Gingerbread House on Flickr What winter holidays do your students celebrate? Here’s a great chance to explore the different religious and cultural celebrations throughout the winter months!

Award winning author Patricia McKissack shares with students over videoconference her expertise when in comes to writing, and tells participants about her holiday book, Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters. This illustrated book, for children ages nine and up, compares the preparations between the plantation mansion and the slave quarters leading up to Christmas celebrations.

Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters
Patricia McKissack and Fredrick McKissack
Illustrated by John Thompson
Details of holiday observances practiced by the wealthy residents as well as the slaves who lived on a large Virginia plantation in 1859 are shared through narrative, songs, recipes and glorious illustrations. The love of family and the bonds of traditions are made bittersweet by the tumultuous changes wrought by the upheavals inherent in the lives of the slaves and the impending wrenching changes wrought by war. The book is meticulously attendant to historical accuracy and never descends into an overly sentimental view. Detailed notes follow the text, with further interesting tidbits (for example, the phrase “sleep tight” refers to the rope slats supporting a mattress which must be tight to avoid uncomfortable sagging). Winner of the 1995 Coretta Scott King Award.

During the first videoconference, Pat will talk with the participating teachers about what they are doing in class and how this videoconference relates to their curriculum. In the second and third videoconferences, Pat interacts directly with the students. In the final connection, students will have an opportunity to share their work with their peers and Pat. Pat offers her praise and critique of the work, though often encouraging students to revise and rewrite!Flickr Creative Commons

Students in past videoconference connections have written about several winter holidays, including (but not limited to) Chinese New  Year, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa.

To have your class sign up for this interactive videoconference series, contact Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts to learn about costs and expectations. Each videoconference should have no more than 30 students per class, and we never connect more than three schools at one time. Pat works with students of all ages, but we work to schedule to make sure the right groups are working together (a second grade class would never work with a seventh grade class, for instance).

We hope to see you this holiday session! Here are the dates for 2009’s programs:

Teacher Session: Thursday, November 5 at 4 pm CT
First Student Session: Tuesday, November 24 at 11 am CT
Second Student Session: Tuesday, December 15 at 11 am CT

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making a pointWelcome!

To see a full list of 2009-2010 Author Visit Videoconference options available from Patricia McKissack, please visit the New Links to New Learning website.

Also, scroll through this blog, Writer’s Workshop, to learn more about past & upcoming programs, as well as about Pat’s books.

booksNew Links to New Learning is pleased to share that award winning author Patricia McKissack will conduct three, 60 minute story-hour distance learning sessions during the fall of 2009. Pat reads the selected books to connecting classrooms, she’ll talk about (her) inspiration, and she will take questions from students.

These story hour videoconferences are for students in first through fifth grades (depending on the book being read). The cost is $200 for New Links members and $250 for non-members. To learn more about these fantastic opportunities, please click here.

Flickr Creative Commons - dino_olivieriFor over 10 years, acclaimed St. Louis author Patricia McKissack has taught students the writing process over videoconference. During hands-on & highly interactive sessions, students discuss plot, themes, character development and more. In a series of three videoconferences, Mrs. McKissack customizes for any grade level and any part of the writing process. In the first v/c, the author meets with the teachers to discuss the goals of the author visit and what books they would like her to present. In the second, the author dialogs with students, and in the third v/c she gives feedback on the writing & illustrations they have done.

This year, we’re excited to announce a new take on a favorite offering: Creative WritingScience Fiction. This videoconference is open for 4th-12th grade students; if both elementary and high school teachers respond, we’ll most likely add another time to split the groups up. For 2009-2010, Science Fiction will be offered:

Teacher Session: Thursday, April 15, 2010 @  4 pm CT
Student Session I:  Thursday, April 29, 2010 @ 11 am CT
Student Session II:  Thursday, May 12, 2010 @ 11 am CT

Cost for the series of 3 v/c is $650 for New Links members; non-members $750. Please register by April 1.

As part of Read St. Louis‘ month-long baseball celebration, St. Louis author Patricia McKissack will discuss her baseball-themed books including Miami Jackson Makes the Play and Black Diamond: the Story of the Negro Baseball League on Saturday, July 18, 2:00 p.m. at St. Louis County Library Headquarters’ Auditorium, 1640 S. Lindbergh Boulevard.

Read St. Louis is a community-wide initiave developed by St. Louis County and St. Louis Public Libraries to encourage St. Louisans to read and discuss books.

Thinking About 2009-2010

July 10, 2009

Pat McKissack

New Links to New Learning and author Pat McKissack are working on bringing new programs to her videoconferenching line-up, as well as keeping some of the favorites. We’ll be introducing some new formats and content options… make sure check back soon to see what she’ll be offering during the 2009-2010 school year through Cooperating School Districts!