2013-2014 SKYPE AUTHOR VISIT GUIDE
Thank you for your interest in a Virtual Author Visit with Award-Winning Author & Storyteller Dianne de Las Casas. Technology is a wonderful way to connect authors and students when an in-person school visit is not possible. Dianne is a tech-savvy author and loves to communicate using available technology tools. This guide will help prepare your school for your Skype Author Visit with Dianne.
About the Author
Dianne de Las Casas is an award-winning author, storyteller, and recording artist. She tours internationally presenting programs, educator/librarian training, workshops and artist residencies. Her performances, dubbed “traditional folklore gone fun” and “revved-up storytelling” are full of energetic audience participation. Her children’s books include The Cajun Cornbread Boy, Madame Poulet & Monsieur Roach, Mama’s Bayou, The Gigantic Sweet Potato, There’s a Dragon in the Library, Beware, Beware of the Big Bad Bear!, Dinosaur Mardi Gras, The House That Witchy Built, Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate, The Little “Read” Hen, The House that Santa Built, and Cinderellaphant. Dianne’s 12 professional books include the best-selling Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take; the award-winning Scared Silly: 25 Tales to Tickle and Thrill and her latest title, Handmade Tales 2: More Stories to Make and Take.
Skype is a free video chat service that allows two parties with access to computers with web cameras to connect face-to-face using online video chat technology. You must have a Skype account to utilize the service. Visit http://www.skype.com to register for a free account. Skype does not use a phone line; you only need high-speed Internet access. You will need to download the software to your computer from the online site and it only takes a few minutes to set it up.
When an in-person visit is not possible (due to funding or logistics), video chat allows authors and students to connect in a “virtual” environment. The students can see, hear and speak with the author live without the author even being present in the school! It is a fun, economical way to connect with a favorite author.
The skinny about the Skype visit:
• $250 for a full 45-minute Skype Author Visit
• $400 for a back-to-back Skype Author Visits (2 separate sessions, same day)
• $500 for three back-to-back Skype Author Visits (3 separate sessions, same day)
• The fee, which is billed to you or your school by email, can be paid through PayPal or by check
• If paying by check, the check must arrive before the scheduled visit
• Checks should be made payable to Dianne de Las Casas
For ideas on how to fund an author visit with Dianne, visit http://diannedelascasas.com/fund-diannes-visit/
If you are interested in booking Dianne to visit your school in person, the fee (outside Louisiana) is $1,500 + expenses. For more details, visit http://diannedelascasas.com/author-visit-guide/
Skpe Contact Info:
Dianne’s Skype ID is dianne.de.las.casas Be sure to type it exactly as you see it, in all lower case with the dots in between. Dianne will also need to have your Skype ID so that she can call you on the date of the scheduled Skype visit.
Request a Skype Author Visit:
Please fill out Dianne’s booking request form so that she can have all your contact information and check available dates. Put “Skype Author Visit” in “Describe Event” section. Visit http://www.diannedelascasas.com Click on “Book Dianne” under the “Contact” button.
You will need the following to complete a successful Skype author visit.
• Skype account and software downloaded to your computer
• High-speed internet access
• Computer with a webcam and microphone (most newer laptops have this built-in)
• Large screen or smart board connected to the computer (so the students can see the author)
• Speakers connected to the computer to amplify the sound so that the students can hear (if there is no smart board)
• Copies of Dianne’s books
• Dianne will Skype visit with elementary grades 1-6
• Dianne limits the number of students for a Skype visit to 100-120 (approximately 4 classes). Large assemblies work very well for in-person visits but Skype Author Visits are better suited for smaller groups
Dianne asks that your school and/or library have copies of her books available to the students (in the library or classroom) and that the students are familiar with her body of work. You should share at least one of Dianne’s books with your students. The more, the merrier! If you do not have Dianne’s children’s books, they can be ordered through her publisher. The ordering information is listed below.
Ordering Dianne’s Books
You can also offer the books for sale to the teachers and the students before your Skype Author Visit with Dianne de Las Casas. Treat the Skype visit as special as you would if Dianne were visiting your school in person. Her children’s books can be arranged through Laura Midgett, School Sales Manager for Pelican Publishing Company, Dianne’s children’s book publisher. You can contact Laura at email@example.com or 1-800-843-1724, ext. 319. Books are ordered at 40% off list price.
Dianne’s Audio Storytelling
Dianne’s storytelling audios (Jump, Jiggle & Jam, World Fiesta and Jambalaya) can be downloaded from iTunes.
Flyers and Promotional Materials
It is also great to get children excited about Dianne’s Skype Visit by making signs to hang around the school, classroom or library. Flyers, pictures, book covers, and a bio can be downloaded from Dianne’s website. Please feel free to create promotional materials as you see fit.
Bulletin boards are fun and are a great way for students to connect with the author’s books. A plethora of book activities and images can be found on Dianne’s website, http://www.diannedelascasas.com.
Questions from the Students
Dianne loves answering student questions. To make the most of the short time available, please email questions ahead of time to Dianne at firstname.lastname@example.org. When students are asking their questions live, it is advisable to allow them to have their questions written down and in hand when they speak to Dianne (in the event they forget their question, it’s a quick reference).
Testing the Technology
It is a good idea to have a five minute test Skype session with Dianne to make sure that everything is working well. This will be done on the day of the scheduled Skype visit. Dianne will call you on your telephone and walk you through the steps if you need assistance.
“We Seem to Be Experiencing Technical Difficulties”
Sometimes, no matter what preparations were made in advance, there are technical difficulties beyond our control. Because Skype is a free service, there are times when an overload of users causes lag time in video or voice. Often, a simple hang-up and call-back can remedy this. If not, a Skype video call will need to be re-scheduled. Rest assured, Dianne and her team will make sure that you receive the fantastic Skype visit you expect and paid for!
Connect with Dianne Online Before the Visit
Dianne is tech-savvy and loves to communicate with her readers! You can connect with Dianne here:
• Dianne’s Website – The Story Connection http://www.diannedelascasas.com
• Dianne’s Blog – The Story Connection Blog http://www.diannedelascasas.com/blog
• Facebook – (for grown-ups only) http://www.facebook.com/diannedelascasas
• Facebook Fan Page – (for everyone) http://www.facebook.com/fanofdianne
• Twitter – (for grown-ups only) http://www.twitter.com/AuthorDianneDLC
• YouTube – (watch Dianne’s videos!) http://www.youtube.com/storyconnection
What Can You Expect from Dianne?
Skype Author Visit:
• Dianne tells a story to open – interactive and fun
• Dianne talks her books, storytelling and the writing process (this can be accompanied by the slide show)
• Dianne conducts live Q&A
o Students should stand in front of the webcam so that they are visible on screen
o Students should speak succinctly close to the microphone so that Dianne can hear them
o One question per student
• Dianne closes with a short story
• Dianne is also very flexible and spontaneous and may not always adhere to the above exactly but whatever she does with your students will be fun, educational and enjoyable
Study Guides/Book Activities:
Classroom discussion of Dianne’s books will greatly facilitate student comprehension of the educational content of her program and books. Study guides and book activities can be accessed on Dianne’s website, http://www.diannedelascasas.com. Click on “Book Activities.” There, you will find coloring sheets, bookmarks, hidden pictures, word searches, story theater scripts, puppets, puppet theater scripts, and more!
During the Visit: Here are some guidelines:
• Give the students a brief introduction of Dianne.
• “Dianne de Las Casas is an award-winning author, storyteller and recording artist. She travels around the world sharing stories and LOVES creating them. She’s fun, funny and funky! Give it up for Dianne de Las Casas!”
• Have teachers present to assert crowd control
• Please take pictures of the students looking at the screen. (If you send Dianne pictures to use, she will send you a gift!)
• Limit one question per student so that more students may have a chance to interact with Dianne
• Have the student say his/her name and grade then ask the question, speaking clearly near the microphone and looking directly into the web camera
• Make sure the student has his/her question written down on a piece of paper as a quick reference guide in the event they forget the question.
After the Visit:
• What did you like best about the Skype visit?
• What did you learn about Dianne?
• What did you learn about being an author and/or storyteller?
• Is there a difference between being an author and a storyteller?
Write a Letter to Dianne!
A language arts extension! If you would like for the students to practice their writing skills, encourage them to write a letter to the author! Letters can be mailed to:
Author & Storyteller Dianne de Las Casas
P.O. Box 2656
Harvey, LA 70059
A letter template is available and printable from Dianne’s website in the Book Activities section. Click on “Author Visit Letter” in any of the book activities. Bulk letters from classes are welcome. All mail is answered personally by Dianne via snail mail although it sometimes takes a little while due to her touring and writing schedule.
Teachers and students can also email Dianne at email@example.com. Dianne loves hearing from you!
If you didn’t have a chance to do some book activities before Dianne’s Skype Author Visit, be sure to do a few activities with the students after the visit. After having spoken with Dianne, they are excited about her books. Take advantage of this enthusiasm by engaging them with her fun book activities! Study guides and book activities can be accessed on Dianne’s website, http://www.diannedelascasas.com. Click on “Book Activities.”
Once you have completed the Skype Author Visit, Dianne will send you a package of bookmarks for the participating students and signed reading posters for participating teachers. Woo hoo!
Your cooperation with these requests is greatly appreciated and will help to ensure an enjoyable and enriching experience for both the performer and the students. I look forward to Skype visiting with your school! Thank you.