Sunday, February 28, 2016

World Read Aloud Week 2016

Last week (February 22-25) I participated in my first World Read Aloud Week thanks to the leadership of Shannon Miller and Andy Plemmons.  Shannon and Andy started what was a one page Google Document encouraging educators from across the world to use to make connections for World Read Aloud Week.  By the time World Read Aloud Week arrived the Google Document had blossomed to 106 pages, countries spanning the globe, and incredible educational connections made from PreK to high school seniors and beyond!  I finally created my own Google Document so that I could better keep up with the connections made just with my school.

While Skype was touted by LitWorld as the suggested medium of connection, the James Clemens High School Library choose to use Google Hangouts on Air for three reasons. First, Google Hangouts on Air allows up to ten classes/schools to connect at one time for free.  I thought not only would this be fun to help connect other classes but to also accommodate more space to make more connections.  Second, Google Hangouts on Air allows you to record the session, automatically uploading the recording to YouTube.  Third, Google Hangouts gives participants the ability to share their screen. This allowed me to share on the screen to participants the pages of the story I was reading.  

In all, the James Clemens High School Library connected with 70+ classes/schools across the nation. For many of the sessions students choose to have me read a story from the collection I have built this year for our special education self contained classes.  Each Wednesday our special education self contained classes come to the JCHS Library for story time, occasional arts & crafts and to spend time exploring, discovering, tinkering, and creating in the MakerSpace.  Because several of our students have sight deficiencies, I take pictures of the book pages and then transfer theses images to Google Slides.  Then during story time we use the Harvard Room as it has three large projection screens on which to display the book pages.

National English Honor Society reading to Special Education classes in the 
Harvard Room and across the country

Even better than me reading were the opportunities our high school students had to read and connect with classes in grades PreK-5th.  JCHS students involved included student library aides, the Not Your Average Book Club members, Ms. Mendez's 9th grade English students, the National English Honor Society students, and Ms. Courtney's Teacher 1 & 2 students (a class for students who want to be teachers).  

The best part of each connection made wasn't the reading of the stories, but getting to talk with the students, teachers and librarians we connected with.  I even got to see my new best friend, Melissa Ray, that I met while at METC at the beginning of the month! One of the funniest moments was when Ms. Mendez's 9th grade class read The Big Wide Mouthed Frog to a Kindergarten class in Wisconsin.  After the story we took turns being the "big wide mouthed frog" and asked each other, "Who are you and what do you like to eat."  Brandon, a tall baritone voiced 9th grader asked a cute little curly haired girl the question.  In turn, she asked Brandon the same question.  His response was, "My name is Brandon and I like to eat little children".  Both classes erupted with laughter!  Not missing a beat these clever Kindergarteners responded that they liked to eat BIG KIDS! 

I was so absorbed in the moment while connecting with classes that often I completely forgot to press the record button in the Google Hangouts, but you can see what session were captured on my World Read Aloud Day Youtube playlist.  You can also view images and video uploaded to my Flickr account below.

If you missed out on the opportunity to connect this year for World Read Aloud Week go ahead and set up a reminder for yourself next January to be on the look out for World Read Aloud Week information to start circulating!

World Read Aloud 2016

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