Tag Archives: Videoconferencing

What are Your National Poetry Month Plans?

April is National Poetry Month. Second to fifth grade teachers, take some time away from state testing and celebrate the art in an one hour interactive distance learning program with author Amy E. Sklansky! Amy has written seven children’s books during her career, and poetry is a medium she often uses. Amy connects to elementary classes over H323 videoconference or Skype — whichever set-up works better for you, the classroom teacher. This videoconference is $195 for non-New Links members, and for New Links members, it’s just $155. To schedule a distance learning program with Amy in April, or at any other time, please contact Rebecca Morrison.

More about Inside a Poet’s Mind:  Amy E. Sklansky gives students a peek inside the mind of a poet. Sharing poems from her own books, she discusses the various places a poet finds inspiration. Then she gives examples of the ways a poet may revise her work – emphasizing concepts such as word choice, line breaks, action verbs, and punctuation. She encourages students to write a poem on their own during the videoconference using the same process. If a second grade teacher would like to participate, the program would be shortened to 45 minutes and would not include the interactive poetry writing.

Just some of the Common Core Standards met by this program:
• RL.2.4. Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
• W.2.5. With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
• SL.3.3. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
• RL.4.2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
• SL.5.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners

An Inside Look at a TV Show: Behind the Scenes of HEC-TV Live!

recent HEC-TV Live! broadcast

Here’s another videoconference opportunity from HEC-TV Live! … about HEC-TV Live!

Abstract: Want to know what it’s like to put on a live TV show? Want a behind the scenes look at the equipment and technology? Want to ask questions of producers, camera people, directors, sound and lighting technicians?  Seventh through twelfth grade classes, join HEC-TV for this “inside look.” Here are the details on this live, interactive event:


Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Times: 10-11 a.m. & 1-2 p.m. CT
Register | Cost:  NO CHARGE

Behind the Scenes of HEC-TV Live! Program Description: Through the course of the school year, HEC-TV Live! produces around 50 live television programs on a wide variety of topics from a wide variety of locations. Want to know what it’s like to put on a live TV show from any location? Want a behind the scenes look at the equipment and technology? Want to ask questions of producers, camera people, directors, sound and lighting technicians? Want students to have a better understanding of what goes into the TV programs they see every day? Or learn what it takes to work in the profession of television production? Or gain skills in media literacy as they see the “effect of effects” on the “reality” of television?

St. Louis Author Carolyn Lesser Continues to Connect

All of author Carolyn Lesser’s videoconference programs are available upon date request, but preferred connection times include: Teacher sessions at 4 pm CT | Student sessions at either 9 or 11 am CT. She works with third grade and up.

Carolyn, a former classroom teacher and veteran presenter over distance learning, is the author of books including Great Crystal Bear, a lyrical natural science book that follows the polar bear through all seasons and reveals his wisdom and resilience in a stark and beautiful Arctic environment (illustrated by Bill Noonan) and Spots: Counting Creatures from Sky to Sea, a natural science book about spotted creatures and the ten biomes they inhabit. It’s an early counting book with a glossary to spark the imagination of older readers (illustrated by Laura Regan).

She offers three-part interactive sessions which include professional development for participating teachers; the last two sessions are with the students. Selections include:

•  Custom-designed writing program   •  Writing Nonfiction Prose or Poetry
•  Writing Nature Prose or Poetry   •  Multi-genre Nonfiction Writing

Each session is full of inspiration, enthusiasm, and positive feedback! Carolyn Lesser will engage students with enthusiasm for her nonfiction process. For more information, including scheduling & program fees, contact Rebecca Morrison.

Guest Blog Post: A Smaller World with Whirlidurb

Ashley Deckelman and Amy Johnson are Technology Integration Specialists in the Parkway School District in St. Louis, Missouri. The TIS department provides instructional and technological leadership to administrators, faculty and staff, facilitates the development of teaching practices in the classroom using technology as an instructional tool and serves as a resource for curriculum coordinators and teachers to help facilitate the integration of technology into the curriculum. As Premium New Links members, Parkway has access to Whirlidurb videoconferences at no additional cost! Here, Ashley and Amy share their experiences videoconferencing this year.

So far, Parkway School District has participated in three different videoconference programs through Whirlidurb, with another one scheduled in December.  Overall, these videoconferences have been very beneficial to student learning due to the preparatory activities, the opportunity to interact with classes around the country, and the real life connections students are able to make.

Two of the conferences have been the Book Blitz program with a kindergarten class at Green Trails and a first grade class at Shenandoah Valley Elementary.  This style of program features a read aloud and a writing component.  The students began the conference by brainstorming some ideas about what Thanksgiving means to them.  Then students interacted with the Book Blitz host, as well as two other classes that were located throughout the country.   It was a great learning opportunity and provided different perspectives from kids living in different regions.

Another type of conference is the Community Helpers program on meteorologists.  The focus of this conference was on how community helpers keep us safe.  In this case, the first grade classes at Hanna Woods Elementary had just completed a weather unit in science.   The students were able to ask authentic questions of an expert in the field as a culminating activity.  At times the meteorologist asked questions of the participating classes which allowed them to transfer knowledge.

Kindergarten classes at Hanna Woods Elementary participated in another type of program, Show and Share.  This program focused on living and nonliving things.  Each class had to bring items to the conference that they could describe so other classes could infer if the object was living or nonliving.  This reinforced vocabulary skills as well as letters and sounds.

We have found these videoconferences to be well organized learning opportunities for 21st century learners.  Learning extends beyond the walls of a classroom with connections made across the country.   We would like to thank CSD and New Links for providing Parkway School District with these wonderful opportunities.

Day in the Life of an Astro-not

Here’s what the distance between Cooperating School Districts in St. Louis, Missouri, and Geneseo Elementary School in New York looked like today! The Challenger Learning Center- St. Louis‘ Robert Powell (aka the astro-not) spoke with first graders via videoconferencing about the Day in the Life of an Astronaut. Talk about an out-of-this-world videoconference!