I recently learned about an interesting website called www.writetheworld.com. This site is a community of writers for students from all over the world. Here teachers will find writing prompt ideas, competitions, join writing groups and participate in other great activities where students can feather their writing and improve thorough feedback and support. Teachers will find a range of tools and resources to help create a lively writing community in your classroom. As an author, I love this site and would have loved to have been part of a great community like this when I was in school. Be sure to check it out and see if it might benefit your students and enhance their writing skills!
Getting to meet the author of a book that children love to read or listen to is one of the greatest ways to add interest and excitement to your classroom. Many children’s authors are now offering free, short, 10-15 minute, virtual visits via internet calling services such as Skype in addition to their author websites and Facebook pages. While you can certainly contact your favorite authors directly to find out if they offer Skype interviews, you can find a list at the School Library Journal website: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6673572.html. Here, you will find not only a list of authors who are currently offering free, virtual classroom visits but some tips on what to do to get ready for a successful meeting. Have students either read or listen to the book in advance and then brainstorm questions that the class wants to ask the author. Arrange an area in front of your computer camera where children can come up to ask questions of the author. The more organized you and your students are during the brief interview session, the smoother and more worthwhile your author visit will be. Be sure to contact your district Technology Coordinator well in advance of your meeting so s/he can work with you to make sure that Skype is not blocked and will work as well as possible for your call. Be sure to have students bring books to read with them “just in case” the technology has some glitches and they have to wait a bit for the call to take place. This is a great opportunity to really build interest and excitement so take advantage of this opportunity to connect with the author’s your students love.