5 Skype school visit hosting tips for the classroom

What do you need to know to host a Skype school visit?

You want to invite an author or illustrator to your classroom for a Skype school visit. (Or your library or book club.) But you don’t even know where to start. Here are 5 tips on hosting beyond opening a Skype account.

  1. Your students’ needs and your classroom lesson plans will determine who and what to do for a Skype visit. Many picture book authors have the type of presentations they give, listed on their websites. Some focus on certain age groups, while others have programs geared for all ages from preschool to college classrooms.
  2. Make sure the students are familiar with the author and her books. Many authors will provide you with the info needed to purchase their books. Coordinate with your school’s librarian to procure the books in advance of the visit. Depending on the age of the students, you can just read them the book or you can have them research the author by visiting her website or following her social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Some publishers will have a bio page for the author on their web sites; or you can ask the author herself for links to visit. Ask for volunteers to write an introduction and read it to the class before the author visit begins.
  3. Decide on an area for the visit. Many classrooms have Smart Boards, which work well for visits. If you only have a computer monitor available, keep the audience as intimate as possible so all the children can see and hear the presentation.
  4. While the author is speaking or engaged in her presentation, keep an eye out for disruptive or fidgeting students. Even though she is teaching your class, she can’t see everyone nor can she act to resolve any issues within the audience. She’ll need your help during her presentation to make sure everyone is paying attention.
  5. At the end of presentation, if you have a small enough group and plenty of time, invite each student to stand and read his or her question aloud. Use a hand microphone that can be passed around if you have one. Ask students to introduce themselves before asking their questions. Remind them to speak loudly, clearly, and slowly. Some students may develop stage fright and freeze. Be prepared to help these students by asking their questions for them or calling on another more outgoing child.

Want more tips? Visit the On the Scene in 2016, the 2016 Picture Book Debuts Authors and Illustrators Blog for 25 tips.

Skype school visit