Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Catching "Chocolate Fever"
After our video conference with author Robert Kimmel Smith (Chocolate Fever) the students had so much to say about their experience. Each student felt that they had a personal connection with this author, the world of books, and even publishing. They gained a personal insight into the world of literature that you don't get from just reading a book and writing a book report. I have asked my students to share their reflections about our video conference and how it made reading this book a very personal experience.
From a teachers perspective I feel that the little bit of time that I spent getting this experience set up was so worth it. To get ready Robert Kimmel Smith and I had a "practice" skype session to see how everything would work. This was new for him too since he had just gotten a new computer with a web cam. Once we were both comfortable with the logistics we were ready to set a date and time for the video conference. I then emailed him the questions that the students had written so that he would know the things the students wanted to ask. Since this was the first skype experience for the students as well we then set up a practice skype session. I took the class into a classroom with a web cam and my fellow teacher Ms. "A" was in another classroom in the school that also had a web cam. We "skyped" from one classroom to the other! The students loved seeing themselves on the screen and had to get all the wiggles out! They practiced reading their questions and then were ready for the big day. During the next week every time I saw one of these students in the hallway they would ask, "Are we going to skype today?" Over and over I continued to hear this question! Eventually the big day came and they could hardly contain their excitement! Once the video conference began the students were so engaged! They were having a real life experience with a book that I bet they will remember forever! See what one of our colleagues said about this experience on her blog "Technology" (Image from Madeleine_'s Photostream via Flickr)