The Inside Out Quiz Author Skype Session
by Ashley Daniels
I am blessed with the opportunity to student teach twenty-six wonderful second graders. One goal I set for myself while finishing my degree was to bring technology into the classroom in a tangible way. With 21st century technology available, I decided to use Skype to present my students with opportunities that would not otherwise have been possible. After hearing about my mom’s class’s Skype session with Jean Reidy the previous year, I knew I could not pass up the opportunity to connect with her, myself. After emailing back and forth a few times, our session’s date and time were locked in place.
I decided to have my class complete an “Inside Out Quiz” during our session. The gist of the “Inside Out Quiz” is for students to ask Mrs. Reidy questions about her own books and website. She must then answer the questions. I chose this option as my students have been focused on asking thoughtful and insightful questions about texts all year long. This would give them an opportunity to continue to polish this skill while interacting with the author who created the material in question.
I began the series of corresponding lessons by first informing my students we would personally Skype with a children’s author. I explained that they would each have the opportunity to try to stump her on her own material by asking her thoughtful questions. I read my students several of Mrs. Reidy’s books including Busy Builders, Busy Week!, Too Purpley!, All Through the Town, Light Up the Night, and Time Out for Monsters! over the weeks leading up to our session. While I read the books aloud, I would stop and have my students practice their thoughtful question asking. We would discuss the main idea of the text, illustrations, the different illustrators, and how the illustrations went with the text. The books were also available for students to read after completing their morning work. Students would check out the books and reread their favorites.
One week before our Skype session, I had the students work in small groups with me to explore Mrs. Reidy’s website. Students read her “All About Me” sections and then clicked on each of her books to read a little about what others had said about her books. Once they finished, I had each student choose one of Reidy’s books. They then had to browse through the book to come up with their thoughtful question. I challenged students to come up with at least two questions and the corresponding answer. They could be based on the book they chose or her website. All of my students came up with great questions to ask Mrs. Reidy. Once I had the questions, I typed them with my students’ names. I chose the most thoughtful question that each student asked. Now we just had to wait for Tuesday to roll around for our Skype visit.
Before the Skype call, I made sure each student had their questions in hand and had reread the question a few times to refresh their memories. Our Skype session went better than I could have ever planned. Mrs. Reidy is delightful and enjoyable. She began by introducing herself and explained that this was her first ever “Inside Out Quiz” with a class. She asked my students a few questions and then they took turns asking her their questions. Many of the students chose to ask questions about the illustrations. Some of the questions asked included: “What was in the boy’s pocket when he was in the corner in Time Out for Monsters?”, “On your website, what are the three ‘All About Me’ sections called?” and “In Busy Builders, Busy Week who was sticking their head out of the fence on Sunday?” As students asked the questions, Mrs. Reidy answered in an engaging, animated way. She incorporated extra facts about the books that the students asked about. She shared her experiences with the illustrators and captured the student’s attention. By the time all the students asked their questions, half of them really did stump her. The students loved when that happened.
Mrs. Reidy then took the time to answer a few additional questions my students had. After, she gave them encouraging words about the fractured fairy tales they are writing in class. Once the session was over, my class and I debriefed about how the session went. I asked several of the students what their favorite part was. Many of the answers varied including asking their question, hearing additional information about her books, and learning why so many of her books feature turtles. I had each of my students write down their favorite part and then turn the slip in. All in all, Skyping with Mrs. Reidy was a wonderful experience. All of my students enjoyed it and they loved that they were actually able to “meet” a real live author through the aid of Skype.
Ashley Daniels is currently a student teacher and will graduate with her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from the University of Toledo in May. As a future educator, she is passionate about integrating technology, whenever possible, into her lessons and units. She has always had a desire to teach young children. She is continuously looking for new and stimulating ways to incorporate out-of-the-box teaching ideas and methods to engage her students. She believes students learn best when they are interested in the material and can make personal connections to it. She cannot wait to officially begin her life-long career of teaching.
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