Sparking Student Motivation: Meeting an Author!

A few weeks back our district had the pleasure of bringing author, Marc Aronson, to visit our sixth and seventh graders.  Mr. Aronson is nonfiction author and lecturer at Rutgers University.  He came in to speak with our sixth graders about Stonehenge and the seventh grade about the Revolution.  I'll admit, at first I was skeptical.  Nonfiction author?   In a middle school?  Ut oh!  Would he keep the students attention?  BINGO my friends!  He was AMAZING!
He had them from the moment they walked in.. included them in the conversation and presented them with slides of documentation to make them QUESTION history!  My students were totally engaged.  They created theories, they were engaged, and they were disappointed when our time was up!  Aronson did an amazing job of pushing critical thinking with 12 year olds.  So much so, that as we continued our study of ancient Rome back in our classroom, my students mimicked his critical thinking in conversation about the Coliseum and Roman expansion of the empire.  I would call that a serious spark in learning motivation!
Mr. Aronson was also able to visit our 9th grade at the junior high, and a group of select 8th graders who had done a project after reading his book:  Sugar Changed the World
My daughter was one of the fortunate 8th graders to listen to him speak.  Even at that crazy 14 -15 year old age, these kids were totally motivated, because Mr. Aronson didn't lecture!  He engaged students.  The slides he brought probed students to answer questions, make inferences, and back up their conclusions!  Hello!  REAL WORLD thinking here people!
We were so thrilled after he left because he wrote an article for the School Library Journal periodical and he mentioned our school!  You can check that our {HERE} if you are interested in learning more about the Library and Common Core.  He also has a great website {HERE} where you learn more about bringing nonfiction to students.
I'd say bringing a "REAL LIVE AUTHOR" to school sparked learning in my classroom, so I'm linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching today!  


  1. Doesn't it just make such a huge difference when presenters grab their attention from the first moment...especially for you having middle schoolers. It sounds like you guys had an amazing and meaningful visit since the kiddos were able to bring ideas back into the classroom! Sounds like Mr. Aronson is a top notch presenter and author. Happy Saturday, Michele!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. I am like you - I would not think of a non-fiction author as a fit for elementary school but it sounds like he is an engaging presenter. I am glad that you and your students had a great experience. What a great hook, using questioning and critical thinking to engage the students. We are having two authors visit our school this week - I am so excited (Eric Walters and Mike Wade).

  3. How exciting Michele! And, I would think the same thing...non-fiction author? Not so much, but he knew his audience and how to hook them! Smart man! I bet that visit will spark some future writer at your school! Those are the kinds of moments that can change a life! Thanks for sharing and linking up BBB!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  4. You're spot on with the way the the author's need to present. It makes such a difference for the kids to include rather than lecture. We've got a couple of authors coming in later this year and I'm hoping they grab the kids attention. Last year we had one that was pretty dry and just talked for over an hour. The fact that you had a nonfiction author is pretty cool too. Thanks for sharing.

    Digital: Divide & Conquer


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