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Video Chat with Strangers 2.0

  09/04/20 15:38, by Lynne

Ha ha ... maybe it should be titled Video Chat with Strangers 2020!

Anyway ... it's back! This was a popular activity last spring, and we hope it will be fun (and helpful!) this semester as well. During a typical Laurel school year, a "Lunch with Strangers" ice-breaker activity gave everyone an entertaining (and often hilarious) chance to visit with fellow students they may not know very well. Due to these these unusual times, the "Video Chat with a Stranger" activity can be just as fun -- and it also counts as Laurel service for those who participate. We all are adjusting to these new ways of school attendance, and a significant number of students are now online. I'm sure they would welcome a chance to visit with their Laurel classmates a few times a week as would those attending in person.

So here's how it will work:

-- Students who wish to participate are asked to reply to this blog post by Friday afternoon (Sept. 11). This is completely voluntary, but greater participation means the conversations will be more varied and interesting.

-- On Monday morning, a meeting list will appear on this blog. Each student will be "assigned" to meet with other students with whom they will have a 10-15 minute video chat in the coming week. (I recommend Google Hangouts for this, but other online chat programs would be fine.) Everyone is responsible for coordinating the time/day when the video chats happen. Please be considerate of the other person's time and do your best to attend the meeting at the agreed upon time/day.

-- At this time, there aren't any guidelines about what the conversation must be about, only that the students visit for 10-15 minutes on topics of their choice. (Examples are school, hobbies, sports, music, movies, how they are spending time at home, what their plans are after graduation -- you get the idea.) Each student then reports in their blog that day that they had a video chat with a fellow student -- and be sure to put their name(s) in the blog. The content of conversation doesn't have to be disclosed, only that the video chat occurred. If no reports are shared, no service hours will be credited.

-- Each week, new names will be assigned so you will have an opportunity to speak with several classmates over the coming weeks. If you don't sign up for the first week but would like to participate, add your name to the list on this blog, and you'll be included in the next week. It's that easy!

You will be contacting the other members in your group through Google Meet (or other video chat program, but GH is by far the easiest to use) through your school’s email account. Use the email to schedule your meeting time; once you have the other person’s email reply, hover your cursor over that person’s name. An option box opens and you can either schedule a chat or open a chat from there.

A visit should last 10-15 minutes to qualify for an equal amount of Laurel service. This is based on individuals chatting with other individuals, one-on-one. If you are one in a group of three, you will be visiting with two other people as individuals; if you are one in a group of four, you may choose to visit with just two other individuals or you may visit with all three of the other individuals and earn an additional 15 minutes of service.  If you would prefer to do this as a group chat, you may; however, you must either visit as a group for 30 minutes or meet twice with the group in the same week and visit for 15 minutes. In either case, to earn 30 minutes of service, you must participate in 30 minutes of video chat per week.

Once a chat is finished, mention it in your blog post that day, naming the people with whom you visited and the length of time the chat lasted.  It isn’t necessary (though it would be interesting) to include the content of your conversation. If the video chat is not mentioned, no Laurel service credit will be awarded. Also, enter this service time on your service log (if you have it at home) or on a sheet of paper showing the date, the activity (video chat with -- naming the people with whom you visited) and the number of minutes. This must be included in your Laurel portfolio. Laurel service hours must be met before this activity can be applied to community service hours.

Please be considerate of other people’s time. When you schedule a meeting, do your best to attend. Others are counting on you to be present. If you are unable to attend, notify that person to let them know. You can either reschedule or postpone until a later time, but do make arrangements to “meet up,” preferably in the same week. You also might find it easier to have these chats in the evening rather than during the school day. Whatever time works best, do it then.

You have been grouped with classmates who likely share at least one thing in common with you. Some possible topics of conversation might be classes (foreign language, math, film study, even keyboarding!), hobbies and interests (art, music, computers, video games, sports, animals, pets, movies, etc.), family/friends, places you have lived, nostalgia (favorite toy as a child, favorite subject in school, favorite cartoon or movie character, etc.), plans for the future (after high school, after college, career choices), where you have traveled (in the US or abroad), hopes and dreams. Anything upon which you both agree is an interesting subject to explore! Each week you will be assigned to a new group, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to learn more about your classmates.

This is still relatively new territory, so there may be unexpected surprises or challenges, but we can figure out how to make it work. The point is to have fun, get to know each other better, and to earn some Laurel service in the process. Most importantly – more than any of those reasons – is the reason this activity was formed: to address the very real need to connect with each other during this time when many are feeling isolated and lonely. You can be a bright spot in someone else’s life! Remember to Stay Laurel Strong!

Please add your name below if you'd like to participate. The first groups will be assigned Monday Sept. 14 for the week of Sept. 14-18.



Comment from: [Member]

I’d love to be a part of this! Count me in!

09/04/20 @ 15:53
Comment from: [Member]

I would also like to do this!

09/04/20 @ 17:16
Comment from: [Member]

Im very interested Lynne! Sign me up!

09/04/20 @ 22:39
Comment from: [Member]

Lemme participate! It sounds great!

09/04/20 @ 23:27
Comment from: [Member]

I am in Lynne! Thanks so much for bringing this up again!

09/04/20 @ 23:40
Comment from: [Member]

I am very interested. Count me in!

09/05/20 @ 00:06
Comment from: [Member]

I am down

09/06/20 @ 21:48
Comment from: [Member]

I would like to be a part of this!

09/07/20 @ 13:37
Comment from: [Member]

I’m interested, thank you for setting it up!

09/07/20 @ 15:59
Comment from: [Member]

Im in. cant wait

09/08/20 @ 10:48
Comment from: [Member]

Yay! I’m hoping many more – especially freshmen! – will sign up before Friday.

09/08/20 @ 11:03
Comment from: Sam [Visitor]  

I am going to doing this as well.

09/08/20 @ 20:38
Comment from: [Member]

I am interested! Thanks Lynne!

09/09/20 @ 14:27
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks to all who are taking part in this fun activity. Remember, tomorrow is the deadline to sign up for next week’s Video Chat with Strangers. Groups will be announced Monday morning.

If you are interested but haven’t signed up yet, please do. You can always join in later, but why not have some fun now?

09/10/20 @ 08:01
Comment from: [Member]

I’m interested

09/12/20 @ 00:25

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