First Grade Skype with Kate Messner

My fourth graders love Skyping.  They would be thrilled to Skype with just about anyone.  So far this year, we have Skyped with authors, classrooms,  and university students. Our school is not blessed with wonderful media specialists like John Schu and Shannon Miller (Two Libraries One Voice), so connecting students with the world fall on the shoulders of the classroom teacher.  My students have been lucky enough to have more than their fair share of Skype opportunities, but the other students in my building have never Skyped.  Their classrooms remain trapped inside the four walls of their Battle Creek classroom.

I decided that I would try and help another classroom have the opportunity to experience Skype.  Mrs. Birchmeier is a first grade teacher, whose students every year, are reading buddies with my fourth graders.  Her first graders are also giant Kate Messner fans. They read Sea Monster’s First Day early in the year, and Mrs. Birchmeier read them Marty McGuire as their very first chapter book.

The first graders Skyped with Kate last week (my fourth graders were very jealous). Mrs. Birchmeier said it went great. I was wondering what a first grader takes away from a Skype visit, so I decided to have my fourth graders interview their reading buddies when they met last week.

We asked them two questions:

1. What does Kate Messner do as a writer that you also do as a writer?

2. What did you like about your Skype visit with Kate Messner?

Here is what we found out:

1. What does Kate Messner do as a writer that you also do as a writer?

She writes stories like I do.

She keeps a journal with her ideas just like me.

She writes down stuff in a book.

She plans.

She writes A LOT, just like me.

She revises her stories just like I do.

(MY FAVORITE) She puts spaces between her words, and she uses periods and capital letters.

She publishes her stories. Just like me!

2. What did you like about your Skype with Kate Messner?

I liked when she told us about the REAL Sea Monster that lives in her lake.

I liked when she told us how she came up with Sea Monster’s First Day.

I liked when I got to ask her a question.

I liked when she told us that she couldn’t stop thinking about Sea Monster, so she decided to write a story about it.

I liked when she talked about her books.

I couldn’t believe that she really did write books.

I liked how nice she was.

I liked that we got to yell. (I have no idea what this means)

She told us a secret about a new book. (The kid wouldn’t tell me the secret)

She told us that we can become better writers.

Big thanks to Kate Messner, The Swiss Army Knife of childen’s litterature, for inspiring our first graders.

If you would like more information about free author Skype visits check out this link on Kate’s website:



2 thoughts on “First Grade Skype with Kate Messner

  1. So great to see Skype entering into classrooms. If any teachers would like a Wordtoons Skype visit just contact me via facebook youtube or twitter and let me know. The idea behind Wordtoons is to show children how they can write words and easily turn them into cartoons of what they say eg. dog turns into a dog, baby into a crawling baby. Even words like Grandmother and fruit are possible!


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