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January 24, 2013

Jamie Ayres School Tour and Book Release

Well, today is the day! My teaching buddy had her book release today and the excitement was in the air at school. It was so impressive to see the enthusiasm on the students' faces as they saw the cover of her book, 18 Things on Amazon. Click on the cover to get yours! The paperback copy will be released sometime this week, but the kindle version is live right now.

Jamie has put together an amazing school tour of her book. See the description and contact information below. Congratulations Jamie! You are an inspiring teacher for your students and colleagues alike!

Jamie Ayres
What Are Your 18 Things?

A presentation designed for teens of all ages, motivating participants to identify their goals, and then work toward achieving them. I want to inspire teens to turn their dreams into reality.

*Note: What works best, and would certainly make the appearance most effective and meaningful for the students, is if they read 18 Things in advance of the appearance—to encourage a lively discussion with the author.
Beginning:  A short activity to focus students’ attention before the actual program begins. This will be a showing of slides (wordlessly) of people completing bucket list items. Next, I’ll give the audience a quick overview of why they are there and what I’m going to share with them.
Middle: Build scenes around my #1 bucket list item: becoming a published author. Talk briefly about the writing process, revision, rejection, acceptance, the publishing process, the final product, and what makes 18 Things special.
End: Have all the students write on the piece of paper they were given as they came into today’s assembly. Tell them to write down the #1 bucket list item for their own life (short-term or long-term) that they wouldn’t mind sharing. Then, show them how to fold the paper into a paper airplane and zoom it to the stage. Ask by a show of hands who wants to be an author when they grow up, and bring some of those students onstage to collect the paper airplanes for me. As they do, show the video onscreen of a guy singing the Cantankerous Monkey Squad song: Ode to a Septic Tank. (Note: This is a fictional band and song from the novel.)Have volunteer students, teachers, or parents randomly pick 18 of the things to write on a piece of chart paper as I take part in a Question & Answer session. At the end, read the chart outloud and pick winners for Most Ambitious, Most Scary, Most Athletic, Most Humorous, and Most Poignant. Prizes will depend on the assembly, but could include lunch with the author, a signed copy of 18 Things, or other promotional items.
Q&A Sessions
Schools can choose to skip the last part of the assembly and have me do a more intimate 30-minute Question & Answer session for one or two classes at a time in one location (usually the library). Because these kids have already met me in the assembly, they will feel comfortable asking questions, and I’ll answer anything! I’ll bring along materials I didn’t share in the assembly and share behind-the-scenes information, and get students to laugh a lot!
Student Workshops
The presentation can also include a short workshop component, lasting 30-45 minutes. I guide participants through the process of identifying what's most important to them, both in terms of short- and long-term goals. Everyone then develops his or her own 18 Things Life List. That way, all participants take away a tangible reminder of their heart's desires. What Are Your 18 Things encourages everyone to make positive choices that will shape both their present and future.
› First, I will show an example of the end product with annotations.
› Next, I will help them generate ideas for their lists by doing a Mix-Pair-Share Kagan structure.
› Then, students will be given time to create their lists independently. If computers are available, they may use Google to search for more ideas if needed.
› Last, students who desire to do so can share up to three of their 18 Things with the class.

Related Key Common Core Initiatives
Reading: Through reading a diverse array of classic and contemporary literature as well as challenging informational texts in a range of subjects, students are expected to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspective.
Writing: Research—both short, focused projects (such as those commonly required in the workplace) and longer term in depth research —is emphasized throughout the standards but most prominently in the writing strand since a written analysis and presentation of findings is so often critical.
Speaking and Listening: An important focus of the speaking and listening standards is academic discussion in one-on-one, small-group, and whole-class settings. Formal presentations are one important way such talk occurs, but so is the more informal discussion that takes place as students collaborate to answer questions, build understanding, and solve problems.
Language: The standards expect that students will grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading. The standards will help students determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases.

Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches very young adults as a public school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. She lives in southwest Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She spent her youthful summers in Grand Haven, Michigan and this setting provided the inspiration for her debut novel, 18 Things. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she's thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Visit her website at

Book Blurb
Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible. When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled 18 Things. Eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

All she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record, and err . . . go on her first date. Good thing Nate, a new hottie in town, enters her life with perfect timing. He brings the fun factor to her list and helps her discover the beauty and strength inside herself, then complicates things by falling in love with her.

But there's more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

1 comment: said...

Thanks for posting, Laura:-) Wouldn't it be cool if I could visit 18 schools this year?! Caloosa Middle's VP and P both are reading it this weekend, and ordered 7 more copies for the students. I'm speaking there on Feb. 13th--I wonder if Kaylee Ayres will say hi to me;-)