by Martha Bogart

Fred McKissack died last Sunday, and the world just isn’t the same place without him.  Fred was one of those men that you always hear about on the news when they die—he was so nice, so friendly, such a good heart, etc. etc., except—Fred was the genuine article.  I don’t think I have ever met a better human being than Fred.  He and his wife, Pat, helped us here at CSD to create the New Links to New Learning videoconferencing program from scratch.  This was at a time, back in 1998, when if you asked someone to do a videoconference, the response was, “A what?”  But, CSD had received a grant from Southwestern Bell and Ruth Block’s task was to get schools interested and participating in videoconferences with students.  She approached Pat and explained what she wanted to do—provide students with videoconferences from children’s authors—and Pat and Fred were immediately in.  They didn’t know what it was, exactly, but if it helped kids, they were going to do it….

To read more of this post, visit The Connected Classroom.

Advertisements

December 17, 2010

If you think your students could be intimidated by talking with an award-winning published author, take a look at this collage of photos taken from several videoconferences with Patricia McKissack…

… maybe not so much, right? If you want to read more about Mrs. McKissack’s interactive, engaging distance learning programs, click here.

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.”

Award winning author Patricia McKissack will conduct three, 60 minute story-hour sessions during the fall of 2010 with New Links to New Learning.

Just in time for Halloween: Pat will read select portions of The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural on October 28, 2010 at 10 a.m. central. This book is for students ages 9-12; “these 10 spine-tinglers range from straight-up ghost stories to eerie narratives. The tales in this winner of the 1993 Coretta Scott King Award depict racism, haunting and vengeance in a manner that can be read out loud around a campfire or savored privately, offering middle readers thoughtful exposure to important, though frightening, historical themes.” (Amazon.com)

Here are some more details:

Pat reads the selected books, she’ll talk about (her) inspiration, and she will take questions from students. These story hours are for students in first through fifth grades (depending on the book). The cost is $125 for New Links members and $175 for non-members. First up is The Dark Thirty. To register, contact Rebecca Morrison by October 20.

Don’t miss out on this once-a-year videoconferencing event! You read full details on it at www.cilc.org.

Children’s book authors, Patricia McKissack and her son, Fredrick McKissack, Jr., will conduct a 60-90 minute session about their collaboration on several books– Black Diamond, the Story of the Negro Baseball Leagues, Hard Labor, and the upcoming graphic novel, Nat Love, Cowboy. During the highly interactive session, the McKissacks will discuss how the team works to maintain consistency, sequence, form, and accuracy. Students will be asked to participate by answering a brief quiz that will identify who might be a good collaborator with them.

During the videoconference with students, the McKissacks introduces themselves and give brief biographical information including how they became collaborators. After a definition of “collaboration” and the many forms it can take, the McKissacks will focus on research writing first draft, editing, and final draft as they are affected by collaboration.  Time for questions and answers from the students will follow, along with a brief test to see who would be a good collaborator for you?

The goal of the project is to introduce students to the process that authors use to write and/or illustrate a book together. In addition, the project will encourage students to work with each other in the spirit of sharing, compromise, and respect for others’ thoughts and ideas.

At the end of the project students will be able to:

• Work together brainstorming to come up with ideas for writing a short story.
• Agree upon a story line.
• Create a draft of the story then hand it off to the writing partner (collaborator.}
• Analyze their writing with each other.
• Share their work through email with other collaborators.
• Revise their writing to conform to the correct standards of English.
• Prepare a finished manuscript (publish).

TIMES AND DATES will be published soon. This videoconference will be $300 per session. Interested?

Contact Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts in St. Louis, Missouri.

Patricia McKissack's podcast series will resume this fall!

To listen to past podcasts produced by
New Links to New Learning for Patricia McKissack, click here.

Doctorate of Letters

May 12, 2010

Congrats to St. Louis author Patricia McKissack!

She received her honorary doctorate degree from Webster University this past weekend. She was one of two persons receiving this award, which recognized her life’s work. Pat is an alumni of Webster University, and she now has a “Doctorate of Letters.”

To see Pat’s honor, click here, and go to the 19 minute mark.

Today renowned author Patricia McKissack connected over videoconference with two groups of elementary students from New Hampshire to discuss her book, Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt. The Alabama community of Gee’s Bend is known for its unique, beautiful quilts. Pat spoke to the children about the meaning of colors and patterns and what they bring to each quilt. She also talked about the writing process for Stitchin’ and Pullin’, as well as some of her other books, like The Clone Codes, and took questions from the students.

If you are interested in setting up a one hour Q&A session with New Links to New Learning author Patricia McKissack over videoconference for your classroom, contact Cooperating School Districts.

making memories together

January 13, 2010

Before the holidays, an elementary school in the Rockwood School District participated in their first videoconference- with Patricia McKissack on Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt. Here’s a bit of feedback we received on the distance learning experience from the participating third grade teacher:

“…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.”

Thanks for sharing!

For 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.

In 2010, we’re excited to offer a new take on a favorite program: 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 2010, Science Fiction will be offered in the spring:

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.

Pat’s newest book, the science fiction story The Clone Codes, (a collaboration with her husband and son), is now available. In The Clone Codes, “The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna’s entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement.…”