I recommend that every writer adopt a classroom.
Most people I know live fairly close to an school. Go to a local school where children are the same age you write for. Volunteer to help in one of the classrooms. Work in your comfort zone. If you love to work with kids, volunteer for tasks such as working with slower learners or accelerated students. If that’s not your cup of tea, volunteer to help photocopy teacher handouts or prepare craft materials for class projects.
Each time you walk into that school, you’ll automatically see the stuff that’s hanging on the walls. You’ll learn the cutting edge information about how teachers work and how schools are being run. You’ll interact with students, even if it’s just saying “Hi” as you pass them in the hall. And if you’re really brave, you can work with the teacher and share samples of your writing on a regular basis, gathering student feedback.
Adopting a classroom is also beneficial if you’re writing for the educational market. It gives you lots of material to use, plus beefs up your resume with school experience even if you’re not an educator. And if you’re not writing for the educational market, you can tell your publishers in the trade market how your book might fit into school curriculum, which is a big plus for potential sales.
-contributed by Nancy I. Sanders