Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Building the G.A.N.G.

     Last month, Stony Evans, the Media Specialist at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas and I presented about our Lakeside Squared Google Hangout program at the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Conference.  We also promoted our new Google + community the Google Arkansas Networking Group. (G.A.N.G.) at the conference and added about a dozen new members.

     This past Wednesday, I held our first G.A.N.G. Hangout with two of my elementary library colleagues at Young and Shaw Elementary schools in Springdale.  In celebration of School Library Month, about 20, 8th and 9th grade students from Lakeside Junior High School where I am the media specialist, met to share picture books through a Google Hangout with first grade students at the two schools.

    The event was a huge hit.  Several students read stories ranging from Dr. Seuss' The Return of the Cat in the Hat, to We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Henny Penny and Silly Sally.  The Lakeside students read with confidence and enthusiasm, adjusting their volume and pitch for the different voices in the stories.  The also managed the technology well so that each story's pictures could easily be seen by the first graders through the web cam.

    There was a high level of engagement in all three groups evidenced by the smiles, laughter and applause at the end of the storytime.  One elementary student also gleefully commented, "hey, I know that story!" Even the day after the event, Lakeside students came back to view pictures and video clips from the Virtual Storytime.  After the pictures/videos were shared, the student readers were applauded by their peers.

    There were some slight issues with volume and locating each other at the start of the Hangout, but overall it went well.  We are already in discussion about holiding our next Virtual Story time.  In honor of Poetry Month, we are looking into holding a Poetry Slam.  This type of event will promote more interactivity and two way communication between the different classes that partcipate.

    It is just a matter of setting up the time and date!

   If you are interested in having your student participate, in this Hangout Community, click here to sign up and join the Google Arkansas Networking Group (G.A.N.G.) today!