When I first heard about Skype I thought it was an interesting idea to be able to video chat with someone far away. But, one look at myself on the screen of my laptop made me cringe and think I don’t really need for anyone to see me through such an unflattering medium. I never really pursued it other than a remote planning session with a colleague. That all changed yesterday…
I first heard about Skyping with an author at NErD Camp in Maine back in January. Lynda Mullaly Hunt author of “One for the Murphys” presented a session on Skype visits with authors. I was totally intrigued. Lynda’s book was flying through my class like it had wings so I knew she would be the perfect author for this adventure. A few emails later and we had a date set up.
My students were giddy with the idea of talking to an author whose work they enjoyed so much. They submitted questions which fell into two categories: author’s craft and questions about the characters from the book. I organized and combined some of the questions and we were ready to go.
Our meeting was held at lunch time so the students all gathered in front of the screen and laptop. I asked them to get their crinkly packaging under control and we were ready to go.
I introduced Lynda to the students, stepped aside and allowed the magic to happen. Lynda was so engaging with the children! Eventhough I am sure they were questions she has answered many times before, she made the children feel like they were special. She held them spell bound as she told them about how she took pieces from her own life and put them together to create her beautiful story. They loved hearing her talk about her writing process and looked at me slyly when it against some of our “rules” for the writing process.
When the children asked what happened next to Carley, Lynda told the epilogue she thought up some time after finishing the book. She is a master story teller and I felt my eyes well up as she told about another chapter in Carley’s life.
The arrangement was supposed to be three questions in about 20 minutes but we went beyond that. Lynda kept answering questions and I think the kids would have kept her there all day. But, I knew she had other work to do and so did we. After we disconnected we all cheered and the smiles on the kids faces were huge!
Our visit was short but so powerful. I see kids rereading “One for the Murphy’s”. I see their brainstormed list of what they learned from the experience. I can feel more energy in both reading and writing workshops. Skyping with an author was such a powerful experience!