Skype-ing with Authors

Image: ‘What is Skype?
What is Skype?

This week I’ll be hosting a visiting author for half a day.  (More about that later this week.)  We’ve been gearing up by reading several of the author’s books, arranging for lodging and meals, negotiating schedules with classroom teachers, brainstorming with students some great questions to ask, getting out the publicity, ordering books to be autographed, etc.  As wonderful as these events can be, they can add a bit of stress!

This visit wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t sharing the cost with another school in the district.  Fortunately, with Skype and other web tools, it’s possible to communicate with authors in a whole new way.  Though I’ve not done this yet myself, I’m excited to think of it as an option for next year.  The cost is significantly reduced (if not free) allowing for more visits in a year and customizing the right author with the right grade level(s).  There are still arrangements to be made in terms of technology, but I can tap my I.T. guys for help with that.  Reading books and generating questions can still happen during regular library classes and it seems as if the scheduling piece might not be as much of an issue.  I’d like to think that for the most part it would be “business as usual” as opposed to a monumental “event.”

But,….I’ve not tried it yet.  What say you, readers who’ve conducted alternative author visits?  What advice do you have?  Pitfalls to avoid?  AND, which authors would you recommend for a K-3 school?  Please leave a comment with your advice!

Image from flickrCC: 27481259@N00/125252891

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rich Cantrell
    Mar 27, 2011 @ 12:59:23

    Bunchlady, Love your blog site. It thrills me to see librarians into sharing with technology. I’m sure you will soon be hooked on skyping. As with any activity with kids, the secret will be a successful connecting with them. If the author connects, you will have a wonderful skyping session. I am a principal at Longs Creek, an elementary school, in San Antonio Texas and one of my goals this year has been introducing skyping to the staff. It has been a slow but exciting effort. My wife, a former kinder teacher, has written a couple of childen’s picture books. I have also been encouraging her to skype. Her ability to connect with kids would make her a great skyper. You might google her, Diane Cantrell, and request a skype reading of one of her books. It would be a win win for both of you. Hats off to you for serving in education profession.

    Reply

    • buchlady
      Mar 27, 2011 @ 17:08:45

      Hello,
      Thank you for stopping by, and for subscribing! I’ve been blogging in earnest since July but only slowly gathering readers. It’s great to hear about a principal who is working alongside his staff on technology. I’ve been doing that as well; sometimes it’s easier than others. Chocolate always helps!

      Next year I’m interested in doing an action research project around blogging with students and how/whether we can make some literacy gains as a result. Do any of your teachers have a classroom blog that students contribute to?

      Reply

  2. Kathy
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 23:11:39

    I did a skype visit this year and it went GREAT! I think the key is to have the kids familiar with the author and have the kids write out questions before hand. I am Skyping with a 1st grade class in WI tomorrow (I am in GA) the media specialist in WI and I have been working on a Flat Stanley project and tomorrow is the end of our project – our kids are SOO excited! I work in a HUGE district so sometimes getting aorund the filters and policies of my district make Skyping and other technology a bit of a challenge.
    Check out my blog – I have been had a group of 4th grade students blogging this year, if you have any questions about how I have worked the blogs this year, email me.

    Kathy
    Library media specialist
    Lawrenceville, GA

    Reply

  3. Donna Macdonald
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 21:33:53

    Hi Kathy,
    Have you signed up for Skype in the Classroom (http://education.skype.com/)? I’ve made so many connections there!

    Reply

    • buchlady
      Apr 13, 2011 @ 23:43:27

      Not yet–it’s on my to-do list for April break! I had starred the post where I first read about it and on vacations I usually try to do something with my starred items. Glad it’s working for you!

      Reply

  4. Kathleen
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 13:25:41

    About a year ago our Grades K-3 Skyped with author Mona Kerby, author of Owney the Mail Pouch Pooch, a nominee for Vermont’s 2009-2010 Red Clover (student-voted) award. It was our first experience Skyping, and making sure the students were familiar with the author’s book was key–but also easy given its Red Clover nominee status. Ms. Kerby is exceptionally warm and friendly, and the students came prepared with questions–all in all, it was a win-win. And, no surprise, Owney won the most RC votes not only in our school, but statewide! We are gearing up to try Skyping again with Anna Alter in a few weeks right before our annual spelling bee. Her book Abigail Spells will be the perfect launching pad!

    Reply

    • buchlady
      Apr 19, 2011 @ 18:42:32

      Thanks, Kathleen, for the info! The more I hear the more I’m convinced that I need to dive in and look for possibilities. I had a conversation recently with the librarian in my sister school across town and we thought we might just do some Skype-ing with each other’s classes next year. Why not?

      Reply

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