A few weeks ago, as a grade level, we had the opportunity to Skype with author Pamela S. Turner about her book Samurai Rising.
I should give you some background information first. As a middle school, every year, we participate in a competition called The Battle of the Books. Our librarian and students selected books that we all try to read within a 3-month time frame. After the students read the books they submit questions that start with ..In which book..to be collected to create a database of questions. At the end of the time period, teams are made and the questions that the students created are posed to each team. The team that gets the most questions correct, wins. There are also weekly challenges for the students to participate in that have them interact in a variety of ways with any book they are reading.
Back to the author Skype with Pamela S. Turner-
One of the books we included in our Battle of the Books was Samurai Rising. Through some lucky connections, our librarian was able to set up a time where we could learn about how Turner researched and wrote her book. We had just finished a historical fiction unit so we were primed! The students who had read the book created questions that they wanted to ask. It was really a great experience for the students to interact with a REAL author. Turner shared her inspiration behind the book and how she did her research to make sure that she was true to the history.
This got me thinking about the real interactions that can happen between students and the outside world. Being in Saudi Arabia, I didn’t think these types of experiences were possible. How silly! Of course, with technology, we can connect with the world! Over the summer, I am going to try and set up interactions with authors for each unit that will hopefully inspire and inform our students. Do you have any ideas? I am open to any suggestions!