I’m excited to visit with your students via Skype! Skype is a great option for schools/classes who can’t afford to bring an author in and cover all the travel expenses, but who want to explore books and poetry, connect with an author, and ask one-on-one questions.
I offer 30-45-minute Skype visits with schools for $75 per session. In each session, I try to get kids as actively involved as possible. No, it’s not the same kind of connection as an in-person visit offers, but it can be inspiring and motivating for kids all the same.
What I Do
Each session for up to 50 students includes:
- 5 minutes of tech set-up
- 3 segments of 10ish-minutes each — You choose from:
- How I became a writer
- Writing this particular book (you choose which book I focus on)
- Reading (I read some poems and kids help me read others)
- Classroom presentation (your students put on a reading or performance for me—a very appreciative audience!)
- Writing a poem together
- Question and answer session
- 5 minutes of wrap-ups/goodbyes
I also chat with classes of pre-service teachers or groups of in-service teachers about poetry and writing.
Tips for a Great Skype Visit
Tips for a Successful Virtual Visit
One of my goals for virtual school visits is to capture the interactivity that makes in-person visits successful and fun. But the truth is that sometimes it’s tough to be virtually interactive! The timing might not sync up correctly, which makes reading together a challenge, and it’s really hard for me to hear individual students unless they come up and speak directly into the microphone/computer. But after some trial and error, I’ve discovered some ways to have the best Skype visits possible. Here they are: 10 ways to make my visit with your students a great experience!
Before the Visit
- Get kids as excited as possible about the visit. Visit my website with them. Read some of my books with them. Gather some questions students have for me. Anything you do ahead of time to make it feel like a BIG DEAL will go a long way toward student engagement.
- Position the video camera or laptop with webcam so that I can see as much of the audience as possible. It’s hard to assess student engagement when I can only see a couple of students.
- Limit each group to 50 students. It’s incredibly hard to engage large groups via video.
- I’ll move quickly from topic to topic or poem to poem. Please remind students that they’ll need to listen closely to understand what’s going on.
- Occasionally, I do a little Reader’s Theater with students. If I send you any scripted student parts ahead of time, print a copy for EACH session and cut into pieces, if needed.
During the Visit
- When I discuss a book, if you have that printed book, please hold it up for students to see.
- You are my proxy. I often can’t call on students and hear individual replies. So, I might say, “We’re going to get 3 ideas. Raise your hand if you have an idea.” Then YOU take over, call on three students, and announce those answers to everyone in the room and to me.
- Choose confident, outgoing students for scripted student parts (if I send any ahead of time). During my in-person school visits, I try to draw out some of the less confident students, but I’ve found that just doesn’t work during virtual visits.
- Have students with speaking parts sit up front. When it’s time, have them stand up and remind them to speak loudly.
- In virtual visits, behavior management falls solely on you. I often can’t see exactly what’s going on, so do please step in as needed. If there’s a big disruption, just ask me to hold on for a moment so that I don’t chatter on while nobody’s paying attention:>)
- Feel free to take pictures of me on-screen and share on social media–even though pictures of me often look ridiculous because I’m making funny faces or something while I read!
If you have any questions at all, please just ask, either before or during the visit!
Scheduling a Skype Session
Are you interested in scheduling a Skype visit with me? Just email me to set up a date, and we’ll go from there!