Saturday, October 9, 2010

Skyping Across Boundaries: Part 1

Some of you may have read a few of my earlier posts in which I went on and on about the new School of Education building in which I now teach with the latest and greatest technology.You may have also read a post in which I discussed the virtual author visits via Skype that two of the teachers in my children's literature course conducted in the spring. Now, these two things have come together in powerful ways to provide experiences for the preservice teachers in my reading/language arts methods courses.

Amy Moser, the fourth grade teacher who conducted the virtual author visit with Ellen Potter (Spilling Ink), and I are pairing up our students into blog buddies! Her fourth graders and my preservice teachers will both be reading Spilling Ink and blogging about the "I Dare You" prompts in the book. Once they have written their individual blog posts, they will comment on their blog buddy's response.

Before we started the project, I wanted the preservice teachers to meet Mrs. Moser and hear her talk about her students, the author visit last year, and the new project this year. Since the university semester started before the public school year, I was able to connect my students with Mrs. Moser via Skype right from our classroom.

               I know these aren't great pictures, but I think it gives you an idea. Mrs. Moser introduced herself, gave the preservice teachers information about her background and teaching, and showed them her classroom set up.

Since the preservice teachers had not been assigned a practicum placement yet, they were getting insight into what goes on before school starts to set up a classroom.

Next, we will have the buddies meet via Skype. We have tried to do this twice, but had to cancel the first time because school was delayed due to the weather and the second time due to connection problems on the elementary school's end. These are things that happen and teachers have to learn to be flexible.

I will post again when the blog buddies meet via Skype. In the mean time, Mrs. Moser has set up a blog on which her students will post their responses to the "I Dare You" prompts from Spilling Ink. The blog is titled, "Spilling Our Ink."

On November 30th, the fourth graders will come to campus to meet their preservice teacher blog buddies and both groups will experience a virtual author visit with Ellen Potter who has graciously agreed to Skype with us again. Thank you, Ellen!

If you are planning to attend the NCTE annual convention in Orlando in November, please attend our session, "F17: Virtual Author Visits: The Good, the Bad, and the Awesome!" scheduled for Saturday morning, Nov.20th from 8:00 to 9:15 int he Coronado Ballroom S. Author Kate Messner will present her experiences with virtual author visits, author Ellen Potter will present with Amy Moser, the fourth grade teacher with whom she skyped, and author/illustrator LeUyen Pham will present with Leslie Panaro, the first grade teacher with whom she skyped. It is going to be an amazing session with videos from the skype visits and lots of information on how to conduct your own skype visit.

P.S.: If any of my students are reading this, post your comments on the skype visit with Mrs. Moser!


Brian said...

You should have heard us begging Dr. Johnson to let us drive over to meet our blog buddies when the Skype connection wouldn't work. I think Skype is a great way for students to connect with authors, illustrators, and other students around the world. It was really awesome to get a tour of Mrs. Moser's classroom and to be able to pick her brain about life as an elementary school teacher.

Ellen Potter said...

Blog buddies . . . what a brilliant idea!
I loved Skyping with Amy's class. The students were so prepared, the Skying went without a hitch, and I was shocked to see just how effective a Skype author visit can be.

Amy Moser said...

I am looking forward to our Skype session tomorrow, as my 4th graders can't wait to meet their blogging buddies!!

Rachel said...

Wow! What a success!!! I loved meeting my blog buddies. Their posts were incredibly creative. It was obvious that they had learned a lot from Spilling Ink. Ellen, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Mrs. Moser, thank you for being a teacher who is willing to think outside the box. And Dr. Johnson, thank you for showing us what creativity can do. I hope that I can do something similar with my future class :)