Skype virtual school visits


I have been virtually visiting schools since 2012, during which time I've done over 200 virtual visits with over 170 different schools in the UK, the US and beyond. You can find a map showing the schools I’ve virtually visited and some of the feedback schools have shared on Twitter at the bottom of this page.

After offering free 20 minute sessions for several years, I've now switched to offering longer, for-a-fee virtual sessions adapted from some of the most popular in-person sessions I do in schools and libraries. Outlines of these sessions are shown below.

I offer a 30% DISCOUNT* for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking.

 

Virtual Visit Session Outlines

•••• Spring Term Seasonal Special ••••
RUBY THE DUCKLING, illustrated by Rebecca Harry

A reading of TWO of the Ruby books of your choice:
Ruby Flew Too!This Way, Ruby! •  Go For It, Ruby!
Q & A: I chat with the children’s and answer their questions between the two readings.

Suggested Age: 3-7 years • Session Length: 30 minutes
UK Price £50 excl. VAT (£60 incl. VAT)
International Price $65 (payment via PayPal)

HOW THE BORKS BECAME: An Adventure in Evolution, illustrated by Ely Dolan

A short introduction to the concept of evolution.
Spot the Difference: I challenge the children to spot the differences between the Borks’ appearance at the beginning and end of the book’s timeline and suggest how these differences might help the Borks to survive.
A reading of How the Borks Became: An Adventure in Evolution
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £90 excl. VAT (£108 incl. VAT)
International Price $115 (payment via PayPal)

PIGS, FROGS & PRINCESSES, illustrated by Poly Bernatene

A reading of Prince Ribbit.
Froggy Fact or Froggy Fiction Challenge: The children must tell fact from fiction in a "Would I Lie to You?” style quiz and learn some amazing facts about frogs along the way..
A reading of The Princess and the Pig.
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £90 excl. VAT (£108 incl. VAT)
International Price $115 (payment via PayPal)

 

THE CLOCKWORK DRAGON, illustrated by Elys Dolan

A reading of The Clockwork Dragon.
A short talk about the inspiration for the book and how the story was ‘recycled’ from earlier versions.
Clockwork Creature collage activity: I create a new clockwork creature by request and show the children how the creature kit can be used to to create other clockwork creatures. The kit is available as downloadable printouts which the students can use to create their own clockwork creatures after the session has ended.
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £90 excl. VAT (£108 incl. VAT)
International Price $115 (payment via PayPal)

HERE BE MONSTERS, illustrated by Poly Bernatene

A short talk explaining how a five-hundred-year-old sea map inspired the story and introducing the animal pirates in Captain Cut-Throat’s dastardly crew.
A reading of Here Be Monsters.
Q & A: I answer the children’s questions.

Suggested Age: 6-9 years • Session Length: 40 minutes
UK Price £75 excl. VAT (£90 incl. VAT)
International Price $100 (payment via PayPal)

PICK & MIX

Two readings of a complete novelty or picture book or an excerpt from one of my first readers or chapter fiction books. Schools can request whichever two books they like and each reading can be followed by a Q&A.

Suggested Age: 4-9 years • Session Length: 30-40* minutes
UK Price £60 excl. VAT (£72 incl. VAT)
International Price $75 (payment via PayPal)

* The length of this session varies according to the length of the books chosen

30% DISCOUNT* for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking

(* For two or more sessions of varying prices, the highest priced session will be charged at full price with 30% discount applied to all additional sessions)

 

I’m happy to consider virtual visit requests from any English-speaking school, providing the visit can be done between 9:00am and 9.00pm United Kingdom time on a weekday. If you are not in the United Kingdom, you can use the international time converter here to convert from your local time to UK time.

Virtual Visits need to be booked at least three working days in advance.

Group size: In regular circumstances, I am happy to talk to up to four classrooms (on separate logins) simultaneously on my visit. All of my sessions include an opportunity for question and answers and it’s difficult to do this well with more than four classrooms in one session. If you’d like me to visit more than four classrooms, you can book an additional session(s). I offer a 30% discount for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking. ZOOMING WITH STAY-AT-HOME STUDENTS DURING THE PANDEMIC: I'm happy for students to log-in from home (in addition to four classrooms from school) but ask that a member of school staff set up and host the Zoom session, so that they can admit any late-comers once the session has begun.

Payment: I will email you an invoice shortly after the session. Payment must be made within 30 days of the session.
UK Schools:  I will only accept payment by either BACS transfer (preferred) or cheque.
US and International schools: I will only accept payments via PayPal. (You can send money from a PayPal balance or bank account or choose your preferred debit or credit card.)

PLEASE NOTE: My virtual visits should not be recorded without my prior permission.

Software: After using Skype for my virtual visits for several years, I've switched to using Zoom as it's far simpler to administrate. If I accept your virtual visit request I will send you a Zoom link to use at the arranged time. If your school is not using Zoom already, please download the Zoom app and check that you are able to use it within your school before booking a Zoom session with me.

I'm also happy to arrange one-to-one virtual visit sessions using Google Meet.

If your school is not able to use Google Meet or Zoom, I will still accept bookings using Skype, but prefer not to where possible.

I don't currently offer sessions using Microsoft Teams as it is incompatible with Apple Keynote, which I use for most of my sessions.

 


What you need for a Virtual Visit

Technical Requirements

  • SOFTWARE: If you haven't used the video conferencing software you've selected (i.e. Zoom or Google Meet) to call someone using the school's broadband network before, make a test call a few days before my virtual visit using the software and hardware you intend to use to check that it all works. If your call is blocked, you may need to change your network's permission settings to allow the software to be used.

    WEBCAM / MICROPHONE: The webcam should be positioned as close as possible to the screen the students will be looking at, so that I can see the students' faces looking towards me. If you're using a separate microphone, this should be positioned so that I can hear the students clearly. A cordless roaming microphone, that can be passed from student to student is a great way of ensuring that students can be heard by the author.

  • SCREEN: Ideally the computer should be connected to a large video screen or white board projector, but as long as there is a screen of some sort that the students can see me on this is not essential. If you're using a projector in a brightly lit room, it's a good idea to turn off the lights or close the blinds near the screen or whiteboard so that the students can see me more clearly.

  • SPEAKERS: Sound is important! The students will need to be able to hear me clearly. Your computer’s built-in speakers may not be loud enough for my voice to carry to the back of the room, so you might need to use some louder, plug-in speakers or the TV’s speakers if you’re using a TV screen.

PLEASE NOTE: I am unable to offer technical assistance for individual hardware and operating system configurations, so if you are new to video calls please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with your particular set-up by making some video calls before your virtual visit with me. If you are intending to use external sound and video and have not done this before, please test these in advance too.

 

Other Requirements

  • A room full of enthusiastic students: Students will enjoy a virtual visit much more if they are already familiar with a few of my books. Visit this website with your class to find out a little about me and the books I've written. If you subscribe to a school library service, ask if they can provide your class with a selection of my books, including the book(s) I will be reading.
  • Some questions prepared in advance: If your visit includes a Q&A , students will get a lot more out of it if they have had some time to think about questions they might want to ask beforehand. 
Portrait

BOOK SALES: If you'd like to order copies of my books from a book shop to coincide with my virtual visit this list of my books currently in print may be useful for putting an order together. I'm happy to send out signed book plates (shown opposite) for any books purchased in this way.


My Home Town
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Virtual Visit
Multiple Virtual Visits
See a larger version of this map with a list of schools

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