Here are some upcoming registration deadlines for author Patricia McKissack’s videoconferences through New Links to New Learning:

•  Winter Holidays Around the World starts November 10th; register by November 1st
•  Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt takes place November 17th; register by November 11th
•  The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll takes place December 15th; register by December 6th

To schedule a connection, or if you have questions, contact Cooperating School Districts’ Rebecca Morrison at rmorrison@csd.org.

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Storyteller and author Pat McKissack will read from her acclaimed book Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt and participate in an interactive discussion with participating students over videoconference on November 17, 2010. For more information, including costs and times, email Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

This book is for students ages 9-12; “Mother and daughter, grandmother and granddaughter, aunt and niece, friend and friend. For a hundred years, generations of women from Gee’s Bend have quilted together, sharing stories, trading recipes, singing hymns—all the while stitchin’ and pullin’ thread through cloth. Every day Baby Girl listens, watches, and waits, until she’s called to sit at the quilting frame. Piece by piece, she puzzles her quilt together—telling not just her story, but the story of her family, the story of Gee’s Bend, and the story of her ancestors’ struggle for freedom.” (Amazon.com)

Program Format:
1. This program begins with Mrs. McKissack introducing herself and her book.
2. Mrs. McKissack will read the book.
3. Mrs. McKissack will take questions from the connecting sites

Here’s what a past participating teacher said of this videoconference:

“…the conference was incredible!  The kids and I really appreciated the fact that Patricia took the time to answer the kids’ questions.  They were intrigued by the fact that her husband is the researcher, and she is the writer.  I thoroughly believe the time with Patricia, hearing her voice, reading her own words, and discussing her own experiences were extremely beneficial for the kids and me.  I like the fact that she spoke of differences and similarities between people, no matter what the background, color, race, etc.  She emphasized the appreciation of family and love and making memories together. Beautiful.”

St. Louis author and storyteller Patricia McKissack teaches students how to write.

During hands-on and highly interactive sessions, students discuss plot, themes, character development and more. In a series of three videoconferences, Ms.McKissack customizes for any grade level and any part of the writing process. In the first videoconference, the author meets with the teachers to discuss the goals of the author visit and refers them to the book she will be discussing, Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters. In the second vc, the author dialogs with students, discussing winter holiday traditions and how she wrote her book about Christmas on a Virginia plantation in 1859. In the third videoconference, she gives feedback to students about the writing and illustrations the students have done.

In the first videoconference with students, Ms. McKissack introduces herself and gives a brief biographical background including how she came to be a writer. Then, she goes into a lesson, which focuses on how to do research and then write a fictional story that contains facts that you have researched. Time is left for questions and answers from the students. The author then makes a writing assignment to the students. She tells them to research various winter holidays such as Chanukah, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Christmas, or winter solstice, and then write a story about the holiday that they have researched. When they get back together in the last videoconference, she gives them feedback about their writing and the illustrations they have created to go with their stories.

The cost of this excellent three-part writing series is $650 for New Links members and $750 for nonmembers. Questions, or to register: rmorrison@csd.org.

Set dates and times:

• Teacher session is November 10 at 4 o’clock CT.
• First student session is November 17 at 11 o’clock CT.
• Final student session is December 8 at 11 o’clock CT.