Virtual Middle School Social Helped Provide the 'Spaces in Between'

Another virtual first occurred the Friday before spring break!

Middle School held its first virtual social for students on March 19, an event organized by Middle School Counselor Kathleen Hicks, Assistant Head of Middle School Laura Todis, Middle School Visual, Performing, and Musical Arts and Computer Teacher David Gomes, and Middle School Technology Coordinator Matthew Baylor.

"The virtual social provided a space for students to gather in a casual and playful way as a community," said Hicks. "As we have moved through the pandemic, we realized that we are all missing what we have been referring to as the 'spaces in between'—the times when students and teachers causally connect with one another as we arrive to campus each morning, in the hallway, during lunch, and as we leave at the end of the day.

"Our hope in offering a virtual experience for students was to provide another low-key, social way to be together during the pandemic—to connect, play, laugh, and have fun as a middle school community."

VR Space in MS Social

The virtual reality space one student created during the Middle School social.

A lip-sync battle between the "very brave" Middle School Math Teacher Dennis Chang and Middle School French Teacher Jamie O'Dell kicked off the social. Chang "did an excellent Katy Perry lip-sync" as did O'Dell for her "live performance—complete with a backup singer—with REM," said Head of Middle School Ann Sulzer.

"You should have seen the kids who stepped up spontaneously afterward to lip-sync and dance—it was so wonderful!" said Sulzer.

Those students who dove in and shared their lip-sync talents were fully supported by their peers, said Hicks, and were cheered on with praise-worthy accolades.

After the lip-sync contest, students were directed to the Middle School Google social site for virtual games such as Kahoot Sports Trivia, Pictionary, a 'Just Dance' Dance party, and a virtual reality gathering space. 

"Each of the breakout spaces was chaperoned by a Middle School teacher and some of the spaces were hosted by students," said Hicks. Students hosting practiced "utilizing the online tools that they've been using in classes in a fun and social way."

"The social was totally the highlight of my Friday!" said Sulzer. "We have had to be creative this year in finding ways to offer connection and fun, and this event definitely offered an opportunity with activities for everyone to enjoy." 

Thank you to Middle School Math Teacher Dennis Chang for allowing us to publish the above photo of him in the lip-sync contest!