Monday, May 2, 2016

Skype Visit with Thanhha Lai

Pioneer Middle School's eighth grade students had a very special day on Thursday, April 28th.  After finishing the book Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, they were able to have a Skype session with Ms. Lai!

Eighth grade ELA students read Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.

For those unfamiliar with the book, it is a novel in verse which is based on Ms. Lai's childhood.  As a young girl during the Vietnam War, Thanhha Lai (along with her family) fled Vietnam and settled in Alabama.  The transition from Vietnam to the United States was anything but easy.  Inside Out and Back Again chronicles the struggles, and triumphs associated with moving to a new country.

Prior to the visit, students prepared many different questions to ask Ms. Lai.  Some of the questions had to do with Ms. Lai's childhood while other questions dealt with action and characters from the book.  During the Skype visit, students approached the webcam and ask Thanhha Lai the questions they had prepared.

A student asks Thanhha Lai a question about the book.

Perhaps an unintended consequence of the visit is that many of the students were rendered speechless!  This was a unique opportunity, so many of our students were a bit shy or starstruck.  No one was more starstruck than eighth grade ELA teacher Mr. Colaiacovo!

This was the first time in which Pioneer Middle School students used Skype to connect with an author.  We hope this will be the first of many virtual author visits.  It was very interesting to gather firsthand knowledge directly from the author.  We now know many "secrets" from the books!  Thank you to Thanhha Lai for making this amazing experience possible.

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