On November 8, 2011 two of our grade 5 classes hosted a Skype session with Jeanne DuPrau. Mrs. DuPrau is known for the series of books that she has authored called "The Books of Ember". Within that series are The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet and Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold.
The City of Ember was made into a major motion picture. You can read more about that here. This is the novel that our classes read and thoroughly enjoyed.
Mrs. DuPrau lives in California. The logistics of having her visit were not within our budget and time constraints. However, Skype was able to fill this need. We organized a Skype session with Mr. DuPrau and the students in Mr. Argondizzo's and Miss Daly's grade 5 classes.
We used our classroom smartboard, a logitech webcam and a free download of Skype for the event. Each of our students in the session had a job/role. We followed the framework that I have made available on my wiki of resources. Some sample jobs included: recorder, time keeper, videographer, photographer, greeter, closing and of course question asking.
The event was a success. Mrs. Duprau shared her writing process as well as details about her novels. The students made an authentic connection to their classroom learning. Mrs. DuPrau mentioned that our students provided some of the best questions she has had asked of her!
The students are working on a reflection assignment. The assignment consists of a two paragraph essay in which they will reflect upon what they have learned. Our teachers provided a guiding questions for this assignment. We are looking forward to planning our next Skype session. If you are reading this posting and would like to connect with us, please respond int he comment section. We have many classes in grades k-12 that are interested.