School Visits

David Neilsen’s In-Person School Visits


“My students were completely captivated by David Neilsen’s presentation!  They had a blast viewing creative images, brainstorming questions and sharing their ideas.  I can definitely say that Mr. Neilsen unlocked many creative minds and my students are still talking about him!” — Abbey Gilligan, 5th Grade Teacher, Washington Irving School

I love to visit schools and talk to students about writing. I’ve prepared several ready-made programs on a range of possible topics for schools to choose from.

  • Each program is designed to fun approximately 45 minutes.
  • Small Group programs are intended for a single class of students.
  • Large Group programs are intended for more auditorium-style situations.
  • All programs are intended for students in grades 4 and up.

Mr. Neilsen inspired a classroom full of 6th grade students. His presentation “Writing the Scary Stuff” helped the students in my class to focus their stories and develop outlines that eventually helped them to write stories with fully developed characters and settings that enhanced their original concepts. Mr. Neilsen has a way of breaking down the horror genre that not only makes sense to middle school students, but also encourages them, making them want to write.” — Joan Mullin, 6th Grade Teacher, Sleepy Hollow Middle School

 I can give up to 5 presentations during a full day, or three during a half day. Where indicated, I will require a way to present a powerpoint presentation either from a thumbdrive or my own computer onto a larger surface such as a SmartBoard or screen for the entire audience to view.


David Neilsen knows how to engage young people, he knows how to tell a story, and he knows what it takes to be a successful writer. Our students greatly enjoyed coming up with crazy story-telling ideas with him and listening to his spooky tales. They came away with both enthusiasm and useful advice for becoming storytellers and writers themselves. David clearly loves what he does, and his passion is contagious.” — Ned Bates, 8th Grade English Teacher, Suffern Middle School.

I’m also available to visit your classroom virtually via Skype or Google Hangout and answer any questions students might have. These Virtual Visits are always FREE and last approximately thirty minutes.

Two Words

(Small or Large Groups) All stories start with two very simple words–What If? This interactive presentation guides students through the basic elements of story creation, and challenges them to discover a multitude of story ideas from a single image. I end the presentation with an example of how my storytelling informs my writing and vice versa by performing a story from my creepy repertoire. *equipment required

Writing the Scary Stuff

(Small or Large Groups) An examination into what makes for a scary story. Working with the students, I comprise a list of things any truly scary story needs (atmosphere, identifiable characters, tone, tension, surprises, etc.) and go over the basic outlines of different types of scary stories. Students will break into groups and come up with their own scary stories over the course of the session, which they can then share with the class. *equipment required


Story Inspiration Is Everywhere

(Small or Large Groups) Stories can come from anywhere. In this presentation, I first explain how Trina Schart Hyman’s illustration inspired Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom, then present students with creative picture prompts and through discussion and improvisation help them craft whatever story it inspires. As we work together, we discuss plot, character, and other element of what goes into crafting a story. *equipment required

Reader’s Theater: Bring the Story to Life!

(Small Groups) Using my background as a professional storyteller, I guide students through a series of read-aloud and improvisation activities that have them on their feet and bringing stories to life. Students read passages from Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom that have been converted into script format, as I demonstrate technique and style, encouraging each student to find their own inner-storyteller. Along the way, I discuss tone, pacing, voice, character, accents, and other ways to make the story their own.

Journey Into The Writing Process of Doom

(Small or Large Groups) This presentation is a chilling descent into the dark cavern of the writing process, from the first nugget of an idea to completion. We gather supplies and meet the team members (discuss tone, voice, creating smart characters distinct from one another), enter the cave of doom (put together the first draft), reach the treasure (complete a draft), then fight our way back to the surface (revisions and editing). Along the way we tackle the demon of writer’s block, learn to stay on the path (focus on the plot), keep all team members alive and well (individual character arcs), and more! *equipment required



Looking for an educational performance? Check out my Storytelling offerings.

Use the form below to contact me. Thanks!