I love visiting schools all over the country, meeting great kids and librarians. But sometimes you just can’t get in one more airplane. And that’s what makes Skype visits so great! Yes, there are glitches — mostly, I’ve experienced sound delays but recently there was a video delay which created a problem when I thought a young lady was asking a question and it was a young man. Thankfully, he forgave my mix-up.
One of my favorite librarians is Marjie Podzielinski, at Coulson Tough Elementary in The Woodlands, Texas. I met her at a Random House dinner years ago– I’m thinking it was at the ALA where I was presented with my Newbery Honor. Regardless of when we met, I am so glad we did meet. She is the most positive upbeat person I’ve ever met. And if you looked up “spunky” in the dictionary, you’d see her photo there!
As part of a presentation she was giving on Skype visits, Marjie asked if I could chat with her kids. Of course, I said yes! Those kids kept me on my toes with their thoughtful and thought-provoking questions. Of course, their favorite part of the chat was when Winston decided to hop up on my lap and see what was going on. And he was rewarded with very loud “aws” and “oohs” as his handsome countenance came into view at Coulson Tough.
|Look at these great kids!|
|I need to tidy up the bulletin board behind me!|
|Sweet Marjie asking about The Magic Kerchief, now out of print|
|Winston the Wonder Dog and his fans|
I’m curious. Have you tried Skyping with schools? What have you found works best? Since I am taking a hiatus from travel next school year, I may be doing more of these visits and I’d like to know what you’ve learned about them. Please share!
First of all, I sort of hate you. (for taking a year off) But I’ll get over it.
I’ve only done a few Skype visits, so don’t have my full mojo on with them yet. I enjoy them on some levels and not so much on others. I do find that the kids are excited and prepared. But I miss the personal connection a bit, and being able to see the whole room better. I also still can’t get the hang of looking at the camera and not at the little Skype window so the kids don’t get eye contact from me.
But it’s a nice alternative and sure beats hanging out at the airport.
Here are a couple things I’ve found helpful.
Always do a test skype with you and the teacher to make sure it will work in the setting the teacher has planned.
Kids love to see where you work so skype in your office. The more messy it is the more they will love it. I do spring and fall skypes in my treehouse and give them the nickel tour of my back yard. So Fun!
Here’s the most important one. Kids often get nervous and mumble when they are talking to me on Skype and then when I ask for a repeat they can get more flustered. Better to have the teacher at hand to repeat or text me on my cell so the kid is not embarrassed.