Saturday, October 11, 2014

Building on the 8th Grade 9/11 Collaboration Program in 2014

We continued our September 11, 2001 collaborative program for the 2014-2015 school year! It has been a favorite of students and teachers since we first unveiled it in 2012 (for a detailed description of this common core program/ book talk click here). The success of the program centers around the story of Navy SEAL, Adam Brown. Adam grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas and attended school at the Lake Hamilton School District. He overcame many challenges in his life to become one of the most respected SEAL warriors in the United States Navy. He gave the ultimate sacrifice in 2010 while protecting our country. Our students can easily connect with Adam because he is from the Hot Springs area. They absolutely love reading the book (Fearless by Eric Blehm). We are always overjoyed to see the books fly off the shelves following this program each year!

This year we had the opportunity to connect on webcam with Lake Hamilton Junior High all day during the collaboration via Google Hangouts. Thanks to our colleague, Mrs. Shea Gregory (who previously worked with us at Lakeside and was just hired on at Lake Hamilton this summer) and Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Jill Heard. I should also add that Mrs. Gregory helped us design this program in 2012! Both worked out a schedule, so that we could give our presentation each period to Lakeside 8th grade students in our library. This was simultaneously presented to their students across town in the Lake Hamilton Junior High Library Media Center via Google Hangouts!

(Jill Heard and I tested the webcam setup prior to the event to ensure everything would work correctly- you can see her on the screen giving a thumbs up.)

On the actual day of the presentation, there were a few occasional lag problems with audio/ video, but everything went very well. Both groups of students were very engaged during each session.

We mainly used the webcam for the introduction to Fearless and the military style briefing presentation (this is were Library Assistant, Ray Borel, presented information about the many acronyms and various military information mentioned in Fearless). The second day of this program consisted of several learning stations (described here) that help students understand the events of September 11th.

We asked our students to give us feedback at the end of the program on a Google Form. One of the questions was "Tell us how you felt about the Google Hangout with Lake Hamilton Junior High." Here are some of the encouraging highlights:

"I would have liked to hear more from them. We didn't really talk to them except for when we said hi. but on the other hand I have never done that at any of my schools and would like to do it more"

"I liked it. People can finally learn and have fun with Lake Hamilton instead of being rivals... I guess the Internet brings us together."

"I thought the Google hangout with Lake Hamilton Jr. High was pretty fun, even though we didn't talk to them much it was cool to interact with people from a different school."

"I enjoyed doing the Google Hangout with Lake Hamilton! The reason why is because I have a lot of friends that go there so it was a pleasure being able to interact with them and see their faces!"

I want to thank Mrs. Mari Simmons (8th Grade English Teacher), Mrs. Meg Parker (8th Grade English Teacher), and Mr. Ray Borel (LHS Library Assistant) for supporting this collaboration! Also many thanks to Mrs. Shea Gregory (Lake Hamilton Junior High 8th Grade English Teacher) and Mrs. Jill Heard (Lake Hamilton Junior High Library Media Specialist) for giving us the opportunity to connect across town! What an honor to collaborate about Adam Brown with his Alma Mater, Lake Hamilton!

I think this was a great success! We hope to do more collaborating and connecting with other schools using Google Hangouts this school year! I think it is important that students learn to use and experience this technology in the classroom. I believe this is crucial since many of them will use a more advanced form of this technology to connect and collaborate in their future careers!

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1 comment:

  1. You're right, Stony, by implementing and integrating more of these tools and platforms into the learning experience - blending in the old and new (the new tech here gave them the spark to rush and buy the old tech in the form of a printed book) - we are making out students #FutureReady. Congrats