Students mix school work with Skype

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Bluegrass students meet author

By Kelly Cantrall



Bluegrass Middle School students carried on a conversation with an author of a popular children’s book Monday without being in the same room with him.

Some sixth-grade students at Bluegrass Middle had a chance to speak with Tom Angleberger, author of “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda,” using the software Skype, which allows people to make free voice and video calls on their computers.

The students asked Angleberger about his writing process, his favorite author and how he created his main character. The session ended with Angleberger teaching the students how to make their own origami Yodas.

The book tells the story of a middle-schooler, Dwight, his creation, Origami Yoda — a paper finger puppet, and his middle-school class who begin to take the advice the wise Yoda dispenses. The students become determined to solve the mystery of whether Origami Yoda is real or if Dwight, described as a “total loser,” is the brain behind the suggestions.

Angleberger told the students that the story is based on some of his own middle school experiences, and that he thinks of himself as similar to Dwight.

“I just write about the people I like, the people I’m interested in,” he said.

The students had just finished reading the book last week. Carson O’Daniel and Ashley Hatcher enjoyed both the book and the opportunity to speak with the author.

“I was happy we got a chance to do it,” Hatcher said.

This was the first time the school had used Skype to speak with an author, Library Media Specialist Jessica Hundley said.

Hundley observed a Skype session with Angleberger at another school, and was intrigued about the possibility of doing the same thing at Bluegrass.

Hundley said technology “opens up doors” for what students can do, including virtual field trips or speaking with experts on subjects they’re studying.

“In this day and age, I think it’s important that we get technology out there,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.