New Links Author Visits with James Otis Thach

James Otis Thach, a published author who spent part of his childhood in St. Louis (he actually shared his first grade class photo from Glenridge Elementary in Clayton with the kids!), came to Cooperating School Districts today and conducted four free videoconferences with area students.

Elementary & middle school students in the Francis Howell School District, the Ladue School District, the Rockwood School District, the Parkway School District and the School District of Clayton connected with James- and each other- for a multimedia presentation to talk about the writing process, including inspiration, research, drafts, illustrations and proof reading.

James shared his three books with the students and read the first chapter of his newest book, The Seal Pup. (Click here to get a little taste of how one of the videoconferences started today). He encouraged the students to do what they love; he stressed he found success by following his passions. For those of you were able to participate what was your favorite part of the videoconference?

If you were not able to participate in one of today’s programs, you can still hear James read The Seal Pup‘s first chapter by visiting his website, Thanks again to James for visiting the Virtual Learning Center on a trip home- we appreciate the time and energy you bring to St. Louis classrooms!

6 thoughts on “New Links Author Visits with James Otis Thach

  1. James led a marvelous, engaging VC!
    He kept kids interest with photos and stories about his own life, as well as inspiring them to follow their dreams and tell their own stories.
    It was an informative session and professional… even sharing about the book collaboration process and a video background panning across the books’ images while he read The Seal Pup.
    Excellent work!

  2. My class enjoyed the videos, especially the rodeo clip, and the information about how you worked with the illustrator to fix the seal’s image to fit your character. I appreciated the way you worked in the talk about how carbon dioxide affects the food chain and what we can do to help. We will enjoy this book for years to come and our current poetry unit made this a nice connection.

  3. Central Elementary in the Francis Howell School District was lucky enough to participate in 3 of the videoconferences with Author James Otis Thach –

    The students in the second grade class were kept riveted to the screen and were amazed at how many drafts went into the making of The Seal Pup! They loved hearing about the illustration process and seeing the evolution of the main character. They liked the authors “idea book” and are ready to start their own idea books!

    The fourth grade classes are eagerly looking for the original documentary and were impressed with the story of how this amazing Seal Pup saved so many other seals! They were very concerned about the effects of carbon dioxide on the animals they heard about and want to do what they can to help them. Great job working that into the presentation!

    The fifth grade class was thankful their teacher doesn’t make them do so many drafts of their stories! Once they come up with their ideas, they really have a hard time changing any part of them and were impressed to know that in the “real world” it IS necessary. They were amazed at all the research goes into making a book and the amount of time that it takes. Hopefully they will work a little harder on their stories now!

    I was privileged to sit in on 3 of the presentations myself and was kept interested – even after hearing some of the same information again! It was engaging and I learned something new in each videoconference through the answers to the student’s questions. Nicely done!!

  4. I’d like to share a message I received from a teacher who participated yesterday:

    My students loved that he shared personal moments with us. He memorized his own writing. They thought it was neat that he just didn’t read his story. Instead, he really told it. He listened to all the kids questions and answered them well. Last, they noticed how he took the time to research and show the process of writing. This was the first time I was part of a videoconference with students. I thought everything went well and it was a wonderful experience.

    I thought James did a great job reaching all the kids in the audience today. My students really liked hearing his words of encouragement. That when you get rejected, keep trying. We all loved hearing those words. He was very inspiring and had some wonderful suggestions for our young writers. I’m so excited I jumped on the opportunity to share this experience with my class.

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