Author Sarah Webb recently took to Twitter to describe how she preps when hosting Zoom events with school children.
I thought I’d share a few thoughts in case it’s useful to other writers.
This is what works for me on zoom:
1/ At the start of the event I ask for 2 class ambassadors to be my eyes + ears.
2/ The original idea for this was from Juliette Saumande: I set up my lighting (strong ring light) and background so it looks attractive. I check this by setting up a zoom meeting and using this to edit and tweak what my screen will look like.
3/ I sometimes wear costumes!
4/ I prepare a short powerpoint presentation using images. This season’s talk is all about inspiration, based on my new book, Be Inspired! Young Irish People Changing the World.
5/ I write script for the event – and practice it – making sure the timings work.
6/ On the day of the event I enter the zoom meeting early and check screen sharing.
7/ During the event I get the class ambassadors involved + the teachers. I ask each teacher who inspires them. Today I got Mary Robinson, Vicky Phelan + Nelson Mandela.
8/ I ask the children – via the class ambassadors – to share who inspires them. I ask them all kinds of things in fact – by the end of the session I know the class ambassadors well and their class well.
The event is about THEM not me.
9/ Towards the end I open it up to questions and the class ambassadors manage this. I ask the teachers to ask questions too. (I also get teachers to write along during writing workshops)
I really enjoy doing zoom events + I take them very seriously.
And now I’m off to lie down!
I forgot to say I always deliver my zoom events standing up, just as I would for a live event. My energy is better that way.
(c) Sarah Webb
You can see the original Twitter thread here.
Sarah Webb is an award-winning children’s writer and children’s book champion. Her children’s books include A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea, illustrated by Steve McCarthy which won the Irish Book Awards Junior Category and Blazing a Trail: Irish Women Who Changed the World, illustrated by Lauren O’Neill which won the Irish Book Awards Senior Category.
Her latest book, The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street was published by the O’Brien Press in September 2021.
Her Ask Amy Green series for age 11+ was shortlisted for the Queen of Teen Award and the Irish Book Awards. Her second series, The Songbird Cafe Girls is for age 9+.
She has also has written eleven bestselling novels for adults including Always the Bridesmaid, The Shoestring Club and The Memory Box. Her books have been published in many different countries including the US, Australia, Poland, Korea, Canada, Italy and Indonesia. She has compiled and edited three charity collections, Beyond the Stars (for children), Travelling Light and Mum’s the Word.
Sarah worked in the book trade for many years as a children’s bookseller and buyer and works part-time in Halfway Up the Stairs children’s bookshop in Greystones, Co Wicklow.
She also teaches creative writing, visits schools, reads and gives workshops at festivals, and reviews children’s books for the Irish Independent.
She is the Family and Programmer for MoLI (Museum of Literature, Ireland) and in 2015 was awarded the Children’s Books Ireland Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books.
She lives in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin and spends as much time as possible in Castletownshend, West Cork.