Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Hangout A Hit

   Last year, one of my favorite outside of school collaborations was with the "other" Lakeside in Hot Springs. Stony Evans, is a friend of mine from graduate school at the University of Central Arkansas, and is the secondary school media specialist there.  We have been talking literally for a couple of years about how cool it would be to do collaborative online projects between the two Lakeside schools.

  Last year in the spring, we started to make this a reality. We coined the term "Lakeside Squared" for the Google Hangouts we have held.  Our first one was focused on Veronica Roth's novel Divergent.  We held a hangout to discuss the book between Lakeside Hot Springs book club and a group of students at Springdale Lakeside who had read that title.  Both groups of students enjoyed participating in the Hangout. They liked the opportunity to share the results of the faction quizzes and other activities they had done related to the book.  The event was such a success that we have continued the Lakeside Squared Google Hangout tradition this year.

  Our first Lakeside Squared Hangout this year was a virtual readout during Banned Book week.  Students and teachers from both campuses read excerpts from banned titles such as The Hunger Games, 1984 and The Giver. 

  A recent performance by our choir in the library inspired the latest edition of the Lakeside Squared Hangout.  Almost immediatley after hearing our choir sing in the library, I contacted Stony with the idea of a Holiday Hangout.  I wondered, could we not magnify the reach of both schools' music programs and infuse some extra holiday spirit into some students lives by conducting a Hangout between the two schools?

  The Holiday Hangout ended up including 2 songs performed by one of Springdale Lakeside's choirs.  Stony, the media specialist in Hot Springs is also a very accomplished musician, so when his campus' choir was unable to perform, he stepped right in to perform the Christmas theme music from Charlie Brown on the saxophone.  I concluded the Hangout by reading a holiday story I learned from my dad, O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi.

   One of concerns about the Hangout going in was whether the sound quality would try capture the beauty of the performances.  The sound ended up being one of the pleasant surprises of the Hangout as people at both locations remarked about how clear the performances were.

   Hangouts are such a powerful connecting tool for our students and teachers.  I can't wait to work with my colleague at Lakeside Hot Springs to develop our next Lakeside Squared Hangout opportunity!

Lakeside Junior High Library Springdale Twitter @GoldenEagleLMC

Brian Johnson Twitter @brian_librarian

Stony Evans Twitter @stony12270