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!

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Snow Melt  by VicWJ on FlickrRemember that Pat McKissack will be offering the second of two Creative Writing videoconference series during the 2008-09 school year later this month! She videoconferences live from St. Louis, Missouri, so all times listed are central- standard or daylight, depending on the time of year. Please register no later than 1 week before first session. For New Links to New Learning members, the fee is $650, for nonmembers, $750. And actually, prices have just been cut by 20%! Sign up today!

To read more about this interactive videoconference series, visit: http://www2.csd.org/newlinks/programdesc.html.

Spring dates/times: February 24, 4 pm March 3, 9:30 or 11 am March 17, 9:30 or 11 am CST!

Winter Holidays Around the World dates have  been set:
Teacher Session: November  4, 2008 @  4 pm CT
Student Session I:  November  25, 2008 @  9:30  or 11 am CT
Student Session II:  December  16, 2008 @  9:30  or 11 am CT

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

Award winning author Patricia McKissack shares with students 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!

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!

Remember that Pat McKissack will be offering Creative Writing twice during the 2008-09 school year! She videoconferences live from St. Louis, Missouri, so all times listed are central- standard or daylight, depending on the time of year. Please register no later than 1 week before first session. For New Links to New Learning members, the fee is $650, for nonmembers, $750. To read more about this interactive videoconference series, visit: http://www2.csd.org/newlinks/programdesc.html. [Fall and Spring photos found at Flickr Creative Commons, by skyseeker and Stewart, respectively.]

skyseeker

Flickr: skyseeker


Fall dates/times:

November 11, 4 pm
November 25, 1 or 2 pm
December 16, 1 or 2 pm

Flickr: Stewart


Spring dates/times:
February 24, 4 pm
March 3, 9:30 or 11 am
March 17, 9:30 or 11 am

Patricia McKissack Videoconferences for the 2008-2009 school year:

Winter Holidays Around the World
Teacher Session: November 4, 2008 @ 4 pm
Session I: November 25, 2008  @ 9:30 or 11 am
Session II: December 16, 2008 @ 9:30 or 11 am

Creative Writing Fall dates/times:
Teacher Session: November 11, 2008 @ 4 pm
Session I: November 25, 2008  @ 1 or 2 pm
Session II: December 16, 2008 @ 1 or 2 pm

Creative Writing Spring dates/times:
Teacher Session: February 24, 2009 @ 4 pm
Session I: March 3, 2009 @ 9:30 or 11 am
Session II: March 17, 2009 @ 9:30 or 11 am

Nonfiction Writing: Fact vs. Opinion:
Teacher Session: February 17, 2009 @ 4 pm
Session I: March 3, 2009 @ 1 or 2 pm
Session II: March 17, 2009 @ 1 or 2 pm

Each series is $650 for New Links members and $750 for non-members. To sign up, click here.

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.

We’ve set up Pat McKissack’s Creative Writing dates for the upcoming school year. Pat does a three part series: the first v/c is with the participating teachers, to discuss goals and themes. The second & third v/c are with the students, where they talk with Pat about all there is to being an author. They learn the methods she uses when writing fiction. In the third v/c, students share their work with Pat and she provides a critique of the writing. The goal of the project is to introduce students to the process that authors use to write a book and to engage them in writing activities themselves that mirror this process. 

We’re excited to announce Pat will be offering Creative Writing twice during the 2008-09 school year! Remember that Pat videoconferences live from St. Louis, Missouri, so all times listed are central- standard or daylight, depending on the time of year:

Fall dates/times:                              Spring dates/times:
November 11, 4 pm                   February 24, 4 pm 
November 25, 1 or 2 pm           March 3, 9:30 or 11 am 
December 16, 1 or 2 pm           March 17, 9:30 or 11 am

Teachers select one time slot and use it for both sessions. Fall dates are grouped together, spring dates are grouped together. No mixing ‘n matching, please! Also, we limit each videoconference time slot to three schools, with no more than 30 kids at each site. If there are a variety of grade levels interested, we group accordingly. A former teacher, Pat works with elementary through high school students. This is an interactive writing series.

This school year marks Pat’s 10th anniversary of videoconferencing with New Links to New Learning and Cooperating School Districts! We hope you can join us as we start this new chapter! To sign up for the videoconference series, and to find out about pricing and connections, contact Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts.