There is a new way to bring me into your classroom or media center—a virtual author visit!
It is much less expensive. You avoid the cost of transportation and lodging—you don’t even have to feed me! And because the cost is so much lower, you may be able to cover it with funds from your PTO or even book fair money.
It takes less planning. Just set up a time with me, give me some details about the group I will be addressing, and we are good to go.
Students will be visiting me while I visit them. They will see the room in which I write, maybe even meet my dog MOO.
A virtual visit is easier on the environment—according to Al Gore, traveling authors have a carbon footprint as big as the state of Nebraska.
It is always best to be in the room with an audience, and there’s a lot to be said for having the winners of the “Why I Should Get to Eat with the Author” essay contest eat pizza with the author. The virtual visit is definitely not as good as a real one, but it is way, way better than no visit at all.
How Does it Work?
I have a webcam and you have a webcam. We will connect through SKYPE (you can download their program at http://www.skype.com).
SKYPE allows us to communicate via webcam and mic at no charge. On your end you will need to hook your computer up to an LCD projector to make the image large enough for a group to view it. The virtual visit will be very much like a normal author visit except that I will be on a screen instead of standing in the room. When we get to the Q&A section of the program students can approach the webcam, identify themselves and ask their questions. If you would like additional students to view the program it can be taped or shown live in other classrooms. Although those students would be unable to interact with me, they could enjoy the program and see kids they know grill the author.
What Programs are Offered Virtually?
- The basic author visit: I talk about writing and about how I became an author. I tell the stories behind the stories for some of my books. I give your students a taste of the writing life as we create a character and a story together. There is always a Q&A session.
- Think Like an Author: A creative writing workshop for students. This workshop will kick-start any creative writing effort in the classroom as students invent characters, plots, and settings and get pointers on how to build exciting stories.
- In-Service Workshop for Teachers: I show you how to teach my innovative creative writing program. This in-service is great for teachers, literacy coaches, and media specialists. This Virtual Visit is guaranteed to give you fresh, effective exercises to bring back to the classroom, exercises that work particularly well with reluctant writers. Participants will receive an electronic file with detailed directions for all the exercises we cover. This is a Virtual Visit with long lasting value!
Click to read an article about a recent virtual visit with the Okaloosa County School District.
To schedule your virtual visit, contact Emily Rivet at Peachtree Publishers at (800) 241-0113 ext. 126, or email her at RIVET@peachtree-online.com.
Select the students who will take part in the program and have them read one of my books—this improves the quality of the questions immensely! Have the students write down questions to bring to the virtual visit.
At a specified time before the visit, we will do a test SKYPE call to make sure the technology is working.
What if my Students Want Signed Books?
Order the books: Use your regular supplier, local independent book seller, or order the books directly from Peachtree Publishers. You can order from Peachtree online at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Lesley Rowe at (800) 241-0113. Peachtree will ship the books to your school. Email me the names of the students buying books and I will mail you personalized signed book plates.
Just How Cheap is This Cheap Alternative?
A session lasting up to one hour is $100.