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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: skype, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. A great Skype visit


I had a great Skype visit with 4th-grade students at Fort Worth Academy.

This is what greeted me when I first logged on:


Love that!

They had great questions and one student showed me her amazing artwork:

 
Their teacher, Ms. Bonin, sent me these cool pictures of her students reading on the playground.








 
Thank you, Fort Worth Academy!

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2. Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Increasing numbers of people are forced to live their lives away from the ones they love, be they partners, parents, or friends. Having been a member of a long-distance relationship, I can attest to the strain that separation places on a relationship. Over the last few decades communication technologies have been increasingly marketed as solutions to the problem of strain, separation, and isolation. But how far do they go in actually addressing these issues?

237px-Skype-iconAs digital technologies have become ever engrained in our daily lives, a vast array of communication devices have been developed to help support our interpersonal relationships. Skype makes seeing distant loved ones easier; Snapchat allows us to send them inconsequential thoughts as they pop into our heads; and email allows us to send a letter anywhere in the world without even having to buy a stamp. The research community is continually investigating new designs, be they based on kissing or other less creepy ideas like exchanging love notes.

This interest results in a huge number of different device designs, few of which are ever evaluated. What is it we should be trying to support to help distant relationships?

The psychological literature has a large number of concepts that could be used as a lens for examining interpersonal relationships and communication, such as Social presence and Closeness. Social presence can be thought of as the sense of emotional connectedness experienced through a single act of communication. Closeness is a longer-term feeling of connectedness that is also related to the amount of contact people experience. Closeness, arguably, is essential for relationships to survive. If we could establish a link between these two concepts, evaluations of communication technologies can focus purely on the experience of using the technology, confident in the knowledge that this will have a meaningful impact on the relationships’ feeling of Closeness. We thus designed a study that focussed on attempting to establish whether there is a link between Closeness and Social presence.

In order to answer this question we recruited 63 students to track their communication use over time. Each day they would record how close they felt towards a specified individual (either a partner, friend, sibling, or parent) who either lived in the same city or at a distance. Additionally, participants tracked their communication use and recorded a Social presence score for each act of communication. In total we collected 956 contact reports and 1281 daily Closeness ratings over a three-week period.

In analysing this data we could unpick some fascinating aspects as to how interpersonal relationships can be supported. Our data indicates the type of communication technology and the relationship type and distance can predict the Social presence ratings. All of the communication media our participants reported on were rated with much lower levels of Social presence compared to face to face conversations. This highlights the fundamental weakness communication technologies have – they simply aren’t the same as seeing someone.

However, establishing a relationship between Social presence and Closeness is useful because we can demonstrate that creating communication technologies that encourage emotionally significant experiences can support relationships in a more meaningful, long-term fashion as those technologies are likely to strengthen feelings of Closeness with absent others. Thus while absence may not make the heart grow stronger, communication technologies can be used to make sure that out of sight definitely doesn’t mean out of mind.

Image credits: (1) Fountain Pen Letters, by Andrys. Public Domain via Pixabay. (2) Skype-icon, by Keiner. Public Domain via Wikimedia

The post Does absence make the heart grow fonder? appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Website Down, The Mouse, and School Visits

Hello all! It's another dreary day here in the Sunshine State. I like to tell people we have only two seasons: hot, and hot and rainy. Do not visit THE MOUSE in summer! You'll likely be drenched to the bone, then frozen by the AC. (That's when they swap you out for an aminatron, ala Stepford Wives). And when it's not raining, the heat and the humidity will press you right down to a smear on the concrete, which The Mouse's minions will wipe up and dispose of before anyone notices you're missing.

Now to the subject at hand: My website is down. This is a problem for me because I wanted to update my school visit schedule. Because I don't know how soon the site will be back up, I wanted to let you know I have begun to book visits for next school year. Twenty-minute Skype visits are free to groups who've read my work. If you'd like me to visit in person, I have a variety of presentations and I also provide writing workshops for students who want to polish or publish their work.

If you're interested in having me visit, send me a message! My email address is dhaworthbooks at yahoo dot com.

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4. Skype Visit with children's author, Margot Finke


I enjoyed a delightful visit with the children's author, Margot Finke today via Skype. We had a wonderful time catching up "in-person" both personally and professionally… and picked each others brains on book promotion. Thanks Margot, I had a grand time! 



Margot keeps giving me that good old slap upside the head to branch out to Skype author visits and I'm delighted to share illustrator, Julie Hammond and I will be conducting a Skype library visit September 20th! Julie will be in-person at the Kirkwood Public Library in St. Louis, MO and I will be Skyped in. Yippee! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading! 


Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist












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5. My First Author/Illustrator Skype Visit: What I Learned, What I'd Do Differently Next Time

Skyping with 115 first-graders at A. Blair McPherson School in Edmonton, Alberta

Although I've used Skype before, I resisted doing Skype classroom visits until recently because I wasn't confident about the technology working properly. Since I first tried Skype, however, broadband services have improved and more schools are starting to do Skype visits with authors and illustrators.

Other reasons I decided to explore visiting schools via Skype:

- I lack the time and finances to visit schools outside of the Toronto area. I also don't drive, which makes transportation more of a hassle and time-consuming.

- I had so much fun talking to young readers during my NAKED! book tour (thanks, Simon & Schuster!) that I want to do more often than I have in the past, but am limited by the reasons mentioned above.

- Although I know it can't replace in-person visits, virtual school visits enable me to use more props in my presentations, a wider range of art supplies, show students around my home office, be able to pull out musical instruments (I have many) on whim.

- I know some schools can't afford a full school visit, so I decided to offer a 15-20 minute quickie visit. Those who want a longer visit can pay my regular fee. I'm also relatively new to school visits, so this also gives schools an idea of what I'm like in person. When I do my next book tour, whether sponsored by one of my publishers or funded on my own, hopefully some of these schools will be interested in having me visit.

What I did before my first Skype visit:

- I researched a TON, searching online for blog posts by children's book authors and illustrators who have done Skype visits, as well as posts by teachers and librarians about Skype visits. I was especially interested in posts by children's book illustrators, since we have the advantage of being able to do drawing demos. :-)

- I talked to my friend Lee Wardlaw, who was also my first children's book writing mentor. Lee has a huge amount of experience presenting at schools and bookstores in person as well as via Skype. Do check out her Presentations page as well as her Secrets To A Successful Skype Visit for educators.

- I worked with teacher-librarian Arlene Lipkewich and A. Blair McPherson for my very first school Skype visit. I started with a Skype test call with Arlene and another teacher, then a Skype call with Mrs. Brooke's second grade class. Arlene gave me useful feedback which I used to tweak my setup and presentation before I Skyped with five classes (115 students) of first-graders the following week. Thanks you, Arlene and A. Blair McPherson!

- I collected some of the useful resources I've found on my Skype School Visit Page for teachers and librarians as well as children's book authors and illustrators.

What I learned and what I'd do differently next time:

- It's sooooooo much more fun than I expected!

- I strongly recommend doing a Skype test call in advance of each Skype visit as well as just before the visit itself. I found this a great way of identifying potential problems and fixing them.

- Make sure you leave time for a Q&A, and coordinate with the teacher ahead of time so that he/she is able to have students prepare questions in advance.

- Figure out how to make my own screen bigger so I can see what the kids are seeing. Try to place this screen behind the webcam so I'm looking at the camera, not away.

- If I do painting, I will NOT set the paint cups on my desk where it's way too easy for me to knock them over in the middle of the Skype session (fortunately I didn't have much liquid in each)!

- Figure out how to mute the audio on my computer so I just hear it on my headphones. I found the echo a bit confusing, and was also worried about the echo leaking through into my microphone.

Some useful resources:

Please do check out the resource list I've compiled for teachers/librarians and authors/illustrators to my Skype page; I'll be gradually updating it.

Interested in having me do a Skypevisit with your school or library? Please see the info on DebbieOhi.com/skype. Hope to visit with you soon!

 

 

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6. Checklist for a Successful Skype with an Author

As an author, I love that moment when I hit the “answer video call” button on my computer, and the smiling, wide-eyed faces of readers in Alabama or California or Montana pop onto my screen. Skyping with readers is a remarkably rewarding experience. I am, after all, Skyping right at my desk, and that means the readers get a personal peek into my writing world. I can grab my latest draft and hold it up to the camera to point out a specific line, or let the audience see the messiness of my writer’s notebook, or grab my guitar and sing a song that I’ve just written.

Nothing beats a “live” visit, but Skyping with an author is a great alternative for two reasons: it’s cheaper and it provides an opportunity that is often intimate. Surprise guests, such as the author’s dog, or cat, or spouse can make a cameo appearances; authors can pick up their laptops and show a quick glimpse of their desk, the rocking chair, or the favorite place to write.

If you’ve never tried an author Skype, the first thing you have to do is find your author. Many authors offer fee-based workshops or presentations as well as shorter Q-and-A sessions for a lower cost (or even free). If you have an author in mind, check the author’s website. Otherwise, there are sites that collect the names and contact info of authors who Skype, such as the Skype-an-Author Network.

Regardless of how you find your author, there are some tips and tricks that can help make the entire experience run smoothly and enjoyably. From the author’s point of view, here’s what you can do to be a great Skype partner. (You can also download an easy-to-use version of the checklist here.)

BEFORE THE SKYPE

  • Try to list your information and questions in one email to reduce back-and-forth messages. Here are the typical details to clarify:
  • Put your library name and the word Skype in the subject line when contacting an author to set up a Skype session and in all subsequent emails so that the author can easily find the message(s) if s/he has forgotten your name and needs to search.
  • If the author has instructions on her/his website for scheduling a Skype visit, read and follow those instructions.
    1. Type of session: Q and A, workshop, or presentation
    2. Ages of participants
    3. Number of participants
    4. Length of session
    5. Date and time: Specify your time zone every time you communicate with the author
    6. Clarify if special materials are needed, such as notebooks and pencils
    7. Ask permission to photograph or make a video recording of the session, if desired
    8. Determine who makes the call; most author prefer the library to initiate the Skype when ready.
  • Include all your contact info in one easy-to-read list in every email you send:
    1. Your library name and full address
    2. Your name, title, library phone number, and cell number
    3. Your Skype name.Authors receive lots of professional requests as well the usual myriad of personal and junk-mail messages. Imagine getting an email with “one more question” as the subject line, which only consists of the message: “Do you mind if we increase the number of kids? More signed up than I thought! Just let me know!” If the author can’t recall who you are or what you’re talking about, s/he either needs to write you back asking for clarification or search through emails using your email address to try and retrieve the previous emails and figure out your identity. Either way, you’ve given the author an extra job to do.Add the author’s Skypename to your Skype contact list and send a request via Skype for the author to add your contact to his/hers.
  • Test your system–especially if you’ve never Skyped before–with someone. Call a librarian friend. Or your mom. If the author is Skyping for free or for a low rate, please don’t request a test call with the author.
  • Make sure your internet connection is good. The stronger and more reliable your connection, the better your session will look and sound.
  • If you will have a large group, an external microphone plugged into the computer can be helpful to pick up the speaking voices of the participants.
  • Read the author’s work. Participants will get much more out of a session if they are familiar with at least one book and know the author’s basic biography: how many books has the author published, what type of books does the author write, etc.
  • Prepare questions ahead of time for a Q-and-A. Asking each participant to write down a question on an index card often works well.

Questions that work best for Skype visits are specific questions related to one or more of the author’s books that do not require long, complex answers.

Examples of good questions: How long did it take you to write Invisible Lines? Why did you choose mushrooms as a recurring theme? How did you come up with the names of your main characters? If readers want to ask about the general writing process, please help them to be specific: Do you use outlines? Do you ever write with pen and paper? Do you ever ask anyone else to read your work before it is published?

Examples of difficult, hard-to-answer questions: How do you write books? Can you talk about the writing process? These are big topics that take a long time to answer.

  • Go over the questions ahead of time to make sure they are appropriate. Many authors appreciate receiving the questions via email at least one day in advance so that s/he can pull any related visuals.
  • Rehearse what you and the participants will do during the call. Where will they stand when asking questions?

Allowing individuals to step up to the computer’s camera and talk directly into the lens makes the experience much more fun for the author as well as the child or teen. Use this opportunity to practice public-speaking skills with participants. Focus on projecting the voice, slowing down, and speaking clearly.

  • Remind everyone that there is no way of knowing how many questions will be answered in the time allotted. Have a plan for the order in which the questions will be asked and how to deal with any disappointment if the group is too large to have all questions answered.
  • Don’t forget the Skype! If you come down with the flu that day, make sure to tell your stand-in what to do or else call the author and explain that you’ll need to cancel.

DURING THE SKYPE

  • Have the author’s cell phone number on hand. If there is a technical problem, call the author’s cell phone and stay on the line until you solve any glitches. If you have to end the Skype call and try again, you can still be connected via the cell.
  • Position the computer’s camera so that it captures the whole audience, if possible. If you have pint-sized participants who will be coming up to ask questions, make sure to have a step stool, if needed. It’s frustrating for the author if all s/he can see is the top of a little guy’s head.
  • Begin the session by doing a “sweep” of the room so that everyone can wave hello. If the group is large and the camera can’t pick up everyone in the room, the participants sitting on the sidelines can feel left out. To avoid this, at the very beginning of the Skype, let the author know that you’d like to begin with a sweep. Ask the participants to say hi and wave as you physically move the computer from one side to the other, slowly, giving participants a chance to see the whole group waving on the screen. Then, set the computer down where it will have the best overall view and go on with the session. At the end, you can always “sweep” goodbye.
  • Repeat questions from the participants if the author is having trouble hearing.
  • Watch the time. Setting a timer can work well. Stop when the time is up.

AFTER THE SKYPE

Many readers mistakenly believe that all authors are rich and that every book they write gets published. This is far from true. Most authors don’t make a living wage from book sales. Many authors pay the rent by teaching writing workshops and giving presentations.

  • Please consider showing your thanks for the Skype session by supporting the author’s promotional efforts. Here are some ideas:
    1. “Like” or “follow” the author’s facebook page, twitter handle, pinterest boards, or other social networking.
    2. Write and post a collaborate book review online.
    3. Have readers write and videotape a fun review or creative commercial for the book. Share this video online with parental permission, if needed.
    4. Write an article about the Skype experience and send it to your local newspaper or publish/post it on your library’s newsletter or website.
    5. Tell colleagues about the author. Word of mouth really helps.

Finally, if there is something the author could do to improve the experience, definitely send that feedback. Writing is, for the most part, an exercise in isolation; authors take great joy in connecting with readers and want the experience to be the best it can be.

 ********************************************************

mary library portrait nj email

Photo credit: Ivan Amato

Our guest blogger today is Mary Amato, an author of fiction for children and teens. She also enjoys teaching workshops in creative writing and songwriting. Her latest series for ages 7-10 is Good Crooks. Her latest YA is Get Happy and features original songs. You can find out more about her at www.maryamato.com or www.thrumsociety.com


Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

 

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7. Free Skype Visits for Elementary School Classes!

monstorefrontcoverTo celebrate the release of my debut picture book THE MONSTORE on June 4th, I am offering free Skype visits with your class the week of June 10th. (Yes, I know school will be out for a lot of you, but I live in Jersey, where school drags on into summer.)

For the Skype visit I will:

  • Read THE MONSTORE
  • Wear the pajamas of your class’s choice (Scottie Dog, Hot Cocoa, Conversation Hearts, Figure Skates)
  • Answer questions about the book/writing/spending the day in jammies
  • Play a trick on the class (with your help and a red delicious apple)
  • Saw a lady in half
  • Send your class a signed bookplate with limited edition “Grand Opening” MONSTORE sticker
  • Accomodate your ideas to fulfill a classroom initiative

Skype visits will take place from June 10th to June 14th and last 30 minutes.

Whoops, and I will not saw a lady in half. Sorry ’bout that one. I got carried away.

To set up the Skype visit, please email me at tarawrites (at) yahoo (dot) com with “Free Skype Visit” in the subject line. Please include the following details:

  • Class grade
  • Location
  • Three available days/times, listed in order of preference
  • Contact info

I will try my best to schedule everyone who requests a Skype visit, but please note if I cannot, you will be selected on a first come/first served basis. Also, for reading purposes it’s best if you have a copy of THE MONSTORE in your classroom, but it is not a requirement.

Let the Skyping begin!


9 Comments on Free Skype Visits for Elementary School Classes!, last added: 5/9/2013
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8. Rdio Brings Animation and Music Talent Together with “New Music Weekly”

New York-based production studio Blacklist has partnered with Rdio, Skype’s new music streaming service in a year-long campaign called New Music Weekly. Each Tuesday, the site will release a specially commissioned 15-second clip that brings together new music and original animation from emerging visual artists, designers and animators. At its best, particularly with the traditional work, the combination is refreshingly compelling, albiet annoyingly brief.

The first installment of the project, Gauntlet Hair’s track Human Nature visualized by UK design studio, ilovedust debuted at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival. This was followed by pieces for Gogol Bordello (Lost Innocent World) and Michael Franti (I Don’t Wanna Go), designed by Blacklist directors, Holbrooks and Tendril, respectively.



While Rdio is responsible for the music selections, Blacklist is allowed input to ensure “a great audio visual sync,” says Adina Sales, Blacklist’s managing director, in an article on Creative Review. “The process has been very free and exciting, [and has allowed] directors and animators the chance to work largely unencumbered. They produce work that is indicative not only of their style but of their unique point of view.”

Other participating artists include the Paris-based design house Wizz and an upcoming contribution by Swedish production collective Upper First. The spots will appear on Rdio’s YouTube channel, digital banners and at music festivals.

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9. Win a Halloween Skype Author Visit! What Kind of Monster Would YOU Buy at THE MONSTORE?

winaskypevisit

In THE MONSTORE, Zack just wants to buy a monster to spook his pesky little sister, Gracie. (As you may know, things don’t work to plan.)

manfredkeepout

But when I do school visits, I’ve found that kids have all kinds of things they’d like a monster to do for them.

  • Shoot cupcakes from their feet.
  • Hide under their bed and scare away OTHER monsters.
  • Walk their pet pot-belly pig.
  • Eat clouds so it stops raining.
  • Reach the shelf where Mom keeps HER chocolate.

And even more outrageously clever tasks.

So here’s your child’s chance! What would THEIR monster do? What would it look like?

Print out this MONSTORE coloring page (courtesy of illustrator Wendy Martin) and then email me a pic of your child’s monsterly creation by October 7th. (My email button is in the top left column of this blog.)

I’ll pick 5 finalists and post them here, then you’ll have a week to vote for the winner.

Monstore-Draw-your-own-monster (1)

(Click on the image for larger version, mouse over for a + magnifying glass, click, then you can then print 8 1/2 x 11. Or, click here for a PDF: Monstore Draw Your Own Monster.)

The winner will earn their class a signed book and a SKYPE VISIT from me on HALLOWEEN(And if the child is homeschooled, I’ll Skype with them at home or anywhere they choose.)

The contest is open to kids through age 12. Whole classes can enter. If I had a lawyer, you might expect a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo to appear here. But I don’t. So there isn’t. (PHEW!)

Any questions? Ask away below.

Happy creating and I’ll hope to SEE YOU on HALLOWEEN!


6 Comments on Win a Halloween Skype Author Visit! What Kind of Monster Would YOU Buy at THE MONSTORE?, last added: 9/25/2013
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10. Halloween Skype Contest Finalists! Please Vote!

Wow, I was blown away by the creativity of the kids who entered my Halloween Skype monster contest! I asked them to draw the monster they’d like to purchase at The Monstore, and they came through with some very useful companions, just right for doing tricky things around the house. In fact, I’d like to borrow all of them!

It was tough to pick just five finalists, but here they are, in no particular order.

Please leave a comment voting for your favorite entry #. The monster with the most votes will win a Skype classroom visit with me on Halloween! 

.

MONSTER #1
REPRESENTING MS. ROSENBERG’S 2nd GRADE CLASS
MS. GO EYES by JULIA B.!

skypecontestjuliab

I like how Ms. Go Eyes can dance with Julia whenever she pleases, plus this monster can reach high to get the most coveted snacks in the cabinet. Of course, Ms. Go Eyes loves THE MONSTORE book, too! Congratulations, Julia!

.

MONSTER #2
REPRESENTING MS. MELLIN’S 2nd GRADE CLASS
TRASH MONSTER by SIERRA V.!

skypecontestsierrav

Well, Trash Monster can certainly find a welcomed place in my home. I like how neat and environmentally conscientious he is. And he’s so brightly colored, he’ll fit right in with my decor. Congratulations, Sierra!

.

MONSTER #3
REPRESENTING MS. MACCRI’S 2nd GRADE CLASS
BULLEYE by NATHAN H.!

skypecontestnathanh

Considering that October is National Bullying Prevention Month, I think everyone could use a friend like Bulleye right now. He’s so fierce-looking, he just has to stand there and bullies will steer clear. Congratulations, Nathan!

.

MONSTER #4
REPRESENTING MS. ABATE’S 1st GRADE CLASS
SPARKLES by KATIE F.!

skypecontestkatief

As Sparkles is already aware, we could all use a little more sparkle in our lives. Everything she touches glitters and shines. What a happy-making monster! Congratulations, Katie!

.

MONSTER #5
REPRESENTING MS. BROWN’S 1st GRADE CLASS
DAGA BY DOANH!
skypecontestdoanh

Ms. Brown’s class got very creative and used shapes to create their monsters. They even counted up all the shapes. I’m impressed! This monster’s needed in my house because my daughter does not like to eat meat. It merely touches her tongue and she spits it out.  What’s a mom to do? Maybe she will follow Daga’s example. Congratulations, Doanh! (And wow, what neat handwriting!)

.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Skype monster contest. It was so difficult to choose the finalists because all the creations were terrific. I’m sincerely blown away by the creativity expressed in this exercise!

Kindly comment below with your # monster choice by SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27th and I will announce the winner on the 28th!

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE! I HOPE TO SEE YOU ON HALLOWEEN!


12 Comments on Halloween Skype Contest Finalists! Please Vote!, last added: 10/23/2013
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11. An Author's Guide To Skype School Visits With Guest Iza Trapani!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Everyone!

I have a present for you!

It's not green.  And it's not Irish.  But it's still a great present :)

Remember on Friday I promised a guest post on a very interesting topic?

Ta-da!

Allow me to introduce the multi-talented and delightful Iza Trapani!

Author/Illustrator Iza Trapani
Hi Iza!

Thank you so much for joining us today!

I personally am very interested in the topic of Skype school visits.  I think they're a wonderful alternative to in-person visits for many schools, allowing authors and illustrators to visit classrooms without the expense associated with in-person visits.  Having never done one myself, I was curious to know the details of how one goes about it, and I thought you guys might like to know too!  So I asked Iza (who is a pro :)) to elucidate, and she very kindly did (VERY kindly because not only did I ask her for a guest post, it was on short notice!)

Take it away, Iza!

While an in-person school visit is always better, a Skype session is a nice alternative for schools  struggling with tight budgets and/or for schools wanting to invite an out-of-state author. Most authors charge travel expenses  in addition to their presentation fees, so it can get expensive. Skype visits are a convenient and affordable option. They are also great for authors and illustrators who are often up against deadlines.  Cutting out the travel leaves more time for the works in progress.

I’ve been doing skype visits for a couple of years now, and I’m glad to share my experience.


Getting Skype Visits

Advertising for Skype visits is no different than for in-person visits. On my website I have a link with information on my school visits. It includes a description of my presentation, a short video of me presenting to a class, my fees, list of my titles, short bio,  feedback on my presentations and more. When a school contacts me, I also have a school visit PDF that includes all the relevant info plus references. A few years ago we added a blurb that I am now available for Skype visits as well. When I started doing Skype, I sent out an e-mail announcement to all my school contacts, teacher friends, and fans. A few years ago I’d also sent out a flyer to numerous schools within a 50 mile radius. The flyer had a brief bio, description of my presentation and contact info. I am also listed in Arts in Ed directories in several counties. Mostly, the schools find me either via my website or by word of mouth. Because my writing and illustrations (especially) are so time consuming, I can not do too many school visits. But that is a personal choice. Some authors do lots of school visits and I am sure they promote much more aggressively than I do.



Setting up the Session

I set up right in my studio which has good, glare-free northern light and overhead track lights.  My laptop will rest on a small table. I’ll have a stool to sit on and my materials (illustration samples, books I’ll be using etc.) will be within reach on top of my flat file cabinets on the left. To my right will be an easel with an 18x24 pad on which I’ll do drawing demonstrations. Behind me, a low bookshelf will showcase some of my books face out. It makes a nice backdrop.

Before doing my first school visit I did a test with my sister (in Poland!)  to make sure the light was good, that the books behind me were well arranged and that the easel was at the right height. When I first started I was worried that the class wouldn’t see me well, but I soon learned that the image I see of me in the little window on the bottom right in Skype is what they are seeing. I can tilt the computer screen to adjust the view as needed.

Makeup? Attire?

One of the advantages of a Skype visit is that I don’t have to fuss over my appearance. First of all, it’s never a crystal clear image-at least not on my end. I rarely wear make-up but I  will wash my hair and wear a nice, casual top for the session. It doesn’t matter what’s on my bottom half- clown pants or a tutu- they won’t see it :-)

Interruptions?

I turn off the phone and leave a note on the front door. If it’s UPS or FedEx, they can drop off in our front foyer.  My big Mastiff, Jambo, might stay in my husband’s shop- but I have had requests from some schools that the kids wanted to see my pets, so in those cases I will leave him with me. Part of the attraction of Skype is seeing the author at home.


 Technical Problems

Sometimes there are technical problems - usually no sound. So far, the problems  were on the school’s end and were quickly fixed. A quick test Skype with the teacher ahead of time is always a good idea. I also do a test Skype with a friend or relative beforehand.

Sound can be a bit problematic. When the children join me in singing there is a slight delay. Also, I don’t always hear the children when they ask me questions; the teachers usually have to repeat them, and I can hear the teachers just fine. They say they can hear me very clearly, so I am glad about that.


My Presentation

My Skype presentations are the same as my in-person visits. I start off with a short intro, telling a little bit about me- how I was born in Poland and came to the U.S. when I was seven and went right into first grade not speaking any English, and then how my dream of making books for children came true. Then I sing/read one of my nursery rhyme books, and I’ll have the kids sing at least the first verse along with me. Then I will discuss the bookmaking process, talk a bit about getting ideas and turning them into stories, and then the many revisions that are needed. I will show samples of my storyboards, dummy sketches, color studies and final art. I will also show some of my rejected works- paintings I had started but wasn’t happy with. And I have some press sheets to show them so they can understand the printing process. After that I will do Q+A then go on to a drawing demonstration. I’ll choose a character from one of my books and have the kids think of some ideas of what the character could be doing and I will draw it for them. Then I’ll ask the kids to help me add details to the drawing and I will put them in. A typical scene might be a bear riding on a skateboard and juggling. For details they will ask me to put in the sun, birds, bunnies, flowers, ladybugs, etc. I love that! There are so many edgy books out there and it’s reassuring to me to know that kids are still charmed by the beauty and wonder of nature.


My books are ideal for preK to 1st grade, but I will also present to older kids. I will adjust my presentations- doing more singing and reading with the little ones and more bookmaking discussions with the older kids.

Fee

I charge $150 for a 45 minute to 1 hr session. My in-person visits are $250 per session plus travel expenses beyond 50 miles. I will do up to 4 presentations in one day. In both cases, the school will send me a check after the visit.

And that’s all there is to it! :-)


Thank you, Susanna, for featuring me. I hope this info is helpful to your many wonderful readers!

Thank YOU, Iza!  I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say it was very interesting and enlightening!


Iza is the author and illustrator of 20 lovely picture books for children, including Itsy Bitsy Spider (a favorite in our house), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Bear Went Over The Mountain, Little Miss Muffet and many more. She is also the illustrator of 4 books written by other authors.

Teachers, you can learn all about Iza's school visits here:


and everyone - teachers, parents, readers, writers, homeschoolers, librarians, kids etc. - you can find Iza around the web here:


www.izatrapani.com
http://izatrapani.com/blog
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter

I hope you enjoyed learning about Skype visits (I know I did! :)) and if you have any questions, I think Iza will be happy to answer in the comments!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone, and once again, Happy St. Patrick's Day! :)


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12. Two Things on Tuesday

Thing One

Look what I got!
 
Paperback edition of On the Road to Mr. Mineo's



Thing Two
 
Skyping with students in Ecuador.
Don't you love how Skype makes a big world smaller?
 
 

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13. Things I Love Thursday


I love Skype days.

With students at Gwin Oaks Elementary in Gwinnett, GA

More Gwin Oaks students. Thank you, Ms. Amolo!

A teacher at Fort Worth Academy showed me her dog, Plato, posing like the cover of How to Steal a Dog. Go, Plato!

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14. Thank You, Erin Soderberg for an Amazing Skype Visit!!

Last week, we had the opportunity to Skype with author Erin Soderberg. Erin is the author of The Quirks: Welcome to Normal and The Quirks in Circus Quirkus--the first two books in a series that is quite popular in our classroom this year!  


The kids were VERY excited about this Skype visit. Our last Skype (another highlight of the year!) was with author Barbara O'Connor. We had read her book How to Steal a Dog aloud so everyone in the class had read the book together. But The Quirks was different. I read the first book in the series over winter break and knew immediately that my students would love it. I handed it to a student who handed it to another student. Within a week, there were so many kids that wanted to read the book that we asked our librarian to order more. He ordered 5 and a group of kids had their first book club around the book. I bought 2 copies of the 2nd book in the series and that began to circulate.   By the time we had the Skype visit, almost all of the students had read at least one of the books.  

This book took on a life of its own in the classroom. Usually, when I find a book like this, I decide to read it aloud. And I may have, had it been earlier in the school year. But this series was one that my kids LOVED to read on their own. They loved the story and the characters. They loved that it was the buzz in the room. And they loved that they could read something independently that seemed a little bit harder and longer than the books they were comfortable with. For many of my students, this book gave them confidence to stretch themselves as readers. It helped them see how much they'd grown.  This book didn't make its way around the classroom because I shared it. Instead, the students owned this one--that's what makes it such a perfect book for 8 and 9 year olds.

In February, I wrote about this series as a MUST HAVE for 3rd and 4th grades. If you don't know The Quirks books, there are 2 in the series. Both focus on a family, called The Quirks.  The Quirks are anything but normal.  They are quite..quirky. Each family member has some kind of quirk or power but they try to hide these from the rest of the world as they often get them into trouble.  Such a perfect mix of real life and fantasy--no wonder kids love it.

There is also a lot of fun in the books--fun magic. Two of my favorite shows growing up were I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched and the magic in these books reminded me a bit of those shows--very fun magic that I so wished I could do when I was younger!  

Author Erin Soderberg was amazing during our Skype visit. She had the kids engaged in the first 30 seconds with her enthusiasm and personality. She talked to us a bit and let us in on a few secrets about the Quirks. That was fun! Then we asked questions.



Before the Skype, we brainstormed questions for Erin.  I loved listening to their questions.  The thoughtfulness of each question made me happy and it became clear how well the kids knew the story and the characters. I also loved how clear it was that they understood authors. During the creation of the list, they kept talking and saying things like "I wonder why she decided to..." . They so understand authors as decision-makers and many of their questions focused on that part of the process.



It was a great day and we can't WAIT until the 3rd book in the series comes out in January 2015.  My students are already begging to read it first even though they will be in 4th grade next year.  They are VERY excited about this upcoming book!

Again, this book is one of my favorite new series for middle grade readers.  I'm so glad that there are more books coming! 

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15. rgz Newsflash: Skype Authors announced on Cynsations



Shout out to Cynthia Leitich Smith for sharing about Skype Authors on Cynsations. You can read the full article here. I'm happy to be a part of this esteemed group making a difference to CAMFED and literacy in schools. Feel free to spread the news to all who might benefit. Thanks!

Here's a snippet from Cynsations:

Skype Authors connects noted children’s book authors to schools and book clubs while benefiting Camfed in 2011-2012.

Noted authors Suzanne WilliamsMartha BrockenbroughDia CalhounJanet Lee CareyMary CasanovaLorie Ann GroverJoan HolubDeb LundClaire Rudolf MurphyLisa L. Owens, and Trudi Trueit have launched Skype Authors, an author-visit-booking site that will aid schools, book clubs, and educational charities.
Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from each visit will benefit Camfed, an organization that educates girls in Africa.


I just love the children's book community. Don't you?


LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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16. SCHOOL VISITS via Skype and a Webcam - Are they a GO?

AINT NEW TECHNOLOGY AWESOME.

If your school is a bit off the beaten track, or unable
to come up with big fees,
Try a SKYPE-WEBCAM
visit to meet the author.



I write books for kids (11pub so far), and I'm looking for
teachers or schools that would like a Skype/Webcam
visit from an author like me . . .


Margot Finke

An author who loves to get r
eluctant readers
HOOKED on READING
.   

With the economy in the dumps, and many schools feeling a definite pinch, I think author visits via Skype and a Webcam will fill a very definite need in an economical, as well as fun and informational way.

HERE'S MY PLAN

Just like my in-person school visits, I would talk about writing books, illustrating them, read one of my latest, and maybe run a short lesson on writing or rhyme.  I am happy to provide whatever the class curriculum needs. I will encourage the use of active and powerful words - of kids exercising and playing with their imagination. The idea is to paint instant word pictures in your reader's head. This brings the plot and the characters alive. 

Reading is a Magic Carpet Ride
to fun, adventure, and a chance for great educational
opportunities – all from the safety of your comfy chair. 
 
My collection of Australian aboriginal artifacts  – boomerangs, message sticks and bark paintings etc,  show well, and would be a hit with any class. And answering children’s questions is always a highlight of any school visit of mine.

I would also love to give the class, or any child that wants one, a FREE copy of my short time-travel (PDF) adventure. Synopsis:  When a magical Boab tree sends Taconi spinning into the 21st century, Ruthie and Horatio (characters from 2 other books of mine) help Taconi and Claude find their way back to the 1950s where they belong. 

My two latest books are:

Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble.
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17. Chat with me!

There's a 15 minute chat with me up for grabs! Click here for deets! :)

Last time, I talked to Team Canterwood member Lauren for half an hour because we were having so much fun. I'd LOVE to talk to another TC member!

xoxo

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18. Making a big world smaller


Tonight I am Skyping with the International School in Bangkok, Thailand.

Isn't it amazing to be talking to students in another part of the world while sitting at home in my jammies? (Okay, I might not have my jammies on.)

Here is the librarian's blog.

And this is what the teacher wrote to me:



Here is some background info about our class and our reading of Greetings From Nowhere:

Our class of 21 fifth graders represents 8 nationalities. Eight children are new to our school this year in Bangkok. I chose to read Greetings From Nowhere aloud to the class as it is such a great lead-in to our reading unit on "Characters", where we ask the question, "How can the people in stories be like me?"

We are discovering that characters, like real people, are complex and can change. As readers, we are talking about how we develop empathy for and connections to the characters in the story.

The class LOVED the story, start to finish, and they were quite disappointed to find out that it was NOT part of a series!
I am continually amazed at how my groups of internationally diverse students relate to the small world of the Sleepy Time Motel.

I think they have discovered big life lessons in that small world. One boy said last week, "I can make a connection with Aggie, because I know that it is painful to leave a home that is familiar."


I love that!!

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19. Introducing VIRTUAL SCHOOL VISITS - Skyping to promote READING


Coming soon . . .
from
Margot Finke 
At my writing desk, holding "Taconi and Claude,"
my latest mid-grade adventure or boys - and tomboys!

 
VIRTUAL  SCHOOL VISITS –
Skype Makes it Happen!
This is for the teachers - or those who know teachers:
I am looking for teachers, or schools, that would like a
VIRTUAL VISIT
from a children's author who loves to get
RELUCTANT READERS READING. 
 
With the economy in the dumps, and many schools feeling a definite pinch, Skype and a Webcam make sense.  And I promise your class AFFORDABLE and INFORMATIVE fun.

I am also more than happy to plan my presentation
so that it fits the needs of YOUR class's curriculum.

Let’s negotiate a
VIRTUAL  SCHOOL VISIT

 Go here for ALL the details


 **************************


Margot’s Magic Carpet

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20. Travelling in my slippers


I've been doing quite a few Skype visits with schools recently.

It still seems amazing to me that I can chat with kids in faraway places right from my home.

I didn't even have to change out of my slippers to visit Georgia:



Or Texas:



Or Thailand:

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21. Ypulse Essentials: McTV, Hispanic Millennials Are Important To Advertisers, Facebook Vs. Google+ (Again)

Do you want TV, er, fries with that? (McDonald’s is launching an in-store channel that will feature local news, movie trailers, music news, personal interest stories, and more. With families congregating around TVs even at dinner time, we... Read the rest of this post

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22. Coast to coast and back again

One day this week, I was visiting a school on the opposite coast. (They are on the West Coast. I am on the East Coast.)



Then I was at a school here in New England that made me feel so welcome. They posted this sign on every door and up and down the halls.

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23. Happy April Fool’s Day: Recap Of The Web’s Best Jokes & Pranks

If you open up most calendars, you’re not likely to find April 1st listed as an official holiday, but that doesn’t stop most of the western world from celebrating it in one way or another. Though the true origins of the day remain... Read the rest of this post

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24. Ypulse Essentials: Teens And Video Chat, Bieber’s ‘Boyfriend’ Video Premieres Tonight, Advertising On Draw Something

We shouldn’t be surprised that 37% of teens video chat (with friends and family using Skype, iChat, and Googletalk, according to a new study. It seems like a lot of kids using the Jetson-age technology, but it makes sense with the ubiquity of... Read the rest of this post

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25. Authors Who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs (for free!)

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Welcome to the Authors Who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs List!  I’m Kate Messner, the children’s author and educator who maintains this site.  I started it because I’ve found that virtual author visits are a great way to connect authors and readers, and I realize that many schools facing budget troubles don’t have the option of paid author visits. With that in mind, this is a list of authors who offer free 15-20-minute Q and A sessions with classes and book clubs that have finished reading one of their books. As an author, I offer free Skype chats for the following titles:

(Please check book release dates! Upcoming titles are also listed; Skype visits available upon book’s release!)

If you’re interested in booking a “virtual visit” with me, please visit my website or drop me an email (kmessner at katemessner dot com). 

How does a Skype virtual visit work?  Click here to read a blog entry about my students’ virtual visit with the fantastic Laurie Halse Anderson. It includes an overview of how a Skype chat with an author might work, as well as tips for teachers, librarians, & book club organizers to help your virtual visit run smoothly.  You can click here to read my first School Library Journal technology feature on Skype author visits, called “Met Any Good Authors Lately? Classroom Visits Can  Happen Via Skype” and this follow-up SLJ feature, “An Author in Every Classroom: Kids Connecting with Authors via Skype. It’s the next best thing to being there.”  There’s also an ever-growing list of authors who offer both free and paid Skype visits at the Skype An Author Network.

Important note for teachers & librarians: Please check with the author via email to be sure he or she still offers free Skype chats before you purchase books or make plans. (Some authors offer only a limited number of free Skype visits, and some who start out offering free visits begin to charge later on.  I don’t always get those updates right away.)  And authors…if you’re on this list but no longer offer free Skype visits, please let me know.

Authors Who Skype With Classes & Book Clubs (for free!)

The following authors offer free 15-20-minute Skype chats with book clubs and classes that have read one of their books! (Many also offer more in-depth virtual visits for a fee.) To arrange a virtual visit, check out the authors’ websites for book choices and contact information.  Then ask for their books at your favorite bookstore or visit IndieBound to find a store near you!

For Middle Grade Book Clubs (Ages 8-12)

Sarah Albee
R.J. Anderson
Hannah Barnaby
Dale Basye
Julie Berry
Helene Boudreau
Larry Dane Brimner
Christine Brodien-Jones
Susan Taylor Brown
Leslie Bulion
Stephanie Burgis
Dori Hillestad Butler
Jennifer Cervantes
Katie Davis
Kenneth C. Davis
Julia DeVillers
Erin Dionne
Bonnie Doerr
Gail Donovan
Kathleen Duble
Kathleen Duey
Sarah Beth Durst
Deva Fagan
Greg Fishbone
D. Dina Friedman
Dee Garretson
Donna Gephart
Mike Graf
Danette Haworth
Bridget Heos
Tess Hilmo
Sara Lewis Holmes
Jacqueline Houtman
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Mark Jeffrey
Lynne Kelly
Derek Taylor Kent
Rose Kent
Morgan Keyes
Jo Knowles
Jane Kurtz
R.L. LaFevers
Irene Latham
Jessica Leader
Lindsey Leavitt
Debbie Levy
Cynthea Liu
C. Alexander London
Dayna Lorentz
Eric Luper
JoAnn Early Macken
Torrey Maldonado
Leslie Margolis
Nan Marino
Kate Messner
Rita Murphy
Richard Newsome
Jennifer Nielsen
Barbara O’Connor
Wendy Orr
Mitali Perkins
Erica Perl
Sarah Prineas
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Yolanda Ridge
Karen Romano Young
Kurtis Scaletta

 

Augusta Scattergood

 

Laura Schaefer
Lisa Schroeder
Adam Selzer
Laurel Snyder
Margo Sorenson
Tricia Springtubb
Anna Staniszewski
Catherine Stine
Melissa Thomson
Jennifer Trafton
Anne Ursu
Greg van Eekhout
Cynthia Willis
Barry Wolverton
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

For Teen Book Clubs
(Also check out the list of adult authors below; many also work with teens.)

R.J. Anderson
Ann Angel
Heidi Ayarbe
Kim Baccellia
Pam Bachorz
Cyn Balog
Tracey Baptiste
Lauren Bjorkman
Amy Brecount White
Sarah Rees Brennan
Larry Dane Brimner
Jessica Burkhart
Kay Cassidy
Angela Cerrito
Crissa-Jean Chappell
Ellen Dee Davidson
Kenneth C. Davis
Jaclyn Dolamore
Kathleen Duble
Kathleen Duey
Sarah Beth Durst
Debby Dahl Edwardson
Beth Fehlbaum
Megan Frazer
D. Dina Friedman
Margie Gelbwasser
David Macinnis Gill
Carla Gunn
Teri Hall
Brendan Halpin
S.A. Harazin
Sue Harrison
Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Jim C. Hines
Jennifer Hubbard
Jennifer Jabaley
Denise Jaden
Christine Johnson
Tara Kelly
James Kennedy
Jo Knowles
Daniel Kraus
Nina LaCour
Marie Lamba
Kristen Landon
Anita Liberty
Sarah Darer Littman
Cynthea Liu
Dayna Lorentz
Elisa Ludwig
Eric Luper
Sarah Maclean
Torrey Maldonado
Leslie Margolis
Peter Marino
Neesha Meminger
Marissa Meyer
Lynn Miller-Lachman
Megan Miranda
Saundra Mitchell
Mike Mullin
Greg Neri
Patricia Newman
Caragh O’Brien
Micol Ostow
Jackson Pearce
Mitali Perkins
Erica Perl
Amy Plum
Gae Polisner
Beth Revis
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Lena Roy
Carrie Ryan
Peter Salomon
Sydney Salter
Lisa Schroeder
Inara Scott
Adam Selzer
Kristina Springer
Catherine Stine
Laurie Stolarz
Tiffany Trent
Melissa Walker
Elaine Wolf
Mary Rose Wood


For Adult Book Clubs
(Also check out the authors listed above; middle grade & teen novels can be great book club selections!)

Christa Allan
Charlene Ann Baumbich
Sandra Gulland
Carla Gunn
Sue Harrison
Sarah Maclean
Maryann McFadden
Kitty Morse
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Kelly Simmons
Garth Stein
Gwendolyn Zepeda

Picture Book Clubs for Younger Readers  (4-8)

Marsha Diane Arnold
Mike Artell
Louise Borden
Larry Dane Brimner
Susan Taylor Brown
Leslie Bulion
Katie Davis
Elizabeth Dulemba
Kathy Duval
Sonia Clark Foster
Laurie Jacobs
Jane Kohuth
Jane Kurtz
Kara Lareau
Deb Lund
JoAnn Early Macken
Wendy Martin
Kate Messner
Jamie Michalak
Wendy Orr
Erica Perl
Jean Reidy
Barb Rosenstock
Michael Shoulders
Margo Sorenson
Jennifer Ward
Natasha Wing

If you’re an author of a traditionally published book who would like to be added, please email me (kmessner at katemessner dot com).  If you’re a publicist and would like to send a list of all your authors who Skype with book clubs, that’s fabulous, too.  Again…this is a list of authors who offer FREE 20-minute Skype chats with classrooms & book clubs that have read one of their books.

If you’re a bookseller or book club member, teacher, or librarian, thanks for stopping by – and feel free to comment with any questions!

.

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