Monday, November 19, 2012

Skyping with Kate Messner

Our class creating the original size of the American Flag.
I remember reading Capture the Flag in July and knowing immediately it would be our first read aloud of the school year.  I told my 5th grade colleagues about the fascinating story, and after I described all the twists and the turns all 3 of them decided to read it also.  In August on twitter, I realized that Kate Messner will skype with classes. and we were totally on board.  She offers a free 15 minutes to any school for a one time skype, but all four teachers decided we would pay for her longer skype visit and again we hit a home run.

The students discussed which of these visuals represented the setting.
When we were finished reading the story, we focused on the setting and character development.  Each student chose their favorite character and scene and developed their own comic strip.  As the students were working on their comic strip, they recorded questions that they had for Kate Messner. It was exciting to see them think as an author and even more exciting to know that they were going to be ask their questions to Kate.

Finally the day arrived and there was a buzz in fifth grade a few days before. You could hear them talking about it at lunch and during their writing time.  It really brought our fifth grade classes together as a community of authors and readers. As you can see below on the left was a slide show that Kate sent to us to support her talk and on the right is Kate talking to our students.

There were so many ideas I LOVED as she talked to the students.  I felt like I was at a workshop for teachers on how to actively engage your students as writers.  Some key focus points included:
*always have a writer's notebook with you because there is a story everywhere
*graphic organizers are a great way to organize your writing
*whenever possible, try to research your writing and take the time to ask questions
*write about what you know
*revision is not about editing (LOVE this message)
*as a writer ask yourself:  What if?

Thank you Kate Messner for a wonderful conversation that encouraged both our students as well as the teachers.  PS.  Our students are sitting on pins and needles waiting for the next book:  Hide and Seek!!!

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome experience - so rich in so many ways. Good for you that you had this vision - and good for the kids that they ran with it!