre-school group. All the children loved listening to Mo read ‘More People to Love Me’. She then talked to children about their family which they all enjoyed. All the way through the session Mo kept the children and adults engaged which is sometimes difficult as they are very young children.
Books Aloud Visit from Mo O’HaraMo O’Hara came to visit my Books Aloud group (5-7 year olds) at Petts Wood Library last year and told us all about being an author and her series ‘My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish’ It was fascinating to hear how Mo had got into writing and what had inspired her to write the series. She brought along lots of props (Frankie and friends!) which made the whole session very interactive and hands on. The children in Books Aloud very much enjoyed the activities that Mo brought along for them to do, but also had lots of questions for Mo to answer which was lovely. If you ever get the chance I would thoroughly recommend Mo for a library or class visit as she is excellent.
Special Educational Needs SchoolWe had Mo O'Hara come to our school which is a school for special education and emotionally damaged children. It is a challenging group of kids. Mo came in and did her presentation, complete with puppets and accents and such drama that it engaged our children for the entire 45 minutes. They were smiling and laughing and enjoying the event. Please be warned that laughter and a bit of craziness will ensue but it is so worth having Ms. O'Hara come visit and talk about her books and why she writes them.
Mo O’Hara’s visit to St. Mary’s CEP School was inspirational. Her personality shone out during a whole school assembly and with a combination of props, costumes, audience participation and her hysterical account of how she was inspired to write her Big Fat Zombie Goldfish stories, she held the attention of both pupils and staff alike. This was followed up with engaging Key Stage 2 writing workshops where the children explored their ‘What ifs’ to create amazing new stories. The whole experience was energizing and left the pupils with a buzz that continued weeks after her visit. So we were thrilled to have her back to work more closely with KS1. This focused on her picture book ‘More People to Love Me’ which tied in closely to the work being carried out in PSHE. Mo adapted really well to the different age group and again was able to engage with them through talks and activities which she pitched at just the right level. If you’re looking for an author to inspire and motivate your pupils writing I couldn’t recommend Mo O’Hara enough.
How would I describe a school visit by Mo O’Hara? Informative, inspirational, interactive, flat out fun? How about all of the above. Our students are still talking about it weeks later. The greatest benefit has been that our most reluctant readers and writers are genuinely excited about literacy. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to host this talented author at our school. I give her my highest recommendation. You will not be disappointed!