Earlier this year, I had the honor of being a guest reader in Mrs. Hoyt’s kindergarten at Pine Glen. The first time was a typical read-aloud of Ms. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. I joined the students in the classroom, took a seat in the rocking chair on the rug, and held the book aloft while reading. I remembered to sweep across with the book every now and then so students could see the pictures. Since reading to kindergarten ranks high on my list of favorite activities, I had a great time.
Last month, we decided to try something different. I visited the classroom via Google Hangouts in preparation for students using Hangouts and social media as a learning tool. Through video chat and screen sharing, I read the book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.
Just in case we had difficulty with connecting or projecting the book via screen sharing, Mrs. Fallon was on hand with the book. As you can see in the picture to the right, the screen sharing was a success and by projecting the pictures, all students could see them at the same time. When I was done reading, I switched back to video chat and I took comments and questions about the book and what I liked to read.
It took the students no time at all to realize how Hangouts could be used to expand their reach. I was visiting them from the far away place of the computer lab (shhhhh… I was just down the hall!), but they came up with relatives from around the country and the world who they could invite into the classroom.
Later this week, a student’s aunt will be reading to them from Costa Rica. To facilitate sharing a book on the screen, Ms. Carney provided her with access to the library’s collection of digital books. Students will not only have the joy of meeting another guest reader but will have a chance to ask questions about life in Costa Rica. Just imagine what it would be like for them to interview people from around the world!
In the meantime, Mrs. Hoyt will be connecting her students with a kindergarten class at Francis Wyman when she visits there later this month.
The opportunities to expand students’ reach and awareness across the globe are countless with tools such as Google Hangouts. Where will your students go next?