Meet the Author: It's easier than ever!
Preparing Your Students
If you’ve read a book as a class read-aloud, or with a small book group, brainstorm questions together as you read to ask the author. Alternatively, collect questions from students as a culminating activity or reading journal assignment. It is a good idea to have questions written out on index cards for individual students to ask at the microphone. They may get nervous and forget what to say. You can get your students excited about interviewing an author by checking out “professional” author and illustrator interviews reviewed here.
Establish guidelines. As the teacher, you are the moderator for the session. Review the importance of only one person talking/using the microphone at a time, speaking clearly, being courteous, and offering helpful comments, suggestions, and questions. Prepare your students, and have a plan in place if the call is disconnected. Have something ready for them to do while you reconnect.
Consider the logistics. Where will students sit? How will they rotate up to the mike? What will you do to introduce yourselves to your video guest? How will students progress through the questions to keep things moving? How will you keep track of time and bring the session to a close?
Practice with the technology ahead of time. This is important, particularly if it’s the first time your students have used a webcam or microphone. Let them work off the “goofiness factor” in front of the camera and eliminate shyness around both the camera and microphone.
After the visit, plan some follow-up activities. A “thank you” for the author is appropriate. Have students compose emails, write notes, or prepare a video of their reflections after the visit. Many web 2.0 tools lend themselves to an extension. Share information about your virtual visit on your class webpage or blog, and be sure to share the link with the author in your thank you email.
Preparing Your Students • Alternatives to Skype