Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mystery Skypes, Author Skypes, and World Read Aloud Day

This has been one amazing week!  Thanks to my friends on Twitter, I have made some incredible connections which has given my students opportunities to make some incredible connections!  Here is how we have celebrated reading this week:

On Monday, 5th grade connected with students in Oklahoma and Georgia for Mystery Skypes and to share books.  A Mystery Skype is where students have to use yes or no questions or give clues so that each group can guess the location of the other.  Mrs. Pitman's class had experience with this and did an exceptional job guessing where Mrs. Sikes's students were located! Mrs. Myall's class participated in their first Mystery Skype and were quick to figure out that JFK Elementary students were located in Oklahoma.  We were all very proud of the critical thinking skills used during these visits! This is a wonderful way for students to apply their knowledge of maps and geography as well as facts about Texas.  

Also on Monday, Mrs. Waller's & part of Mrs. Christian's Kindergarten classes read Bunny Days by Tao Nyeu on We Give Books with Matthew Winner's students at Longfellow Elementary in Maryland. The classes took turns reading pages to each other. This was the first time some of our students had Skyped and it was great fun!

On Tuesday, our 3rd grade along with Mrs. Zell's and Mrs. Massingill's classes were able to enjoy a visit by local author, Kristin Bryan.  Mrs. Bryan has written the Mrs. Crawdad series which share messages of having a good attitude and embracing the differences in each other.  Students enjoyed Mrs. Bryan's reading of her book and the peek they got into the new book in the series. Mrs. Bryan was kind enough to join in our Skype visit with students in Connecticut while we read One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo. We were very appreciative of Mrs. Bryan's time and flexibility as we moved from one activity to another!

Wednesday, World Read Aloud Day, was fast and furious! Mrs. Pulliam's class had a Skype visit with students in Massachusetts. My Twitter friend, Jennifer Reed connected her students with our students and suggested a great book I was unfamiliar with!  Students took turns reading parts of poems for two voices from the book Messing Around on the Monkey Bars by Betsy Franco.  Students thought this book was a lot of fun to read together, and I was pleased to find an unknown treasure in my library!

Sixth grade students were treated to an author visit with Mina Javaherbin. Mrs. Javaherbin wrote the book Goal, which was a Texas Bluebonnet nominee last year.  She shared some of her new book, The Secret Message with the students, explaining to them about the poem from which she got the book idea. Javaherbin went on to tell the students about her childhood and all that she has seen and experienced.  

She advised them on writing and the collecting of ideas, suggesting to them that they keep all of their writings.  Her family immigrated from Iran when she was young, and she explained how she had to leave many things behind, including some of her early writing.  

Mrs. Javaherbin also encouraged the students to pursue higher  education, even if they aren't completely sure of what they want to be when they grow up.  It was very interesting to hear her perspective on the importance of being good global citizens and understanding the differences in cultures and points of view. The students seemed to really enjoy the visit, as well as the opportunity to ask questions at the end.  

Second grade came in to Skype with Mrs. Gohagon and her students in Connecticut and share the book Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.  This is a great book to show different perspectives when readers go back and forth on whether the picture is a duck or a rabbit.  What do you think? Can you see both?
Cole introduces his class to the students in Connecticut!

You would think we would be finished with our celebration, with all that we have already done, but NO!  There is MORE!  Second Grade also had an Author Skype Visit with Dori Hilstead Butler, author of the popular Buddy Files books!  Curtis readers LOVE these books, and they are hard to keep on the shelf!  In fact, 3 students had them in their hands when the Skype began!  Mrs. Butler read the first chapter in book 6, The Case of the School Ghost. The students begged for more, but Mrs. Butler told them they would have to check it out and read it to find out what happened!  :)  A few students were lucky enough to be able to ask a question of Mrs. Butler!  It was another awesome author skype!

We wrapped up #WRAD13 with a visit with Shannon Miller's students at Van Meter in Iowa!  Not only did we get to Skype with Van Meter students, but we were lucky enough to be included with their Skype with Mrs. P's Storytime.  Mrs. P is a fabulous story weaver, sharing with students about her neighbor, the Tooth Fairy and her 1100 room mansion that she lives in on an island in Wisconsin.  ;)  She was quite entertaining for the students AND for the adults in the room!  

Reflecting on this week, I am amazed at the times we live in, where we can connect with people all over the country and share our love of books and reading!  Part of how this happens is by creating a PLN on Twitter and connecting with others who share a love of books and technology!  What an incredible week!


  1. Sounds like a great week! Sorry I missed all the fun.

  2. It was a wonderful week! Wish you could have been there for all of the craziness!! :)

  3. The winter storm and resulting schedules changes affected a few of our Skype sessions(including the one with you!), but it was great to see the other wonderful connections you made with Iowa, including Shannon Miller and Dori H Butler.