May 20

Google+ Hangouts: Cool Conversations and BookTalks Without Borders

This is a story about Sister Libraries, Twitter, Google+ Hangout, and connecting kids! It all started with a Tweet by my dear friend & Tweep  Tiffany Whitehead aka The Mighty Little Librarian and her awesome BFF EL teacher Alaina Laperouse both of Central Middle School in Baton Rouge Louisiana! She had been inspired by a Tweet she had seen about sister classrooms started between and – you know, like sister cities? She said she wanted a sister library & I was like I’m willing!! After a few Tweets back and forth a bit to establish time zones (because I’m an idiot when it comes to time zones!) we finally got our kiddos to meet and chat using Google+ Hangout! I’ve connected with classrooms before using Google Hangout before & blogged about it – but this was different, this was establishing a steady school partnership!

 

Our first chat happened in Kristin Cullison’s classroom with her 6th grade research seminar class (and my media helpers!). Tiff’s kids didn’t know where we were from so they asked my kids questions to discover our location – after a few clues (including steamed crabs and the Chesapeake Bay!) her kiddos correctly guessed Maryland! I shared that one of our favourite books was Weird Maryland and her kids said that they loved the book  Weird Louisiana! It was a super fun moment of a shared love of urban legends where the kids each held up the respective books to show each other live & It was a magic moment! To celebrate this, the next day I sent them the Maryland book! LOVE Amazon Prime! (See pic below from Tiff)  My kids were so impressed with the lovely behaviour & charming Louisiana accents of the CMS kiddos & were urging to connect again!
Our latest chat happened in our respective school libraries with the kiddos trading prepared book talks! Great for summer reading!
To extend this relationship for next year I’m thinking of having our kiddos both join United Classrooms where they can chat back & forth and have moderated discussions. Maybe share those urban legend stories and collaboratively create an urban legend wiki or group on Edmodo, or perhaps start a semi-virtual book club!  A cool idea I haven’t tried yet is we could create a chat room for the event with Today’s Meet  and using a second laptop or computer joining in the Hangout – sharing screen, you can have a moderated chat going on at the same time!

Google Hangout TIPS:

• Practice beforehand!

• Make sure your plugins & browsers are updated & use Chrome!

• Sign in early

• Consider recording via YouTube it to embed or view later

• I added clip-on TV Studio lights nearby to improve the camera shot

• Have kids talking sit close to the laptop for better sound quality

• Practice with your kiddos speaking slowly & loudly – consider recording with a flip camera & previewing their performance

You can see ALL the pictures I took of this growing relationship on my Flickr slideshow below or skip directly to our gallery!

Teachers & Librarians: If you’re interested in trying this out there is a Google+ Community for connecting Google classroom Hangouts! You can also check out the website Google Education OnAir to join in scheduled LIVE Google Hangouts, connect with other interested educators or get tech help to get started!  The Twitter hashtag #eduonair  connects educators with other classrooms creating conversations & relationships.

Tiff was moderating our conversation with her official Harry Potter wand!  We are both ardent  Harry Potter fans, so I have to share this amazing video below of Tiff – the Mighty Little Librarian getting her own wand! It’s magical if you’re an HP fan! My eyes got a little leaky about halfway through! [snif!]


Resources:

32 Tips for Using Google Hangout in the Classroom

EducationOnAir – Google Sites

Google Hangouts as Edtech: Connecting, Sharing and – Edutopia

Credits:

Mustache pic by Tiffany Whitehead

Gwyneth & Alaina pic by Alaina Laperouse

 

Médecins Sans Frontières

My title for this post was inspired by one of my most favoured charitable organizations Doctors Without Borders or Médecins Sans Frontières  – Please consider donating to this worthy cause!

August 26

YOU Are Our BEST Customer!

That’s right Murray Hillers! Our beloved students, parents, families, teachers, & community are our BEST customers! You’re why we’re here!

Welcome Back to School!

Murray Hill Middle School strives every day to put into practice our motto “A Model for School Improvement!”  We strive to be accessible by utilizing Google forms, Google docs, and wikipages to provide many ways for you to feel connected to our school and to have a voice! Here’s just a few ways we’re here for YOU!

You suggest the books & we buy them!

During your media center orientations you will hear more about contributing YOUR suggestions to our annual book order. But for those of you who are tech savvy, at home, you can Google “MHMS Learning” and our Learning Wiki comes up first! (OR you could click the link! LOL)….there you will see the banner “I WANT THIS BOOK.” Click on that banner (also above!)  and you can add any books, authors, or subjects of books that you would like to see purchased for our school library collection. (Murray Hill peeps only…sorry world!)

You suggest songs & we play them!

Like music?  While at the wiki you will also see a banner for our new MHTV Music Request Line where you can suggest Appropriate clean songs to play on our show. Clicking on this banner will take you to a form where you can suggest songs with our MHTV guidelines. Basically, don’t forget to check lyrics for language (no f-bombs, sh-words or b words!) and content (no drinking, drugs, overt sex, demeaning or prejudicial terms) ALL song must ultimately have a good & positive message! That’s how we roll!

You write the book reviews & we publish them!
Write a good book review and we’ll publish it! You can also read book reviews that other MHMS students have written.

You need tech help at home?  You got it!

Printer run out of ink? Don’t know how to save your DOCX to a DOC? Wanna use Wikipedia but don’t know how to cite it? (Hint: DON’T!) See the Wiki for the whole story! Who needs the Geek Squad when you have us to help you out!? Visit our Trouble Shooting Tips for Students (and parents & teachers, too!) wikipage!

You need homework help at home?  You got it!

Our research databases are so AWEsome, it only feels like cheating!

MHMS is Everywhere.

For You.

(not in a stalky way, though! LOL)

Follow MHMS_Media on Twitter! Look for exciting new books, fun contests, & ways to publish Twitter styled & sized book reviews!

Like Us on Facebook! 

Please feel free to participate on our interactive wiki, blog, Facebook, and Twitter! We want to be available to you wherever you are!  If you have any suggestions on how we can be more interactive with you, our school, and community? Please tell us by leaving a comment! We HEART Comments!

QR Codes Hit the Hill!

We embrace mobile media here at MHMS! Proof of which you’ll see in cool black and white when you visit us for Back to School Night!

Have a smart phone?  Be ready & download a QR code reader app!  We really like the FREE iNigma QR code reader available in both Droid, iPhone, or iPad versions.  You’ll see several QR Codes around the building guiding you to different helpful websites (and maybe a secret message or two!) – be ready to scan! Want to learn more about QR Codes? Check out this handy Comic Tutorial!

Ps. Exciting news update!  Ms. Jones got accepted & attended the super cool & exclusive Google Teacher Academy in Seattle Washington this summer….and though she’s LONG been a Googler now she’s an official Google Certified Teacher! Whooooohoooo!! I can’t wait to show you all the cool stuffs I learned that will extra Googlize your life!