Read Around the Planet continues with some amazing connections, and great prep work by students and teachers alike! Here are some more highlights:
Usually I see the amazing backdrops or sets in the MysteryQuest sessions. But one of my schools is going all out for Read Around the Planet this year. It’s their first year, but the school has a Jazz grad, and a PICC grad, so they are well trained. Several of the classes are doing similar presentations, so they have the visuals incorporated into their back drop. Check it out:
Doesn’t that look sharp?! What tips do you have for visuals?
I have realized again that a very important role of the VC coordinator is the encourager for the teacher. Teachers doing a videoconference for the first time tend to be anxious about it. You can:
- Listen to their great ideas for their presentation
- Help them with visuals & testing the document camera / computer set up
- Reassure them when they haven’t heard from their partner teacher (if the test call happened; they are planning on it!)
- Let them know their preparation plans are great and that it will be a great learning experience
One of the fun challenges of Read Around the Planet is rescheduling. Snow days have knocked out quite a few connections this year, as well as the usual family illness, jury duty, etc. Here are some tips on rescheduling:
- Give the Reason: When you need to request a rescheduling, be sure to tell the reason why you need to reschedule. People are pretty frustrated about rescheduling if you don’t give a reason. However, if you have a legitimate reason like illness or a death in the family or jury duty, etc. then they are generally happy to accommodate you.
- Be Specific: When emailing to reschedule, be really specific to speed the process. Tell all the dates and times that you can do within the next 3-4 weeks. Then they can pick a date from that list & you’re done!
- CC everyone involved: Be sure to CC teachers, school VC coordinators, and any regional service staff involved in the connect so everyone knows what is happening. Use the Reply to All feature of your email program!
Sometimes your partner teacher might cancel on you. Frustrating for sure, but what can you do? This morning, one of our partner classes had two classes in the videoconference. They graciously explained the situation to us, and my teacher was totally fine with it. This way all three classes were able to participate in their RAP connection. If you do this, be sure to explain to the partner class so they aren’t stressed or anxious about the large number of students they see on their screen!
How are your Read Around the Planet connections going? Running into any issues? How are you solving them?
Great reminder to give the reason for the rescheduling which goes a long way toward creating a good rapport. Remember also to ALWAYS write the time zone in all communications. It can be quite frustrating to go through all the rescheduling negotiations and then on the day be off on the actual times.
We used Twitter last year to find a replacement at the last minute and it was a great experience for our students.