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Kate's Book Blog: Authors Who Skype with Book Clubs - Kate Messner

Grades
K to 12
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Find authors willing to pay a "virtual visit" to your classroom or school library from this list of author names collected by author Kate Messner. She explains that these authors ...more
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Find authors willing to pay a "virtual visit" to your classroom or school library from this list of author names collected by author Kate Messner. She explains that these authors "offer free 20-minute Skype chats with book clubs that have read one of their books!" Longer visits are usually for a fee. The author list is sorted by age group, and each name links to the author's web site for more information. If you are not familiar with Skype, all you need is a computer with the free, downloadable Skype software, speakers, and a microphone. If you have a webcam, you may be able to make your visit a two-way video chat. See tech tips below.

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

Plan a series of author visits or one special virtual visit to motivate your club or class to read! Have students prepare questions in advance and maybe even dress as a favorite character if you plan to use video. Make the best of your short visit by refining questions in advance and having everything ready to run with no wasted time. Have students step up to the microphone quietly and smoothly to ask their questions.

Since authors book up easily and may not respond quickly to email, you should plan well in advance to arrange such a visit.

Some technical tips: Share the Skype screen on a projector or whiteboard so more students can see it. Be sure to turn up your speakers and connect a microphone (even a cheap one) to the computer handling the Skype call. Pretest your visit by having a virtual visit from a friend outside of the school, loading Skype and using the same equipment you plan to use for the real visit. You may need to request that the school unblock Skype for your use during a specific time frame, since many schools do not allow such a "pull" on the network without special permission. Once you have a successful test, make a diagram of what you did so you will remember and can share with other teachers. Once you master the set-up, you can do it over and over! Need to learn more about Skype? Read TeachersFirst's review here. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom

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