Patricia McKissack connects

Award winning author Pat McKissack (and former teacher!) does videoconference sessions through Cooperating School Districts in St. Louis, Missouri. She has four different topics: winter holidays, historical fiction/biography, creative writing, and fact versus opinion (see previous posts for dates and details). The author visit model consists of three videoconferences: First, Mrs. McKissack meets over videoconference with the teachers, usually after school, to discuss what will happen during the actual author visit. Second, Mrs. McKissack meets with the students over videoconference & conducts the pre-arranged lesson. Third, Mrs. McKissack meets again with the students over videoconference to give them feedback about what they have written in response to their assignment.

What can be done before each videoconference series? Here are some tips: 

Before the Videoconference
Prepare students by introducing them to videoconferencing protocol:

  • Have students practice introducing themselves & speaking loudly and clearly into a microphone.  
  • Have them research information on the web, at the library, or by emailing the presenter in advance.
  • Have them come up with thoughtful questions.
  • Make sure they write them down, so that they can read them during the videoconference itself.

During the Videoconference 

  • Make sure students are seated & in place approximately 10 minutes before the start of the program.
  • Decide on a procedure for students to ask questions.
  • Students should never be left unsupervised during a videoconference.
  • Microphones should be muted unless someone at your site wishes to speak.
  • Background noise can be irritating to presenters and other sites participating, and if the conference is voice-activated, the camera will go to the site even if the sound is just a chair scraping along the floor or papers rustling.
  • Make sure the students understand that they will be responsible for doing something concrete (doing a project) with the information that they get during the videoconference. 

After the Videoconference 

  • Go over the assignment with the students. 
  • Fill out the evaluation of the videoconference & send it to CSD.
  • Review what happened during the v/c with the students and ask them to explain what they learned & how they will make use of it in their work.
  • Collect student projects & evaluate them.
  • An option is to schedule another videoconference with the presenter so that students can share their projects and get valuable feedback.
  • If another videoconference with the presenter is not possible, and you participated in a multipoint v/c,  see if you can schedule a v/c with the other participating sites (usually other schools) to share student work.
  • Remember that students’ performance is often raised when they know that their work will be presented to an outside source other than the teacher.
  • You can post your students work to this blog, Can You Imagine? by leaving the work as a comment under the appropriate post.

Do you have a Question?

July 15, 2008

Welcome to Can You Imagine?, author Patricia McKissack’s blogIf you have a question or a comment for Pat, (about any of her books), please feel free to submit it here!

To read more about Pat and her work on the page and on camera, please scroll through the last year’s posts on this blog. You can also learn about Pat’s videoconferences by clicking here.